People need to understand one important thing about the ABC and the AFP raid – it’s about accountability.
Many are defending the raid by saying that the ABC (and by extension any media organisation) is not above the law, and this is a troubling and disturbing defence.
The issue is not that the ABC thinks it is immune to the law or above the law – It’s not.
Most people should know and understand that media organizations like the ABC have a unique and special privilege to balance adherence to the law with public interest.
The reason why media agencies have this special privilege is because it is their job to hold governments to account – this is the heart and soul of a free and open liberal democracy.
The issue is what has happened is that those who expose corruption, those who advocate for justice, are now considered criminals by the government. Those who keep the government to account are public enemy number 1.
The claim that the Prime Minister makes that these investigations are pursued by “independent law enforcement” no longer holds up.
The government referred this investigation to the AFP. It was their decision to investigate these leaks above the other leaks (the leaks that put the government – or individual ministers- in a stronger position).
Investigations have resulted from referrals from the coalition to the AFP in stories such as leaks about the National Broadband Network and Dutton’s intervention in the case of two foreign au pairs.
It begs the question that if these raids on the ABC were linked to “national security”, then the Prime Minister and concerned ministers should have known that these raids were about to take place.
When you look at the evidence and actions from the past, it becomes quite clear that the AFP has become an extension of the coalition government:
The ABC is raided, A journalists house is raided, the Australia Labor Party is raided, the Australian Workers Union is raided, the CFMEU is raided (all of these are institutions and individuals who are constantly attacked by the coalition).
However, Micahlia Cash, a government minister can decline to answer AFP questions about her involvement with an AFP raid.
On a side point, no law enforcement agency should have the ability to “alter, delete or add” material from an organisation that is being investigated – that gives the ability to add or tamper with evidence.