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Let’s Stop The Hysteria, The Press Are Still Free!

Let’s just consider those AFP* officers for a moment! It seems that the public is never happy. If we go back to the raid on the AWU offices a number of people complained that they were looking for documents from ten years earlier which the union could have already legally destroyed. “If they were so concerned, why didn’t they raid the offices back when the union was legally required to still have the records,” said one talkback caller. Comparatively speaking the recent raids on the ABC and a Murdoch journalist seem to light years faster. One story was from 2017 and the other was just over a year ago.

But more significantly, people were complaining that the media were tipped off about the AWU raids. The recent raids show that the AFP have learned their lesson and there was no tip-off this time.

Were people happy? No! It seems that they can never win.

And our Home Affairs Minister tells us that he didn’t know about the raids until they happened. Our PM assures us that – like Sgt Schultz – he knew nothing. See, again the AFP get no credit for apparently learning the lessons of the AWU debacle where someone tipped off Senator Cash’s office and someone from there tipped off the media, even though they didn’t let anyone else in the office know. When Senator Cash assures the public that she knows nothing, it’s very easy to believe it.

Let’s all take a cold shower and calm down. I mean, nobody from the press has been charged yet and it’s highly unlikely that they will be. After all, the AFP still haven’t got to the bottom of things in the AWU leaks so even if they were to investigate much more quickly, we’d have had several changes of Prime Minister by the time anybody was being held accountable!

No, it’s not the press that need to be concerned. I very much doubt that they’d ever be charged with anything for publishing the information they receive, and thanks to the recent AFP raids, members of the press are even less likely to be held in contempt of court for refusing to reveal their sources.

Why?

Well, it’s quite simple. Let’s imagine for a moment that I’m working for a highly sensitive department… Say something to do with stopping the boats. As we all know, “on water” matters are highly confidential… Or at least they became highly confidential after Scott Morrison became Immigration Monster; before that, everyone was free to publicise any information at all about boats arriving whether they were real or only imagined. Anyway, let’s imagine that I’m working in the department that’s in charge of stopping the boats and I discover that, in fact, the boats haven’t stopped and that there are boats arriving, sometimes carrying as many as twenty people. I quickly work out the realm is under threat because the government is secretly sneaking these so-called asylum seekers into the community and nobody has noticed even though we now have as many as three or four hundred happily minding their own business and enjoying their new life in Australia.

As a patriotic Australian, I’m outraged. I make copies of the necessary evidence and I smuggle it home where I… suddenly remember the AFP raids. And then it hits me. I can’t go to the media because I’ll almost certainly be exposed. No, I decide. I can’t take the personal risk.

See, it’s not the press that will have the problems. It’s the whistle-blowers themselves. There’s no need for concern because, in the future, the press won’t get the information so we won’t know whatever it is that we should be concerned about so we can all just keep going in blissful ignorance, happy that the government knows best and is having a go and helping me with my aspirations.

How good is Australia, eh?

*Just for clarification, AFP stands for Australian Federal Police and not Anti-Free Press. 

 

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22 comments

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  1. Yvonne Robertson

    Good article. Thank you.

    For mine – I think it’s the AFP doing a full blown tantrum in retaliation for their boy Tones being tossed out on his cauliflower ear at the recent election. They were close you know….

    It was all the fault of them left leaning journalists at the ABC – and you know how Annika can get – real firebrand pinko!

    Nothing to do with Scottie – it’s NEVER anything to do with Scottie. As for Dutts – well – him? Overstep?

    Part of me thinks ‘good enough for ’em’. They’ve all been cheer leaders for this rotten government – even the best have done nothing to hold them to account. The worse it gets now – the better chance we have for a change of government in 2022. Maybe some of them will even wake up to themselves but I doubt it. They all went awfully quiet during the Jackboots time of Abbott.

    It’s sad. Lots of people will suffer during this next three years and it’ll be the most vulnerable as usual. But that was always going to be the case.

  2. Kaye Lee

    Just because…

    The whistleblowers in the Securency/One Note bribery scandal got the sack
    and the whistleblower in the Commonwealth bank scandal got the sack
    and the whistleblower in the Timor l’Este bugging scandal is being prosecuted
    and the whistleblower in the ATO is facing 161 years in gaol
    and the offices of Senator Stephen Conroy were searched trying to track down the NBN whistleblower
    and the offices of Senator Louise Pratt were searched trying to track down the whistleblower on the the Dutton au pairs debacle
    and Ben Fordham is being pressured to reveal the whistleblower about asylum seeker boats
    and the ABC office is raided to find the whistleblower on Special Forces war crimes
    and Annika Smethurst’s house is raided trying to find who blew the whistle on spying on Australians…

    there’s no need for concern.

    I mean look at Kathy Jackson. Her whistleblowing seems to have given her a free pass to do as she pleases.

  3. Stephengb

    Kaye Lee
    You might have to be careful !
    It would seem that people who make points like yours, are referred to the AFP to detect your sources, but for whom is the source important?

    Rossliegh
    I don’t know – but I think I detect a smiggen of satire.

    Much respect to you both – great article Rossliegh, well pointed comment Kaye – thank you.
    Stephengb

  4. David

    The media has a right to report on war crimes. Responsible military personnel have an obligation to go to the media when there is no other way of getting a reasonable hearing. End of story. Raiding a free press is gagging a free press.

  5. Aortic

    Julian Assange anyone?

  6. Kaye Lee

    Stephengb,

    The really really sad part is that I don’t have to get out of my jammies to know this stuff. No whistleblowers here. The information is out there for those willing to look.

  7. Aortic

    Julian Assange come to mind?

