Independent Member for Clark, Andrew Wilkie, joined Crossbench Senators and Members to discuss their letter to the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister, Attorney-General and Minister for the Public Service calling on the Federal Government to drop the charges against whistleblowers David McBride and Richard Boyle. Please see below.
“Crossbenchers from the Senate and House of Representatives stand united in calling for the Federal Government to drop the charges against David McBride and Richard Boyle,” Mr Wilkie said. “While we welcome the Government’s commitment to stronger whistleblower protections, the ongoing persecution of Mr McBride and Mr Boyle is of grave concern.
“Mr McBride helped reveal allegations of war crimes committed by Australian forces in Afghanistan, while Mr Boyle exposed egregious debt recovery practices at the Australian Taxation Office. In courageously speaking up, Mr McBride and Mr Boyle have made Australia a better place.
“It is entirely at odds with the public interest that these two men are being prosecuted. In fact, Mr McBride will be the first Australian on trial in relation to war crimes in Afghanistan. That it is a whistleblower in the dock, not an alleged war criminal, is deeply wrong.
“Our letter follows the open letter by more than 70 prominent signatories that was published in several Australian papers yesterday. Their letter underscores the growing alarm within civil society, the media and the legal profession about the mistreatment of whistleblowers in the country.
“If Mr McBride and Mr Boyle are convicted and imprisoned for speaking up and doing the right thing, then it would be a stain on Australia’s reputation and undermine our ability to call out the prosecution of dissidents and truthtellers in other countries.
“Mr McBride and Mr Boyle’s cases are exceptional and warrant the Attorney-General’s intervention under the Judiciary Act 1903. We urge the Attorney-General to exercise this executive power and end the charges. Moreover the Government must move quickly to establish a whistleblower protection agency with comprehensive jurisdiction over both the public and private sectors.”