Court windows blacked out and security cameras taped up.
That’s how whistleblower Witness K was tried and it’s how the lawyer who defended him is being tried right now.1
This is the culture of secrecy that has flourished under Scott Morrison’s government – where whistleblowers face the threat of jail for speaking out against injustice. And instead of protecting whistleblowers, this week the Morrison Government announced its intention to expand the very type of powers that silence them.2
It leaves little hope for people like David McBride, who faces jail time for blowing the whistle on alleged war crimes in Afghanistan.3 Or Richard Boyle, who faces life in prison for revealing misconduct within the Australian Tax Office.4 Or Bernard Collaery – Witness K’s lawyer – who stands trial for daring to protect whistleblowers.5
Whistleblowers are the antidote to coverup and secrecy. That’s why governments are desperate to suppress the truth, and the stories of those who reveal it – of who they are and why they spoke up. And the Morrison Government knows all too well examples of courage inspire others to act and lights a fire for proper whistleblower protections.
So, Tom – we need to tell the very stories the Morrison Government is trying to bury. With your help, we can make a documentary film featuring real-life whistleblowers – why they spoke up and what it cost them and their families. We’ll hold viewing parties around the country, make it go viral on the internet, and push for streaming services to show our film.
Tom, will you chip in $12 to fund a documentary film that shines a spotlight on whistleblower stories and the need for greater protections?
CHIP IN! ❯ https://www.getup.org.au/campaigns/democracy-55c3bc1d-01f0-407d-88c8-92dd9ce94d43/getup-s-whistleblower-film/getup-s-whistleblower-documentary
Independents and minor parties in Parliament have long championed greater whistleblower protections. Now the ALP are making election promises to question the circumstances under which Witness K and Bernard Collaery were charged.6 The political pressure for reform is clearly mounting.
But the Morrison Government is still intent on silencing their stories.
Witness K was forced to sit behind tall screens in court.7 His lawyer’s trial proceedings are done largely in secret.8 And Tom, have you even heard of Witness J, the former military intelligence officer? Witness J was tried, sentenced and imprisoned in complete secret – it was years before anyone even knew they existed.9
History shows the stories of people who risk their careers and freedom to expose injustice are powerful. They can change hearts and minds, change laws, and clean out corruption. And that’s exactly why governments want trials held in secret courts.
We owe it to individuals like this to ensure their stories are told. Over the coming months, we’ll be ramping up the campaign for stronger whistleblower protections and the public’s right to know. Your donation today will put personal stories of truth-telling at the heart of our campaign.
Tom, chip in $12 to fight back against a culture of secrecy and fight for greater whistleblower protections!
With the support of members like you, GetUp has already produced two films just this year that propelled our campaigns into the national conversation.
Morrison & Murdoch v. The ABC contrasted the coordinated anti-ABC agenda with what the public broadcaster means to families, bushfire survivors, and communities. It was seen nearly 800,000 times, making headlines by putting personal stories at the heart of the campaign to protect our ABC.
The Aftermath documentary told the stories of the people the Morrison Government forgot in the wake of the Black Summer bushfires – and lifted the lid on the the Morrison Government’s so-called ‘recovery’.
Films like these fuel the public conversation for change by telling powerful human stories. Because at the heart of it, whistleblowers are everyday people speaking up against wrongdoing in search of justice. It’s exactly what the GetUp movement is built on and this is our chance to defend it.
Chip in to fund the film now!
Chandi, Tosca, Madeleine, and Maddy on behalf of the GetUp team.
PS – Just last week, GetUp’s latest report revealed how a web of laws have been used to silence journalists and their sources – all in the name of ‘national security’. It was backed by Senator Rex Patrick, Andrew Wilkie MP, former Senator Scott Ludlam, and even shared by whistleblower David McBride, who is currently facing trial for exposing alleged war crimes in Afghanistan.
This report laid out why whistleblowers and journalists are facing prosecution in Australia. But now we need to talk about why – despite this risk – extraordinary people continue to speak out against wrongdoing. The telling of these amazing stories is critical to building public momentum for serious reform to whistleblower protections. Can you chip in $12 to ensure we protect – not prosecute – whistleblowers in Australia?
 Documents give rare insight into whistleblowing former spy Witness K, The Canberra Times, 4 July 2021.
 Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews to seek new powers for terrorist lockdown, The Australian, 12 September 2021.
 Afghanistan war crimes inquiry: Calls to drop prosecution of whistleblower David McBride, The Canberra Times, 19 November 2020.
 Prosecutors proceed with case against ATO whistleblower Richard Boyle, ABC, 29 April 2021.
 John Howard likely to give evidence at Bernard Collaery trial, Rex Patrick tells parliament, The Guardian, 11 August 2021.
 Labor announces inquiry into East Timor bugging operation if elected, The Sydney Morning Herald, 11 August 2021.
 Sailor, spy, whistleblower, grandfather: the life of Witness K revealed in court documents, The Guardian, 4 July 2021.
 Court rules key parts of Bernard Collaery trial to be held in secret, The Guardian, 26 June 2020.
 National security watchdog launches investigation into secret trial of Witness J, ABC, 2 March 2021.