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“Many Australians will be deeply disappointed to learn that Afghanistan War whistleblower David McBride has been jailed for a minimum of more than two years,” Independent Member for Clark, Andrew Wilkie said.

“It should never have come to this because Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus could have exercised his authority to intervene in the process, as I and others implored him to do repeatedly, and have the charges against Mr McBride dropped. But of course he didn’t, defending his inaction by claiming there were no extraordinary circumstances warranting overriding the Department of Defence’s pursuit of Mr McBride. This position was always nonsense, the consequence being that the first person to face a court, and the first person to be jailed, over alleged war crimes in Afghanistan is the whistleblower who took the allegations to the media.

“The sad reality is that governments hate whistleblowers and want them to go to jail, as much to punish them as to send a powerful signal to others not to speak up and reveal official misconduct. That’s why this government’s promise to deeply reform the Public Interest Disclosure Act is so far just a whole lot of hot air.”