A sweeping gagging order issued in Australia to block reporting of any bribery allegations involving several international political leaders in the region has been exposed by WikiLeaks.
The prohibition emerged from a criminal case in the Australian courts and applies throughout the country. It was issued by the criminal division of the supreme court of Victoria in Melbourne "to prevent damage to Australia's international relations that may be caused by the publication of material that may damage the reputations of specified individuals who are not the subject of charges in these proceedings".
The Australia-wide gagging order is a superinjunction, which means it also contains a clause insisting that the terms of the order itself should remain secret. It was issued on 19 June and states: "Subject to further order, there be no disclosure, by publication or otherwise, of any information (whether in electronic or paper form) derived from or prepared for the purposes of these proceedings including the terms of these orders."
The suppressed order is here. Wikileaks' commentary is here. Basically, the government has ordered the cover-up of their biggest corruption case - one apparently involving the bribery of leading figures in Malaysia, Vietnam, and Indonesia - as a matter of "national security". Because that's what that phrase means now: the global elite covering up for each other's crimes.
Superinjunctions are an affront to open justice. They're used by the privileged to stop us peasants from sniggering at them and by governments to cover up their crimes. Fortunately, the internet gives us a free market in legal jurisdiction, making such instruments worthless. And we should use it to publish every such self-suppressing injunction until judges get the message and stop issuing them.