Media Coverage


June 2020

Porter’s Collaery cover-up gets legal blessing, but is Labor starting to do its job?
As the government scores a win in its shameful secret prosecution of Bernard Collaery, it seems like Labor is finally starting to wake up.
Bernard Keane – Crikey – 29 June 2020    Pdf here.

High profile whistle-blower trial to be kept out of the public eye
Norman Swan interviews Steve Bracks – RN Breakfast – 29 June 2020  Audio 9 minutes

Part of Witness K lawyer Bernard Collaery’s trial will be heard in secret, judge rules
Elizabeth Byrne and  Matthew Doran  – ABC News – 27 June 2020

Wasteful, Secret and Vicious: The Absurd Prosecution of Witness K and Bernard Collaery
Binoy Kampmark – Scoop – 27 June 2020

Lawyer Secretly Prosecuted for Exposing Crimes of Australian Government
Sonia Hickey and Ugur Nedim – Sydney Criminal Lawyers – 27 June 2020

Sub-Imperial State: Australian Dirty Work
Clinton Fernandes – Arena Quarterly – 23 June 2020   Here is a pdf.
This article discusses Bernard Collaery’s book, and Brian Toohey’s book “Secret: The Making of Australia’s Security State”.
Both authors investigate security concerns, agreeing that it is a concept which gives priority to economic interests and requires a political order which places greatest value on those interests.

Australia likened to North Korea in its secret trial of Bernard Collaery
Luke Henrique-Gomes – The Guardian – 23 June 2020

Australia: Secret State?
Features Bernard Collaery, Clinton Fernandes, Nick Xenophon, Dennis Richardson, Jacinta Carroll Annika Smethurst.
QandA – ABC TV – 22 June 2020     Here is a pdf.

Secret Trials Down Under: Witness J, Witness K And Bernard Collaery

Can trials be held in secret, like the one against Witness K lawyer Bernard Collaery?
Elizabeth Byrne – ABC News – 21 June 2020

The secret trial that could turn pear-shaped for the government
Andrew Clark – The Australian Financial Review – 20 June 2020
“As Professor Fernandes puts it: ‘The difference between the core fact of espionage and the ancillary fact of Collaery revealing and Witness K disclosing that information [means] it’s absurd that they might be convicted on the basis of the ancillary facts being true while the prosecution refuses to admit the core facts are true’.”  Here is a pdf.

Is the tide starting to turn on the government’s Bernard Collaery prosecution?
Crikey –  Tips and Rumours – 18 June 2020

Graham Perrett MP – House Hansard – 17 June 2020  Pdf.

Stop the sleaze, please
Paddy Manning – The Monthly – 16 June 2020   Pdf.

Mark Humphries looks at the secret trials of Bernard Collaery and Witness K
7:30 – A bit of a laugh.

Christian Porter and a secret trial have destroyed my practice, Witness K lawyer Bernard Collaery says
Adam Harvey – ABC 7:30 – 16 June 2020   Here’s a transcript.

Espionage and Open Democracy
Editorial – The Australian – 16 June 2020     Here’s a pdf.

Exclusive interview with former ACT attorney-general lawyer Bernard Collaery who’s at the centre of a secret trial the media can’t cover
Paul Barry – Media Watch – 15 June 2020   Click here for Transcript
Click here for the questions addressed to the Attorney-General and his response.

Why is Bernard Collaery’s trial a secret?
Steve Bracks – The Australian – 15 June 2020  Here’s a pdf.

Senator Nick McKim – Senate Hansard – 15 June 2020   Pdf.

Alicia Payne MP  – House Hansard – 12 June 2020  Click here for pdf.

Bernard Collaery speaking at Search Foundation/New Internationalist Bookshop Event
11 June 2020 – just over an hour.  Here’s a pdf

Let’s reclaim our freedom and decriminalise journalism
Marcus Strom – The Sydney Morning Herald – 04 June 2020  Here’s a pdf.

How a national security law is leading to secret trials in Australia
The Full Story  – Laura Murphy-Oates interviews Christopher Knause – 01 June 2020
Audio 26 minutes. First 15 min concern Witness K and Bernard Collaery, followed by discussion of the secret trial of “Witness J”.


May 2020

‘I am unable to say much’: anger simmers as Timor bugging hearing goes ahead in secret
Christopher Knause – The Guardian – 30 May 2020

Secrecy, sure, but they have erased me
Witness J (not “K”) –The Canberra Times – 30 May 2020   Here is a pdf.

Ernst Willheim – Letter in Canberra Times – 30 May 2020

Good People Break Bad Laws
Paul Gregoire – Sydney Criminal Lawyers – 29 May 2020  Pdf.

No News is Bad News
Paddy Manning – The Monthly – 29 May 2020

‘Stars’ come out for Collaery
Crikey – Charlie Lewis – 28 May 2020

Twitter thread about photos of Gareth Evans etc at hearing
28 May 2020

“Sad times”: Bernard Collaery laments “now fragile democracy” as pre-trial hearing held in secret
Blake Foden – The Canberra Times – 25 May 2020

How National Security powers are being used to prosecute whistleblowers
Kieran Adair – XenophonDavis – 25 May 2020    Here’s a pdf

Closed trial seeks to ‘conceal govt wrongdoing’ against Timor Leste
Green Left Weekly – Susan Connelly interviewed by Paul Oboohov – 25 May 2020  Transcript pdf.

Dutton’s ASIO bill goes Kafkaesque
Justin Glyn – Eureka Street – 18 May 2020

April 2020

Whistleblower lawyer paying a tough price for his bravery
Greg Barns – The Mercury – 20 April 2020

Bernard Collaery and Steve Bracks
Podcast – 15 April 2020 – Melbourne University Press

The court case Australians are not allowed to know about: how national security is being used to bully citizens
Richard Ackland – The Guardian – 11 April 2020

It’s a crime to report a crime: an interview with lawyer Bernard Collaery
Paul Gregoire – Sydney Criminal Lawyers – 1 April 2020


March 2020

Working from Home
The Canberra Times – 29 March 2020

Transcript of Bernard Collaery Interview
Annie McLoughlin – 28 March 2020 – 3CR Melbourne

Not yet possible to say coronavirus would preclude fair Bernard Collaery hearing: judge
Blake Fodden ­- The Canberra Times – 20 March 2020

Bernard Collaery’s bombshell
Hamish McDonald – Inside Story – 19 March 2020   See pdf here

Coronavirus concern could delay Bernard Collaery case
Blake Fodden – The Canberra Times – 19 March 2020

Oil Under Troubled Water
Annie Hastwell – The Wire – 18 March 2020

Bernard Collaery on Spying and Subterfuge in Australia’s history with Timor-Leste
3RRR Melbourne – The Grapevine  – 16 March 2020

Hidden Bugs and Helium: Bernard Collaery on our troubled history with East Timor
Phillip Adams – Late Night Live – 12 March 2020   Audio

Why this barrister is facing conspiracy charges
Jerome Doraisamy – Lawyers Weekly – 12 March 2020

Andrew Wilkie in Conversation with Bernard Collaery
10 March 2020

Book extract – How Australia denied its close neighbour a fair go
Bernard Collaery – The Canberra Times – 7 March 2020
Read pdf here

Murdered journalists “a hurdle” for Jakarta in concealing Timor invasion
Robert Baird – Asia Pacific Report – 6 March 2020

The “Witness J” case – we need to know more
Michael Pelly – Australian Financial Review – 7 March 2020
Former intelligence officer ‘Witness J’ served time in jail after a secret trial. This article refers to Witness K and Bernard Collaery, with comments by eminent judges and lawyers.  A similar pdf here.

Murdered Journalists “a Hurdle” in Concealing TL Invasion, book says
Robert Baird – Tatoli  – 6 March 2020

Australia knew of dangers facing murdered Balibo Five journalists, book says
Christopher Knause – The Guardian – 04 March 2020

New East Timor book from Canberra lawyer Bernard Collaery
Paula Kruger ABC Radio – 3 March 2020

Were our spies compromised by Balibó? New book reveals more sordid history.
Bernard Keane – Crikey – 03 March 2020

National security watchdog to probe case of Witness J, who was tried, sentenced and jailed in total secrecy
Matthew Doran and Andrew Probyn – ABC News – 2 March 2020
“…there has been an apparently unique set of circumstances in modern Australia where a person was charged, arraigned, pleaded guilty, sentenced and served his sentence with minimal public knowledge of the details of the crime, as a result of consent orders which were not the subject of published judicial reasons.”

Bernard Collaery in Conversation with Linda Jaivin
Adelaide Writers’ Festival – 1 March 2020

February 2020

Intelligence Branch
Sam Vincent – The Monthly – February 2020   Here’s a pdf.

Bernard Collaery Speech
150 Psalms Project –Adelaide Festival – 29 February 2020

Whistleblower lawyer represents whistleblower in Australia
Rod McGurk – Associated Press – 14 February 2020

Assange must be freed, not betrayed
John Pilger, RT Question More, 22 February, 2020

Assange, Collaery, Snowden, Smethurst: criminalising truth
Alison Broinowski – Independent Australia – 9 February, 2020

In conversation with Bernard Collaery
ANU/The Canberra Times “Meet the Author” series

January 2020

Bernard Collaery’s book to be published on March 3, 2020

Timor-Leste failed budget sparks political crisis
Michael Leach – Lowy Institute ~ The Interpreter – 20 January 2020

Australia: National Security Laws Chill Free Speech
Human Rights Watch – 14 January 2020
Australia’s sweeping national security laws and police actions against journalists and whistleblowers are having a chilling effect on freedom of expression, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2020.

The public has a right to know – an interview with Witness J
Paul Gregoire – Sydney Criminal Lawyers – 8 January 2020


December 2019

“You Have a Right to Know”: An Interview With Witness J
Paul Gregoire – Sydney Criminal Lawyers – 31 December 2019
Commonwealth orders  suppressed information concerning the arrest, trial, conviction and jailing of a former Australian intelligence official, known now as “Witness J”.  This matter prompted former NSW Supreme Court Justice Anthony Whealy to question whether Australia is becoming a “totalitarian state”.

Australians are “alarmingly” losing their personal freedoms, global monitor warns
Paul Gregoire – The Big Smoke – 30 December 2019

2019: a failed system leaves citizens bereft
Bernard Keane – Crikey– 20 December 2019

Phones taken, court closed in spy case
Finbar O’Mallon – The Canberra Times – 11 December 2019
The ACT Supreme Court heard the case against Bernard Collaery behind closed doors on Wednesday.

Letter in Sydney Morning Herald 11 December 2019 Susan Connelly

How Official Secrets hides our spying nation’s dirty deeds
Paul Bongiorno – The New Daily – 10 December 2019

Australia’s civil rights rating downgraded as report finds world becoming less free
Ben Doherty – The Guardian – 8 December 2019

The spying on Timor-Leste case … et cetera (part 9)
George Venturini – The Aim Network – 7 December 2019

Secret trials in the ACT courts
Ernst Willheim – Pearls and Irritations­ – 2 December 2019
Canberrans were shocked to read on the front page of the Canberra Times on Saturday 23 November about a mystery prisoner, referred to as ‘Alan Johns’, who was prosecuted and jailed for charges unknown to the public or the Alexander Maconochie Centre (the ACT prison).

Perrett breaks Labor silence on K and Collaery
Bernard Keane – Crikey – 05 December 2019     Here is a pdf.

No Right to Know:  Government is Secretly Prosecuting Australian Citizens
Paul Gregoire and Ugur Nedim – Sydney Criminal Lawyers – 1 December 2019

Wannabe Spy
Kellie Merritt – Pearls and Irritations – 5 December 2019
“Downer is out and proud of his political status, there is more money to be made. But don’t be fooled, under the silky lined Burberry trench coat, Downer, the politician, is hiding a spy alter ego which has been crafting spook intrigue and deception for decades. Just enough to make any spy operative fearful… unless he crosses the path of witness K and his lawyer Bernard Collaery.”

Secret trials in the ACT courts
Ernst Willheim – Pearls and Irritations – 2 December 2019
A mystery prisoner, referred to as ‘Alan Johns’, has been prosecuted and jailed for charges unknown to the public or the prison in which he was held. The article gives major focus on the equally disturbing trials of “Witness K” and Bernard Collaery.

November 2019

Two East Timorese presidents give evidence backing Bernard Collaery in Witness K trial
Elizabeth Byrne – ABC News –28 November 2019

Ex-Timorese PMs may testify at spy trial
AAP – The Canberra Times – 27 November 2019

Attorney-General given more time to digest star witnesses as Collaery case further delayed
Cassandra Morgan – The Canberra Times – 27 November 2019
Planned hearing on December 11 was to be replaced by a directions hearing on December 2. (As it turned out,
the December 11 hearing did go ahead.) “The court would also use Monday’s directions hearing and the original preliminary hearing dates, December 11 to 13, to discuss whether some of the attorney-general’s material should be confidential or ‘court only’.”

Porter denies delaying Collaery trial, while delaying Collaery trial
Bernard Keane – Crikey – 27 November 2019
Christian Porter has again succeeded in delaying the trial of Bernard Collaery — but, absurdly, his barrister claims he’s not responsible for any delays.

Don’t mention the war: why Canberra suppresses the story of East Timor
Michael Koziol – The Sydney Morning Herald – 24 November 2019
Revelations that the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is waging a war of its own against the publication of an official history of our involvement in the East Timor conflict have alarmed – but not necessarily surprised – the country’s most esteemed military historians.

 Alan Moir’s cartoon – Sydney Morning Herald – Saturday 16 November 019

Former spy Witness K set for plea in April
Finbar O’Mallon – AAP – 15 November 2019

I spy something beginning with K
Joe Higgins – The Catholic Leader – 10 November 2019
Here is a pdf of the article.

A Secretive State: The Collaery Trial and National Security Disclosures
Kieran Hardy – Australian Public Law – 6 November 2019
“The Collaery trial is a single prosecution, but it reflects a wider trend in which the federal government has sought to clamp down on the public discussion of national security information. It signals a willingness in government to prosecute whistleblowers for revealing sensitive information, even where the discloser’s intention is to promote transparency, accountability and benefit the wider public interest. The definition of what constitutes national security information has also expanded to the point where it no longer relates merely to security, defence or political violence, but to all political and economic relations with other countries.”

Australia Timor-Leste relations are back on track
Michael Leach – East Asia Review – 5 November 2019

Suspected whistleblowers targeted by police in Helloworld travel scandal
Nick McKenzie and Richard Baker – The Sydney Morning Herald – October 31, 2019
Shadow Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus said it was “deeply disturbing that yet again, [suspected] whistleblowers appear to be the target of a police investigation and not those whose conduct has been exposed”. Thank you Mr Dreyfus. So why are Witness K and Bernard Collaery being pursued while Alexander Downer et al are not?

October 2019

The spy scandal that laid bare Australia’s record on whistleblowers

National press freedom whistleblowers to get help from rogue legal group tackling government secrecy
Jennifer Dudley-Nicholson – – 31 October 2019
Whistleblowers could receive financial help and even parliamentary privilege from a rogue group of legal experts taking on government secrecy.

Soon we won’t regognise the face of Australia
Jack Waterford – Pearls and Irritations – 29 October 2019

‘Your right to know’ must be balanced against other freedoms says Attorney-General
Shane Wright – The Sydney Morning Herald – 27 October 2019

Blowing the whistle on alleged wrongdoing should not destroy your life
Nassim Khadem – ABC News – 23 October 2019

Transcript of Whistleblower segment – Christiane Amanpour (US) – 22 October 2019
Michael Martin interviews Tom Mueller
Interesting information from the US  on the dangers of being a whistleblower

Witness K lawyer warns many whistleblowers have nowhere to go
Christopher Knause – The Guardian – 22 October 2019

Australia urged to return $5bn and launch Royal Commission
Helen Davidson and Ben Doherty – The Guardian – 19 October 2019

Court stops ‘amicus’ bid in bugging case
Finbar O’Mallon – Newcastle Herald – 17 August 2019

Bernard Collaery case: Private citizen’s bid to be heard in East Timor bugging case shut down
Alexandra Back – The Canberra Times – 17 October 2019

The conference banning whistleblower speeches
Crikey Inquirer – 16 October 2019
The Australian Cyber Conference 2019 is organised by the government’s Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC). Two conference speakers, Dr Suelette Dreyfus and Thomas Drake were cancelled at the last minute.  Dreyfus is a major Australian academic specialising in information technology and whistleblowing, Evading comment by these experts flows from the government’s policy toward whistleblowers who reveal government wrongdoing, e.g. Witness K and lawyer Bernard Collaery concerning espionage against Timor-Leste.

Summary of Timor Sea Events since 2016
La’o Hamutuk – 10 October 2019

Witness K and the “outrageous” spy scandal that failed to shame Australia
Christopher Knause – The Guardian – 10 August 2019

“Harm statement” to be released to former spy Witness K
Alexandra Back – Canberra Times – 8 October 2019
It would be interesting to know what ‘harm’ Witness K has done.

Witness wants harm statement in spy case
Matt Coughlan  –St George and Sutherland Shire Leader – 8 October 2019
This article appears in dozens of local newspapers across the country

“Unattractive” orders on bugging case
Finbar O’Mallon – Northern Daily Leader – 2 October 2019

Australia’s quest for national security is undermining the courts and could lead to secretive trials
Kieran Hardy – The Conversation  – 2 October 2019  Here is a pdf.

Someone blew the whistle on Trump – if it happened in Australia we might never hear about it
Ben Oquist – The Guardian – 1 October 2019
Instead of whistleblowing protections or powerful intelligence committees Australia has raids on journalists.


September 2019

East Timor bugging cases return to court
Finbar O’Mallon – AAP – 26 September 2019

The Witness K case and government secrecy
Clinton Fernandes – The Saturday Paper – Sept 28/Oct 4, 2019

Australia’s true relationship with Timor-Leste
Sophie Raynor –Eureka Street – 9 September 2019

Crossbench senator pushes to fix ‘shameful’ historic wrong against Timor-Leste
Christopher Knaus – The Guardian – 9 September 2019
Centre Alliance’s Rex Patrick wants to overturn the decisions that limit Australia’s exposure to international courts.

Drop the Collaery Prosecution: An Interview With Australian Lawyers Alliance’s Greg Barnes
Paul Gregoire – Sydney Criminal Lawyers – 5 September 2019

Stop punishing Witness K for telling the truth on Timor
Editorial – Sydney Morning Herald – 3 September 2019

Australia confronts past with East Timor
Greg Roberts – AAP Channel 7 – 3 September 2019

Australian Lawyers’ Association says charges against ACT A-G must be dropped as tensions build
Naomi Neilson – Lawyers Weekly – 2 September 2019

Timor-Leste’s future still shadowed by the past
History and heroes hold the spotlight, 20 years after the country voted for its freedom.
Includes How Australia Crossed a Line in the Timor Sea.
Sophie Raynor – The Lowy Institute – 2 September 2019

Timor Leste and Australia: a loveless affair at twenty
Binoy Kampmark – Dissident Voice – 1 September 2019

China Eyes Stake in Southeast Asia’s Newest Oil Frontier
Tsvetana Paraskova – – 1 September 2019


August 2019

Timor-Leste independence and press freedom
Paul Bongiorno – The Saturday Paper – 31 August 2019   Click here for pdf.

Letter to the Editor
Nicholas Cowdery –The Sydney Morning Herald – 31 August 2019

“Infuriated” Alexander Downer tried to get US officials to mask Australian inaction on East Timor
Declassified documents show the then foreign affairs minister was angered by leaks showing Australia rejected US request for peacekeepers
Helen Davidson –The Guardian – 30 August 2019   Click here for pdf.

Jose Ramos-Horta urges Australia to drop Witness K, whistleblower charges
SBS  – 30 August 2019
Timor-Leste had moved on since the spying scandal and so should Australia by dropping charges against the whistleblowers who exposed it, says Jose Ramos Horta.

Australia spied, cheated and has now lost its moral compass
Dr Richie Gun – Civil Liberties Australia – 30 August 2019

PM rules out East Timor gas compensation
AAP Channel 9 – 30 August 2019

Australia cast itself as the hero of East Timor. But it was US military might that got troops in
Paul Daley – The Guardian – 30 August 2019

US knew Indonesia intended to stop East Timorese independence ‘through terror and violence’
Documents reveal ‘muted’ attempts to convince Indonesian officials to allow free vote to proceed
Helen Davidson – The Guardian ­ – 29 August 2019   Click here for pdf.

Secret whistleblower trial will only add to Australia’s shame over spying cover-up
Anthony Whealy – Sydney Morning Herald – August 29, 2019

Witness K lawyer alleges ‘extraordinary unexplained roadblock’ in funding his case
Paul Karp – The Guardian – 29 August 2019

Twenty years after independence, Timor-Leste continues its epic struggle
Sarah Niner – The Conversation  – 28 August 2019

The saga of Bernard Collaery and Witness K continues
Ernst Willheim – Pearls and Irritations – 28 August 2019
“If you watched the program [ABC 4-Corners] you will already know this is a talk about some shameful events in Australia’s recent history. And I very much fear the shameful saga is about to continue. It is about Australian commercial espionage.”

What Four Corners left out of the Witness K story
Clinton Fernandes – Crikey – 28 August 2019
Four Corners got the facts straight on how the Witness K scandal was born, but there is more to the story.

After a border dispute and spying scandal, can Australia and Timor-Leste be good neighbours?
Michael Leach – The Conversation – 28 August 2019

Morrison flies into a storm in East Timor over Witness K prosecution
James Massola – The Sydney Morning Herald – 28 August 2019

This immoral act against a decent man diminishes all who pursue it
Chris Uhlmann – Sydney Morning Herald – 27 August 2019

Former attorney-general George Brandis had ‘misgivings’ about prosecuting Witness K and Collaery
Steve Cannane and Peter Cronau – ABC Four Corners – 26 August 2019

Secrets, spies and trials: national security vs the public’s right to know
Steve Cannane and Peter Cronau – ABC Four Corners TRAILER – 26 August 2019

Xanana Gusmao offers to give evidence that could embarrass Australia in Witness K trial
ABC – 25 August 2019

Trumped Up: Wiki cables show Australia thinks Iran is not the aggressor
Clinton Fernandes – Michael – 23 August 2019

Collaery battles on, but who cares?
Robert Macklin – Canberra City News – 20 August 2019

Timor-Leste, 20 years on
Mica Bareto Soares – The Lowy Institute Interpreter – 16 August 2019   Find pdf here.

Casually threatening letter exposes bureaucrats’ deep-seated contempt for media
Bernard Keane – Crikey – 14 August 2019
Don’t be surprised that the Attorney-General’s Department is threatening media outlets; its loathing for media freedom goes back a long way.

From Richard Boyle and Witness K to media raids: it’s time whistleblowers had better protection
A.J. Brown – The Conversation – 13 August 2019
Australia becoming a “police state” amid efforts to silence whistleblowers

Witness K and the “outrageous” spy scandal that failed to shame Australia
Christopher Knaus – The Guardian – 10 August 2019

Richard Ackland – The Saturday Paper, Gadfly – 10 August 2019
Leading the charge in the Collaery–Witness K protests is Susan Connelly of the Josephite Sisters. She rallies the troops outside the court and with ceaseless missives from her bunker in Lakemba.
“J’accuse.” Where’s Émile Zola when you need him?

Bec Strating on the State of Australia-Timor Leste Ties
Prashanth Parameswaran – The Diplomat – 13 August 2019
A conversation on the past, present, and future dynamics in Australia’s relationship with Timor-Leste.

Visit Timor-Leste

Juice Media – 10 August 2019 – Teachers’ /PG Version

Superb 9 minute visual of all the issues.

