Festival Program

City Program

Secrets, Spies and Whistleblowers

Thu 9 Sep, 6.30pm
Athenaeum Theatre

Can we claim to be a truly free and fair democracy with a government that raids the homes of reporters, aggressively pursues whistleblowers and remains tight-lipped on the fate of Julian Assange? One of the country’s most respected journalists Kerry O’Brien leads a timely panel discussion about state secrets, press freedom and open justice with Andrew Fowler, an award–winning reporter and author of the acclaimed Assange biography The Most Dangerous Man in the World, and lawyer Bernard Collaery, author of Oil Under Troubled Water, who faces trial for advising Witness K in relation to Australia’s spy operation against our ally East Timor during oil and gas negotiations.


1 hour



Event artists

Bernard Collaery is a solicitor and barrister who specialises in litigation in high-profile catastrophic personal injury cases. He has acted for families of victims of the Thredbo landslide, the Royal Canberra Hospital demolition tragedy, the Glenbrook rail disaster in the Blue Mountains and the fire aboard HMAS Westralia, among others.

Andrew Fowler is a former reporter for ABC Four Corners and ABC Foreign Correspondent. His books are: The War on Journalism, Shooting the Messenger: Criminalising Journalism, and The Most Dangerous Man in the World: Julian Assange and WikiLeaks Fight for Freedom, first published in 2011 and updated in 2020.

Kerry O’Brien is a prominent Australian journalist and author whose long career includes 28 years as a national current affairs television presenter and interviewer. He has specialised in politics, but has also built a strong base in economics and business journalism, as well as investigative reporting. He has interviewed presidents and prime ministers across the world.