Monday, 15 June 2020
Crimes Legislation Amendment (Sexual Crimes Against Children and Community Protection Measures) Bill 2019; In Committee
I will make the obvious point: there are secret trials going on in this country right now that are not in the public interest. Bernard Collaery has been charged by the Commonwealth DPP when it is clearly not in the public interest that he be charged. It is a disgrace that he was charged and that charge—authorised, recommended by the DPP and signed off by the Attorney-General—is an absolute disgrace. It should not be happening. It clearly runs counter to the public interest, but it is still happening. So when you say that the prosecution would not be proceeded with because it is not in the public interest, that gives me no confidence whatsoever, because prosecutions happen in this country when they are not in the public interest, Minister, and that is an unarguable statement of fact. I tender, as exhibit A, the charges of Mr Collaery, who bravely and patriotically acted in one of the most shameful episodes in this country's recent history, which was the illegal bugging of the Timor-Leste government by Australian security agencies. So I do want to say to you, Minister, that I understand that's the only argument you've got—to say that the prosecution would not proceed in the public interest—but it gives no comfort to the Australian Greens whatsoever.