Witness K and the ‘outrageous’ spy scandal that failed to shame Australia
Christopher Knaus – The Guardian –  9 August 2019
Very good background to the issue.

Dutton’s dark police state creep
Michelle Pini – Independent Australia- 8 August 2019

Australian democracy has finally, painfully, reached its nadir

The big question that has gone unanswered in the Witness K saga
Madeleine Miller – Crikey – 7 August 2019
Did our government break the law in the 2004 bugging incident? Australians deserve to know.

Witness K and Collaery’s influence to be felt in Timor Leste
Sally Whyte – The Canberra Times – 7 August 2019
“It’s very instructive that the Prime Minister and leader of the opposition are going to Timor Leste to celebrate a renewal of bilateral relations and the two people most responsible for the renegotiation of the treaty are in fact Witness K and Collaery, who are facing legal sanction,” Professor Fernandes said.

Australia’s shame: Witness K punished for his service, while the guilty go free
Bernard Keane – Crikey – 7 August 2019
After years of relentless pressure, Witness K has pleaded guilty to revealing information about ASIS’ criminal conduct in Timor Leste. It is a shameful reward for a man who diligently served his country.

Witness K to plead guilty in Timor-Leste spying case, but co-accused to fight charges
Radio National Drive – 6 August 2019
Professor Clinton Fernandes explains the implications of the hearing.

Witness K to plead guilty as lawyer Bernard Collaery committed to stand trial
Alexandra Back – Canberra Times – 6 August 2019

It is a national disgrace to see Witness K treated like this
Crikey – 6 August 2019
From Witness K’s lawyer: ‘Let us be under no misapprehension. Mighty forces are at play here to hide dirty political linen.’

Witness K to plead guilty to breaching intelligence act as lawyer Bernard Collaery committed to trial
ABC News – 6 August 2019

We Accuse. We Applaud
Timor Sea Justice Forum  6 August 2019

Timor Sea Justice Forum Media Release
5 August 2019

Witness K’s endless trial
Geraldine DoogueSaturday Extra – 3 August 2019
Clinton Fernandes, Professor of International and Political Studies at UNSW Canberra
Senator Rex Patrick, Centre Alliance senator for South Australia.
In 2012 an intelligence officer known as ‘Witness K’ revealed the covert spy operation to bug the offices of Timor Leste’s government. Now he and his lawyer face prosecution. It’s a case many in the legal, political and academic professions feel deeply uneasy about.


July 2019

Timor-Leste and Australia have little to celebrate if Witness K and Bernard Collaery are not free
José Ramos-Horta – 31 Jul 2019
The trial of the former ASIS spy and his lawyer undermines the already complicated relationship between two neighbours, writes Timor-Leste’s former president. He calls on the Timorese President to bestow the Order of Timor-Leste on Witness K and Bernard Collaery.

Witness K, Bernard Collaery could have hearings split, court hears
Alexandra Back – The Canberra Times – 30 July 2019   Pdf here.
The case of a former spy and his lawyer who exposed an Australian bugging operation against the tiny nation of East Timor could be split and heard in two separate jurisdictions, a court has heard.

Our country is a better place because of journalists and whistleblowers: Andrew Wilkie MP
Talk given by Andrew Wilkie – 30 July 2019 –
In 2003 Andrew Wilkie resigned his position at ONA so that he could speak out about his view that Sadam Hussein did not have weapons of mass destruction…. He lost his job and “became unemployable in Canberra.” After receiving death threats, having his reputation trashed, losing his marriage, being dropped by friends, and many other consequences as a result of speaking the truth, eventually Wilkie was elected as an independent member of parliament. He spoke about his experiences and the importance of free media.

Australia approves treaty with East Timor over gas royalties
Rod McGurk 30 July 2019

Australia has pocketed millions in revenue from Timor Sea oil and gas projects
Anne Barker, Charlie Scheiner – ABC Radio – 30 July 2019

Is ASIS feeling unloved?
Stephen Easton – The Mandarin – 30 July 2019
Asked why the public should accept foreign spies didn’t break the law or act contrary to Australian “values” the head of ASIS says the question of public confidence is “really important” to him.

National security being used to stifle public interest journalism, former judges warn
Christopher Knaus – The Guardian – 27 July 2019
The newly-formed Centre for Public Integrity has brought together a powerful collection of former judges, lawyers, and integrity experts to push for a strong federal anti-corruption body, champion donations and lobbying reform, and protect Australia’s various accountability institutions, including the media.

How Australia trashed its legacy in Timor-Leste
Sophie Raynor – Crikey – 26 July 2019
It’s almost 20 years since Australia led peacekeepers into the country but our true relationship is one threaded with manipulation, deception, bullying and greed.

Thou Shalt Not Covet Thy Neighbour’s Continental Shelf: Australia’s Timor Sea Maritime Boundary
Vivian Louise Forbes – Future Directions International – 25 Jul 2019
Ms Forbes believes that the Government of Australia was pressured to forfeit its ‘seabed rights’ in the name of ‘equitable principles’ and ‘social justice’, regardless of the fact that geographical reality and the ‘special circumstances of the case’ that are perceived to apply in this instance were totally disregarded. That said, Australia had apparently nailed itself into the “coffin-shaped” Timor Gap Treaty’s Zone of Co-operation over the continental shelf issue in 1989 and again on 14 March 1997, when it signed in Perth an Agreement with Indonesia relating to certain maritime boundaries. Finally, successive governments were persuaded, even pressured, to accede to demands from Timor-Leste for a larger proportion of Australia’s continental shelf and access to the hydrocarbon reserves contained therein, in agreements during 2002, 2006, 2013 and 2018. (Report has to be downloaded.)

Attorney-General not rethinking spy case
Marnie Banger – AAP – 24 July 2019

Bernard Collaery and Witness K ‘heroes’: Greens Senator Nick McKim
Kirsten Lawson, Alexandra Back – The Canberra Times – 16 July 2019

Timor spying
Juanite Phillips, Greg Jennett, Emma Alberici
Media Watch – ABC – 2 July 2018

Lawyer and witness face charges under spy laws, raising questions of openness and accountability
Professor Clinton Fernandes – ADFA – 2 July 2018
As lawyer Bernard Collaery and his client face criminal charges regarding the Australian Secret Intelligence Service, there are many more questions to be answered in this case.


