Canberra Press Gallery

Kangaroo Court of Australia Canberra trip September 2012

I went to Canberra from the 16th to the 18th of September with the intention of interviewing politicians. The trip did not go to plan as outlined to some degree in my previous post. The politicians that I approached said no to interview requests and I knew before I went that I would not be getting a media pass for the two sitting days but decided to go anyhow.

While I did not achieve what I wanted it was certainly not a waste of time, just a starting point to a degree. It is not a case of not getting interviews or a media pass and giving up, I will keep on driving until I do get what I want and what I believe I am entitled to.

For example, there are a number of avenues for the decision by the Canberra Press Gallery Committee to refuse me a media pass to be overturned. It is the Speaker of the House and President of the Senate who have ultimate responsibility for media passes and I will drive the issue through them. Also the ACCC might have something to say about media companies using their market position and power to block out competitors which is what happened in my case as outlined in my previous post. (Click here to read)

Then there is the question if the decision to not give me a media pass is able to be appealed in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. The AAT allows all people to appeal government decisions in government departments. While the decision was made by the Canberra Press Gallery which is not government, it is only because the government give them the authority to make the decision. It is worth noting that once the decision is made, if they have granted a pass they do not issue the pass, security at the parliament house do. This to me says they are in effect acting as part of the government when they make the decision which from my viewpoint should be appealable at the AAT.

I approached 5 politicians for an interview, Prime Minister Julia Gillard, The Greens leader Christine Milne, Senator Barnaby Joyce, Senator Nick Xenophon and Andrew Wilkie MP. All responded except Ms Milne even though I sent her a follow-up email. Maybe it was the post I did on The Greens a couple of months ago which Ms Milne did not like. I could have approached more but if two had of said yes that would have kept me busy and also I know that the media advisors all talk to each other so I thought I would just approach one from each side of politics and the two independents and see how I went. I do not think if I had of approached more it would have made any difference.

I only gave them a two-day window of opportunity and my site is not the largest on the net so them refusing an interview is hardly surprising. As sites like this one grow it will harder for politicians to ignore them. It is a matter of people like me to keep on trying.

One of the main reasons I decided to go to Canberra anyhow is that I thought I could go to the door stop interviews that the politicians do in the morning. They are done outside the building so I would not need a media pass or so I thought. This was time-consuming in trying to find when and where as there is a number of entrances to parliament house. It was one of those standard situations of asking around and getting wrong information and then asking a cab driver to drop me off at the spot and it turns out to be the wrong spot. That took care of Monday morning. The rest of the day I did a few videos, none of which were great quality and was on the phone still trying to override the decision for a media pass.

By Tuesday morning I knew what time and the two likely spots for the door stop interviews. Just after 7am on Tuesday I am told by security that I need a pass. I argued and someone from security management came to see me. I was told I need authorisation to film and someone would have to sign me in even though it is outside the building. That put paid to that idea.

After the discussion with security I noticed a gathering opposite Parliament House and could see a couple of politicians walking to it so I followed.

It was a UN Millennium Declaration on poverty rally. I filmed part of it which you can see Peter Garrett talking below.


It made me think at the rally that we could have an annual anticorruption rally in Canberra. In the video Peter Garrett talks about the people who organised the rally that they have the full support of the government. I wonder if we did have an anticorruption rally if we would have the full support on the government. I doubt it as they are the ones who are the most corrupt. But that is something for the future.

The other point I realised at the rally is that if myself and others are going to be blocked from getting a media pass then I could always do the ambush interview. By that I mean just walking up to the politicians with camera and microphone in hand and start asking questions. Other media do it all the time. I thought about it but decided to hold off and continue to try the standard avenues at this point.

I approached independent MP Rob Oakeshott as he was walking back to parliament house and I walked with him and told him my issue with the media pass on the way and asked him for an interview. He was receptive but wanted to see documented evidence first. It was a cart before the horse situation. I approached him because I know he has been critical of the media coverage he has received in his own electorate. He said he had seen my site which to me says I am doing something right. Although he did not say whether he liked it or not, but I am 100% sure he does like it.

After that I decided to head back to Sydney. You know the saying a picture is worth a thousand words. To me the picture below says I have arrived and you can not hide forever. It sends a message to the politicians and Canberra Press Gallery Committee that you can only block people out to a certain degree.

Shane Dowling – Canberra Trip – 17th September 2012


While I did not achieve a lot while I was in Canberra it was of value from a number of points and was certainly of value when taken together from the overall viewpoint of the planning and trip together.

If I had not planned the trip I would never had the dealings with the Canberra Press Gallery Committee which uncovered a lot on how they operate and what I need to do going forward to try to overcome their roadblock.

Benefits of the trip:

1. I found out that I accreditation for filming and a media pass for the door stop interviews. Or at least have someone sign me in.

