The editorial of June 7 was a well-written piece which raised some pertinent points, yet ignored the prime fundamental.
This is the overarching responsibility of our security agencies to pursue their remit for the greater good. They will not get it right all the time, but their efforts should be viewed in the wider context that involves protecting us from harm.
The AFP and associated agencies have thwarted planned terrorism in this country through recourse to operational security, otherwise known as OPSEC. Any breach of OPSEC threatens the national security framework under which our agencies operate.
A leak from inside Defence qualifies in that regard.
If a culture that allows leaks of sensitive information is tolerated, what will the next leak involve, and how damaging could it be?
We have just commemorated the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings. For those that may not know, the Germans were convinced the invasion would come at Calais. Had Normandy been revealed as the objective through a leak, then mass slaughter would have prevailed through the redeployment of German assets from Calais to Normandy prior to June 6.
People who are critical of our security agencies should ask whether they'd be here at all if their grandfathers were part of a massacre due to a tolerance of security leaks.
"Freedom of the press" does not imply freedom to compromise national security based on some wishy-washy platitude about the public's "right to know".
P Reynolds, Gilmore
We have been assured by a conga line of ministers that none had been aware of the impending raids on a News Corp journalist or on ABC headquarters. The AFP maintain that they were only doing their duty and enforcing the law.
Is it conceivable that a minister would not wish to be informed about activities in his or her portfolio that could have even the slightest possibility of eliciting international condemnation? Who within the AFP might have had such an impression?
What about those senior government officials who referred these matters to the AFP in the first place?
Plausible deniability is easier said than achieved.
Peter Grabosky, Forrest
Police action justified
Mike Reddy (Letters, June 10) would have us follow the USA on freedom of information matters. He refers to the recent investigation into political interference in Trump's election. That is an entirely different matter to the matters making news in Australia at present.
The definition of "top secret" states disclosure of such information would cause exceptionally grave damage to national security.
Information is not classified so highly just for fun. Although it may be "nice to know" by some, there is no "need to know" and it is not in the public interest.Dave Jeffrey, Farrer
Any whistleblower that decides to take that path, and has signed the Official Secrets Act, is committing a crime.
Having been a signatory to the Official Secrets Act for the majority of my working life, I don't believe I ever saw a "top secret" document that was in the "public interest" within the time frame of its classification.
Information is not classified so highly just for fun. Although it may be "nice to know" by some, there is no "need to know" and it is not in the public interest.
The AFP is obviously trying to prove a suspect has actually criminally released such information, and regardless of the "protection of sources" philosophy held by the press, must do everything within the law to bring an alleged offender to court.
It is unfortunate Annika Smethurst was inconvenienced and "traumatised" by the search warrants on her home, but that is the risk she took when she chose to publish top secret information.
Dave Jeffrey, Farrer
A disturbing trend
On June 3, Sydney radio host Ben Fordham said he was being investigated by the Department of Home Affairs for reporting on two boats, carrying a total of 61 Sri Lankan asylum seekers, trying to reach Australian territory.
On June 4, the AFP raid on the Canberra home of News Corp journalist Annika Smethurst followed her publishing a report, based on leaked secret documents, about the Australian Signals Directorate's push to broaden its powers to surveil Australian citizens.
On June 5, the AFP raided the ABC's Sydney headquarters, looking for leaked information on allegedly illegal acts by the Australian military in Afghanistan.
On June 5, The New York Times published an article headlined "Australia may well be the world's most secretive democracy". Its author commented: "Even among its peers, Australia stands out. No other developed democracy holds as tight to its secrets ... and the raids are just the latest example of how far the country's conservative government will go to scare officials and reporters into submission."
This is a very disturbing sign of the Morrison government's desperation to shield certain Coalition MPs and very senior bureaucrats, hide embarrassing truths, and keep Australians scared.
Douglas Mackenzie, Deakin
Human Services dilemma
I'm disappointed additional responsibilities are about to be allocated to the Department of Human Services.
I think Human Services needs to demonstrate it can perform its current functions properly before it is given new responsibilities.
My reasons? In relation to commencing an aged care process we needed to start with Centrelink.
When a related matter occurred later I returned to Centrelink (a Human Services entity), only to be told it had nothing to do with them. They said I had to contact Aged Care (another Human Services entity).
Aged Care told me to contact Medicare (another Human Services entity) who said it was definitely not them, and was definitely an issue for Aged Care.
Aged Care (the same people I had just rung) then told me to ring Veterans' Affairs. After escalating the issue, I was contacted by Centrelink who had sorted it out.
Remember, Centrelink is where I started.
While my exasperating odyssey did not surprise me, it does raise the issue of whether or not the Department of Human Services is ready to take on broader responsibilities.
