Rallying against political prosecutions
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On June 17th at 1 p.m. the sentencing hearing for Witness K was held at the ACT Magistrates Court. His prosecution arose out of the internal complaint he made about illegal actions of the Howard Government in bugging the East Timor (Timor-Leste) Cabinet Office in relation to the sharing of resources in the “Greater Sunrise” area of the Timor Sea.
Citizens joined the Alliance Against Political Prosecutions in a rally on Parliament House lawns. They opposed the use of National Security Law to intimidate and punish those whose actions lead to exposure of illegal and unethical actions by the Australian Government. In this case it seems clear that these actions are being taken to further the government’s own political interests and/or those of its funders.
The government has argued that significant national security interests were at risk due to the actions of Witness K and Bernard Collaery. Those who had previously testified that there were no such risks to national security included Gareth Evans (former Foreign Affairs Minister), Xanana Gusmão and José Ramos Horta (former Presidents of Timor-Leste) and Admiral Chris Barrie (Former Chief of the Australian Defence Force). The Government has used national security to hide from the public that the main beneficiaries of the bugging were multinational oil companies and the losers were the people of Timor-Leste.
The Attorney General, the Hon. Michaelia Cash, has been invited to explain why the government continues to support the prosecutions of Witness K and Bernard Collaery, and how these prosecutions are in the public interest.
Speakers at the Rally were Sister Susan Connelly, Senator Rex Patrick, Andrew Wilkie MP, Andrew Leigh MP, Senator Peter Whish-Wilson. Bernard Collaery and David McBride were also welcomed by the crowd and spoke compellingly of their situation.
Here is a Twitter presentation of an item on “The Project”: