SHADOW MINISTER FOR CONSTITUTIONAL REFORM
MEMBER FOR ISAACS
MORRISON GOVERNMENT HUMILIATED BY COLLAERY RULING
Labor welcomes today’s decision of the ACT Court of Appeal that the trial of Bernard Collaery must be predominantly held in open court.
Although some sensitive information will remain secret, the Court of Appeal has unanimously ruled that “there was a very real risk of damage to public confidence in the administration of justice if the evidence could not be properly disclosed.”
In a humiliating rebuff to the Morrison Government, which sought to hold the entire trial in total secrecy, the court ruled that open hearings of criminal trials “deterred political prosecutions, allowed the public to scrutinise the actions of prosecutors and permitted the public to properly assess the conduct of the accused person.”
Labor strongly supports the principle of open justice and believes Mr Collaery, like any other Australian, has a fundamental right to a fair trial.
For reasons that still remain unclear, the former Attorney-General, Christian Porter personally authorised the prosecution of Mr Collaery. After today’s decision the current Attorney-General must now provide a detailed explanation as to why this prosecution remains in the public interest.
The unexplained decision to prosecute Mr Collaery is part of a broader shift towards more secrecy and less accountability that began with the election of the Abbott Government eight years ago and has escalated rapidly under Prime Minister Morrison.
Labor will continue to closely scrutinise the actions of the Morrison Government to ensure that, in seeking to keep Australians safe, the Government upholds the rule of law and the rights and freedoms that define us as a democratic nation.
WEDNESDAY, 8 OCTOBER 2021