Who doesn’t love a juicy secret?

Being in possession of a secret can convey a gamut of emotions from terror to satisfaction, but primarily, holding secrets that others do not possess means you have power they don’t possess either.

That’s why – despite numerous promises to lead a more transparent and accountable government – the Prime Minister is addicted to secrecy. That’s all very well if you work in a counter-intelligence agency, but it’s completely unacceptable when you’re the elected leader of a democracy. That’s because in a democracy, an elected leader’s power is given to them by the people to exercise it on their behalf. It’s not given to elected leaders to hide draft laws from the people’s scrutiny.

The secrecy surrounding the government’s proposed religious discrimination legislation and draft changes to environmental laws is damning, and completely incompatible with the Prime Minister’s pledge to be more transparent and accountable. Only selected stakeholders are being allowed to see some parts of these proposed new laws that every Australian will have to obey, but not before they sign non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) promising never to reveal or discuss what they’ve seen.

It’s a pattern repeated in Parliament itself. Last week Labor ‘guillotined’ nine consequential pieces of legislation, including defence laws protecting military information, customs laws, sanctions, foreign investment and acquisitions, and – not least – the digital ID bill. ‘Guillotining’ is the practice of passing laws with none of the usual parliamentary debates or inquiries that are required to give the Australian people the opportunity to scrutinise or improve what’s being proposed through their elected representatives. Labor has guillotined 96 bills since they were elected, easily outpacing the former Coalition government.

It prompts an obvious question: why is the Prime Minister so frightened of the Australian people, and their views on his proposed new religious and environmental laws? Could it be these proposed laws are as divisive as his proposed voice to Parliament? Could it be that because of the beating he took at last year’s referendum, Anthony Albanese will never trust the Australian people with having a direct say on any national policy – like immigration, for example – ever again?

That’s what Albo’s culture of secrecy really says: he doesn’t trust Australians. His digital ID bill says he doesn’t trust us with our own personal information. His misinformation-disinformation bill says he doesn’t trust the ability of Australians to sort truth from fiction.

Albo doesn’t trust Australians because he doesn’t understand us – and you always fear what you don’t understand.