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The Fifth Estate

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at Strategem Studio at Ulumbarra Theatre

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

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 join Sally Warhaft 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

 The bookseller for this event will be Dymocks Bendigo.


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 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 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

For in-depth insider analysis of current affairs, it doesn't get any better than The Fifth Estate.
This long-running series is a mainstay of the Wheeler Centre’s programme, and of public conversation in Melbourne. Our in-house news anchor Sally Warhaft hosts guests from the world of politics, culture, journalism and international relations to dissect pressing questions of policy, power and public affairs. It's a chance to give complex local and global issues the thoughtful discussion they deserve.

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