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CHARGED: Three Age journos and prominent Greensparty boss charged over VEXNEWS Herald Sun hacking revelations

mmw_judge_071609_articleThe Age reports that three of its own staff, Royce Millar, Nick McKenzie and Ben Schneiders have been criminally charged with “unauthorised access to restricted data.”

VEXNEWS readers will recall we broke the story of these alleged activities with the Herald Sun during 2011. We make no comment now on whether they did or did not commit the criminal offences with which they have been charged and encourage our commenters to act with appropriate restraint if writing on this subject.

Without reflecting on the guilt or innocence of the accused, we wish to remind our friends in Fairfax Media House that it was their incessant sanctimonious gloating about the miseries of News Corporation journalists in Britain over voicemail hacking that drove us to pursue this story as hard as we did. Indeed it was the nature of their reporting that alerted us to the fact this could indeed be such a big story when we first became aware of the facts from a source who hadn’t initially appreciated the magnitude of it.

Their talk now that being charged with hacking offences is an attack on “press freedom” does seem rather inconsistent with their approach to reporting on UK journalists facing charges relating to hacking. It’s pretty obvious the only difference is that one group of criminally accused journalists works for Rupert Murdoch and the other works at The Age.

One aspect of the yarn we never did quite nail was who had allegedly supplied The Age with the stolen password in the first place.

The Age reports that Fraser Brindley, prominent Greensparty operative, former Moreland/Melbourne councillor (who missed out on Greensparty preselection in Brunswick by one vote) and senior Victorian EPA bureaucrat has been charged with a similar hacking offence.

If the charges are sustained, and it’s important to emphasise Brindley like his co-accused enjoy the presumption of innocence, this will show a high-level Greensparty involvement in a criminal political conspiracy that involves a modern equivalent of Watergate, except the alleged break-in was virtual. How the password was obtained by Brindley will be of interest too, with rumours they had attempted to infiltrate the ALP’s network of volunteers before with Greg Barber-trained spies, previously doing the rounds.

Potentially this is a very serious business for the Greensparty as they enter into a challenging federal and state election environment where they are struggling to explain themselves. Without a state Labor government to slag off, they barely seem to get noticed these days. They are reportedly bracing for a very tough federal election with WA and SA Senators expecting to be defeated and potentially facing defeat if the Assange Wikileaks candidacy evolves from more than a publicity stunt. They announced a campaign director and funding recently so it may well be serious.

We will carefully monitor this story in the days ahead but again urge caution in the comments.

Discussion

Comments are disallowed for this post.

  1. “Caution in the comments” Just what the Age and Stephen Conroy wanted – containment of free speech.

    Posted by Futureproof | April 6, 2013, 9:08
  2. I almost threw up my Weetbix this morning when I read the sanctimonious headline in The Age that said “Charges ‘attack on press freedom.’” Maybe our friends at Fairfax could run a story on the full list of laws that shouldn’t apply to them. Caught driving at 140 kmh – not a problem Your Honour, I was in a hurry to get to a story.

    Posted by Niddrie Booth Captain | April 6, 2013, 12:22
  3. Free speech is their defence?

    Good luck with that.

    The law should apply to everyone equally.

    Posted by Carla | April 6, 2013, 13:16
  4. Press freedom was not a good enough excuse for voicemail hacking but is for database hacking?

    This logic is as confused as an Age story on the outer suburbs.

    Posted by Matthew Jacks | April 6, 2013, 13:18
  5. What right did ex-Melbourne City Councillor Fraser Brindley have to access private and confidential database files?

    The concept of “Press freedom” is in itself a misnomer. Commercial or private media outlets, including this web site, have no special privilege or exemption. They have the same rights as every other citizen’s right to Free Speech. They are not above or beyond the law. If they are granted special leave then everyone and anyone can claim they are a journalist or media representative and they can proceed to illegally hack into private databases.

    Bring this charge on and throw the book at them. What is the penalty for such a crime?

