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Timor-Leste swindle must be investigated

Sydney Morning Herald Letters - July 9, 2022

Australians in general are not hobbled by the convention of neither confirming nor denying what is as plain as day ("Bernard Collaery's leaking charges over East Timor operation dropped on Mark Dreyfus' orders", July 8). The now defunct prosecution of Bernard Collaery was ill-advised, cost millions of dollars, caused seething anger here and in Timor-Leste and brought Australia international shame; and its origin resides in the Australian spying on the Timorese government around 2004.

Our government was willing to spy – for commercial gain – on a nation where even today 5 per cent of children die before their fifth birthday. This jaw-dropping willingness to swindle impoverished people requires scrutiny. The opposition now claims that the pursuit of Collaery protected "national security". A royal commission into the espionage would provide more necessary warnings to Australian governments: a spade is a spade, and national security is not served by defrauding struggling neighbours.

– Susan Connelly, Lakemba

The previous government's penchant for secrecy was well known and the secrecy about the case against Collaery was extreme, so it is impossible for the public to understand why the details about a commercial negotiation between two supposedly friendly countries should be kept from view. It would seem that this was another case of the Morrison government wasting more taxpayers' dollars on a vindictive persecution of an individual for no real benefit to the country.

– Peter Nash, Fairlight

The comments of shadow attorney-general Julian Leeser that Dreyfus' intervention in the case against Collaery undermined the work of Australia's security agencies and "sends a dangerous message to those who would seek to do harm to Australia by dealing in government secrets" reveal yet again how out of touch with reality the Coalition is. Collaery should never have been charged, rather whoever ordered the bugging of the East Timorese government should face court.

– Graham Cochrane, Balmain

I look forward to the attorney-general taking the next step to investigate and prosecute those who ordered the illegal bugging of the Timor-Leste offices.

– Rob Cameron, Balmain

Collaery's release from prosecution ensures that justice and freedom have been restored to the rule of law in our country. Brave whistleblowers deserve our thanks as finally we seem to have a government genuinely committed to integrity of purpose.

– Anne Garvan, Chatswood West

With the crucifixion of Collaery terminated, Anthony Albanese promptly needs to bring resolution to the equal outrage against Julian Assange, if only to demonstrate that all the NATO-US-Quad geopolitical kowtowing that he has enthusiastically engaged in non-stop since the election has a tangible benefit for Australians.

– Alex Mattea, Kingston

There are good women and men still standing in Australia, and Collaery is among their number.

You, sir, are an inspiration to those among us who detest the bully who is otherwise unaccountable.

Thank you.

– David Hawkins, Bilgola Plateau

Treat heroes as heroes, with heroes' pay

Heroes today, forgotten tomorrow ("Our everyday heroes deserve more recognition", July 8). Your editorial hopefully will embarrass the politicians enough to financially reward the unsung heroes doing their everyday, essential but often unappreciated jobs. It is not a fair world but we can make it better by "recognising our everyday heroes". Don't just shake their hands and move off to the next photo shoot. Treat them with the recognition they deserve and pay them accordingly.

– Denis Suttling, Newport Beach

Source: https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/timor-leste-swindle-must-be-investigated-20220707-p5azws.htm