ANU Webinar 31 March 2021

Secrecy and Spying – the Trials of Bernard Collaery and Witness K

Webinar, 31 Wed March 2021, Australian National University

Witness K, a former Australian spy, and his lawyer, former ACT Attorney-General Bernard Collaery, are currently being prosecuted for breaches of the Intelligence Services Act 2001 (Cth).

The allegations relate to the exposure of Australia’s alleged espionage against Timor-Leste during the negotiation of a resources treaty between the two countries in the early 2000s. The prosecutions have been shrouded in secrecy and elicited considerable public controversy. They raise complex legal issues, including the legality of spying on a friendly neighbour, the invocation of national security law to keep the prosecutions secret, the role of Attorney-General Christian Porter in the prosecutorial process, and the broader impact on Australia’s court system and the rule of law.

The webinar brought together some of Australia’s leading experts on civil liberties, whistleblowing and national security law to explore these issues. Four hundred people participated, and asked many questions.

Here is the recording of Secrecy and Spying

Click on Speaker’s name for outline of speech:

Nicholas Cowdery AO QC FAAL (Former NSW Director of Public Prosecutions; Director, Justice Reform Initiative)
Dr Rebecca Ananian-Welsh (Senior Lecturer, TC Beirne School of Law, University of Queensland)
Kieran Pender (Senior Lawyer, Human Rights Law Centre; Visiting Fellow, ANU College of Law, The Australian National University)
Pauline Wright (President, NSW Council for Civil Liberties; Immediate Past President, Law Council of Australia; Partner, PJ Donnellan & Co Solicitors)
Moderator: Kim Rubenstein FAAL, FASSA (Professor & Co-Director, 50/50 by 2030 Foundation, University of Canberra; Honorary Professor, ANU College of Law, The Australian National University)

Media articles:

Guilty parties remain free in ‘chilling’ Witness K prosecution

Commonwealth prosecutors wrong on Witness K case, former NSW DPP says

ACT Bar Association Media Release     01.04.21