The shocking police raids on media organisations demand two responses. First, a thorough review of Australia’s so-called ‘national security’ legislation, which makes it too easy for the government to intimidate and embarrass innocent people, be they journalists, unions, or brown people. This cannot be limited to carve-outs for the media, as Waleed Aly explains: “the question isn’t simply ‘how useful will police find these powers?’. It’s also, ‘In what way is it possible for these powers to be abused?’ It’s true, the media will occasionally ask such questions, but mostly when it sees the potential for that power to be used against itself. If, instead, the power in question falls upon a terrorism suspect barely a ripple of dissent is visible until at least after the fact, no matter how many Mohamed Haneef or Kamer Nizamdeen stories we hear of people wrongly arrested.” Second, the Department of Home Affairs must be dismantled. Its purpose is to take the aggressive, militarised and secretive culture that oversees our Pacific concentration camps and spread it across a huge proportion of the government. It is destroying our civil government, as its two champions did to the Immigration Department first.
7 June 2019