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Coalition legal action sends chills through whistleblowers

Case for Federal ICAC
Deceptive Conduct | Liberal Party | QED
Liberal Party

Coalition legal action sends chills through whistleblowers

2004 – ongoing

“The effect of the Witness K and Bernard Collaery cases is to send a chill through anyone who might contemplate exposing the immoral and illegal actions of their government.”

As John Hewson wrote in the Sydney Morning Herald, the government continues to pursue Bernard Collaery in the courts over claimed breaches of intelligence secrecy laws in relation to an operation in Dili in 2004, when the Howard government spied on and bugged Timor-Leste officials’ private discussions about maritime boundary negotiations – to give Australia the upper hand.

Collaery was the approved legal representative for Witness K, the Australian spy who thought there was something rotten about that operation. Both Collaery is also accused of breaching the Intelligence Services Act, which he is fighting.

“Sixteen years after Australia’s spying activities against a friendly neighbour – diverted from the war on terrorism – the Morrison government is going to incredible lengths and expense to prevent the full facts from being admitted, to prevent ministers and bureaucrats of the Howard administration being held to account or the identification of business interests that were favoured.”

Hewson writes that the public needs answers to important questions about the agendas and relationships of the public service and private sector advisers who drove and implemented this breach of foreign policy strategy, about those who stood to benefit, and the potential conflicts of interest.

As Hewson concluded: “All up, an overwhelming case for a National Integrity and Corruption Commission, with real teeth.”

Since when is it a crime to report a crime? Bernard Collaery exposes the Timor Sea betrayal

What's a rort?

Conflicts of Interest

Redirecting funding to pet hobbies; offering jobs to the boys without a proper tender process; secretly bankrolling candidates in elections; taking up private sector jobs in apparent breach of parliament’s code of ethics, the list goes on.

Deceptive Conduct

Claiming that greenhouse gas emissions have gone down when the facts clearly show otherwise; breaking the law on responding to FoI requests; reneging on promised legislation; claiming credit for legislation that doesn’t exist; accepting donations that breach rules. You get the drift of what behaviour this category captures.

Election Rorts

In the months before the last election, the Government spent hundreds of millions of dollars of Australian taxpayers’ money on grants for sports, community safety, rural development programs and more. Many of these grants were disproportionally awarded to marginal seats, with limited oversight and even less accountability.

Dubious Travel Claims

Ministerial business that just happens to coincide with a grand final or a concert; electorate business that must be conducted in prime tourist locations, or at the same time as party fundraisers. All above board, maybe, but does it really pass the pub test? Or does it just reinforce the fact that politicians take the public for mugs?

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