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A Secret Australia
Revealed by the WikiLeaks exposés

Felicity Ruby and Peter Cronau (Eds)
Clayton, Melbourne: Monash University Publishing, 2020
Paperback  255pp   RRP $29.95

Reviewer: Neville Taylor, February 2021

The reader is introduced to this work with a pithy Foreward by Phillip Adams and an excellent summary in an Introduction penned by the co-editors. Then follow sixteen chapters from a former public servant, lawyers, academics, writers and journalists – each dealing with a different aspect such as human rights, freedom of speech, ‘security’ in today’s society, whistle-blowers, the public and the clandestine faces of politics, ‘in bed’ with the USA, the origins of WikiLeaks to name a few.

Julian Assange’s ‘hanging out to dry’ through his total abandonment by the government of his country is examined in detail, with a several examples of the lengths that same government has gone to in supporting other Australian expats who have faced extreme difficulties whilst overseas. The difference is that Assange’s released stories have played a monumental part in painting the decisions and action of our various governments in a very poor light.

The drawn-out saga and public protests over Pine Gap and US leases, the threatened reveal of a CIA operative in Parliament on that day on Thursday 11th November 1975, behind-the-scenes on Australia selecting the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, and the US torture of prisoners in Guantanamo Bay are all subjects that have been kept from public scrutiny at every turn. The trial relating to the reporting of the ‘bugging’ of the Timor-Leste Cabinent is one episode to still be played out. 

Political investigative reporters are now confronted with unknown ramifications in the future. That is really the only ‘crime’ Julian Assange has committed – there is no evidence anyone has come to harm from the information he has published from his sources, or that he has solicited any party to seek information on his behalf.

The final two chapters are devoted to personal interviews with Assange and his hopes for the future.
Irrespective of how anyone regards Julian Assange, the material presented in A Secret Australia deserves sincere and robust consideration which may or may not change that opinion. Surely any man is entitled to that after the treatment he has endured.

The RUSI – Vic Library thanks the publisher for making this work available for review.