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Abbott Government’s “Culture of Secrecy”

September 23, 2013


Labor’s immigration spokesman Tony Burke has attacked the Federal Government’s changes to announcements about asylum seeker boat arrivals, warning of a “culture of secrecy”.

The previous government issued media alerts every time a boat arrived, but no new alerts have been issued since the new Abbott Government was sworn in.

The Gutter Trash asked both Customs and the Immigration Department whether any boats have arrived in recent days, but the questions were referred back to the Minister’s office.

A spokesman for the Immigration Minister Scott Morrison would not say if any boats had arrived, and said further details about the Government’s Operation Sovereign Borders policy would be provided soon.

“Updates will be provided on Operation Sovereign Borders. We will be making further comments on these matters next week,” he said in a statement.

In a statement on Saturday, Mr Morrison said the Government will manage the information in a way that supports the success of Operation Sovereign Borders, and that the claim by Labor that information is not being provided proves they are ‘hyper-sensitive”.

Labor’s spokesman, former immigration minister Tony Burke, says the disclosure of information should be automatic.

“I have had journalists from all publications ringing me today saying, ‘How do we find out?'” he told The Gutter Trash.

“They’ve been ringing the department and asking if boats have come and they’ve told them to go to Scott Morrison’s office but Scott Morrison’s office aren’t answering questions.

“The policy, I thought, was that they would stop the boats not hide the information. My concern goes to whether or not they’re wanting to re-create a culture of secrecy.

“It should simply be a matter of course that whether the news is good for the government or bad for the government, the Australian people are told.”


Acting Opposition Leader, and former immigration minister, Chris Bowen says the government is being deceitful.

“This is a disgrace. Stopping the boats is not the same as stopping the press releases,” he said.

“Stopping the boats does not mean not telling the Australian people when a boat has arrived. It’s simple, a boat arrives, you tell the Australian people.”

“Anything short of that is deceit and not being upfront about it.”


Bill Shorten says the Coalition should work with the Opposition on asylum seekers, and not against them.

“The fact that the Abbott government is proposing to hide information from the Australian people, speaks volumes for their trust in the Australian people,” he said.

“If you want to be able to defeat criminal syndicates, work with the Opposition, don’t demonise the people coming here, let’s make the high seas safe for all.”


Parliamentary secretary Steve Ciobo told Gutter Trash that Labor’s suggestions are “shrill” and “hysterical” and says the new government and the system will be transparent.

“This isn’t a culture of secrecy it’s been about 48 to 72 hours since the Government was sworn in, we’ve got a three-star general that’s going to be there operating the framework, now whether you get the particular information from point A or point B does it really matter?” he said.

“What matters is the information is there that its transparent and that will become apparent in, um…. due course.”




47 Comments leave one →
  1. egg permalink
    September 23, 2013 3:14 pm

    According to the Xmas Island grapevine, there have been eight boat arrivals since the election and maybe one more after our leader was sworn in.

  2. September 23, 2013 3:32 pm

    It’s said that both cream and scum eventually rise to the surface – so too, does truth. No amount of new-speak will stifle this issue. No doubt the next move will be the placing of D notices ‘in the interests of national security’ and all further bulletins will be issued through the Ministry of Truth and their propaganda arms ‘The Hun’ and the ‘Dirty Telegraph’ (R. Murdoch prop.).
    Two weeks in government and this is only the beginning! Bloggers and social media users of the world – ingnite!!

  3. egg permalink
    September 23, 2013 3:46 pm

    Wat? The 5th Estate?

    You are wasting your time on this, the average punter is quite content to leave the matter in the hands of the authorities and let the OSB get on with the job.

  4. Splatterbottom permalink
    September 23, 2013 3:47 pm

    The press are going to find out anyway. It seems like a variant on an old children’s game: You can’t see me!

  5. Neil of Sydney permalink
    September 23, 2013 3:54 pm

    I was listening to Ray Hadley this morning and he says he has informants on Christmas Island and no govt will stop him reporting what is going on.

  6. September 23, 2013 3:58 pm
  7. September 23, 2013 4:01 pm

    State Secret # 5: Refugee boat, Cahaya Baru, = new radiance, disembarked approx 33 men women and children late this afternoon Christmas Is.

  8. Walrus permalink
    September 23, 2013 4:15 pm

    We need to change the name of Christmas Island.

    It just sounds too welcoming…………….

    “Waterboarding Island” sounds better

  9. September 23, 2013 4:24 pm
  10. TB Queensland permalink
    September 23, 2013 4:33 pm

    I’ll be waiting to see just how much flak is put up by News Ltd … I’ll be pleased if its a LOT!

    Otherwise my cynic gene might kick in …

    … early days yet … but by all that’s catlike the signs are already glimmering on the horizon … or is that another boat I see?

    And what’s all this fk about three star generals?

