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In the Dark: Secrecy and Democracy

Listen to In the Dark: Secrecy and Democracy

Can secrecy be justified in the name of national security? At this forum event, three speakers respond specifically to this provocation. Join host Gael Jennings, human rights lawyer Madeline Gleeson, philosopher Raimond Gaita and media ethics expert Denis Muller for a discussion of the dark corners of democracy.

Photo of the panellists

Gael Jennings, Madeline Gleeson, Denis Muller and Raimond Gaita

What level of state secrecy are we willing to accept? And what happens when we don’t know – or don’t wish to know – what our government is doing in our name?

The capacity for the public to scrutinise government decisions is central to a functioning democracy. But since the introduction of Operation Sovereign Borders in 2013, we’ve seen increasing secrecy around the implementation of asylum seeker policy: on-water operations are confidential, offshore detention centres are difficult to access, and new rules under the Border Force Act mean people working in Australia’s detention system can now be jailed for disclosing ‘protected information’.  

Does this culture of secrecy violate Australia’s democratic values? Or are our politicians upholding their elected responsibility by representing the national interest? As a nation, is our moral obligation to restore government transparency and accountability?

Presented in partnership with Asylum Insight.

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