Politicians from Australia’s major parties need to stop issuing ludicrous blanket pardons for the intelligence community’s ongoing misdemeanours and start applying a basic modicum of transparency and accountability to this important national security function.
If you were keeping an eye on the Australian Senate yesterday afternoon, you would have witnessed a nice little farce of the usual kind play out on the floor of the chamber.
Liberal Senator David Fawcett arose from his chair to gravely invite the current sitting Attorney-General George Brandis, also of the Liberal Party, to update the Senate on what most of the Australian population no doubt considered to be an extremely disturbing story to break on the Australian website of The Guardian earlier in the day.
In the classic style which UK readers of the The Guardian have long been accustomed to, and which Australian readers are only now beginning to realise is still possible in this country, the publication had laid out devastating blow after devastating blow aimed to the nation’s premier electronic surveillance agency, the Australian Signals Directorate.
The agency, according to The Guardian, had offered to share information collected about ordinary Australian citizens with its major intelligence partners. Medical, legal, religious data — nothing was out of bounds — and it was all proven by yet more documents leaked by famed NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.