    In Australia we have:

    Brigadier Generals
    Major Generals and:
    Lieutenant Generals

    In Afghanistan Aussie generals wear one, two or three stars for the edification of the Yanks …

  11. September 23, 2013 4:46 pm

    “I’ll be waiting to see just how much flak is put up by News Ltd”

    I don;t think there’ll be much coverage (until the drownings start) which no doubt they will.

    And then it’ll be “children overboard” all over again….. *sigh*

  12. TB Queensland permalink
    September 23, 2013 4:47 pm


    Maybe you need to change the heading to:

    “Abbott Government’s “Culture of Secrecy I”

    I have a feeling that you may need a II, III, IV, V >>>>>>>>> … before its over!

  13. Neil of Sydney permalink
    September 23, 2013 4:57 pm

    It should be stated that there was no problem until Rudd changed the laws. And Rudd was voted in by people who post on this blog.

  14. egg permalink
    September 23, 2013 5:06 pm

    There is no culture of secrecy, give a thought to those poor refugees being hounded by the media. The government is trying to protect their dignity from the Murdocracy who claim they are illegal guest workers.

  15. September 23, 2013 5:11 pm

    “And Rudd was voted in by people who post on this blog.”

    I always suspected you were a Rudd supporter in disguise!

  16. TB Queensland permalink
    September 23, 2013 5:13 pm

    Abbott was voted in by people who post on this blog … you have a point, Kneel?*

    You’re so knowledgeable, egg, it must hurt … 🙄 😛

  17. TB Queensland permalink
    September 23, 2013 5:14 pm

    *Ooops, forgot, Kneel, check with you Young Libs Supervisor … I’m sure I’m right … 🙄

  18. September 23, 2013 5:15 pm
  19. September 23, 2013 5:50 pm

    “Waterboarding Island”

    G U F F A W

    “no problem until Rudd changed the laws.”

    Fuck, you come across as dense sometimes, Neil. 🙄

    Like boat people never existed prior to 2007.

  20. September 23, 2013 5:57 pm

    So let me get this right… Morrison holds a press conference after every arrival under labor and now has a blackout in power.. oh IC its the left that are the como’s right? 🙄

    Reb NOS is not playin with a full deck mate, he has selective perception impervious to truth

  21. September 23, 2013 6:03 pm

    You’re right, Ricky.

    The only one’s who can’t see the dissonant cognition are the most tragic of the Abbotteers; the only ones defending it (apart from Abbott’s associated ministerial lickspittles). The smarter, more aware ones are just keeping quiet. FFS, even Bolt thinks it smells iffy (because it fucking is).
    For him to have broken ranks illustrates the magnitude of the stench.

  22. September 23, 2013 6:07 pm

    That whole “left are the commo’s” thing is a ridiculous parody that our conservative nutjobs have appropriated from histrionic FoxNews types like O’Reilly. Absolutely laughable & misplaced in Australian politics.

    (anyone who thinks Obama is a genuine socialist, much less a communist, doesn’t have a realistic concept of either term)

  23. September 23, 2013 7:14 pm

    We need a caption for the photo on this thread:

    “Assembling the manikin piece by piece”

  24. September 23, 2013 7:29 pm

    “Token woman helping General Three Star look good for the cameras”

  25. September 23, 2013 7:31 pm

    “Someone take me back to my room….I found this framed certificate somewhere when my meds wore off just after lunchtime macramé”

  26. September 23, 2013 7:32 pm

    ”””’Stopping the boats does not mean not telling the Australian people when a boat has arrived.””””
    ROFL. Teabag solutions. Ya gotta love dem `bags`. 😆
    Under Teabag Solutions,
    Gold Coast Police don`t need to `out-law` biker gangs.
    Just `out-law` reporting of `Rebel` and `Fink` misbehavior.

  27. September 23, 2013 7:43 pm

    dunny_ ””’even Bolt thinks it smells iffy””’
    Bolt will be on board once the cheque clears.

  28. Tom of Melbourne permalink
    September 23, 2013 7:45 pm

    “Let me just insert the dork program back into your neck”

  29. September 23, 2013 7:51 pm

    Who`s a pretty boy.

  30. September 23, 2013 9:14 pm

    General having his new cloth eared bullshit filters fitted in preparation for a briefing from the new invasion propaganda, information control and border projection minister.

  31. TB Queensland permalink
    September 24, 2013 9:32 am

    “Does our general know he’s being set up as the fall guy?’


    So Lateline advises that Turnbull “asked” for the NBN resignations … the ABC board must be wondering?

    The stark contrast between 2007 when Rudd chose to leave many Howard appointed PS in power (for which he was criticised and suffered – Godwin Grech was just one example) and Abbott’s swift assassinations and secrecy … show a quite different mindset in the way political parties think and their respective philosophies … Night of the Long Knives springs to mind …

  32. TB Queensland permalink
    September 24, 2013 9:35 am

    Speaking of our three star general … I’m surprised that there has been no real hue and cry over the misuse of the ADF in border patrol.

