The Kafkaesque catch-22 in Jonathan Holmes’ disturbing but important article (“A chilling step closer to Australian secret police” Comment 22/4) needs to be understood for all people who still believe in the quintessential tenets of democracy and individual liberty. In Franz Kafka’s The Trial (1925), the author writes: “us, your warders…(are) quite capable of grasping the fact that the high authorities we serve, before they would order such an arrest as this must be quite well-informed about the reasons for the arrest and the person of the prisoner. There can be no mistake about that”.
Those who’ve read this novel will recall that the so-called prisoner has done nothing; just a brilliant narrative about the evil of totalitarianism. Covertly implicit in the new Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Amendment Data Retention Act 2015, Section 182A, are remarkably similar overtones to what Kafka penned 90 years ago-the secrecy, albeit subtle, of our high authorities over the human rights and freedom of the individual, particularly when that individual is a journalist. That the foreign journalists Holmes spoke to about the foreboding legislation “nearly fell off their chairs” is a significant lesson for all of us, not just the Australian media.
As a society that supposedly cherishes our democratic traditions, we must unite to protest against the dangerous development in this act, lest we silently acquiesce to the encroachments on our freedoms.