To the glee of her Coalition tormentors, Human Rights Commission president Gillian Triggs has been badly caught out in her evidence to the Legal and Constitutional Affairs estimates hearing earlier this week. Having dismissed quotes attributed to her in an interview with Ramona Koval as “out of context” or “put in by a sub-editor”, Triggs has had to reverse herself when she learned The Saturday Paper had an audio recording of the interview:
“Upon further reflection I accept that the article was an accurate excerpt from a longer interview.”
Blaming the journalist — especially a respected one like Koval — was a shabby look, especially given the interview, or at least the edited version that appeared in The Saturday Paper, was a sympathetic one. There are now calls for Triggs to resign and plans to force her to return to the committee to explain herself. Triggs might hope that the committee opts to treat her in the same way as it treated the Attorney-General’s Department when it misled the committee over its development of data retention plans not once but twice in 2013 and was forced to write to the committee to significantly change its evidence. Nor was the change trivial — AGD, under its then-Secretary Roger Wilkins — had consistently sought to downplay its role in developing data retention legislation, when it was the driving force behind it. So what did the committee do when AGD advised that it had misled the committee? Well, nothing. Triggs should be so lucky.