Today, our front pages uniformly opposed the AFP. Soon thereafter, the AFP commissioner casually ruled out further raids with a wave of the hand.
This morning, the front pages of the nation stood mute in opposition of the government, and what they view as a push to threaten our free press.
— MEAA (@withMEAA) October 20, 2019
The source of this angst (and indeed, unification) was the AFP raiding the home of News Corp’s Annika Smethurst, and the Ultimo headquarters of the ABC. Journalist Peter Greste likened Australia to the country that charged him as a terrorist after he dared to offer objective journalism, stating that his “…experience in Egypt may be extreme, but the imperatives that led to my arrest there are the same ones driving Australia’s constitution.”
Clearly, today matters, if only to see great print rivals momentarily join arms for the greater good. All of which makes the AFP commissioner’s comments at the estimates rather disconcerting.
Deputy Opposition Whip Raff Ciccone asked the commissioner if the AFP were planning any further raids on journalists or media organisations.
The response was rather casual, almost off-hand, as if he were quizzed on the location of an essay he was required to turn in.
I asked the AFP Commissioner if the AFP is planning any further raids on journalists’ homes. His answer? Not that he’s aware of but he’ll be having a look. #estimates #auspol #righttoknow pic.twitter.com/vHgbfGo9tz
— Senator Raff Ciccone (@SenRaffCiccone) October 21, 2019
Offering such a dithering response, one continually interrupted by “um”, will not do. While it’d be remiss to expect an articulation of ongoing operations, the given response certainly indicates a continuation of the attitude the AFP has regarding the freedom of the press; and perhaps how much today’s unison effort has not changed their minds.