June 2019

Timor debt ‘could open door to China navy’
Ben Packham – The Australian – 25 June 2019

Federal senator lashes attempt to shut down media and whistleblowers
Senator Rex Patrick – Sydney Morning Herald – 9 June 2019

Whistleblower protections ‘a sham’, says lawyer whose leaks led to ABC raids
Christopher Knause – The Guardian – 6 June 2019

Shooting the Messengers
Hamish McDonald – Inside Story – 6 June 2019

The raid on the ABC shows we need a law to protect journalists and their sources
Peter Greste – The Guardian – 6 June 2019
Parliament has passed a slew of national security laws that limit and even criminalise the fundamental work of the press.

The AFP media raids aim to suppress the truth. Without it we head into the heart of darkness
Richard Flanagan – The Guardian – 5 June 2019

Bernard Collaery on ABC radio with Linda Mottram
ABC  –
5 June 2019

Witness K lawyer says raids on media show Australia becoming ‘oppressive democracy’
Christopher Knause – The Guardian – 5 June 2019


May 2019

ABC missing in action on Witness K and Bernard Collaery persecution
Bernard Keane – Crikey – 30 May 2019

How the Witness K/Collaery case is being delayed into oblivion
Bernard Keane – Crikey – 25 May 2019
Inordinate delays mean justice is being denied.

We prosecute whistleblowers who expose government misconduct
Paul Gregoire – The Big Smoke – 8 May 2019

April 2019

Australia will pay back Timor-Leste’s oil revenue, Jose Ramos-Horta says.
Helen Davidson – The Guardian – 21 April 2019
Former president says he has faith his country’s far richer neighbour will not quarrel over revenue it wrongly received.

Bernard’s Bugbears
Richard Ackland  – Gadfly: The Saturday Paper –  20 April 2019   Here’s a pdf.

All about the oil: a history of Australia’s relationship with Timor-Leste
Kishor Napier-Raman – Crikey – 17 April 2019    Here’s a pdf.
Australia views itself as Timor-Leste’s liberator. But the reality is that Timor-Leste has suffered for decades because of Australia’s pursuit of oil revenue above all else.

Australia accused of ‘siphoning’ millions in Timor-Leste oil revenue
Helen Davidson – The Guardian – 16 April 2019

A Disturbing Book Launch
Report of Launch of Professor Clinton Fernandes’ book “Island Off the Coast of Asia”
Launched by Bernard Collaery at Monte St Angelo, North Sydney 13 April 2019

Kafka in Australia: the trial of Witness K
Susan Connelly – Eureka Street –6 April 2019

March 2019

Former judge says delays in Witness K case an ‘abandonment’ of open and fair justice
Christopher Knause – The Guardian – 27 March 2019
Anthony Whealy says the attorney general must explain secrecy and delays in case stemming from Timor-Leste bugging. “If the material is so significant a danger to national security if disclosed, then the result should be that the proceedings are abandoned,”  Judge Whealy said.

How the Witness K/Collaery case is being delayed into oblivion
Bernard Keane – Crikey – 25 March 2019    Here is a pdf.
How the major Australian political manipulation of law and justice, and how we are all being duped.


February 2019

East Timor spy scandal: Jury could hear Collaery, Witness K case
Alexandra Back – The Canberra Times – 28 February, 2019
An account of the secret hearing on 28 February, which signalled another secret hearing in August.

Secret Trials: The illegal bugging of the Timor Leste Cabinet and the extraordinary prosecution of Bernard Collaery and Witness K
Ernst Willheim – 7 February 2019
Australians reading about secret trials in foreign countries tend to content themselves in the belief that in Australia we have an open court system and an independent judiciary. After all, freedom of speech, the rule of law and an open and independent court system are basic bulwarks of our democracy. Aren’t they? This brief paper challenges that comfortable assumption.


January 2019

Our intelligence agencies are out of control – an edited repost
John Menadue – Pearls and Irritations – 17 January 2019

Witness K case: prosecutors dump brief of evidence on last working day of legal year
Christopher Knause – The Guardian – 9 January 2019


December 2018

Suppression orders and lawyers’ arrogance undermine democracy
Bernard Keane – Crikey – 13 December 2018
The resort to suppression orders by our courts undermines faith in the legal system and is used by the legal industry to avoid scrutiny.

Witness K and Bernard Collaery have been named Person of the Year by
Crikey – 19 December 2018

November 2018

“Australia’s Watergate” set for trial over East Timor spying claims
Jamie Smyth – Financial Times – 1 November 2018
The trial of a former Australian spy could shed light on allegations that Canberra used its intelligence services to defraud its impoverished neighbour East Timor during talks over gas contracts worth up to $40bn.

The controversial law that will decide the future of the Witness K trial
Madeleine Miller – Crikey – 15 November 2018
The Witness K and Bernard Collaery case could well continue behind closed doors, prompting great concern over their right to a fair trial. But who gets to make the decision?

Government goes all out to hide the trial of K and Collaery from public
Bernard Keane and Clinton Fernandes – Crikey – 8 November, 2018
The government is trying dirty tricks in its efforts to prevent the public from knowing about its persecution of Witness K and Bernard Collaery.

Witness K lawyers in fight to head off closed court hearing
Paul Karp – The Guardian – 7 November 2018
Lawyer Bernard Collaery and Witness K are being prosecuted for disclosing that Australia spied on East Timor-Leste.


October 2018

Meet the Timor-Leste 12 who could benefit from the Witness K cover-up
Bernard Keane – Crikey – 28 October 2018   Here is a pdf.
Meet them:
Alexander Downer, John Howard, Julia Gillard, Bob Carr, Mark Dreyfus, David Irvine, Nick Warner, Woodside Petroleum, Sarah McNaughton, Christian Porter, George Brandis and Margaret Twomey.

