AN INQUIRY into the Dr Mohamed Haneef affair may not go ahead under a Labor Government, despite Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd’s interest in a full judicial inquiry.
The Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) last week called for Opposition and Government commitment to an inquiry into the Australian Federal Police’s (AFP) handling of the investigation into Dr Haneef’s alleged connections to a terrorist attack on the Glasgow Airport, as well as into Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews’ cancellation of Dr Haneef’s visa.
While Kevin Rudd has been vocal in calling for an inquiry, shadow attorney-general Joe Ludwig said last week that Labor might not proceed with such an inquiry.
“If we are elected, we would work through it with the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions, the Australian Federal Police and the Department of Immigration. At the moment, we don’t have access to information held by those agencies. We don’t have the full report from the DPP. We would need to assess it and work through it.”
“It is not about an inquiry for an inquiry’s sake,” Ludwig said.
ALA president Ian Brown called the handling of Dr Haneef’s case “farcical”, and noted Andrews’ insistence that Australian Federal Police Commissioner Mick Keelty requested that the evidence be kept secret during the investigation.
Keelty has since described that evidence as “thin”.
“Recent reports that the Prime Minister interfered in the David Hicks case to the extent of involvement in the negotiating of a plea bargain are deeply disturbing and, if true, point to a government quite prepared to go to any lengths to manipulate public opinion,” Brown said in a statement.
“We are supposed to live in an open democracy and we cannot allow secrecy to take place for political gain. Dr Haneef’s life has been ruined by these charges — it is time for the government to come clean.”
Dr Haneef held a 457 business (long stay) (class UC) visa at the time of his arrest, which had enabled him to practise as doctor at Gold Coast Hospital. On 14 July he was charged with intentionally providing resources to a terrorist organisation — a UK mobile phone SIM card — to two of his second cousins who were suspects in the bombing.
Factual matters relied on by the AFP were later found to be either incorrect or possibly incorrect. All charges against Dr Haneef were dropped, he was taken into immigration detention, and elected to return to Bangalore.