What is the “ Public Interest “? Who has the authority to decide?
Cranky Lizard has noticed a lot of noise recently, from the media, I mean, when isn’t there? But more than normal over the visits by the Australian Federal Police searching homes, offices and buildings including computers, mobile phones and other modern media devices.
The AFP has been conducting visits to gather information about the misuse of classified material from the Australian Government. Material which according to media reports has been in the hands of journalists and television stations for some time. The subject matter of the material in question is the conduct of Australian troops on the battlefield.
Cranky Lizard is driven to comment about this. But before launching into a wild tirade that makes no sense to anybody Cranky Lizard is drawn back to the material itself; and asks the question – well, just what is classified material anyway?
Classified material from a Government point of view is information, pictures, images or other matter which may relate directly or indirectly to events that have passed, that are passing or that will pass the uncontrolled knowledge of which, may affect their successful outcome. That is Cranky Lizard’s very rough definition. It is not a Government definition, but it broadly assumes that too much knowledge is dangerous to a wide range of people.
We all bloody know that, and Cranky Lizard is not going to go any further into these murky waters except to say that if you really don’t need to know what is happening in certain places at certain times then that is a very good thing.
And, in a broad sense, that is also the definition of the ‘public interest. ‘ There is hardly an adult in this country that does not understand that Governments conduct operations in the name of the sovereignty of the nation, and, that for many reasons these operations or even the fact that they are happening is not a matter of public interest. To protect this information and the people involved the information is classified by persons who are in a position to make that judgement; information which is classified becomes protected by law and possession of it, without proper authority becomes a criminal offence.
There is a not a journalist in this country who does not know that – and there is not a journalist in this country who does not know that if you have possession of classified information without authority, you are committing a criminal offence.
No ifs, no buts – a criminal offence.
For all sorts of petty, criminal, malicious and mundane reasons there are human beings who believe they, and only they, have some ordained right to gather this information illegally and then spread it around in a compliant media. Regardless of the consequences to other people, in some cases fatal consequences. There are examples – Wikileaks, Chelsea Manning etc. these are well-known cases and serve Cranky Lizard’s purpose in illustrating how dangerous it is to allow classified information to flow freely into the public domain.
So, having said all that, so what?
Cranky Lizard began by commenting on the noise by the media over the AFP visits on various journalists premises and also the AFP visits on various media outlets.
Keep in mind that the visits were related to the possession of classified documents without authority. Cranky Lizards needs to tread very elegantly through this poisoned garden because Court Action has begun and Cranky Lizard does not want to blunder through the legal crush of curly wigs, pompous red faces, flowing black robes and clouds of moths billowing from the same. No Sir, he does not.
But, and it is a significant but……….as far as Cranky Lizard is concerned none of the media, or journalists involved has denied actually having the documents – or, at least, it is reported that way.
No doubt the Court will determine the rights and wrongs of these matters; experience in this field leads Cranky Lizard to smile wryly and pose two questions: if you are in possession of classified documents without authority, what are you doing with them? And where did you get them from?
We are also hearing and seeing floods of words about broken employment contracts and raising money to conduct Court cases to defend your self against employment termination and religious beliefs.
Obviously, Cranky Lizard is referring to Israel Folau and the undignified nonsense swirling about this increasingly crazy matter.
Cranky Lizard has not read Israel Folau’s employment contract, and Cranky Lizard is willing to bet five handfuls of beach sand that very few of the learned and opinionated commentators have either. What they are offering the public is their opinion on the matters relating to the termination of employment and the use of public forums to raise funds to defend yourself.
When Cranky Lizard began this adventure with the wonderful newspaper, it was stated early in the game that Cranky Lizard would comment, criticise and draw attention to matters of public interest which drift from the normal…and we are drifting far from normal here.
Cranky Lizard has no sensible comment about the termination of employment because as previously stated, Cranky Lizard has not seen the contract and therefore, any comments are really pointless. I mean the contract either said you could talk about God or you can't talk about God. If it is the first case, then the matter is over, and you get out the cheque books. If the latter is the case, then the matter ends there, along with the employment.
Cranky Lizard sees little point in commenting on the decision of the GoFundMe page to cease support of Israel Folau. Subsequent events have demonstrated that the decision was ‘ an own goal ‘ of decent proportions.
This young man believes in his God and the words written in the Bible about certain matters, it is obvious that these words are divisive in today’s environment and struggle to find common acceptance –but these words are written in the Bible, the Book of Christianity and Cranky Lizard notes that no one has suggested that the Bible be banned – not yet anyway!
He believes in his God, and he says so. Good for him. Good for him. Cranky Lizard is a Christian and believes in the principles of Christianity.
Cranky Lizard also says that if you have a God, whoever and where ever that God may be – express your belief, be strong, be loud about what you believe in…because there will always be some drongo, who will try to stop you talking.
Don’t let them. Speak out.
Enjoy your days.