A bad week for Witness K. A worse week for Australian citizens.

Crikey readers explore the ramifications of the prosecution of Witness K and Bernard Collaery, plus the detention of a NZ teenager.

Crikey — Popular online news service.


Popular online news service.

Bernard Collaery

Last week was dominated by news of Witness K and his lawyer Bernard Collaery, but what does the prosecution signal in a larger sense? Crikey readers respond. Plus, some differing viewpoints on the New Zealand teenager being held in adult detention. 

On the government vs Witness K

Glen Davis writes: Yes, a bad week for Witness K. A worse week for the rule of law. A worse week for Australian citizens. Bernard Keane has covered it comprehensively. The report addresses the prosecutions, which are public only because the defendants published that. But these prosecutions are the butterfly in the forest…

John Richardson writes: What a truly rotten, despicable, cowardly, unprincipled, corrupt and wicked government we have. Spruiking the latest attack on the fundamental liberties of Australians, Christian Porter claimed that this week’s legislation “sends a strong message to those who would seek to undermine our way of life”. The former prime minister, whose government initiated the singular crimes against our neighbour Timor-Leste, dog-whistles China from a dark corner. The former head of ASIS technical operations and his lawyer, former ACT attorney-general Bernard Collaery, who exposed those crimes, are persecuted for acting honourably.

To its public shame, there is not a member of this current counterfeit government or the opposition who could aspire to lick the boots of either of these real Australians. And what is “our way of life” worth in the hands of such a dreadful, disgraceful mob?

Paul Guy writes: Come on Bill Shorten, here is a chance to differentiate yourself from the Tories. Howard and Downer should be in court, NOT Collaery and Witness K. Grow a spine, Bill.

Get Crikey FREE to your inbox every weekday morning with the Crikey Worm.

Chris Gulland writes: I am deeply ashamed of individuals in our government for authorising such action. There was no national emergency; the only goal of the “operation” was to benefit Australia’s commercial interests and gain an advantage over a fledgling state that needed all the help it could get. Let’s hope we can put a little sunshine (to paraphrase Malcolm) on this whole sordid matter. Compare the mainstream media silence on this compared to our ball-tampering attempts a couple of months ago. Proud to be a Crikey subscriber!



On the NZ teen detained by Border Force

Dke writes: I don’t know where to start, but I admire your efforts; all the more so because you use “fulsome” properly. Keep the spotlight on Border Farce from as many angles as possible.

Form1Planet writes: Thank you for pursuing this, Rebekah. I’ve emailed my MP in Melbourne to try and bring more attention to this case. Is there anything else a random bystander can do?

Kyle writes: Let me tell you what isn’t fun as an adult New Zealander putting up with fellow migrants from New Zealand to Australia: it’s explaining how some New Zealanders seem to think that the laws of this country shouldn’t apply to them.

The fact is that a 17-year-old New Zealand citizen male was moved from juvenile detention to immigration detention. The minister for immigration has the power under section 116 of the Immigration Act to cause this to happen. The legislature in Australia is voted for by Australians and enacts legislation for life in Australia. Non-Australians, including New Zealanders, do not have a say in how Australia votes or legislates, and that when we come to live here we choose to live by Australian laws.

Apparently the 17 yo male “considers” Australia his home and “wants” to stay here, notwithstanding that he has spent the great majority of his life living in his native New Zealand. The fact is that what he “considers” or “wants” is not the relevant consideration here.

It is our willingness to abide by Australian law that determines our continued eligibility to reside lawfully here.

Rais writes: As a taxpayer for well over 50 years, I would like to see the tax dollars I pay used constructively. “Justice” should have a constructive purpose. I’m sorry but “punishment” is not a constructive purpose. If some people want to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars per year per offender to exact revenge from damaged people who, on release, have nowhere to live, no skills to offer on the labour market and no experience of anything but what they were doing before they were sentenced, by all means they can spend their money punishing them. I’d like to see my money used to improve people’s safety and give hope to those without hope.


Send your comments, corrections, clarifications and cock-ups to [email protected]. We reserve the right to edit comments for length. Please include your full name.


Leave a comment

5 thoughts on “A bad week for Witness K. A worse week for Australian citizens.

  1. Ian Ferrier

    Well done John Richardson for calling out a truly morally corrupt government on the WitnessK matter. This government has sunk to new depths and all the while rightly accusing Putin and others of heinous crimes but prosecuting Witness K and others for doing exactly the same thing. Shame on you. It’s a pity that our alternative leaders don’t have the guts to stand up for what’s right. No wonder neither side will ever own the Senate.

    Ian Ferrier

    1. DF

      If an occurrence similar to this happened in another country, say China for argument’s sake, whereby a Foreign Minister (and Minister for ASIS) allegedly endorsed an action by the intelligence agencies which benefited a private company for which the Foreign Minister then became a consultant, we’d all be nodding knowingly about corruption and being thankful Australia doesn’t behave like that.

  2. JMNO

    To Kyle
    The prison sentence is the punishment for the crime. Deportation for those who had committed a criminal offence used to be used quite sparingly for those who were assessed as not having settled well resulting in likely recidivism. It is now being used as a second punishment for anyone Dutton is able to deport including those who have not committed a very serious offence and those who have lived in Australia since they were small children. Many are deported to countries where they don’t speak the language and have no family supports.

    This young man is 17 and his family is in Australia. No-one is excusing his crime but he has served his time.

    Dutton is still a Queensland policeman in his attitudes and he is on a mission to get rid of anyone who is not a citizen and who has committed an offence or who he thinks is not of good character ( a highly subjective assessment).

    There was the Kiwi who had served in Afghanistan, I think for the Australian Army and I think decorated for his service. He joined a motorcycle club in WA, which was not against the law, so Dutton deported him for being of not good character. To me this is unacceptable.

  3. Draco Houston

    If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot being lovingly licked by people like Kyle – forever.

  4. AR

    Hey, unXtian bag carrier, “… those who would seek to undermine our way of life …” are those who use the power of the state, illegally Mr A/G, for the grubby financial benefit of their real paymasters, aka owners.

Share this article with a friend

Just fill out the fields below and we'll send your friend a link to this article along with a message from you.

Your details

Your friend's details