    Posted by Green corruption | April 6, 2013, 15:17
  6. Royce Millar has been sailing close to the wind all his journalistic life, making up stories and writing about them as fact. There is a world of difference between a free press and a press that is free to lie…

    Posted by Anon | April 6, 2013, 16:06
  7. Inga and Paulie P will be happy, all there dirty secrets, about blackmailing a mayor will stay hidden a little longer.

    Posted by Anonymous | April 6, 2013, 18:31
  8. The question remains why did the Labor Party have this information on their database in the first place?

    Posted by Anonymous | April 6, 2013, 19:25
  9. Weetbix. Aren’t they are product of a tax evading cult?

    Posted by H the B | April 6, 2013, 19:26
  10. …I did nothing wrong….I was young and naive!!!!!

    Posted by gerald | April 6, 2013, 19:56
  11. Because it is called market research. And legal. Pretty simple you retard.

    Posted by H the B | April 6, 2013, 20:15
  12. Good to hear Gillard and the Greens condemning the Fairfax “hate media” and saying that they had questions to answer……….wait, what, they haven’t? Oh that’s right, that only applies to those pesky folk at News Ltd.

    Posted by iheartjinglee | April 6, 2013, 21:08
  13. The Age wants its workers to be above the law.

    Anyway, these scumbags will get slap on the wrists by the courts and wont lose their careers or anything.

    Posted by Nothing Changes | April 6, 2013, 22:43
  14. Anonymous | April 6, 2013, 18:31
    Get your hand off it mate and learn to spell.

    So why did all councillors including the Mayor vote down Paulie P’s call for a Probity Auditor? Why was Paulie P’s column in Kingston’s Pravda censored by Mayor and CEO?

    Who is trying to cover up Kingston Council’s dirty little secrets?

    Posted by Anon | April 7, 2013, 9:59
  15. So, do Fairfax media have serious questions to answer now Julia?
    Or do you only apply standards to papers who aren’t brown nosing you.

    Posted by Scott | April 7, 2013, 13:08
  16. Now we all know that the Greens in Victoria do nothing without the stamp of approval of Greg Barber. Should be an interesting exposure under oath by Fraser Brindley.

    Posted by Anonymous | April 7, 2013, 15:09
  17. Stephen Mayne is a gimp.

    Posted by Stephen Lame | April 7, 2013, 20:23
  18. I have $160,000 in shares in about 12 blue chip companies (the 4 banks, BHP etc) plus 2000 shares in Fairfax. The Fairfax dividend paid 1 cent per share last week.

    In my block (50 houses plus 20 flats) in Middle Park I am the only residence that have papers home delivered (The Age, The Australian and Sunday Herald Sun)

    Posted by Adrian Jackson | April 8, 2013, 0:18
  19. Andrew – daylight saving – the time on the bottom of each blog is 2 hours out (EST). Perhaps you moved the Vexnews clock forward instead of back today?

    Posted by Adrian Jackson | April 8, 2013, 0:27
  20. Adrian would you like to meet me at the Berwick Inn? I might give you a peek at my pleasures if you make a donation to the campaign account.

    Posted by Wenchy | April 8, 2013, 0:32
  21. To Anonymous at April 6 19:25- You declare “The question remains why did the Labor Party have this information on their database in the first place?”

    Simple, the major parties have a legal right, exempt from privacy laws, allowing them to have access, collate and use voter information for the electoral purposes they deem fit.

    Unlike those that were involved in the illegal hacking of privately protected ALP databases- the the major parties followed the letter and spirit of the law.

    Now that your question is answered, please explain why journalists should be allowed illegally hack into the databases of any citizen, community organisation, political party or private company?

    Maybe you’re different, but decent folk were raised to follow the law rather than break it if it’s inconvenient to their personal or political agendas…

    As for the Greens apparently being involved in this illegal activity, what can I say- except that our nation was once led by heroes, and now our country is left with this rabble puritan influence peddlers…

    Posted by Truth Speaker | April 8, 2013, 6:35
  22. I am shocked that you refer to people who work for the Age as ‘journalists’!

