Australia

Oct 6, 2017

Rundle: Turnbull’s surveillance offensive, Lateline’s demise, all point to a failing public sphere

The public sphere, in this country and others, has been undermined by an unwillingness to defend it, even as the ground shifts beneath it.

Guy Rundle — Correspondent-at-large

Guy Rundle

Correspondent-at-large

To paraphrase Ferris, illiberal society comes at you pretty fast. What’s most remarkable about the suite of proposed new laws on facial recognition, extended detention, and other measures, is the absence of a concerted pushback. Announced a few days ago, with little proposed consultation, the laws have already disappeared from the front pages of the larger media. Surveillance and authoritarian policing is crossing a tech/state threshold, yet we’re already moving on.

Quite aside from the reasons for this, it’s worth looking at what else happened this week. Yesterday, the ABC announced a major shake-up of its news and current affairs approach, which will have Lateline disappear (among other things), to be "replaced" by investigative units across platforms. And at the beginning of the week, another part of the ABC revealed the absolute financial debauchery of the Adani Carmichael coal mine project -- billions and billions of state funds being poured into a crisis-ridden company, which diverts billions to tax havens, and would provide less jobs than would direct investment.

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