Sharma Chameleon
Tips and Rumours – Crikey – 19 October 2018   Here’s a pdf.

The fight to keep the Witness K case secret
“The initial focus of the government’s case against Witness K and Bernard Collaery – resuming hearings this month – is on the fight to keep its potentially embarrassing proceedings confidential.”
Jonathan PearlmanThe Saturday Paper -13 October 2018   Here is a pdf.

Government sat on Witness K evidence for three years despite advice
Steve Cannane – ABC News –  6 October 2018

Witness K scandal part of a long history of pandering to resource companies
Bernard Keane –  Crikey – 5 October 2019
The Witness K scandal and attempts to cover it up show how there has been bipartisan agreement to let commercial interests dictate Australia’s foreign policy.

September 2018

Senator asks why prosecutors sat on Witness K evidence for three years
Christopher KnauseThe Guardian – 20 September 2018

Labor MP Julian Hill criticises Witness K prosecution
Katharine Murphy – The Guardian – 19 September 2018

Labor has serious questions to answer about Witness K
Bernard Keane Crikey -19 September 2018

As Witness K trial opens, there are questions over secrecy
Clinton FernandesThe Conversation -13 September 2018

As Witness K trial opens, questions over how much of Timor-Leste spying case to keep secret from public
Clinton Fernandes – The Conversation -13 September 2018

As politicians frolic, the Witness K scandal unfolds
Bernard KeaneCrikey – 13 September 2018
It is a denial of justice to make defendants wait over 12 months before even preliminary matters are decided.

Witness K scandal: Case makes first appearance in court
Alexandra BackCanberra Times – 12 September 2018


August 2018

NSW Labor to oppose “inappropriate” prosecution of spy Witness K and his lawyer
Christopher Knause – The Guardian – 14 August 2018

A spying scandal exposes Australia’s immoral behavior toward East Timor
Ramesh Thakur and Richard Butler  –The Washington Post – 11 August 2018
A brief history of the events, mentioning Andrew Wilkie and Malcolm Turnbull   Here is a pdf.


July 2018

The shaky case for prosecuting Witness K and his lawyer in the Timor-Leste spying scandal
John Braithwaite – The Conversation – 24 July 2018
Current focus on government hypocrisy has neglected the accountability of the director of public prosecutions, Sarah McNaughton.

Australia urged to drop Witness K prosecution due to ‘chilling effect’ on democracy
Christopher Knause – The Guardian – 24 July 2018
Spy and his lawyer should not be prosecuted for exposing ‘wrongful practices by the government’, advocates say.

Plot thickens in East Timor Espionage Scandal
John Menadue – Independent Australia – 12 July 2020

Kangaroos and Crocodies: The Timor Sea Treaty of 2018
David Dixon – 11 July 2018

The dark politics of the Timor spy case
Mike Seccombe – The Saturday Paper – 7 July 2018

Dreyfus and Carr revealed bugging first — so why have K and Collaery been charged?
Bernard Keane – Crikey –  3 July, 2018
The involvement of the Labor Party somewhat explains its reluctance to stand up for the truth.

Media Watch Episode
Media Watch – ABC TV – 2 July 2018    Here’s a pdf.
“So it was a Watergate situation. They broke in and they bugged, in a total breach of sovereignty, the cabinet room, the ministerial offices of then prime minister (Mari) Alkitiri (sic) and his government. They placed clandestine listening devices in the ministerial conference room…” (The Australian, 29 May, 2013).

Federal prosecution of Witness K and his lawyer is a disgraceful act of revenge
David Dixon – Sydney Morning Herald – 1 July 2018
“Their real offence was not breaching secrecy, but embarrassing Australia and encouraging East Timor to push for the treaty on maritime boundaries which was signed earlier this year.”

Article includes: No doubt fearing that action against Witness K and Collaery would jeopardise the treaty, the Australian government waited until it was signed, then sought revenge. It did so just as the Parliament passed the National Security Legislation Amendment (Espionage and Foreign Interference) Bill, which includes “economic relations with another country” within its expansive definition of national security, further restricting public access to information.  Pdf here.

June 2018

Collaery prosecution targets ABC but strangely misses News Corp
Bernard Keane – Crikey – 29 June, 2018
ABC journalists are mentioned regarding the charges, but not a NewsCorp journalist, who also interviewed Collaery. Why would that be?

Lawyer and witness face charges under spy laws raising questions of openness and accountability
Clinton Fernandes – The Conversation – 29 June 2018

Top lawyers jump to the defence of former Australian spy Witness K
Nick O’Malley – Sydney Morning Herald – 29 June 2018

Andrew Wilkie MP announces the prosecutions of “Witness K” and Bernard Collaery in Parliament
27 June 2018     5 Minutes   Read pdf here.

March 2018

The Timor-Leste-Australia Maritime Boundary Treaty
La’o Hamutuk – 21 March 2018


Espionage against East Timor and the need for Parliamentary oversight
This article discusses allegations of espionage against the government of East Timor and analyses the weakness of
legislative oversight of Australia’s intelligence agencies. If suggests a means of rectifying this weakness.
Clinton Fernandes – Alternative Law Journal – 2017  PDF.

December 2017

Keane: no politician has the spine to stand up to Australia’s intelligence state
Bernard Keane – Crikey – 21 December 2017
“For anyone foolish enough to seek employment within the dark recesses of the Australian security state, it is important to know that if ASIS undertakes an illegal, immoral activity that has a result of benefiting a corporation for which key officials will go on to work, they need to stay silent. Do not go to the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security. Do not approach a lawyer. Do not seek to defend your basic rights. Above all, do not tell the truth. Maintain the darkness within which this bureaucratic banality — and perhaps venality — of evil thrives.”

