Bernard Collaery
Barrister Bernard Collaery (Image: AAP/Mick Tsikas)

Crikey readers have long been some of Australia’s most engaged citizens with the shameful prosecution of Bernard Collaery and Witness K. With the news that, after years of harassment and prolonging of his trial, K would plead guilty came a fresh wave of disgust. The recurring theme in our reader comments: this feels like a new low for Australia’s democracy.

On the prosecution and persecution of Bernard Collaery and Witness K

Jim Feehely writes: The prosecution of Witness K and his lawyer, Bernard Collaery, is surely the nadir of Australian democracy. But there may be other nadirs of which we remain ignorant because of the paranoid secrecy laws that have been expanded like a cancer since 2001. This naked attack on two honorable citizens to attempt to cover up the bastardry of an Australian government and its agencies is sickening. The macabre irony is that the conduct of Alexander Downer, John Howard and ASIS has not been covered up.  That nothing has been done about that, in contrast to the persecution of K and Collaery, makes this whole affair even more nauseating.

All in the name of the completely undefined and essentially meaningless term “national security”. Just once, I would like to hear those politicians that constantly use that term to justify the government and its agencies behavior to explain to the Australian people exactly WTF that means.

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Despite the litany of idiotic politics in which the Coalition government has engaged for nearly seven years, nothing has made me more angry and disgusted than this appalling Witness K and Bernard Collaery persecution. And that anger and disgust is intensified by the feeling of utter powerlessness of ordinary Australian voters to do anything about this creeping fascism.

Robyn O’Bryan writes: How can we allow this shameful action to continue? Perhaps the amazing Adele Ferguson could be enticed to expose it all through the more mainstream press? Heavens, Bernard Keane and Crikey have been endeavouring to expose it all for years. Please let’s have SOME justice within this mess of a nation.

Don Davidson: This whole sorry saga is one of government vindictiveness aimed at silencing legitimate dissent… Unfortunately powerful people have the ability to distort the investigatory and legal process. Hopefully the still independent judiciary will pull them up.

The Attorney-General’s waiting game is destroying the health and earning capacity of two decent citizens in order to send a message to whistleblowers. Shame, Australia, shame.

Denise Marcos writes: It’s a David and Goliath battle in which Witness K and Bernard Collaery should not only triumphantly walk free from the shonky charges but be awarded honours and feted by Australians for their bravery and laudable ethics.

With strong — and straight — backbones, K and Collaery possess characteristics desperately needed in our Parliament. Instead they are in a court dock. The shame hangs heavily over us all. Par for the course, the MPs who make our laws also flout them — but with no repercussions.

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Crikey is an independent Australian-owned and run outfit. It doesn’t enjoy the vast resources of the country’s main media organisations. We take seriously our responsibility to bear witness.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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