May 2, 2008

Sunday Times raid: the press gets riled in the west

The police raid on Perth's Sunday Times opens big questions: writes Kayt Davies.

Wednesday’s surreal scenes of 16 burley police officers gravely raiding a metropolitan newsroom seemed like a lurch towards a dystopian future in which journalists operate in secret, disguising their identities for fear of reprisal from brutish and corrupt officials.

On 10 February The Sunday Times ran a story by senior journalist Paul Lampathakis revealing plans to spend $16 million on pre-election government advertising. As the cabinet documents mentioned in the article had not been officially released, they appear to have been leaked.

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3 thoughts on “Sunday Times raid: the press gets riled in the west

  1. Patricia Weston

    “Did Attorney General Jim McGinty or Premier Alan Carpenter or anyone else in the state ALP lean on, encourage or otherwise impel the WA police force, specifically the Major Fraud Squad to act in a way they wouldn’t have done without some kind of prompting?” Did you bother to ask this question of the appropriate people before you wrote this article? If so, what response did you get? My understanding is that leaking of confidential cabinet documents is a criminal offence and therefore should be reported to police. This story only has legs if this heavy handed action by police was actually sought by a politician. So how about following up on that before we start suggesting that Alan Carpenter is running a police state?

  2. Tom McLoughlin

    Some leaks are ‘good’ like Laurie Oakes article last Saturday (maybe via Peter Costello?) that John Howard looked at clawing back GST and neutering the states.Sure looked like a leak of federal cabinet level information of a past regime. But if the Sphere in a hypoethetical case get’s a leak from WA – say how a valued ALP minister was exchanging emails with Brian Bourke – then he will be raided by the corruption watchdog? The real point here surely is that leaking is not corruption. It may be breach of employment contract. It might even justify civll damages. It might justify the sack. It might be a criminal offence even. But even Robin Hood stole stuff in the public interest. It’s the kind of illegality that is not generally corruption unless obviously for say developer advantage. There are alot of open govt supporters who think leaking is in the public interest and the lifeblood of democracy. In NSW the Local Govt Act endorses ‘educating, informing’ the ratepayers. Amen to that.

  3. Kayt Davies

    Patricia, Of course I bothered to ask (it would have been remiss if me not to). I also included a reference to this in the story with the words “Jim McGinty’s flat denial”, as well as quotes from John Arthur at the GMO. I’m sorry I can’t name the faceless spokesman who issued the DPC media releases I quoted but that is the upshot of a particularly odious fashion in govt media release writing, it worries me when people in positions of power are not willing to put their names to their words. With regard to your request for more information, I asked Jim McGinty several questions, the response (channelled by his media minder Astrid Serventy) to questions about involvement in this case was “no”, I asked a further four questions and got another monosyllabic response. Not quite the openness Carpenter was enthusing about on ABC radio.

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