Gordon Fyfe, Kambah
Climate change strange
Jeff Day's letter ("Let it snow", Letters, June 3) got me thinking about how misleading the term "global warming" can be for people.
By global warming, scientists mean a slow increase in temperature averaged over the whole planet's land surface, oceans, and atmosphere.
Heat energy that would otherwise have escaped into space is increasingly being absorbed by the carbon dioxide building up in the atmosphere.
At the moment the equatorial regions are slowly getting hotter while the poles will stay pretty much as cold as they are now until all the ice melts.
Our atmosphere circulates from the equator to the poles and back. This is an attempt to even out the temperature differences by moving heat energy from hot regions to cold ones.
The greater the temperature differential, the more strongly the atmosphere circulates to redistribute the heat.
Along the way, the earth's rotation breaks the big pattern up into the smaller cells we call weather events.
Even though the ice sheets are melting as you read this, the poles are still much colder than the rest of the planet.
The air that is drawn from there by global circulation is still frigid. This is why the recent cold front dumped snow on the Australian alps.
The fact this was earlier than usual is very likely to be a result of greater urgency in the global circulation pattern that drove it, brought about by global warming.
Climate science tells us we can expect the climate crisis to produce more severe weather events of all kinds, not just heat waves.
Michael Williams, Curtin
Rugby Union shake-up needed
The Brumbies can't survive without fans or support from the troubled Australian Rugby Union.
Rugby union has slipped to the bottom of the football codes in popularity.
Although Australia's sporting landscape keeps changing, the Australian Rugby Union has ignored the warning signs.
They are the captives of a glorious past and arrogantly hark back to an age when members of the ruling elite ran and played rugby union while, sometimes, running the country as well.
While both rugby league and AFL administrators have been prepared to make rule changes to grow the fan base, rugby union has not.
Many supporters, players and administrators believe they are a breed apart and that their code is the game played in heaven as well as at Australia's richest, and most elite, private schools.
As a result, through no fault of their own, the Brumbies are facing the end of their club.
Unless the ARU does something about the slow, boring and negative parts of their game the code will not survive.
Michael Gardiner, Coombs
TO THE POINT
GOVT GONE TOO FAR
It is clear many are suspicious of the ACT Government and the Treasurer. But I do think The Canberra Times' heading "Budget to help fill more mental health unit beds" (June 2, page 2) suggests they may be going a bit far.
G Murray, Ngunnawal
In another forgettable charade Bernard Tomic was paid the French Open first round losers' fee of $75,000.The organisers of the Opens need to revisit the fees paid to players - especially first round losers - to ensure those who "tank" only get paid a nominal amount, if anything.
Don Sephton, Greenway
BARTY A ROLE MODEL
What a delight to see Ms Barty win the French Open and be so humble about it. She is a great ambassador for tennis and Australia. It's a shame some Australian male tennis players don't follow her example.
Errol Good, Macgregor
JACK DID GOOD
Thank you for Jack Waterford's revealing article "Starting the search for the leaking tap" (canberratimes.com.au, June 8). Morrison may have won the election (just) but sending in the police to rifle through underwear drawers and intimidate the ABC is just plain nasty.
K Beckwith, Bruce
In all the hoo-ha regarding Israel Folau's post, homosexuals are the only one of the eight groups he listed ever mentioned. As an atheist who has occasionally lied, sometimes fornicated, and often been drunk, aren't I allowed to be offended too?
J Sever, Higgins
SECRECY THE REAL CRIME
Exposing war crimes committed by the Australian military is not a threat to national security. Keeping them secret is.
Fred Pilcher, Kaleen
Government MPs are trying to distance themselves from the media raids by denying any responsibility.
While the AFP may well have been acting legally, the politicians made the laws and must take ownership of their application in these circumstances.
Dale Kleeman, Cook
BUS DELAY MYSTERY
I too remember some bus commute times from the north side blowing out, especially when hitting the dreaded Northbourne Avenue (James Penny, Letters, June 5).
That was when tram construction meant lanes closed for weeks and months.
I don't know how long a bus would take now. Transport Canberra cancelled them.
Zlatko Spralja, Harrison
MORE FREEDOM, NOT LESS
As we are concerned about press freedom can we also address the laws that forbid naming people (except ADFA cadets allegedly charged with rape) and businesses where offences have occurred? The public need to know.
Greg Cornwell, Yarralumla
GIVE ME AN O.A.M.
Again we see an honours list of many great people and many hard workers. The awards shouldn't go to hard workers, that's what a salary is for.
If however they are for hard work, where's mine?
Dennis Fitzgerald, Box Hill
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