Friends, cast your minds back to February. It was a simpler time, a gentler time, a time when Australia wasn’t trudging through the quagmire of an election campaign. 

It was also a time when Fairfax got their mitts on some classified docs relating to the National Broadband Network, and how loosey-goosey the Liberal Party had been with delivering on their targets.

Last night, months after the initial leaks, the Australian Federal Police saw it fit to conduct a series of raids on Labor offices, with the intention of sniffing out who exactly let those facts loose on the nation, and their media connects.

Details are pretty scarce – obviously – but here’s an artist’s impression:

Journo Union Boss Comes Out Swinging At AFP’s Whistleblower-Targeting Raids

They claim the raids intended to scope out alleged “unauthorised disclosure of Commonwealth information.”

But today, the Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance, one of Aussie journalism’s last bastions of common sense, have issued a statement on what they call “a heavy-handed and over-the-top response to media stories which have embarrassed the government.”

CEO Paul Murphy said “the government wants to shoot the messenger rather than address the issues raised by journalists in their reporting,” but admitted the raids were, in fact, perfectly legal. 

“We contend there is something wrong with the law when police search warrants can be used to pursue legitimate whistleblowers.

“Both major parties have voted to bring into force legislation which has complete disregard for the public interest and instead targets whistleblowers and journalists.”

The legislation in question includes that pesky metadata collection deal, which the high-profile whistleblower Edward Snowden called “the most classic form of mass surveillance, and it radically redefines the balance of power between citizen and state.”

In a closing salvo, Murphy absolutely bollocksed the current mob, saying “there is a great deal of effort being expended by the government to avoid legitimate scrutiny. And it’s getting worse.

“These attacks on press freedom undermine democracy.”

Again, it’s worth noting Malcolm Turnbull – who was once Communications Minister at the helm of the Coalition’s NBN rollout – said the AFP operates totally independently from the whims of any political entity.

It is conveniently-timed, though. As conveniently-timed as possibly-political badgering can be, at least. 

Source: Delimiter / MEAA.
Photo: Scott Barbour / Getty.