Leaders spar over Haneef apologyOn 08/30/2019 by admin
It\’s clear someone should apologise to Mohamed Haneef, but Australia\’s politicians are again finding “sorry” a hard word to say.
A report by retired NSW Supreme Court judge John Clarke has found the Indian-born doctor was wrongly charged and wrongly detained in Brisbane last year over suspected links to terrorist acts in the UK.
The Australian Greens say both sides of politics should apologise to the former terror suspect who was held in custody for nearly two weeks without charge.
“This man deserves an unreserved apology from the current and former Australian governments for the treatment he endured,” Greens legal affairs spokesman Scott Ludlam said.
But both major parties are refusing to say the “s” word.
Labor says it wasn\’t in power when the case was bungled, and the coalition says the Clarke report proves it\’s got nothing to apologise for.
\’It\’s Andrews who deserves the apology\’
The Liberals have even gone so far as to say former immigration minister Kevin Andrews – who cancelled Dr Haneef\’s visa – is the one deserving an apology.
The Clarke report clears Mr Andrews of any improper behaviour but suggests he didn\’t “reflect deeply enough” on what was a “rambling brief” from his department.
Mr Andrews also failed to properly investigate conflicting information from ASIO and the Australian Federal Police (AFP).
Opposition legal affairs spokesman George Brandis says Prime Minister Kevin Rudd should apologise to the former Howard government minister.
“There is nothing in the report to suggest that any conduct by any member of the former government calls for an apology,” Senator Brandis said.
“(Mr Rudd) clearly and repeatedly sought to trash Mr Andrews\’ public reputation … the prime minister owes Mr Andrews an apology.”
Political leaders \’must accept responsibility\’
Attorney-General Robert McClelland says political leaders and agency heads must accept responsibility for errors that occurred on their watch.
But asked whether an apology should be made to Dr Haneef, he said that question should be addressed to members of the former coalition government.
Mr Andrews thinks he\’s been wronged.
He says the Australian people expected him to act and he did so “courageously”.
“For the past 18 months, Dr Haneef\’s lawyers and some other commentators have suggested that in cancelling the temporary work visa of Dr Haneef I had acted improperly as part of a government conspiracy to detain him,” Mr Andrews said in a statement.
“These suggestions have been categorically rejected by the Clarke inquiry.”
He also puzzlingly referred to the Mumbai terror attacks, saying they were a timely reminder “that we cannot be complacent about national security”.
Dr Haneef\’s Melbourne-based lawyer Stephen Keim says far from being offered an apology, Mr Andrews should be barred from ever again holding a senior government post.
The Clarke report showed Mr Andrews “has neither the will nor the intellectual capacity” to hold any senior public position in the future, Mr Keim said.
As for the man at the centre of the controversy, Dr Haneef says an apology, from anyone, “would be very handy”.
But if a “sorry” isn\’t forthcoming, monetary compensation might be the next best thing.
Dr Haneef\’s Brisbane-based lawyer, Peter Russo, says his client will now examine whether he is eligible for compensation.