Peter Funnell
Tuesday, 12 November 2002
Canberra Times Online Your Say


It has been said that both the SIEV 4 and SIEVX Senate Committee hearings were a waste of public funds. Not so! When elected representatives and public officials lie, deceive, obfuscate and act for base self interest they demonstrate how very easy it is to damage our democracy. There conduct has been captured on record for all time. It would be better if they were no longer holding public office!

The rottenness of SIEV 4 was demonstrated beyond the balance of probabilities. The independent review of SIEV 4 evidence, by Mr Odgers SC, concerning those few protected individuals who did not give evidence, is illuminating. Those "lucky few" can count themselves fortunate they did not have to appear. Lucky for them, unlucky for anyone concerned for truth.

Mr Odgers listed questions that might well have been asked had these people appeared and none better than - "To your knowledge, did the proximity of the election play any part in the decision not to make any public statement about what was, at the very least, the gravest doubt about the public attribution of the photographs?"

SIEVX was a different proposition. There remains some very nasty loose ends concerning a "disruption program" undertaken by our Government, through various agencies. Senator Faulkner still has some questions and they are good ones; "How is the program made accountable and to whom?", "Who pays?", "What really did happen?", "Who funded the activities?", "Who carried out the disruption?", "Who approved the disruption activities?".

I have two observations. If Labour really wanted to get to the truth of SIEV 4 there was nothing preventing them from doing so, except their future self interest. Don't blame the Government for your lack of intestinal fortitude!

If Senator Faulkner could not get answers to the SIEVX questions in committee, how on earth does he think he will do it now. Ask a question on notice?

No one has come out of SIEV 4 or SIEVX intact and plenty without honour. It's been no waste of money, rather, a valuable testimony to a frightening abuse of power and political cowardice. It has skewered the Howard Government and caught Labour short on moral courage. It remains an incomplete story that will now fuel one hundred and one masters and doctoral thesis and none of it will make it better.

Damn them all!

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