Soapbox Speakers

Speakers’ Corner and ASIO.

ASIO – The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation.

In 1981, one of the Domain’s most popular speakers, Victor Zammit, wrote a book, ‘The Domain Speaker’, which is still in ASIO’s library. Victor is a retired lawyer but researches the paranormal full time. He has a weekly web report about the paranormal reaching thousands of people around the world. He still speaks at different places; his last big gig was being invited to share a platform in Arizona with professors and many others with a Ph.D – all world experts on the paranormal. The hits on his youtube videos have exceeded 330,000.

I asked Victor, Is it true ASIO investigated some of the past speakers?

His edited reply is below.

‘The role of ASIO is security for Australia internally. It must have all information at its fingertips so that in any emergency they will have the required information. I met someone in England who used to work for the equivalent of our ASIO and he confirmed that a security agency like ASIO will put on record anyone considered to be an ‘agent of influence.’ But he also said that most times – under normal circumstances – it is not the particular person that would be a priority, but the category he falls under. For example, anyone who could influence (whether brilliantly or very badly) members of the public, the security agency would put him on record (low, medium, high priority) – and this would include anyone in the press, radio and television – and others like computer hackers, politicians, even members of the clergy – and anyone who regularly speaks in public places, including Speakers’ Corners. . . . no matter how silly or brilliant they may be.

‘Now this is very important to notice: just because ASIO may have you on their records, does not mean you have a special ASIO file. After the Attorney General Lionel Murphy raided ASIO in the 70’s, some from the Left of the Labor Party claimed that ASIO has more than 200,000 files on people in Australia for one reason or another. That’s where the confusion comes in. As I said, any security agency, here or overseas, would have to be super efficient in an emergency – and this means it must have the information to arrest the situation with brutal efficiency. But there will be those who would be on a proper file and those who are just on record. And it would be procedural for any national security agency to have access to all information held by the census department – on all people in Australia. That is standard procedure in European countries. I’ve been told in those countries they have numbered ‘identity cards’ for residents there – and their security agencies would have access to these identity cards information. The access would be normal procedure.’

In short, ASIO does have the names of Domain speakers on record, like hundreds of thousands of others in Australia. It is unlikely ASIO has the speakers on file. 

Victor informs me that in his day, if anyone wanted to look at their file they could ask the Federal Attorney General, who had the discretion to allow-disallow. It might well be the same today.

Steve Maxwell has something to add.

Peter talks about ASIO

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