  8. Zathras

    These raids have nothing to do with National Security.

    They have everything to do with the intimidation of future potential whistleblowers and for the government to avoid future embarrassment.

    It’s been a while coming but all according to plan –
    https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/security-laws-bring-us-closer-to-the-day-when-journalists-will-be-jailed-for-reporting-20150317-1m0zc6.html

    Still “outrageous hyperbole” George?

    I guess that puts and end to knowing anything further about the plight of off-shore detainees or turn-backs in general, although the government leaks like a sieve whenever it suits them.
    To use one of their own sayings “If you’ve done nothing wrong you have nothing to worry about”.

  9. Stefano

    AFP stands for Australia’s Fascist Police, just for clarification.

  10. Terence Mills

    The targets (2GB, Newscorp, ABC) have been carefully chosen to avoid claims of bias but, clearly the message is directed to whistleblowers to let them know that in the electronic age no communication is secure from the state and a malignant minister.

    If there really is the stated separation of powers and if the government ministers knew nothing about these raids, ask yourself would they have taken place had Labor won office two weeks ago ?

    I think not !

  11. Henry Rodrigues

    The Fascist State is just around the corner. Of course it has nothing to do with Scummo or Dutton or Christiansen or Cash or anyone in this government, none of them knows anything about that at all, just like the voters of Queensland, greedy, stupid and ignorant.
    I think that this ABC raid and Annika Smehurst, is all just an elaborate scheme to make Newscorp and the ABC gain some public respectability and sympathy after their shameful role in helping re-elect the criminal pack of bastards.
    I for one will never ever trust either of these outfits again. I have stopped watching or listening to any local news or current affairs on Australian TV, radio, or print. I get all my information online via relatively independent sources and foreign news broadcasts like BBC, PBS Newshour and the foreign TV news segments on SBS in the morning. Aljazerra is more credible than any local news outlet.
    So much for a free fair and democratic society when the only reliable unbiased source is foreign.

  12. Paul Davis

    Henry Rodrigues, i am very impressed with the depth and detail of reporting by the French, German and Aljazeera news services. I really wish that one or all of them would give some attention to Straya. Pretty sure that our ruling despots are filthy on Aljazeera (didn’t Abbott think they must be islamic terrorist sympathizers) and their service will be the first to be banned. PBS is good also for unbiased US stories, in contrast to the rubbish NBC which Strayan commercial outlets 7 and 9 are modelled on.

  13. Jennifer Demas

    Just heard the most powerful comment of PBS Newshour, “… art is and should also an advocate for social justices and informed democracy….” wow.

  14. Andrew Smith

    Not just intimidating media but society too, recalling the AFP’s planned sweep of the Melbourne CBD a couple of years ago.

    A US christian theologian wrote of another manifestation, Christian Conservatives demanding respect for their authority and unthinking obedience.

  15. Rossleigh

    Speaking of investigations, has there ever been anyone charged about Andrew Bolt looking at the work Wilkie did? Was it investigated? I guess Bolt must have security clearance…

  16. Kaye Lee

    Rossleigh,

    The investigation went on for 12 years after which the AFP said it may have been Wilkie who leaked the papers to Bolt, something which he denies and which makes no sense.

    “Mr Wilkie claims it was an “open secret” that the leaked copy came from then foreign minister Alexander Downer’s office which had requested a fresh copy of the report some days before Mr Bolt’s article appeared.

    The AFP report says a staffer in then foreign minister Alexander Downer’s office had asked for an additional copy of the report on 20 June 2003 shortly before the Bolt article appeared. This had been faxed to Mr Downer by Josh Frydenberg, now resources minister but then a staffer to the foreign minister. Mr Frydenberg had wanted to brief Mr Downer on an appearance by Mr Wilkie before a UK committee investigating Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction capability.

    However there are no findings against Mr Frydenberg or anyone else in Mr Downer’s office. The AFP report says “there is no direct and probative evidence that would give reasonable cause to believe the document requested on 20 June 2003 was the source used in the Andrew Bolt article.”

    No-one has been identified as the leaker.”

    https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/afp-release-report-into-who-leaked-top-secret-report-on-iraq-war-to-andrew-bolt-20160617-gpluj6.html

  17. Rossleigh

    But didn’t they find anything when they raided Bolt?
    Raid Bolt… oh, silly me!

  18. Kronomex

    An FYI.

    https://www.afr.com/news/politics/national/media-raids-show-national-security-laws-being-abused-20190605-p51uvd

    The people who need protection are the whistleblowers who work within corrupt and crooked governments who feel that practises that affect a country in negative and/or detrimental fashions should be exposed. This is something the bunch of hard right thugs in power cannot allow to continue and are determined to try and crush any dissent.

    Case in point –

    https://thenewdaily.com.au/news/national/2019/06/06/defence-whistleblower-secret-trial/

    Sigh.

    https://thenewdaily.com.au/news/national/2019/06/06/scott-morrison-pay-rise/

  19. wam

    What a great read, Rossleigh,
    I suspect you are a labor adviser or a loonie because my rabbottians would just advise the concerned servant to put the documents in a cupboard and selling or dumping it. That is if they stamp ‘labor’ on the pages first.

  20. Kerry

    As soon as Peter Greste and the MSM chimed in saying there need to be a law to “protect journalists’ I knew something was up.

    Well said Rossleigh, of course its about the whistleblowers.

  21. Aortic

    I don’t believe this. Just saw the headline in the Daily Bellylaugh actually criticising the raid by the AFP and the government for legally allowing it. The journalist responsible for this heresy will probably find his office raided tomorrow.

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