2. I found out when and where the door stop interviews are done.

3. Learnt that I need to practice doing live outdoor reporting with the video camera. I did one which is on the about page last year and did not have major issues so I did not foresee any issues in Canberra. Doing videos outdoor is more difficult. For starters I am squinting my eyes in the photo, which is a screen grab from a video, because I was facing the sun and in others I twitched the shoulder then leant over slightly on one leg. Things like these I did not realise until afterwards and they make the video look amateurish. Simple problems that can be fixed with a bit more practice.

4. From a logistical and general knowledge of where things are the trip was a benefit.

5. If I cannot get access I can always fall back to the ambush style of interviews. This is an alternative option but can also be problematic in trying to find the politicians.

6. It sends a message loud and clear that they run but not hide forever. To the politicians and the Canberra Press Gallery Committee.

While the trip was far from perfect, it is a start. I will be much wiser next time and there will be a next time.

I always think to myself that no matter what I achieve I like to believe that at least some of the things I do will help others from a learning perspective. The Canberra trip and what I have learned should benefit other bloggers if they try the same, so they can avoid the same problems.

Admin: The above is just a brief overview of the trip. From planning, to going and what I have done since I have arrived back in Sydney and what I will do in following up issues takes a lot of time. I am currently looking at a couple of options to try to go full-time working on this site and will let you know more soon.

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34 replies »

  1. “Just after 7am on Tuesday I am told by security that I need a pass. I argued and someone from security management came to see me. I was told I need authorisation to film and someone would have to sign me in even though it is outside the building.” These are our representatives? They tell us they’re listening? What a joke!

  2. Hey Shane, that reads like an amateurish and rather unsuccessful trip but good on you for having a go. Reinforces your persona as an ordinary citizen (i.e. one of us) compared to the usual smug, self-assured media whore types that regurgitate press releases and tell us “what we need to know””.

    • As far as the “amateurish and rather unsuccessful trip” is concerned to the best of my knowledge no one has done any better. And it is only round one, there’s still plenty of fight left.

      • I thought what you said was fair comment, I didn’t think you were harsh, but I thought I would just respond to point out the two issues that I did.

      • shane, in response to above comments/admissions about being “amateurish”, i couldn’t care less if that were the case. the TRUTH presented in an “amateurish” way is worth GOLD as compared to the UTTER GARBAGE presented by the so-called professionals in the media.

        and a very important point here… these criminal scum in our politics, judiciary and media use that claimed “professionalism” to con us all into believing they are not criminals. think about it!

        pea and ham soup is worth far more than poisoned caviar.

  3. Love the way you say “ambush style interviews”! Shane the ” Blue Heeler”! Keep up the good work, never give up and as you learn we learn! Anti Corruption Rally sounds good!

  4. I thank you very much for trying to bring us the news. You know the real stuff that is happening which the media will not report. Like our corrupt Julia. That is why they are going broke!!

  5. Shane, well done. Keep being peaceful and respectfull of ‘their’ rules. Eventually you will triumph. I support the anti corruption rally because I was in Greece early last year and their corrupt Government lost the people’s superannuation. 65 year olds were told, sorry, you have to stay at work because we have no super to pay you (they contributed). It may not be so easy to do it in Australia, but if we allow corruption to go unpunished then our super will be affected. There are already some mumbling going on. As a self funded retiree I am scared. Because if this corrupt government somehow gets hold of my super or changes rules . . I do not have the time to top up !
    I do pledge to make a donation to your effort before Christmas

  6. If you would be in Canberra around 12,13,14 Feb next year would love to catch up.
    I wouldn’t miss your email for quids. Keep up the good work.

      • Shane, the good news is that when you do back, you officially have the right to have your say! The High Court has ruled that though the Constitution does not specifically state it, we have an “implicit right” to freedom of speech!

      • Save yourself a lot of trouble and angst Shane .
        The bastards have the Australin people coering at their knees.
        And you can’t fight the whole show on your own .
        Eventually they will shut you down.
        Congratulations on a great effort, pity you cannot get the support you need.

      • Do not be fooled, the Australian people know the truth from lies. They WILL take the money (handouts) but in the end they know. More lies today as Julia Gillard said she would not appear on Alan Jones show . . for heavens sake does she think we are all fools . . she has not appeared on his show since she was asked the hard questions and could not give HONEST answers. . she is scared to do so and that’s the truth. Nothing to do with Alan Jones’ private outburst the other day.
        The Australain people are not fools . . wait till the next election !

