BONUS IN-DEPTH: Who is Witness K and why is he being charged with conspiracy? W/ Bernard Collaery
In light of some of our founding members moving on from Global Questions, we are bringing you their all-time favourite episodes! This week, we are re-sharing Gen's favourite episode - the In-Depth discussion with Bernard Collaery on Witness K during our season on security.
Bernard Collaery is an Australian barrister, lawyer and former Attorney-General being prosecuted for conspiring against the government. Gen and Bernard discuss Australia’s national security through the lens of the Witness K trial. Since this episode aired, Witness K and Bernard Collaery were charged over their alleged roles in exposing how Australia bugged Timor-Leste during negotiations surrounding oil and gas in the region in 2004.
The trial was held in private through special powers meant for counter-terrorism. Out of almost 40 court appearances, little has been publicly reported. The Australian Government was accused of abusing its power for condemning an honest whistleblower and his lawyer to hide its own actions. This case has the potential to inflict negative relationships with Australia's international partners and affect Australia's global reputation.
What was the government hiding from the public in Witness K's case? Why were Collaery and Witness K targeted? Does this represent a change in culture within the Australian government? And how can we make sure this doesn’t happen again?
References in the episode:
‘Killing Field’ by ABC Four Corners: Documentary exposing killings and cover-ups by Australian special forces in Afghanistan.
‘Official Secrets': Book about the British secret service whistleblower who tried to stop the Iraq War.
'Oil Under Troubled Water: Australia’s Intrigue’: Book by Bernard Collaery
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CREDITS: This episode is produced by the Young Diplomats Society on the lands of the Wurundjeri/Gadigal people. We pay our respects to the traditional custodians of the lands upon which we operate and live.