What will the federal Government say in Sydney’s Downing Courts tomorrow when it makes its submissions at the sentencing hearing for former customs officer Allan Kessing?
As reported in Crikey previously Kessing should probably be given a medal rather than the prison sentence he now faces after having been convicted of leaking details of breaches of security at Sydney airport.
Will the Government be able to say tomorrow that Kessing threatened national security? That he caused us to be more at risk of terrorism? That he caused any harm at all? No.
Instead, I predict, it will fall back on the tired old clichés of governments fighting public interest disclosures whether via whistleblowers or under Freedom of Information legislation.
This, I predict, will be the line. The Government will say that what Kessing did is bad because it is all very embarrassing. It may affect frank and candid communications in the future. It may undermine public confidence. It has traumatised public servants. It has been a great nuisance. It is all so embarrassing it is embarrassing to have to say how embarrassing it has been.
If the Government was honest it would say that Kessing has probably made us all safer, since the problems that were the subject of the leak were fixed, and would not have been fixed but for the media publicity.
But in this the Government is not honest.
The pursuit of Kessing is a national disgrace, and we should all be hoping that this is the way the court sees it, too.