  7. Gee Whiz Shane !

    Does it not seem ridiculously hypocritical that government at the pointy end , our elected representatives, are so bloody hard to get on tape at a time when they themselves are proposing “security legislation” at a level where all your web history & emails are stored for 2 years along with your phone logs & texts.
    Funny how threats of Levinson style enquiries into phone hacking can emasculate the MSM but the government itself thinks it is OK for all our stuff to be collected (& probably tendered out to private industry at that)

  8. Good on you for persistently challenging the status quo on behalf of people who are shut out and not listened to. I confronted Peter Garrett about four years ago in king st newtown sydney. He was handing out how to vote cards on behalf of his mate Carmel Tebbutt then Minister for Disabilities in the former NSW State Govt..I explained to him that I was an employee of her Department who had reported staff abuse of disabled and the Department had covered these crimes up with the knowledge/approval of his mate Carmel Tebbutt..Peter Garrett immediately began to speak evasively like a politician saying this was a state matter and outside his jurisdiction..I reminded him that he purported to be a christian and as a christian he should be concerned about evil wherever it occurs . Peter Garrett stopped listening to me..I felt that if he ever had principles he had completely sold them out-an example of how corrupting labour politics is.

    • G C.
      Same in the seat of Turnbull, they do not care less about matters that they do not wish to face. Why do we pay them? Appears that they are ‘double dipping’. The electorate only provides the entre’ with a dash of respectability for appearances.

  9. i dont believe it was that hard shane a bloke jut recently walked right up to gillard and handed her a note inside the press room just kidding. there scared of you because you print the truth and there scared of that. just listen to roxon’s explanation today why they paid ashby off with 50 grand of taxpayers money after spending another 700 grand of our money for lawyers who said to pay him to go away but she still maintains he was wrong yet david spears accepted that as ok we need somene like you to talk to her one on one and get the truth not spin but alas they wont let you in to ask the hard questions only what they hand you.

    • Well said pp. I think that the people know that all that Labour pollies do is ‘spin’
      Pity we believe every word they say is a lie ! Pity for democracy

  10. Keep working at it Shane, in the end the truth will prevail, the corruption and lies will be exposed eventually, it always does.
    Most Australians are slowly waking up to the fact they are being treated like mushrooms by our politicians, kept in the dark and feed nothing but Bull$%!t, and it’s due to you and your fellow bloggers.

    I salute you mate, for your tenacity and never say die attitude.

  11. With all due respect to Jill Meagher, 30 000 people united and stood together in Melbourne. This was all organised through social network like facebook, email etc. When the people wake up and realise just how much we are been hood-winked by our governments and become angry we could be looking at hundreds of thousands walking through Canberra and all organised by everyone! Gillard…. Time waits for No One!

  12. Shane-
    Those that look at their emails have heard of you because I sent your Turnbull story to every reps and senator and only about a dozen bounced on auto reply.
    I linked to your story and to Michael Smiths site so as to appear even handed
    Keep up the good work.
    Regards Rob

  13. You seem a very genuine dedicated person Mr Dowling.Thank you for your efforts of good will, outstanding role model and caring demeanor.
    You are appreciated and personally I will always recall your efforts during this unfortunate political national shame during the minority party period.
    I am optimistic it will be amended , as it is natural that truths will surface and triumph.
    Common sense and history proves so.It must and so it shall.
    Media is seemingly being interfered with at certain levels .politicians should avoid that IMO as it shall backfire in the age of supposed Information technology.
    Would you perhaps consider implementing a postal Box at your site here so supporters could also correspond or send a postal money order, as I do not trust electronic transfers due to a past identity fraud issue.Also for reasons of certain past privacy breaches and or glitches that have occurred..It may assist you with donations or sales for items you supply..It is also a valid idea for some media related blog sites perhaps a PO.Box address..
    Thank You again .

  14. I don’t think they can shut Shane down. We have freedom of speach and Shane will pop up on another site. This disgraceful government must fall as all liars do in the end . . That $30m spend on the seat in UN is really $3billion . . even some journo’s are waking up now, probably because they can see what is likely to happen to their jobs in the near future . . apart from losing them they will have to ask the Government for permission to print everything they write ! . . it’s coming . ..
    Keep it going Shane

  15. Good effort Shane. Just read your post with the letter from Kerry Stokes lawyers, very impressed with you holding your ground, so shared it on facebook etc. One of the problems with politics is the lack of responsibility felt by our so called ‘leaders’. If they felt a real sense of responsibility for their portfolios then they would naturally act on that and welcome anything new that helps them discharge that responsibility in a better way. While we should not personally attack anyone, holding a person to account in a public way, if they hold a public position, is reasonable. Have you considered doing some kind of open letter directly to the minister that is responsible for the justice area? If it’s respectful but punchy..which seems to be the way you write naturally, I am sure you could get their personal attention on the issue while still giving them the opportunity to engage directly with the issues you raise with them…

    Love the food van idea too…”Honest Donuts” van with a stealth camera and Shane serving while just asking them lots of questions while the hot donuts make them feel comfortable!!

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