Russia recently jailed opposition political leader Alexei Navalny but the court case was broadcast on TV which is the highest level of open justice. While in Australia the federal government are trying to stitch up government corruption whistleblowers in court behind closed doors with no public allowed in court and the media only allowed limited court access and a large part of the case suppressed.
I’m not trying to defend Russia’s stitch-up of corruption whistleblower Alexei Navalny as he clearly shouldn’t be in jail but what I am doing is trying to highlight that Australia is no better and actually worse when it comes to the treatment of whistleblowers and denying public scrutiny of public interest court cases.
Below is the latest ABC news story on the matter (3/2/21) titled “Alexei Navalny sentenced to jail in Russia for breaching probation” and in the story they have video of Alexei Navalny in court and recordings of what he said in court while in Australia the government is trying to jail government whistleblowers Witness K, Bernard Collaery and others in closed courts with no media or public allowed.
It could be argued that at least Australia has never tried to poison its whistleblowers like Russia tried to do with Alexei Navalny and that’s true. But the mental torture the whistleblowers in Australia suffer at the hands of government bullying and the government’s abuse of the legal system can be debilitating for the whistleblowers, so it’s not that much better than Russia.
Witness K and Bernard Collaery
Witness K and Bernard Collaery blew the whistle on Australia trying to rip off one of the poorest countries in the world on the instructions of the then foreign minister Alexander Downer who later went on the personally profit from the scandal.
The Conversation reported in June 2018:
The relevant background is that three months before East Timor became an independent state in 2002, Australia’s foreign minister Alexander Downer withdrew Australia from the maritime boundary jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice and the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea. East Timor couldn’t claim its right under international law to a maritime boundary halfway between the two countries’ coastlines. It was forced to negotiate bilaterally with Australia.
Downer then allegedly ordered ASIS to bug East Timor’s negotiators. ASIS installed listening devices inside East Timor’s cabinet offices using the cover of a foreign aid program.
East Timor signed a treaty that denied them their right to a maritime border on the median line. The Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Dr Ashton Calvert, then retired and joined the board of directors of Woodside Petroleum. Downer took a lucrative consultancy with Woodside after leaving parliament in 2008. It has been reported that Woodside’s chairman, Charles Goode, “sat on the boards of top Liberal Party fundraising vehicles that generated millions of dollars in political donations.” (Click here to read more)
The persecution of Witness K and Bernard Collaery is still before the court in Canberra as the government tries to jail them.
Where is Alexander Downer? He was on the ABC’s political program QandA on Thursday (4/2/21) trying to repair his tattered reputation. One way to look at it is the government broadcaster in effect helping hide a crime as Downer should be facing jail, not Witness K and Bernard Collaery.
On the open justice front, it is arguable that Australia is actually worse than Russia and its a bit rich for the federal government to be calling for Alexei Navalny to be released while the government is trying to jail whistleblowers here with no accountability or open justice.
Admin: I was in the NSW Supreme Court via videolink from Queensland on Monday and Tuesday for Kerry Stokes’ frivolous and vexatious contempt charge via his companies Seven Network and Seven West Media. I have 2 weeks to file written submissions, so I won’t say any more at the moment.
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