24 April 2007
Many would argue that the retired public servant warrants the status of hero, but instead he faces the prospect of two years jail and the disappearance of his life savings in legal fees.
His crime? He allegedly leaked to the media copies of reports detailing problems with security at Australia’s airports that had been ignored or suppressed. His alleged action eventually led to the Wheeler report prompting a massive upgrade of airport security and the expenditure of $200 million by the government to ensure greater safety for airline passengers.
Rather than being thanked for his action it would seem Allan Kessing has been pursued and prosecuted for embarrassing the government.
The case is reminiscent of the campaign to discredit senior intelligence officer Andrew Wilkie following his protest resignation at the Australian government’s decision to go to war in Iraq in the face of advice to the contrary from intelligence experts – advice that is now clearly proven to have been correct.
The case raises important issues of openness and honesty in government and demonstrates the lack of protection for those individuals like Mr Kessing who take a stand for the common good when government’s behave in a dishonest and deceitful manner.