RESERVE BANK OFFICIALS IN DEEP CRAP
Four-time Walkley Award winning political commentator and Churchill Fellow, has returned to the fray over concern that the integrity of news dissemination is continually being threatened by a partisan media.
As Deputy Opposition Leader, Julie Bishop said that, “The revelations concerning the Reserve Bank involved serious allegations about breaches of domestic and foreign laws that, if proven, could seriously harm Australia's international reputation”.
She went on to say, ''The Government must take all necessary steps to ensure that anyone involved in corrupt behaviour or in attempting to cover up such behaviour be held accountable for their actions''.
Yesterday, details were Wikileaked of an unprecedented suppression order by the Australian Supreme Court in Melbourne, made on June 19 this year, with regards to a multi-nation, multi-million dollar corruption case involving the Reserve Bank and its subsidiaries, “Securency” and “Note Printing Australia”.
Justice Hollingworth’s suppression order forbids any disclosure, by publication or any other means, of any information relating to the court case by Australia’s media, including in electronic or paper form, ensuring complete secrecy around what promises to be the largest officially censored corruption case in Australia’s history.
Up to a dozen people have already been arrested in connection with Note Printing Australia, so what is it that we are forbidden to discuss?
Well, the order is so broad it even forbids any disclosures about the order itself and specifically commands no mention be made of an affirmed affidavit submitted to the court by a career diplomat.
It’s incredible that the suppression order itself is the subject of a suppression order.
Without knowledge of the suppression order, how are we to know what exactly has been ordered suppressed and what, already in the public domain, must be forgotten?
The senior diplomat is one of Australia's most experienced and is responsible for relations with South East Asia. The affidavit, currently held sealed by the court, must be so important that it is the subject of unprecedented judicial censorship.
The affidavit names 17 of some of the most senior officials of Asian nations including current Presidents, Prime Ministers and Finance Ministers.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported in 2011 (later to be followed up by an ABC 4 Corners’ expose) that Vietnamese Colonel Luong was suspected to have been the subject of one of the richest bribery arrangements set up by the Reserve Bank’s Securency Pty Ltd.
It is illegal for an Australian company to hire a foreign official as its paid agent
It is suggested that Colonel Luong was paid up to $A20 million, much of it in bribes, in return for Securency winning a huge contract to convert Vietnam's banknotes from paper to plastic.
But $A20 million is apparently a small amount and Colonel Luong is a small fish compared to the other names on the suppression order.
Justice Hollingworth claims the suppression order is necessary to, “prevent prejudice to the interests of the Commonwealth in relation to national security”. Hmmm.
Embarrassment and reputational damage is more likely the subject of a submission to suppress matters that should be, and have already at least partly been, in the public interest.
The disclosures in the affidavit are likely to blow a volcanic lid off endemic Asian corruption and the extent to which Australian companies are players.