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The full force of federal law this week was really being unflinchingly pointed elsewhere β€” at people whose names we don’t even know yet: the future whistle-blowers.

These are the real quiet Australians: the people our most important journalists rely upon to bring you the most important stories in the public interest, and they do what they do in terrifying isolation.

At a federal level, whistle-blowers in this country face jail for making disclosures about subjects including immigration and national security: exactly the kinds of subjects that require inconvenient and uncomfortable scrutiny within a healthy democracy.