Witness K Bernard Collaery
Witness K's former lawyer Bernard Collaery (Image: AAP/Lukas Coch)

There have been plenty of issues impelling Crikey readers to get in touch, with the Witness K/Bernard Collaery situation, along with the arrest of Friendlyjordies producer Kristo Langker, inspiring the strongest feeling.

On Witness K and Bernard Collaery

Fiona Conolly writes: What can Australia do to make up for its failure to Witness K and Bernard Collaery?

  • Vote this corrupt government out
  • Support an honest media that pursues the truth at all costs
  • Introduce an ICC with the teeth to deal with rotten governments and bring them down
  • Overturn the decision by appealing the decision to expose this injustice
  • Sue the LNP for Bernard Colleary’s arrest for properly acting in his client’s interest
  • Organise huge national protests against the threat to our democracy that this government represents

Just for starters.

Peter Wesley-Smith writes: In my view the case against Collaery ought to be abandoned immediately and substantial compensation paid to him for the destruction of his legal practice and loss of earnings since the prosecution was launched. Witness K’s conviction ought to be struck out and compensation paid along with fulsome apologies. If the Coalition government won’t act, the next Labor government (if there ever is one) should do so as soon as it takes office. Our obligations to fairness and to the people of Timor-Leste require nothing less.

Patricia Beullens writes: All I want from our politicians is honesty, fairness, integrity and decency. The Witness K affair fills me with despair. What rogues some politicians are! And these same rogues get advancement and profit from their cheating. When Australia spied on Timor-Leste, we cheated and were rewarded. How despicable we are and I am ashamed because I am an Australian and it was done in my name.

Janine Burdeu writes: This man not only deserves a medal but financial compensation. Bernard Keane said it all in his article, Witness K was highlighting an illegal act by the Australian government on behalf of a petroleum company that Downer went on to work for. Simply outrageous. I would like to think my late father, who was an original member of ASIS, would have been horrified.

Philip Bell writes: This scandal demeans all involved. Indeed Downer and Porter, but all those who silently watched this travesty destroy the lives of two honourable men should hang their heads in shame. The Morrison govt. could have intervened and aborted these proceedings. It did not. We are indeed degenerating into a “banana republic”, with no sign that the so-called opposition will save us. Cowards all!

Kerrie Piper writes: The only thing Australia can now do to make up some small part to Witness K and Bernard Collaery is to publicly apologise, to admit the prosecutions were wrong and to drop all charges against Bernard Collaery before that legal process is completed. Obviously this will not happen — but thank you Crikey, for pointing out the failures that have occurred in every part of the process and by the institutions dealing with these two brave men. They could not have been treated worse in the most undemocratic and lawless countries on earth — except maybe to lose their lives. I feel ashamed to be Australian when I think of them.

On Friendlyjordies and the arrest of Kristo Langker

Kim Vallance writes: Yes, the police did go too far and so did Barilaro. There are women who are victims of domestic violence being murdered every week who can’t get the police to act and yet this squad pick on a young man because Barilaro doesn’t like the fact that he’s calling him out on matters that appear to be corrupt. Absolutely the police and Barilaro need to be investigated over this misuse of power. The young men [sic] who have been arrested in this matter should receive compensation and a written apology from the NSW Police and Barilaro.

Les Daniel writes: I strongly believe that law enforcement has become far too politicised. If it wasn’t the deputy premier involved but a normal everyday citizen, then I don’t believe the police would have acted the way that they did. Frankly I think it’s a ridiculous use of the police and another example of taxpayers’ resources being misused.

Emma Dunn writes: The arrest of Kristo Langker attempts to set a disgusting precedent that undermines every facet of free speech in our country. It takes months, even years, for dangerous offenders to be brought to justice, yet one word against the thin-skinned deputy premier, and plain-clothed FPIU officers will storm your house? It is people who are guilty that try to silence those who speak freely. John, what is it you don’t want to be uncovered?

Aminta Hennessy OAM writes: Did the NSW police go too far? Yes, but how do you stop them?

Donald Latter writes: So, who is the more contemptible — Pork Barilaro or the NSW Police? This is yet another example of the police kowtowing to Coalition politicians whilst doing everything they can to avoid investigating their alleged crimes. But how happy the women of NSW must feel knowing that the police are now swooping on “stalkers” with such remarkable haste. Nothing about this is surprising; it’s just another example of how broken Australian democracy is. Should this all end up in court, I long to hear a judge tell Barilaro to “Get a life, you pathetic little man”.

Mary-Ann Lovejoy writes: What is this country coming to? Secret trials. Raiding journalists. Arresting satirical comedians. Killing refugees. We are a police state.

Oscar Ignatius Westell writes: I see these events as precursors to more sinister violations of our freedoms … A 21-year-old was violently detained by police, allegedly without proper reason … The main issue here is the obvious misuse of a privileged parliamentary position, and something must be done to address such a gross misuse of government power to silence a young YouTube satirist. Can we stop and think about that for a minute? I don’t agree with some of the channel’s methodology but I cannot sit by and see innocent young people have their lives destroyed by fragile politicians who can’t handle free speech when they are faced by it, despite preaching its utmost importance to their constituents.

Gilbert Grace writes: Apart from his grating presentation style, I find Jordan a refreshing change from the smug to tepid reporting elsewhere in the media.

On Kiwis’ housing policy

Steven Ginders writes (from Blenheim, NZ): If you truly believe the New Zealanders are on top of their absurd housing price levels you’re needing your collective heads read. The housing situation here in New Zealand is an unmitigated disaster when compared to Australia and no amount of fiddling around the edges can correct the problem — a country a third larger than the UK with a mere five million people has totally unaffordable housing? There’s a systematic failure here by successive governments to address the problems: new builds are double the cost of an Australian equivalent home, no land being developed. Land banking by Asian migrants, ghost houses left empty, inept local councils, etc. It appears that your rabid dislike of the Morrison government has also clouded any objectivity you may have had. This current government promised to fix the housing disaster but they’ve actually made an even bigger disaster and one that no amount of dubious PR and propaganda can cover.

Jeff Allen writes: “Have the Kiwis got a better handle on their housing issues?” Of course they do! Even simply admitting they (we) have a problem helps. But the greed of the vested interests will guarantee our perilous situation will continue, at least until every avenue of money has been well and truly exploited.

Vicki Ginders writes: The NZ government is tinkering around the edges here — moving chairs on the Titanic (never worked before and won’t work this time), when really they should be: 1. Forcing councils to release more land; 2. Reducing the regulatory costs of building resulting from the RMA and council consent costs; 3. Seriously looking at the costs of building materials here in NZ. It appears to me that you’ve simply printed, without questioning, a puff piece (oops, press release) from the NZ PM’s office. After all she does have 10 press secretaries churning this stuff out.

Don Owers writes: There is another factor: NZ has cut back immigration while the Australian government plans to increase ours in order to keep house prices rising and the GDP growing.

If you’ve got something you’d like to say about any of our articles or issues of the day, just write to [email protected], and include your full name if you’d like to be considered for publication.

Our media landscape is amongst the most concentrated in the democratic world. Big media businesses are marred by big media interests. If you want the full, untainted picture on important issues — our environment, corruption, political competence, our culture, our economy — Crikey is required reading.

I am a private person that takes online privacy very seriously but I wanted to contribute my words to this campaign as I genuinely believe that we will improve as a country if more people read publications such as Crikey.

Josh
Sydney, NSW

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