Attorney-General Christian Porter

Christian Porter loses another court case as the ACT Supreme Court refuse to suppress key evidence in the political prosecution of Bernard Collaery

Federal MP Christian Porter has had another legal loss from his time as Attorney-General with whistleblower Bernard Collaery winning an appeal against having large parts of his trial heard in secret which is what Christian Porter wanted when he was in the Attorney-General role a few months ago.

The court of appeal found that “the open hearing of criminal trials was important because it deterred political prosecutions” and Bernard Collaery is facing a blatant “political prosecution” because he blew the whistle on Australia bugging the Timor-Leste government offices to help rip off $billions in oil rights.

Christian Porter’s legacy as Attorney-General, and a politician, is getting worse by the day.

The judgment summary issued by the court is below:


Judgment Summary – 6 October 2021

Collaery v The Queen (No 2) [2021] ACTCA 28
Murrell CJ, Burns and Wigney JJ

The Court of Appeal has unanimously allowed an appeal by Mr Collaery concerning the public disclosure of certain information that is likely to be given as evidence in his trial.

Mr Collaery is facing five charges alleging that he breached section 39 of the Intelligence Services Act 2001 (Cth) by communicating information to various ABC journalists that was prepared by or on behalf of the Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS) in connection with its functions, and that he conspired with “Witness K” to communicate information to the Government of Timor-Leste that was prepared by or on behalf of ASIS in connection with its functions.

On 26 June 2020, the primary judge made orders under the National Security Information (Criminal and Civil Proceedings) Act 2004 (Cth) prohibiting the public disclosure of certain evidence that may be given during the trial of Mr Collaery.

The nondisclosure orders were sought by the Attorney-General for Australia. They would mean that significant parts of the trial were not conducted in public and that persons involved in the trial, including jurors, and others, including the media, could not disclose parts of the evidence given at the trial. The prohibition would continue after the conclusion of the trial.

Mr Collaery accepted that some sensitive information should not be publicly disclosed. Ultimately, he sought public disclosure only of information relating to the truth of six specific matters, which he called the Identified Matters.

The primary judge considered that public disclosure of information relating to the truth of the Identified Matters posed a real risk of prejudice to national security. His Honour concluded that nondisclosure orders were appropriate because they would not have a substantial adverse effect on Mr Collaery’s right to receive a fair hearing, and the desirability of conducting the proceedings in public did not outweigh the need to protect national security. The appellant appealed from the order.

The Court of Appeal accepted that public disclosure of information relating to the truth of the Identified Matters would involve a risk of prejudice to national security. However, the Court doubted that a significant risk of prejudice to national security would materialise. On the other hand, there was a very real risk of damage to public confidence in the administration of justice if the evidence could not be publicly disclosed. The Court emphasised that the open hearing of criminal trials was important because it 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.

The Court of Appeal remitted the matter to the primary judge to consider the admissibility and effect of further affidavits held by the Attorney-General that the primary judge has not yet considered, and which have not been provided to Mr Collaery or his lawyers. Subject to any impact that these affidavits may have, there may be public disclosure of information relating to the truth of the Identified Matters.

This summary is not intended to be a substitute for the reasons of the Court or to be used in any later consideration of the Court’s reasons. It is for general information only. End of summary.

Bernard Collaery has written a book about the scandal titled “OIL UNDER TROUBLED WATER” as per the picture below:

New Attorney-General Michaelia Cash has so far continued with Porter’s grubby persecution of Bernard Collaery. It’s worth noting that Christian Porter instituted the criminal charges against Bernard Collaery and Witness K in June 2018 for “conspiring to communicate secret information to the Government of Timor-Leste” which was nothing more than exposing Australia’s illegal bugging of the Timor-Leste government offices.

Malcolm Turnbull was Prime Minister at the time, so he also has to take some responsibility for the charges against Bernard Collaery and Witness K. George Brandis who preceded Christian Porter as Attorney-General refused to charge Bernard Collaery and Witness K which says a lot.

Now that key evidence in the trial will be heard in public with the media reporting on it will Attorney-General Michaelia Cash and the government allow the trial to go ahead as the evidence will be very embarrassing for the government? I think that the charges will be withdrawn sometime very soon.

Bernard Collaery should be congratulated for standing his ground and continuing the fight so the truth is exposed.

