Thursday, 30 October 2014

An interview with Attorney-General George Brandis

How to Democracy: Welcome, Attorney-General.
George Brandis: It's good to be here.
H2D: I'm sure it is. Your fall guy in the House of Representatives, Malcolm Turnbull, introduced legislation for mandatory data retention today. Why did you not do it yourself, you yellow bellied coward?
GB: Well it is appropriate that Minister Turnbull do it in the House of Representatives, as it is the house of government and...
H2D: Yes, but the houses are co-equal with the exception of money bills, so why not do it yourself?
GB: I was busy.
H2D: You were busy?
GB: Yes. Buying Mr. Sheen. The reason for my purchase is not important.
H2D: So you were away buying Mr. Sheen while what is arguably your trademark policy was being introduced by a former investment banker and lawyer in the House.
GB: Yes. Look, those bookshelves don't clean themselves.
H2D: Tell me, does it irk you that Malcolm Turnbull is a better legal mind than you in every way?
GB: Malcolm makes a very valuable contribution to the team.
H2D: Team Australia?
GB: Well, naturally. Team Australia and the Government Team. 
H2D: You don't strike me as a team player, Attorney-General.
GB: How so?
H2D: Well, I just don't see you into your sports that much. More a, you know, bookish kind of guy. The type who would enjoy being in the stacks much more than in the stands.
GB: I enjoy all forms of enjoyment. After all, I was minister for sports.
H2D: Yes, shining moments I'm sure every Australian remembers. Moving on, the legislation introduced into the house today by the Spycatcher himself, Malcolm Turnbull...
GB: He wasn't the Spycatcher, Malcolm defended the Spycatcher. He wasn't actually the Spycatcher of the case.
H2D: Yes. I know, I just wanted to bring the conversation back to your legal mind again. So, Malcolm had the Spycatcher trial, he acted as a lawyer for Kerry Packer and led the Australian republican movement. What again qualified you for the position of Attorney-General, aside from what I assume is a large collection of John Grisham novels on your shelves?
GB: That's an outrageous line of questioning.
H2D: You're right it is, you anglo prick.
GB: What?
H2D: Sorry. Just being a bigot, you fascist pig.


H2D: Back to the topic at hand, can you explain to me and the rest of the country what exactly metadata is and what metadata will be covered by this law?
GB: Well metadata is about explaining the fundamental nature of being and the world that encompasses it.
H2D: Um, Attorney-General, I that's metaphysics.
GB: I know.
H2D: Do you?
GB: Yes
H2D: Because you seemed pretty sure of your self right then. Were you like attempting to have a joke or something?
GB: Well, I have been known to engage in some jocularity.
H2D: This isn't funny. In fact, if that was a joke, you should surely be taken out and shot. I don't know, probably by the Greens. They are after all, in your words, Nazis.
GB: I didn't say that.
H2D: Yes you did.
GB: No I didn't. 
H2D: You did.
GB: It was taken out of context.
H2D: You said you wanted to draw attention to the "extremely alarming, frightening similarities between the methods employed by contemporary green politics and the methods and the values of the Nazis". How on earth could that have been taken out of context?
GB: I meant the Greens have really nice uniforms.
H2D: You like Nazi uniforms?
GB: Well, I have an interest. There's a book on them if you...
H2D: No, thank you. Getting back to the case in hand, what the heck is metadata?
GB: I think you'll find that's explained perfectly well in the legislation.
H2D: Well, no, it's not. It's not explained at all. In fact there's almost no description on what metadata is, which sounds like either a) you've got no clue, or b) want it to include absolutely everything.
GB: Well that's not true...
H2D: Then tell me, what is metadata?
GB: Well it's all manner of data. But not the data iteself.
H2D: You mean metadata, not data.
GB: No, not data.
H2D: But yes, metadata?
GB: Yes, metadata.
H2D: You're just repeating what I'm saying aren't you, Mr. Brandis?
GB: No.
H2D: Yes.
GB: Web address.
H2D: What?
GB: Hashtag.
H2D: You're just saying random tech words now, aren't you Mr. Brandis?
GB: I'm afraid for operational reasons we can't share that information.
H2D: Attorney-General George Brandis, I hate you.
GB: Pleasure.


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