A Secret Australia : Book Launch

This is an Australia that officials do not want us to see. However Australians may perceive our place in the world, whether as dependable ally or good international citizen, WikiLeaks has shown us a startlingly different story.


Revealed by the WikiLeaks exposés

Edited by Felicity Ruby and Peter Cronau,
Foreword by Phillip Adams

In A Secret Australia, prominent Australians discuss what Australia has learnt about itself from the WikiLeaks revelations – revelations about a secret Australia of hidden rules and loyalty to hidden agendas.

A Secret Australia looks at what has been unearthed about Australia, so far. Unpublished stories also see their first light of day in this book, giving an all too rare glimpse into the nature of power, and the powerful, and how this power is brought to bear.

Editors Felicity Ruby and Peter Cronau provide examples of WikiLeaks revelations about Australia, such as the release of the Australian Defence Force Information Operations Planning Manual, with it’s prescriptions and motivations for influencing Australian public opinion, and the black list of 2,395 webpages secretly banned by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), leaked and published at the height of the debate about a mandatory internet filter in Australia.

‘Exceptional, illuminating, and deeply disturbing. With commanding breadth this superb collection highlights the dangers to democracy of proliferating information control and official secrecy, exploring the powerful transformative work of Julian Assange and WikiLeaks in exposing dark secrets as an exemplar of Australian investigative journalism. His persecution is our shame.’
—Emeritus Professor Jenny Hocking

‘Odd, is it not? A paradox? at Australia gave birth to the two most powerful media gures in the world?
Both creating global empires from humble provincial beginnings. Both seen as dangerous, problematic. Both blamed for changing the course of history. Both condemned for putting Trump in the White House. There the similarities end. One is a multi-billionaire, the other in solitary confinement in Belmarsh Prison, facing a life worse than death in a US supermax.’
— Phillip Adams AO FAHA, from the foreword


Felicity Ruby is a PhD candidate at Sydney University undertaking research on surveillance and democracy. She was previously advisor to Scott Ludlam for his first six years in the Australian Senate, headed the UN Office for the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, and was a policy adviser at the UN Development Fund for Women and at Greenpeace International.

Peter Cronau is an investigative journalist and a producer for ABC TV’s Four Corners. He has won numerous journalism awards, including the Gold Walkley for a joint report on the political violence in East Timor in 2006. He has also reported for ABC Radio’s Background Briefing, most recently with the groundbreaking report ‘Pine Gap’s role in US warfighting’. His forthcoming book is titled The Base: Australia’s secret role in America’s global wars.


Jennifer Robinson, human rights lawyer, explores how WikiLeaks disclosures related to West Papua have made it much harder for governments to deny human rights abuses perpetrated by the Indonesian military while on the payroll of the Freeport gold and copper mine.

Richard Tanter, Senior Research Associate at the Nautilus Institute, reflects on how his academic research on Australia’s defence policy has relied on the unique body of material in WikiLeaks of previously unknown or unverified aspects of the US-orchestrated Five Eyes transnational intelligence and surveillance structure.

Professor Clinton Fernandes analyses what is revealed about the attitudes and objectives of the US Embassy in Canberra towards Australia, with a prevailing emphasis on economic considerations.

Quentin Dempster, journalist, considers the reasons WikiLeaks and Assange won the 2011 Walkley Award for ‘outstanding contribution to journalism’, and how WikiLeaks has redefined national security journalism.

Julian Burnside QC traces the history of legal protections of free speech and whistleblowers, noting that governments pass such laws and also attack people and organisations that disclose misconduct.

Dr Benedetta Brevini, journalist, scholar and media reformer, explores the limited debate in Australia on WikiLeaks compared to elsewhere given it is a crucial example of the internet as a tool for openness and secrecy, freedom and surveillance, free speech and censorship.

Scott Ludlam notices that WikiLeaks was tolerated when releasing documents on the looting of Kenya under President Moi, German Intelligence reports on corruption in Kosovo and China censorship keywords, policies & blacklists for Baidu search, and that the fury of the US military industrial complex was unleashed only upon revelations about wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and atrocities at Guantanamo Bay.

Lissa Johnson, psychologist, explores the implications of the United Nations finding that Assange is being tortured and the significance of him being the first citizen of a democratic state found to be the target of a campaign of collective persecution and mobbing by a group of other democratic states.

Antony Loewenstein, journalist, discusses the prevailing secrecy on Australia’s national security state, outlining his WikiLeaks wish list for more information on processes that have led to war, where aid dollars are spent and why, and on the political and legal basis for Canberra’s unwavering support for Israel’s permanent occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.

Andrew Fowler, journalist, explores the treatment of Julian Assange by the Australian government as revealing more than a library of leaked documents could ever do about how power is exercised in the US-Australia relationship.

Paul Barrett, former Secretary of Defence, weighs the right of the state to place a national security classification on certain types of information and expect it to be kept from the public, with the duties of state employees or military personnel who have access to such information, the duty of the state itself to protect such information, and the right of the public to know what their government is doing in their name or on their behalf.

George Gittoes, artist, filmmaker and writer, shares his experience of reporting from war zones and of painting a portrait of Julian Assange.

Professor Gerard Goggin shows that WikiLeaks has been a wrecking ball for business-as-usual media, putting great pressure on media’s deep links with government, diplomacy, military, security and intelligence agencies.

Helen Razer, journalist and broadcaster, discusses the perception of Assange as both global and un-Australian, a tension that is resolved by declaring him Russian.

Guy Rundle, journalist, explores WikiLeaks as a product of Melbourne, a resistant city in a secret country, discussing the Whitlam dismissal and WikiLeaks as taking up the ‘unfinished business’ left over from the Whitlam era.

Author events in Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra, Brisbane and more!

Paperback | 255 pages | A$29.95
ISBN 9781925835939
will also be available as an ebook



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