Secrecy and Spying: The Trials of Bernard Collaery and Witness K

Date & time

6–7.15pm Wednesday 31 March 2021

Venue

Zoom Webinar

Contact

ANU Law Marketing
Webinar
Secrecy and Spying: The Trials of Bernard Collaery and Witness K

Witness K, a former Australian spy, and his lawyer, former ACT Attorney-General Bernard Collaery, are currently being prosecuted for breaches of the Intelligence Services Act 2001 (Cth). The allegations relate to the exposure of Australia's alleged espionage against Timor-Leste during the negotiation of a resources treaty between the two countries in the early 2000s. The prosecutions have been shrouded in secrecy and elicited considerable public controversy. They raise complex legal issues, including the legality of spying on a friendly neighbour, the invocation of national security law to keep the prosecutions secret, the role of Attorney-General Christian Porter in the prosecutorial process, and the broader impact on Australia's court system and the rule of law.

This webinar will bring together some of Australia's leading experts on civil liberties, whistleblowing and national security law to explore these issues.

Panel:
Nicholas Cowdery AO QC FAAL (Former NSW Director of Public Prosecutions; Director, Justice Reform Initiative)
Dr Rebecca Ananian-Welsh (Senior Lecturer, TC Beirne School of Law, University of Queensland)
Kieran Pender (Senior Lawyer, Human Rights Law Centre; Visiting Fellow, ANU College of Law, The Australian National University)
Pauline Wright (President, NSW Council for Civil Liberties; Immediate Past President, Law Council of Australia; Partner, PJ Donnellan & Co Solicitors)

Moderator:
Kim Rubenstein FAAL, FASSA (Professor & Co-Director, 50/50 by 2030 Foundation, University of Canberra; Honorary Professor, ANU College of Law, The Australian National University)

Speakers

  • Nicholas Cowdery AO QC FAAL »

    Former NSW Director of Public Prosecutions; Director, Justice Reform Initiative

    Nicholas Cowdery AO QC FAAL has been in criminal justice for 50 years. He was Director of Public Prosecutions for NSW from 1994 to 2011. He is a former President of the International Association of Prosecutors and was founding Co-Chair of the Human Rights Institute of the International Bar Association. He is past President of the NSW Council for Civil Liberties. He teaches criminal justice courses at universities in Sydney and is engaged in criminal law reform projects nationally and internationally. He is a director of the Justice Reform Initiative.

  • Dr Rebecca Ananian-Welsh »

    Senior Lecturer, TC Beirne School of Law, University of Queensland

    Dr Rebecca Ananian-Welsh is a constitutional law scholar and Senior Lecturer at UQ Law with combined expertise in courts, national security and press freedom. She has published widely in these fields, including two edited collections as well as articles in Australia's leading journals. In 2019, Rebecca was awarded the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia's Paul Bourke Award for Early Career Research and a UQ BEL Faculty award, in recognition of her research in national security, press freedom and fair trial rights.

  • Kieran Pender »

    Senior Lawyer, Human Rights Law Centre; Visiting Fellow, ANU College of Law, The Australian National University

    Kieran Pender is a senior lawyer at the Human Rights Law Centre, where he leads its work on whistleblower protection. Kieran is also a visiting fellow at the ANU College of Law, a consultant with Bradley Allen Love Lawyers and a writer for The Guardian and The Saturday Paper. Prior to joining the Human Rights Law Centre, Kieran was a senior legal advisor with the International Bar Association’s Legal Policy & Research Unit in London. Kieran led the IBA’s work on whistleblower protections; he coordinated Whistleblower Protections: A Guide (2018) and co-authored Are Whistleblowing Laws Working? A Global Study of Whistleblower Protection Litigation (2021). He has spoken about whistleblowing at fora including the United Nations, World Bank, European Parliament, OECD and B20.

  • Pauline Wright »

    President, NSW Council for Civil Liberties; Immediate Past President, Law Council of Australia; Partner, PJ Donnellan & Co Solicitors

    Pauline Wright returned as President of the NSW Council for Civil Liberties in January 2021 after her term as President of the Law Council of Australia. Pauline was also President of NSWCCL from October 2018 - October 2019, having been actively involved with the council since 1988 and including service as Vice President for a number of years. Pauline graduated in Arts Law in 1985 from Macquarie University. She was admitted as a Solicitor of the Supreme Court of New South Wales in 1985 and has been in private practice since then and is a principal of PJ Donnellan & Co Solicitors in Gosford. She is an accredited specialist in Local Government and Planning Law and a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

  • Kim Rubenstein FAAL, FASSA »

    Professor & Co-Director, 50/50 by 2030 Foundation, University of Canberra; Honorary Professor, ANU College of Law, The Australian National University

    Kim Rubenstein is a Professor in the Faculty of Business, Government and Law and Co Director of the 50/50 by 2030 Foundation at the University of Canberra.  A graduate of the University of Melbourne and Harvard University, she is Australia’s leading expert on citizenship, both around its formal legal status and in law’s intersection with broader normative notions of citizenship as membership and participation.  This has led to her scholarship around gender and public law, which includes her legal work and her oral history work around women lawyers’ contributions in the public sphere.  She was the Director of the Centre for International and Public law at the ANU from 2006-2015 and the Inaugural Convener of the ANU Gender Institute from 2011-2012.  She is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law and the Australia Academy of Social Sciences.

Research theme: 

People

Updated:  10 August 2015/Responsible Officer:  College General Manager, ANU College of Law/Page Contact:  Law Marketing Team