67 days into the reign of the Albanese Government, we saw a secret hearing being held to try to keep from release 21-year-old Howard Government Cabinet documents spelling out his tactics for defrauding impoverished Timor-Leste of their oil and gas revenue. What’s the scam?
A bizarre double secrecy ploy is the scam. Transparency Warrior Rex Patrick, who was running the case in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT), was not allowed to see the Governments submission, or hear and challenge their arguments as to why the old cabinet documents should be withheld from the public.
The AAT handed down its decision on Tuesday. Rex was not made aware of it until late Wednesday when the Tribunal wrote to him and advised him that the decision had only been sent to the Government, and the Government were objecting to the decision being released in full.
It’s unusual for an AAT decision to be suppressed. But what happened next was nothing short of bizarre.
Late yesterday the Government’s lawyers made submissions to the AAT on why the decision should not be released in full, and then requested their submission also be kept secret.
Yes, that right. They want to keep secret their reasons as to why the AAT’s reasons should be kept secret.
Rex will resist both elements of the new secrecy double play.
Michael West established Michael West Media in 2016 to focus on journalism of high public interest, particularly the rising power of corporations over democracy. West was formerly a journalist and editor with Fairfax newspapers, a columnist for News Corp and even, once, a stockbroker.