    Posted by The Insider | April 8, 2013, 8:30
  23. Truth Speaker April 8 6:35
    Thankyou for your response. By the way I am not a journalist which your reponse seems to imply. Nor do I support any illegal activity in relation to accessing these databases. (Albeit alleged at this time.)
    However, your response is interesting in that the two major parties have produced legislation to exempt themselves from privacy laws and to use the information as they deem fit. Appears to be a conflict of interest right there. Do the individuals who are on those databases have any rights to inspect or obtain a record of information that is being kept on them? What restrictions are there on the major parties in using this information, if any?

    Posted by Anonymous | April 8, 2013, 15:34
  24. GUILTY. Now let’s move on to the penalty phase…. 18 months @ HM Barwon, out in 12 with good behaviour.

    Posted by Anonymous | April 8, 2013, 16:54
  25. James Campbell, James Campbell, James Campbell.

    Posted by Maxwell Smart | April 8, 2013, 17:08
  26. The current redistribution of wealth model is broke as evidenced by statistics of the growing difference between rich and poor.

    What is needed is a new model based on economics

    Posted by Geof | April 9, 2013, 0:15
  27. that Ben Schneiders is a shit Journo. he puppets what ever that dog MigHell says. hope they share a cell together , then schneiders will be able to write a factual account on MigHell. they can play mummies and daddies…….

    Posted by jimmys mate | April 9, 2013, 13:15
  28. On the same day that Fairfax seems to support it’s staff allegedly hacking data bases in the name of “press freedom”, according to Australian, the same Fairfax fired one of its senior business journalists, Paddy Manning, for criticising “creeping advertorials” by letting major companies like the Commonwealth Bank sponsor business propaganda columns, ignoring use of their own journalists.

    Posted by Newspapers still influence | April 9, 2013, 14:48
  29. Sorry Wenchy (08 Apr 13) I don’t know were Berwick is. Is it in the outer “burbs”? If so we gentrified white folks from Port Phillip like to live with our WASP’ish inner suburbs neighbours and friends.

    Posted by Adrian Jackson | April 11, 2013, 16:46
  30. Greens Deputy Leader Adam Bandt, has handed over confidential client records and contacts to the Greens party. An associate of mine, who had contacted his office on a confidential immigration matter, recently received emails from Bob Brown and other Green campaign workers soliciting campaign funds. No other person had been given his email address which was unique to information provided to Adam Brandt

    Posted by Green corruption | April 11, 2013, 21:47
  31. GOOD NEWS….Ben Schneiders and Dean Mighell can share the same cell.

    Posted by jimmy | April 14, 2013, 15:15
  32. Why does Ben deserve jail Jimmy? Dean has nothing to do with this. Tell me why the major parties should be exempted from privacy laws?

    Posted by dimmy | April 15, 2013, 2:49
  33. Mummy and her little boy me – have made up with the other Liberals, so now we can get back to the task of developing the Kingston Green Wedge.

    Posted by Paulie P | April 15, 2013, 13:11
  34. Dean Mighell is corrupt thats why he deserves jail.

    Posted by jimmy | April 16, 2013, 15:20
  35. good on you sda just about the only union fighting for workers rights

    Posted by Wild joker | April 18, 2013, 21:32
  36. Key members of the kingston power bloc will be placed under pressure to resign or be sacked for failing their due diligence obligations when kingston is investigated for breaches of legislation inluding the local government act .

    Cr Paulie P we hear is leading the push for a clean out in an Elliot Ness type crusade .

    We are informed that his motion calling for a probity auditor has fallen on deaf ears but in failing to be proactive, a number of heads will roll when the cover up is exposed.

    Will the Kingston Liberats continue their self serving treachery as they protect the crooks and key labor power brokers?

    Posted by Clean up kingston campaign | April 22, 2013, 15:46

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