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17 replies »

  1. Absolute terrible injustice carried out here by Porter and co, time the real perpetrators were charged, namely John Howard (who was described by former AG G.Brandis as a ‘lying little rodent’) and Former Foreign Minister Downer.
    Compensation should be awarded to Mr Collaery and witness K for malicious prosecution, Odds on AG Cash would have her grubby paws on the continuation of this discrasefull prosecution..

  2. It is people like Bernard Collaery and Witness K who have the fortitude to fight to keep this democracy afloat…

    • This is nothing on the kind of whistleblowing we are going to need in the next few years. We will need insiders with the fortitude to not fear death, such are the stakes.

  3. This is a great result for Bernard Collaery – the right for a fair and open trial should have been the case from day one.

    Australians need to know what has been going on here, and in East Timor, and in my view the wrong people have been prosecuted since day one. There are a few others that should be on trial themselves instead. They’ve been living off junkets for years too.

    I’m also suspicious about the amount of times the term ‘national security’ appears to be being cited as an excuse these days to concrete over transparency and accountability.

    Mr Porter likes fair and just treatment for himself; we’ve seen that repeatedly – but for others?

    I sense the Liberal Party pack of cards is crashing down at the moment and I just hope it continues.

    Maybe “the times, they are a changing”. Long overdue I would say.

    Thank you again KCA for keeping us up to date.

  4. Three questions that need to asked and answered in the public domain.
    1. Which company or companies exerted influence on the Australian government to act as they did?; and
    2. Who in the oil and gas industry business community exerted that influence on the Australian government?; and
    3. Who in the Australian government had a financial interest (through offshore trusts) in supporting the outrageous assault on the sovereignty of a foreign country, supposedly a friendly neighbour?

    It’s the age old mantra that applies here: “FOLLOW THE MONEY”!

  5. The Timor-Leste Greater Sunrise fossil fuel deposits that Australia fought so hard to secure are now being exploited by Woodside.–exploration/timor-leste
    Long-time Liberal Party ex-minister Ian Macfarlane is on the board of Woodside.

    This raises an interesting question. Was the Federal Government carrying-out spying activities for Woodside Energy?
    Woodside is a donor to Liberal, Labor and the National Parties.

  6. These are peoples lives that have been destroyed and abused … there should be compensation from the federal government for the psychological suffering and emotional abuse that these people have suffered for a lengthy period. Their earning capacities has also been destroyed.

    And once again, we as an Australian nation have proven that “we” can NOT be TRUSTED. Attempting to RIP OFF a third world nation of its rights and dues.

    Once again, our secret services are specifically utilised for the political and financial gain of a few.

    To all those who were involved in this sordid affair; you are a disgrace.

  7. So Chairman Peter Costello’s Nine Entertainment Liberal Party propaganda newspapers claim today that the bugging was only ‘alleged’.

    It’s time the rubbish mainstream media was held to account over fake news in this country. It’ s way out of control.

  8. An ICAC is well overdue for the media in this country. What international reputation do we have worth saving? Disgraceful LNP

  9. This cowardly, secretive & self-serving Morrison government will cut its Taxpayer’s money loss and run here. Whenever this government is involved in the court case and its victims refused to buckle to its demands it we usually withdraw the very last minute to avoid accountability and embarrassment.
    The illegal governments $1.8B compensation payment for its robodebt no-showw court case is a great example of this.
    If the government backflips on prosecuting Collaery, I hope Collaery & Witness K uses the decision and sues the Morrison government for all it’s worth.

  10. Hey, ” Lastofthe good guys’, Collaery & Witness kK is not sueing the Morrison Govt, They are sueing the Australian Taxpayers. We all loose ,which ever way it settles. Wake up Australia !

    • If Michaelia Cash and the Government continue with the case and lose or withdraw, the costs will be paid anyhow, by the taxpayer.
      At the moment the defendants aren’t sueing. There have been charged and are trying to at least get a fair trial.

  11. PM ranting on about ‘Cowards Castle’. Bit like how his mob is blocking a Federal ICAC. Or refusing FOI requests. Or blocking enquiries into Rorts. Or —–add list here.

  12. Never have l known such a grubby, lying, dishonest arrogant bunch of Aussie politicians as Morrison & many of the liberal politicians.. As if a bloody pandemic isn’t enough for Australia without constant deceit & cover-ups from our leaders.. “Sad” where’s the larrikin honest mate ship & she’ll be right mate OZ gone.?? Rapidly disappearing, tragedy.!!!!!!!!

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