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.
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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