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One thing about Americans: they love Australia. Most Americans have never been there. It’s an awfully long way away. But when Americans think of Australia, they imagine a freer, tougher version of themselves. Steve Irwin, Crocodile Dundee, that kind of thing. So there’s a huge reserve of affection in the United States for Australia, its culture, and its people. It’s also possible most Americans, us included, have not updated our assumptions about Australia in a while. The modern reality is a little different from what we imagine.
Case and point: In June of 2019, federal police in Sydney, Australia raided the offices of the state broadcaster, ABC. They weren’t at all unclear about why they were raiding the offices. They said it out loud. Just days before the raid, ABC broadcast allegations from a whistleblower that embarrassed Australia’s government. This whistleblower said that Australia’s military leaders had killed civilians in Afghanistan, including children, and had lied about it. ABC broadcast that story.
It wasn’t a crime to broadcast the story, and Australia’s federal police didn’t pretend it was. Instead, they served ABC with a warrant that authorized them, the police, to cover up the