I find myself in an odd position after the latest revelations in the Haneef matter.
First we had ASIO (the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation). I quote from the Sydney Herald report:
In a damning submission to the Clarke inquiry into the handling of the case, the head of the country's main intelligence agency said it told the government there were no grounds to believe Dr Haneef was linked to, or even knew about, the botched June car bombings.
Then in quick time we had the Australian Federal Police (AFP) statement that Dr Haneef was no longer a person of interest.
The two together have unleashed a wave of criticism of AFP Commissioner Keelty, including calls for his resignation. This is where I find myself in the odd position.
The crux of my original complaints about the handling of the Haneef matter (links at the end of the post) lay in what I saw as failures in process, compassion and common sense. These held independent of the evidence in the case - here the position was still uncertain.
I now have to apply the same test to Mr Keelty in the face of the attacks upon him. It may be that the calls for his resignation are justified. But let's wait here until we have the results of the current inquiry. The current rush to judgement is not dissimilar in some ways to the process originally applied to Dr Haneef.
In all this, what the evidence is now drawing out is something that I have complained about for some time, the failures in due process under the Howard Government. Here I am using the words "due process" not in the formal legal sense, but as a descriptor of administrative processes under Mr Howard's Government.
In looking at the reports on ASIO attitudes, I was struck by the fact that Minister Andrews does not appear to have been informed of ASIO's views.
I have no reason to doubt Mr Andrew's position here. However, it opens a can of worms because we have to ask why Mr Andrews was not so informed. Yes, Mr Andrews was an accident prone Minister. Still, it was the responsibility of his advisers - political, agency and departmental - to ensure that the Minister was informed.
Unfortunately we have seen this problem before. Children Overboard comes to mind.
Returning to my opening theme, let's wait for the report of the Haneef inquiry before we form final views.
The Haneef related posts
- 25 July 2007 . Quid custodit ipsos custodes? - Who will protect us from our protectors - and ourselves?
- July 2007. Haneef Case: a failure in compassion - and common sense
- 1 August 2007. Moral Courage, Fear, Technology and the Decline of the West
- 2 November 2007. More light on the Haneef case
- 23 December 2007, Dr Haneef's Visa Reinstated
- 13 March 2008, Judicial Inquiry into the Haneef case