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Bernard's Story

Between 1989 – 91, Bernard Collaery was the Deputy Chief Minister and Attorney General of the ACT. As a lawyer, he would go on to represent the victims of the 1997 Thredbo landslide and 2003 Canberra bushfires. In December 2013, ASIO raided the home of Bernard Collaery. His crime? Embarrassing the Government. Collaery was working on a case that threatened to expose how Australian officials had illegally bugged the offices of Timor-Leste’s Government during negotiations over the country’s underwater petroleum and gas reserves.

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For exposing this, he has been charged with breaching the Intelligence Services Act – legislation intended to stop officials leaking intelligence related to national security. We now know that the operation had nothing to do with national security. Instead, it was about gaining an unfair advantage over Timor-Leste’s Government during commercial negotiations – a misuse of Australia’s intelligence services on behalf of the fossil fuel industry.

Instead of punishing those responsible, the Government is targeting Collaery for exposing their crime. The prosecution is an attack on the rule of law and an abuse of national security powers. If successful, it will set a dangerous precedent for future whistle blowers, and anyone who seeks to hold governments accountable for their actions.

Support Bernard

1. Sign Petition
2. Write a Letter
3. Donate

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Write A Letter

One of the most affective actions you can take is to write a personalised letter or email to your local member of Parliament, asking them to use their power to raise Mr Collaery’s prosecution in the House and with the Attorney General. Pro forma and duplicate emails have little effect now and are generally spammed. Use your own words.

Read Our Letter Guide Below:

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Paragraph 1 – Introduce yourself: State that you are a member of the electorate and indicate the connections you have in the community or to them if relevant.

Paragraph 2 – Introduce the issue: Your letter should be as short and to the point as possible. State why you believe the prosecution of Mr Collaery is unjust. Keep these points in mind.  You don’t need to use them all.

  • The bugging of the Timorese government was a shameful act unbecoming of Australians.
  • The prosecution of Mr Collaery undermines our international reputation as an open and fair democracy.
  • National security legislation should not be used to punish whistleblowers or people who act with moral integrity deny.
  • The public has a right to know what happened in Timor-Leste and to hold our government to account for those actions.

Paragraph 3 – Why this matters to you: We encourage you to personalise your letter in some small way as this will have a greater impact.

Paragraph 4 – What you want them to do: Finish the letter by asking your MP to raise this issue in the House and with the Attorney General at every opportunity.

Paragraph 5: Provide your contact details: Includes your first and last name, phone number, and email address, for any follow-up contact.

An old school letter in the mail is the gold standard communication with an MP.  Your local member’s postal address can be found here https://electorate.aec.gov.au/.  Emails can be sent from the form in the next column.


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“This act… shows that the government will use anything to pursue Australia’s commercial interests in relations with its neighbours, even if it violates international law” – MKOTT

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