    Really stretching the concept of a “defence” force when we have to use military force against unarmed men, women and children …seeking asylum …

  33. September 24, 2013 9:37 am

    This new silence on boat arrivals treats all Australians with contempt…

  34. egg permalink
    September 24, 2013 9:53 am

    The people are content not to know the details of illegal guest workers. Good political strategy by Abbott.

    ‘it’s a governing strategy – it’s about sustaining a positive, less harried narrative in government. Rather than be buffeted by events you get to tell your own story, and reduce the props and accoutrements available for your opponent.’


  35. Tom of Melbourne permalink
    September 24, 2013 9:54 am

    Yes, it is disgraceful that the Libs are seeking to impose a media blackout on asylum seekers.

    Albanese is right, Tony Burke had announced this policy a month or 2 ago, he would have been hounded.

    Morrison is both dumb and dishonest. Gormless.

  36. September 25, 2013 4:48 pm

    Tony Abbott’s office has moved to directly manage the media engagements of Coalition ministers.

  37. egg permalink
    September 25, 2013 5:20 pm

    Kate Walshe is very professional and has heaps of experience, so this is a good move by our leader.

  38. egg permalink
    September 25, 2013 6:03 pm

    ‘Albanese is right, Tony Burke had announced this policy a month or 2 ago, he would have been hounded.’

    By the Fairfax stable preaching to the converted, but it wouldn’t have changed the election results.

  39. TB Queensland permalink
    September 25, 2013 6:36 pm

    The people are content not to know the details of illegal guest workers. Good political strategy by Abbott.

    WTF is paying you, egg … this people isn’t!

    … and …

    Kate Walshe is very professional and has heaps of experience, so this is a good move by our leader.

    What utter BS!

    By the Fairfax stable preaching to the converted, but it wouldn’t have changed the election results.

    No-one said it would … but then you’ve never “got” hypocrisy … a staple of dog-fearing, LibNits …

  40. September 26, 2013 10:04 am

    Great piece from Jonathan Green:

    “Tony Abbott’s incredible disappearing act”

  41. TB Queensland permalink
    September 26, 2013 10:52 am

    Excellent and thought provoking (just read the first dozen comments too!) piece by J Green …

    Its not just Abbott who has slunk off to his sett … but Hockey, Hunt, Morrison etc (our new … oh, fk! .. FM is out of the country stepping on Indonesia’s toes …)

    Abbott & The Acolytes have even managed to attempt to break the law too … after watching Lateline last night … how many days is it now?

    I guess what’s annoying is that now is the time that an ALP opposition should be highlighting these goofs … it just demonstrates that they are no better than the LibNits … its all about power and control (ALP of the party) … LNP of the world country …

    I’ve mentioned before I’m now reading Tom Holland’s, “The Forge of Christendom: The End of Days and the Epic Rise of the West” … a historical “documentary” of the period a 100 years either side of 1000 AD … I can assure you that history repeats itself and the Robber Barons are still with us … human nature, I fear, will never change … its amazing how religion (and its hypocrisy) has/is/will impact on believers and non-believers in equal measure, particularly by ruthless men and not a few women who claim to be of the “faith” and fighting the good fight …

  42. TB Queensland permalink
    September 27, 2013 5:49 pm

    GUFFAW! and DOUBLE GUFFAW! Check out the headline below …

    The figures had no substantial surprises and closely matched the estimates presented by Treasury just before the September 7 election.

    Hockey is a prize Dickwit© … 😆

  43. September 27, 2013 6:16 pm


  44. Neil of Sydney permalink
    September 27, 2013 8:12 pm

    “The figures had no substantial surprises and closely matched the estimates presented by Treasury just before the September 7 election.

    It should be mentioned that the forecast was for a $1B surplus in the May 2012 budget. It ended up being a $18B budget deficit.

    I wonder if forecasting is too difficult because the economy is too complex to estimate. But Treasury forecasts are not even close.

  45. egg permalink
    September 27, 2013 8:16 pm

    Kate Walshe is Abbott’s CJ, as in West Wing, and she will assist in maintaining discipline.

  46. egg permalink
    September 27, 2013 8:49 pm

    ‘If it’s true that all media requests and board appointments are to be cleared with Kate Walshe and Peta Credlin, then we are to have government at the speed of Kate and Peta. What’s good for this country depends on what Kate Walshe and Peta Credlin think is good for this country, and to what they allocate their time.’

    Andrew Welder

  47. Neil of Sydney permalink
    September 29, 2013 12:25 pm

    It did not take long. As soon as a boat sinks the previous govt wants an enquiry.

    GREENS Leader Christine Milne has called for an inquiry into the tragic sinking of an asylum-seeker vessel off the coast of Indonesia and an end to the Abbott government’s crackdown on the release of information about border protection incidents.

    The minor party leader has declared a probe into the latest tragedy off the Indonesian coast must be launched before parliament returns. The incident has left at least 21 people dead.”

    From memory when the ALP/Greens were in power and a boat sank it was said that now is not the time to investigate the deaths. I doubt if ALP/Greens would be asking for an enquiry if they were in govt.

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