END OF YEAR SENATE SPEECH TO GET A FEW THINGS OFF MY CHEST. I rise tonight to thank and acknowledge all of those people around the country who are providing the real opposition to the Abbott Government. If it’s your view that democracy is just about putting a piece of paper in a box once every few years and hoping for the best, then you’re really leaving that concept of opposition to the politicians who file in here for 19 weeks of the year.
FIRST PUBLISHED AT JUNKEE.COM I’d have never made it as a journalist. The tyranny of a blinking cursor on a blank white page. Rendering legibility out of complex, high-dimensional events while deadlines drum their fingers on the desk impatiently. Day, after day, after day. Then there’s that whole fourth estate thing; peering under the paving slabs of power and documenting the creepy-crawlies as they scuttle away from the light. Of all the paving slabs you’d want to look under, the blank, formless expanse of the one labelled ‘national security’ is the one you’d probably want to be the
piece on our latest deployment into iraq; first published on ‘the strategist‘ Cracks are already starting to show in the Government’s strange haste to commit Australian troops and aircraft to war in Iraq, and the equally confused messaging about how we are meant to respond to raising the domestic terror threat level. Because of the institutionalised horror calling itself the ‘Islamic State’ that has taken root in Iraq and Syria, and because of Australia’s evident complicity in destabilising the region following the invasion in 2003, it’s not enough to stand back and leave it to the locals to
Three times a year, the ordinary sittings of the Senate are suspended for the obscure but essential business of budget estimates hearings. For the next fortnight, the bleak theatre in the House of Representatives will continue as expected, but the Senate chamber will lie empty; the action on our side of the building playing out elsewhere.
11 February 2014: around the globe more than 6000 websites, with user groups ranging from sub-niche to hundreds of millions, are blacked out today. The cause is serious: government surveillance overkill that compromises privacy, the rule of law, journalism and democracy itself.
“We don’t discuss intelligence matters,” Australia’s bewildered Prime Minister told the media again this morning, making him the only person left on earth not discussing intelligence matters. Finally, seven months after the fuse was lit, the scandal of the US National Security Agency surveillance state has finally detonated in Australia.