Picture: p1 Australian Financial Review 24th Sept 07. There go the civil liberties online?
It was surreal as dawn events often can be. Seven am Phillip St Sydney. 10th floor of the Supreme Court Building. Missing my sleep. Lawyers badge on in case of wire cage barriers. Blinking at the sombre procession of barristers, protesters, media, the Beak, senior coppers. Far below on the steps we saw banners, face paint, police on bicycles, and plain clothes Australian Federal Police, one of whom gave me a card by way of sussing this community media practitioner out.
We gave the card to David Marr of the SMH later on that day as he nipped around gleaning here, gleaning there for his sketch pieces.
It was early September and still cold.
So this was democracy.
And then there was Mr X. Quite chatty and enthusiastic He was an interested onlooker in the gallery sticky beaking at proceedings on the way to somewhere else in the Court building perhaps. Many people wanted to know if the Stop Bush Rally was going to be allowed during this super security conscious APEC week.
"What's your role in all this?" X asked. "Community media" I slouched. We got to chatting. He trusted me a bit. Gave me his card too. Then he shared this little gem as we moved away from Big Ears who gave me the other card:
Seems about 2 years ago AFP chief Mick Kelty had allegedly been at a conference of legal big wigs and gave a speech. He talked about the age of errorism and he let it out that he had been having informal chats with judges along the lines
- you don't understand, these people are capable of things you wouldn't believe
- you don't know what these people are really like
- you are going to have to adjust your thinking and make decisions appropriate to the times of much greater security.
At least that was the gist of it as I understood the allegation. Which is very interesting. Because if it is true it suggests an old boy/girl network of extra judicial lobbying outside the well worn processes of evidence in the legal system, complete with upcoming anti terrorism cases. To save the village by autocractically changing the village, openly or otherwise. The power behind the facade of the ballot box? The old Ken Livingstone book comes to mind: "If voting changed anything they'd abolish it"
It also resonates with some speeches the sainted Mick Kelty is reported today about yet more changes to our legal system needed to ensure (perfect?) security in what has always been an uncertain world:
Mick is a clever CEO all the same. While pushing the conservative buttons on the Coalition side, on the other hand he is spruiking the risks of climate change to security in the 21C which would be music to the ears of the ALP, as reported here on ABC AM this morning:
Police Commissioner enters climate change debate/ The Federal Police Commissioner Mick Keelty has labelled climate change the biggest security issue of the century and he's detailed the problems he sees caused by global warming.
Yep Kelty is a contemporary man, but is he too contemporary to stick to good legal process and norms of democracy? Is he indeed a very political figure in a police uniform playing both sides of the street, and was it ever thus anyway?