Anzac Day 2017: Exhibit honours Timorese boys who risked their lives for Australian commandos
James Dexter from the WA Museum talks about the “criados” in Timor Leste in WWII.
Emma Wynne – ABC Radio Perth – 24 April 2017


November 2015

“Matter of death and life”: Espionage in East Timor and Australia’s diplomatic bungle
Steve Cannane, Sashka Koloff and Brigid Andersen – ABC News – 26 November 2015

June 2015

National security, legal professional privilege, and the Bar Rules
Bernard Collaery – Address at the Australian National University –  11 June 2015

Australia to return East Timor documents ASIO seized during raid
Sam Everingham  – ABC News – 4 May 2015



August 2014

Government wants East Timor spy charged
Tom Allard – The Sydney Morning Herald – 31 August 2014


March 2014

Drawing the Line
Marian Wilkinson and Peter Cronau – Four Corners, ABC TV – 17 March 2014
Click here for pdf.

International Court of Justice  – Press Release – 3 March 2014
The Court finds that Australia shall ensure that the content of the seized material is not used to the disadvantage of Timor-Leste


February 2014

Intelligence watchdog Vivienne Thom to testify at East Timor hearings
Philip Dorling  – The Sydney Morning Herald – 3 February 2014
Australia’s chief intelligence watchdog has been drawn into a legal battle over government claims that Australia’s relations with Indonesia are too fragile to allow the release of secret archives about military operations and war crimes in East Timor.

Letter from Timor Leste
Alexander Downer, Adelaide Review –February 2014
Downer comments on the “unreliability” of the Timorese and feels sad after all he did for them.

Did the walls have ears?
Hagar Cohen – ABC Background Briefing  – 23 February 2014

January 2014

Would East Timor documents upset Indonesia?
Thea Cowie – SBS – 31 January 2014
The Department of Foreign Affairs documents are believed to contain some information about a major Indonesian military offensive in the early 1980s which reportedly ended in the massacre of several hundred East Timorese civilians.

Brandis moves to protect what Australia knew of Indonesian war crimes
Philip Dorling – The Sydney Morning Herald – 28 January 2014
Federal Attorney-General George Brandis has moved to block the release of secret archives that would reveal the Australian government’s knowledge of Indonesian war crimes in East Timor.

A Timeline of Events Leading up to Timor-Leste’s ICJ Claim Against Australia
The View from LL2 – 25 January 2014     Here is a pdf.

Timor-Leste rejects ‘outrageous’ claim in Australian spying dispute
Daniel Hurst – The Guardian –
23 January 2014

With friends like these …
Tom Allard – The Sydney Morning Herald – 25 January 2014
Amid claims of bullying and spying, an international court must decide if Australia has acted fairly in its dealings with East Timor, writes Tom Allard.

E Timor “put spies’ lives at risk”
Paul Cleary – The Australian ­– 24 January 2014

Timor pours oil on spy fire
Paul Cleary – The Australian – 24 January 2014

UN Court hears ET case against Australia
SBS Radio 23 January 2014

ASIO raids: Australia concedes bid to block former spy from giving evidence in East Timor case
Tom Allard – Sydney Morning Herald
 23 January 2014

ASIO Took It – But Was It Timor’s or Australia’s
Eric Ellis – Global Mail – 22 January 2014

Ghosts and Memory Sticks
Eric Ellis – Global Mail – 22 January 2014

East Timor’s Case in the ICJ: Will the Court Decide Whether Spying
Violates International Law?
Ashley Deeks – Lawfare – 22 January 2014

East Timor calls on The Hague to condemn ASIO raids
Tom Allard – The Sydney Morning Herald – 21 January 2014
George Brandis vows not to read documents ASIO seized

How Canberra and Woodside `bugged’ Timor PM to strip fledgling nation of oil billions
Paul Cleary –The Australian – 6 January 2014
When Australian workmen turned up with an enormous crane to renovate and reinforce the office of the East Timor prime minister in early 2004,they looked like Paul Hogan in his bridge – painting days as they donned “stubby” shorts and ragged shirts with sleeves cut off.

George Brandis’ security clean-up leaves out messy questions
Richard Ackland – The Sydney Morning Herald– 3 January 2014
Court Hears East Timor Case Against ASIO Swoop



December 2013

Australia accused of playing dirty in battle with East Timor over oil and gas reserves
Tom Allard – The Sydney Morning Herald – 28 December 2013
Spies undercover as aid workers ….Spies raiding spies ….The Timor Sea’s rich oil and gas deposits are at the heart of the latest espionage saga.

International Court of Justice – Press Release – 20 December 2013
The court tells Australia “to refrain from any act which might cause prejudice to the rights of …Timor-Leste..”

World Court  to shine light on E.Timor-Australia row
Australian Associated Press
 – 18 December 2014
“It’s simple: we’re asking for our documents back. Australia has unlawfully taken documents that are rightfully the property of Timor-Leste,” government spokesman Agio Pereira told AFP ahead of Monday’s hearing.

Aid used as front for spying: East Timor
Leo Shanahan – The Australian – 11 December 2013

East Timor claims it know which Australian spies bugged its offices
Tom Allard – The Sydney Morning Herald – 9 December 2013

East Timorese stone Australian embassy
The Age – 6 December 2013

Stoush over alleged Australian spying on East Timor has a long history
Donald K. Anton – The Sydney Morning Herald – 6 December 2013

What really happened in the Timor deal
Editorial – The Age -5 December 2013

Lest Timor forget, we have our national interests too
The Australian –
5 December 2013
Classic NewsCorp whinge.

East Timor spying scandal: Tony Abbott defends ASIO raids on lawyer Bernard Collaery’s offices
ABC News – 4 December 2013

ASIO raids lawyer on eve of Hague spying case
National Affairs Editor – The Sydney Morning Herald – 4 December 2013

ASIO raids office of lawyer Bernard Collaery over East Timor spy claim
Tom Allard –The Sydney Morning Herald – 3 December 2013


November 2013

Timor-Leste spying claims: Australia has a history of bugging its neighbour
Paul Daley – The Guardian – 29 November 2013


May 2013

Aussie spies accused of bugging Timor cabinet
Leo Shanahan – The Australian – 29 May 2013


October 2005

Defence accused of attempting to stop critical book
Nick McKenzie – ABC AM – 13 October 2005
Concerning the government’s efforts to stop the publicationof Professor Clinton Fernandes’ book “Reluctant Saviour”.