Federal Liberal MP Andrew Laming and the celebrated former Gold Coast doctor and one time terrorism suspect, Mohammed Haneef have something in common. They are both known to the Brisbane offices of the Federal Police and the Commonwealth DPP. Mr Laming, a Brisbane based MP, is being investigated for alleged misuse of printing and staff allowances.
But that’s where the comparison ends. The contrast between the handling by the AFP and the DPP of the Haneef investigation and that involving Mr Laming and other Queensland Liberal MPs is stark indeed.
Dr Haneef was arrested, detained, interviewed for a period of 12 hours spread over a number of days, charged with a terrorism offence, and had his visa cancelled all within the space of just over two weeks. Of course, the Brisbane offices of the AFP and the Commonwealth DPP didn’t exactly cover themselves in glory – Commonwealth DPP Damien Bugg QC had to take the rare step of intervening in the bungled case and drop the charge against Dr Haneef.
By comparison the investigation into Mr Laming is proceeding at a glacial pace. Mr Laming’s electorate office was raided back in March this year – along with the offices of two colleagues, Gary Hardgrave and Ross Vasta. And The Australian reported on August 23 that the Commonwealth DPP’s office was seeking independent advice from a silk on the question of whether or not charges should be laid against Mr Laming, and that the AFP was conducting additional enquiries and finalising briefs.
Who knows what the future holds for Mr Laming? But it does seem that in contrast to the Haneef case, this time the AFP and the DPP offices in downtown Brisbane are determined to cross every t and dot every i.