Liberty Victoria says: Keelty must go

2 September 2008

LIBERTY Victoria has expressed its dismay at the behaviour of the Australian Federal Police Commissioner, Mick Keelty, and former Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews in the Haneef affair. It has called for the resignation of Commissioner Keelty. Julian Burnside QC, President of Liberty Victoria, said “It is now public knowledge that ASIO and the Queensland police informed Mr Keelty and Mr Andrews that Dr Haneef was innocent and was not related in any capacity to the events in London. Once ASIO and the Queensland Police informed Mr Keelty and Mr Andrews of Haneef’s innocence, the matter should have been dropped.”

According to Mr Burnside: “Instead both the Commissioner of Police and the Minister upgraded their attack. The police proceeded to lay charges against Dr Haneef and Mr Andrews misused his ministerial powers to keep Dr Haneef in detention after he had been released on bail. Their actions were a serious abuse of power and an attempt to mislead the public to cover the AFP’s mistakes. They deliberately sought to destroy Dr Haneef’s reputation for political purposes and electoral advantage”.

“Both men have since failed to accept any responsibility for their actions. In so doing they have displayed contempt for their offices and for the public they are required to serve. Their actions have resulted in an enormous waste of public money, $8.2 million, for an investigation they knew was disingenuous”, said Mr Burnside. “Both men cared little about the impact that their actions had on Dr Haneef or his family. Both men continued their attack knowing full well that their accusations were false. Both men should personally apologise to Dr Haneef, his family and the Australian public for their behaviour.”

Mr Burnside also said, “Australians must have faith in the Commissioner of Police to undertake his or her duties with integrity and in an impartial fashion. Mr Keelty has not displayed these qualities and should resign.” He added that Mr Andrews had displayed his unfitness for ministerial office and should never be considered for such office again. He should consider resigning from Parliament.