Bernard Collaery – Enough is enough!

Published on Wed 23 June 2021 3:37pm

This government has not explained any purpose or any good that is served by proceeding against a man who has shown incredible courage in staying the course of principled conduct. It has cost the taxpayer millions of dollars. Enough is enough. Now that there has been a judgement and sentence in the case against Witness K, it’s time to resolve the proceedings against Mr Collaery.

Mr Wilson (4:18pm) – Last week, the prosecution of Witness K came to an end. Mercifully, it resulted in a non-custodial sentence. Witness K was charged with conspiring to reveal classified information in relation to espionage that Australia carried out against the government of Timor-Leste, hoping to get the better of that poor country in relation to gas-field development. It was shameful conduct and it resulted in a judgement against Australia in the Permanent Court of Arbitration. Australia had played a key role in supporting Timor-Leste’s independence. It’s hard to understand how we then engaged in underhand conduct against a fledgling nation that, to this day, faces enormous developmental challenges.

While the trial of Witness K is over, there is a case proceeding against his lawyer, Mr Bernard Collaery, whose office was raided in 2013, before this government decided in 2018 that he would be prosecuted. Bernard Collaery is a great Australian. He served as Attorney-General of the ACT. He has been a committed and longstanding supporter of the people of Timor-Leste, and he has been subject to the pressures and costs involved in being under investigation for years. He is 74. This government has not explained any purpose or any good that is served by proceeding against a man who has shown incredible courage in staying the course of principled conduct. It has cost the taxpayer millions of dollars. Enough is enough. Now that there has been a judgement and sentence in the case against Witness K, it’s time to resolve the proceedings against Mr Collaery.

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