Author(s): Meredith Burgmann
In this moving, funny and sometimes chilling book, leading Australians open their ASIO files and read what the state's security apparatus said about them. Writers from across the political spectrum including Mark Aarons, Phillip Adams, Nadia Wheatley, Michael Kirby, Peter Cundall, Gary Foley and Anne Summers confront - and in some cases reclaim - their pasts. Reflecting on the interpretations, observations and proclamations that anonymous officials make about your personal life is not easy. Yet we see outrage mixed with humour, not least as ASIO officers got basic information wrong a lot of the time, though many writers have to contend with personal betrayal. Some reflect on the way their political views have - or haven't - changed. Meredith Burgmann and all those who were spied on have produced an extraordinary book where those being watched look right back.
Meredith Burgmann was radicalised at Sydney University by the Vietnam War and was one of the leaders of the Anti-Apartheid Movement, infamously receiving a two month gaol sentence fro disrupting a Springbok match in 1971. She taught industrial relations at Macquarie University for twenty years and was later a Labor Member and President of the Legislative Council of NSW, retiring in 2007. She is currently President of the Australian Council for International Development - the peak body for Australia's NGO aid agencies.