NOT too far away from me lives a person I'll call AB. The public will never know who AB is. That's AB's choice.
I've known AB for more than five years. AB's life changed in 2013 when a relative was implanted with a pelvic mesh device to treat incontinence after childbirth. AB's relative lives with the catastrophic impacts of that implant.
AB, AB's relative and their family are the heroes of this story. And in a week when media outlets across the country have united in the Your Right to Know campaign, it's useful for people to hear about people like AB - the quiet Australians who trust governments and the systems they oversee until those systems fail, sometimes catastrophically. They realise protections are a mirage. Regulators aren't interested. Then many rely on the media to hold the powerful to account.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison credited "quiet Australians" for his "miracle" victory on May 18.
"They have their dreams, they have their aspirations, to get a job, to get an apprenticeship, to start a business, to meet someone amazing, to start a family, to buy a home, to work hard and provide the best you can for your kids, to save for your retirement. These are the quiet Australians who have won a great victory tonight. Tonight is about every single Australian who depends on their government to put them first," he said.
AB has fought since 2013 to have federal and state governments, health departments, doctors' colleges, federal and state regulators, doctors' insurers, medical device companies, individual doctors, universities and hospitals held to account for their roles in the pelvic mesh device tragedy. I don't use that word lightly. Former Australian Medical Association president Michael Gannon used the word "tragedy" first, saying it wasn't overstating the case at all.
AB has done more than any single person to find out how thousands of women were injured when they were implanted with pelvic mesh devices from the late 1980s. AB complained to all of the organisations and individuals I've listed. When they responded badly by minimising, denying, deflecting - and that was the standard response - AB wrote again, challenging those responses. AB put in freedom of information applications. AB sought documents from America, where the health and justice systems are much more open and transparent than here.
By mid-2014 AB and I were in contact, and I started writing articles about mesh devices implanted in women via their vaginas. I started questioning all of the above organisations, institutions and individuals, as AB had done. And I was shocked, disconcerted, appalled and outraged at the dreadful treatment of too many women, the way they were silenced, the grievous physical and mental harm caused, the callous responses of too many people, and the elevation of doctors' reputations above patient safety.
It took too long for some doctors to be brought to account. The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists has apologised to the women it betrayed. Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt has also apologised.
The vast majority of devices have been cancelled or withdrawn. Those left have the kind of evidence that should be required when surgical devices are approved for use.
AB, the quiet Australian who recognised the need to speak to an unquiet Australian - a journalist - deserves the gratitude of the community.
Some of the vital changes needed to ensure much more transparency and accountability in our health system, that are slowly challenging the issues that led to the pelvic mesh tragedy, are in part due to AB's work and the pressure brought to bear by media exposure.
Some fundamental problems remain, and they're about transparency in the health system and regulatory processes that run parallel to it. Those regulatory processes have failed injured women, and continue to fail them. It's why AB and I are still in contact, I'm still writing about issues in the health system exposed by pelvic mesh, still challenging institutions and regulators, and will continue to do so.
It is often awful work. To meet with people crushed by power is a shocking thing. To see them crushed again when they seek help is confronting, and terrible.
Scott Morrison and his government dismiss issues raised in the Your Right to Know campaign with responses that are glib to the point of being meaningless.
Mr Morrison thinks "No-one is above the law" is enough, with its implied message that journalists are seeking to be above the law. It is an avoidance of the real issue here - that Australian laws, and the application of those laws, are a threat to transparent and accountable government. Protections can be a mirage. Concentrated power in a system rife with conflicts of interest is not balanced by access to information in the public interest.
I've spent more than 13 years challenging powerful Australians, including churchmen, who thought they were above the law. Too many politicians, for too long, stayed mute.
I know hundreds of quiet Australians - women abused and abandoned by our health system, and people sexually abused and betrayed by churches and other institutions. Many were betrayed again when they sought help from powerful churchmen who counted prime ministers as friends.
The quiet Australians I know were the silenced Australians. Until they spoke to the media and found their voices.