It's not the first time I've gone out for Collaery and co. or at Parliament House. It's an action of an ageing cohort. Virtually n'ere a millennial amongst them all. Lots of grey hair. But we have time and we have history in marching. Often with little effect. The VN Moratoriums worked, in the end, and perhaps the Springboks tours. But I've marched with the millions in Rome and London and no outcome, against WMDs and Iraq and what is now (and then, BTW!) obvious lies or misleadings. The Bridge marches haven't led to Reconciliation but the people are changing. So it is with Climate. But the powers are stolid and stubborn and the times change too quickly for peoples' experience and they are just too ignorant or uninterested or misled or just uninterested and comfy anyway. But I was out again. So were a few others I knew. And a retired DFAT staff member who I met at a dinner party the next evening. Canberra is a small world. I can't reiterate the whole story adequately, but suffice to say secret trials, endless secrecy through National Security legislation and political fiat. A few quotes from the day will inform: "When the rule of law returns to this country" (Bernard Collaery); "This government is every bit as bad as you imagine" (David McBride). Or from a mate, speaking more broadly: " The Coalition is avoiding the hard but necessary work of strategic policymaking. Its energy policy, driven by climate denialism, is a shambles that has required state governments to take the lead. Its innovation policy is moving us backwards. Its manufacturing policy is limited to tax breaks for capital investment, only bringing forward future spending. The intellectual shallowness, policy nonsense, hypocrisy, spin, under-delivery and flagrant incompetence will continue until next year." And then to hear, just today, that Witness K, behind a screen, pleading guilty, suffering mental illness, court hidden with blacked out windows and cameras, after appropriated passports, after years of trials and pursuits, to be given just 3 months jail fully suspended. What? For this vast threat to our National Security? Who are you kidding? This was a whistle blower, a respected officer who saw something inappropriate and went through channels and got permission to inform and yet, this. Our secret state grows. Not to protect the public, for we know the story, but to protect government and mates. Not the first whistle blower to reveal actions that are illegal or unethical. And not the first whistle blower to suffer such a fate. If we would only consider and learn. Like Greta, I want you to panic. But we, as electors, will probably return this dangerously veering government. Thanks to influence and money and ideology and media and self-interest ... and again, money. Here's another quote to mull over: "Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance"* (HL Mencken).
The Alliance Against Political Prosecutions convened a rally on Parliament House lawns.
* Thanks to Ian Warden for this Mencken quote, although in a totally different context - the ABC Classic 100 Countdown! (Democracy rarely music to one's ears / Ian Warden. IN Canberra Times, Sat 19 Jun 2021, Panorama, p.2-3)
And more. Sr Susan Connelly's excellent article following this very demo: Adventures in incompetence : Witness K sentenced / Susan Connelly IN Pearls & Irritations, viewed 21 June 2021