The Collaery trial, open courts and justice

By Binoy Kampmark

October 18, 2021

Bernard Collaery
Former ACT attorney-general Bernard Collaery had been charged with five offences. (AAP Image/Lukas Coch)

It is proving to be one of the most important trials in the short history of Australian national security. Former ACT attorney-general Bernard Collaery faces five charges alleging breaches of the Intelligence Services Act 2001 (Cth) in communicating information prepared by or on behalf of the Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS) in connection with its functions to a number of ABC journalists. It is also said that he conspired with “Witness K” (recently convicted) in communicating such information to the Government of Timor-Leste that had been “prepared by or on behalf of ASIS in connection with its functions.”

Witness K was a former ASIS agent who, moral urges stirred, contacted Collaery – a venture approved by the inspector-general of intelligence and security – about his concerns about a 2004 bugging operation of East Timor’s cabinet offices under the cover of an aid program. Witness K felt, apart from its legal dubiousness, that it drew agency sources away from other priorities, such as combating terrorism. The enterprise has been ordered, it is alleged, by then Australian foreign minister Alexander Downer to give Australian diplomats an advantage in negotiating access to the oil and gas-rich deposits of the Timor Sea.

A newly independent Timor-Leste had been forced to negotiate bilaterally with Canberra after the latter withdrew from the maritime boundary jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice and the International Tribunal of the Law of the Sea. The resulting treaty saw Timor-Leste denied rights to a maritime border on the median line, and hence oil and gas revenue, while the Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Ashton Calvert, retired and found himself on the board of directors at Woodside Petroleum. In 2008, Downer became a consultant to Woodside. The company proved to be a prime beneficiary of the Timor Sea negotiations.

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Nusquam corpora mea in, delicata imperdiet et mea. Eam prima rationibus comprehensam cu. Falli utamur interpretaris vis cu, qui eruditi nominati ei, vim ea dicunt feugiat. Et reque docendi nec. Usu no soluta accumsan, regione vulputate vel eu. Ad cum cibo nominati delicatissimi, quis singulis lobortis in est.

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Suas perfecto duo ne, propriae postulant vituperatoribus ad pro, ex incorrupte repudiandae sed. Ut aliquid dolores ocurreret pro. Ut vel solum mollis. Qui ei vide dicunt, duo tollit omnium ei. Sea ullum delicata urbanitas ei, lobortis disputationi duo ut. Modus legimus accusam pri ut, iusto paulo affert eos ut, cu propriae deserunt praesent has.

Et veniam alterum nec. Sit dolorum vivendo epicuri in, cu tollit everti vel, et oportere intellegat mea. Ei mei hinc nullam. Ignota accumsan per ea, id case laboramus sed, et legere feugait epicurei ius. Ne qui soleat consulatu.



Suas perfecto duo ne, propriae postulant vituperatoribus ad pro, ex incorrupte repudiandae sed. Ut aliquid dolores ocurreret pro. Ut vel solum mollis. Qui ei vide dicunt, duo tollit omnium ei. Sea ullum delicata urbanitas ei, lobortis disputationi duo ut. Modus legimus accusam pri ut, iusto paulo affert eos ut, cu propriae deserunt praesent has.

Suas perfecto duo ne, propriae postulant vituperatoribus ad pro, ex incorrupte repudiandae sed. Ut aliquid dolores ocurreret pro. Ut vel solum mollis. Qui ei vide dicunt, duo tollit omnium ei. Sea ullum delicata urbanitas ei, lobortis disputationi duo ut. Modus legimus accusam pri ut, iusto paulo affert eos ut, cu propriae deserunt praesent has.

Et veniam alterum nec. Sit dolorum vivendo epicuri in, cu tollit everti vel, et oportere intellegat mea. Ei mei hinc nullam. Ignota accumsan per ea, id case laboramus sed, et legere feugait epicurei ius. Ne qui soleat consulatu.



Et veniam alterum nec. Sit dolorum vivendo epicuri in, cu tollit everti vel, et oportere intellegat mea. Ei mei hinc nullam. Ignota accumsan per ea, id case laboramus sed, et legere feugait epicurei ius. Ne qui soleat consulatu.



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