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Cute Commies is a project by The Department of Digital Fabulists for GovHack 2016. The team, made up of Hugh Rundle, Fiona Tweedie and Lachlan Musicman investigated the history of surveillance and activism in Australia during the middle of the twentieth century. It's a frivolous name but the project itself is serious. In the last year, Australia has seen the introduction of metadata retention and the 2016 census has been widely criticised for its retention of personally identifying information. In this age of data saturation, it's more important than ever that we are alert and critical regarding the information that our government collects about us.

Data sources used for this project are:

  • The National Portrait Gallery of Australia
  • The National Library of Australia
  • The National Archives of Australia
We drew images and text from these sources to begin to construct a story of the public and secret struggles for civil liberties, social justice and domestic security in Australia.

We've only begun to scratch the surface of the vast amounts of data available on these topics. We would love to keep digging, telling the stories of the individuals who shaped Australia's political environment whether via the surveillance photographs of rank and file activists or the speeches of prime ministers.