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Can You Keep a Secret? Media Rights and the Need to Know

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Photo image of Sally Warhaft, Peter Cronau and Scott Ludlam in conversation

Sally Warhaft, Peter Cronau and Scott Ludlam in conversation on stage at Bendigo Writers Festival.

Why is WikiLeaks so important? What is there to be learned from the documents released? According to the writers in A Secret Australia, the leaking of hidden government documents yielded knowledge that is essential for journalists and institutions to analyse the consequences of covert and unaccountable state power. “We open governments” is WikiLeaks’ motto, yet its crusade for transparent, accountable government has led to criminal charges being laid against its founder, Julian Assange, and whistleblower Chelsea Manning. Assange now faces espionage and hacking-related charges from the US government.

A Secret Australia’s co-editor Peter Cronau and contributor and former Greens Senator Scott Ludlam joined Sally Warhaft at Bendigo Writers Festival earlier this year for a discussion about what is kept from public view and why. What are the limits of journalism when reporting on state apparatuses, and what is a publisher’s responsibility when dealing with state secrets? 


Presented in partnership with Bendigo Writers Festival


Portrait of Peter Cronau

Peter Cronau

Peter Cronau is an investigative journalist, most recently as producer for ABC TV's investigative documentary program, Four Corners. Peter has reported for ABC Radio’s Background Briefing, including a report on Australia’s hitherto secret involvement in the US drone wars in the Middle East, titled 'Pine Gap’s role in US warfighting'. He is the co-editor of the current bestseller Secret Australia: Revealed by the WikiLeaks Exposés.

Peter has won numerous journalism awards including the Gold Walkley on the political violence in East Timor in 2006. Later this year he will publish The Base: Australia’s secret role in America’s global wars.


Portrait of Scott Ludlam

Scott Ludlam

Scott Ludlam was a senator from 2008 to 2017 and served as deputy leader of the Australian Greens. He has also worked as a filmmaker, artist and graphic designer. He contributed to A Secret Australia: Revealed by the Wikileaks Expose and his memoir, Full Circle, is his first book, the fruit of a life of activism, study and travel.

Portrait of Sally Warhaft

Sally Warhaft

Sally Warhaft is a Melbourne broadcaster, anthropologist and writer. She is the host of The Fifth Estate, the Wheeler Centre’s live series focusing on journalism, politics, media, and international relations, and The Leap Year, a Wheeler Centre podcast about Australians' lives in the fog of the Covid-19 pandemic. She is a former editor of the Monthly magazine and the author of the bestselling book Well May We Say: The Speeches that Made Australia.

Sally is a regular host and commentator on ABC radio and has a PhD in anthropology. She did her fieldwork in Mumbai, India, living by the seashore with the local fishing community.

The Fifth Estate

The important stories of the day – off the front pages.

Sally Warhaft hosts a dizzying array of guests from the worlds of politics, culture, international relations and beyond, in a witty and revealing analysis of current affairs.