Saturday, April 2, 2011

Whistleblowing in the High Court

Justice Mary Gaudron's story,  “the first known whistleblower in High Court history”,  is told in Michael Kirby, Paradoxes and Principles , a new book by  AJ Brown and quoted in the Sydney Morning Herald April 2, 2011 p.12  AJ Brown's  book is published by Federation Press. 2011 

The whistleblowing issue concerned  fake Commonwealth car  records, on which Bill Heffernan, cabinet secretary to the prime minister at the time , had used parliamentary privilege to accuse the High Court Justice Michael Kirby, of using Commonwealth cars for  procuring young men for  sex.  Comcar had revealed through Chris Doogan registrar of the High Court that the records were fake. Doogan had in turn relayed the  information to Murray Gleeson. Chief Justice,  to Kirby himself , and later and at her request, to Mary Gaudron, also a justice of the High Court  What Gaudron was blowing the whistle on was the Chief Justice’s anger at her wish to reveal the information establishing Kirby’s innocence:”He was. furious with me…’Who do you think you are? Have you appointed yourself as Press Secretary to this court? ‘”

Gaudron believed  that Gleeson had deliberately sat on the information.  Her method of speaking out about  Kirby's innocence was to pass the information onto Laurie Brereton, a senior opposition politician, through Trish Cavanagh, Brereton’s wife, a judge and a good friend of Gaudron.  Brereton verified that the records were fake as one of them had him travelling in a Commonwealth car in Sydney when he was actually on a family holiday in Queensland. Brereton revealed that the accusations against Justice Kirby were false in parliament in  July 2002. He relied on an article in the Sun Herald the day before, which had published the fake Comcar records and against which public servants had worked furiously that Sunday to determine that every journey in the record was false.  


At April 7, 2011 at 3:00 PM , Blogger artful said...

Good posting Peter. I had begun to think you had given up on blogging. Welcome back.


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