Federal Justice Minister Chris Ellison dropped a proverbial bomb at the Law Summer School in Perth yesterday during a debate on the lofty topic of the juxtaposition of anti-terrorism laws and the rule of law.
Lord Justice Kennedy and Professor HP Lee spoke, followed by a panel discussion including John North (Law Council president), Alexandra Richards QC and Senator Ellison, among others.
Eventually the subject was raised about what courts do with evidence obtained by torture. Lord Justice Kennedy responded in terms of an English House of Lords decision. Then came the Ellison bombshell when our Justice Minister openly declared that he had a policy of not asking if information was obtained by torture – the information was paramount, not the means of it being obtained.
He went on to say that the AFP would love to be able to torture people to get information if there was a bomb attack pending and they needed to know the details.
The rather stunned audience was then told that Amrosi and some of the other Bali bombers were convicted on evidence obtained by the Indonesian police using torture, but the AFP abided by Australian law in the investigation.
Gee, thank goodness for that. And this man is a Minister of the Crown in whom we place our trust!