Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Minister Holds Info on Haneef

Federal Immigration Minister, Kevin Andrews, today said that he might not release information he used to decide to cancel Dr Mohamed Haneef's visa, even after a Migistrate had granted him bail, and the DPP subsequently reviewd that case and decided that there was none.

He says that both the British Police and the AFP say it could "jeopardise and ongoing investigation." That might, or might not, be true. The problem is that there has been a lot of redirecting blame.

Politicians and the AFP have blamed each other, and the media, but not themselves. AFP Commissioner Mick Keelty has played a political game, even giving an interview to deflect any blame onto the British Police, the DPP, the media (for covering information released to them!), and a circumspect comment on Australian politicians.

For his part, Mr Andrews said, when asked about lwhen he might be able to release information, "I don't know. I take advice."

That is probably an accurate reflection of how and why he made the decision to cancel Haneef's visa. He took advice from the Prime Minister, obtained some suitable information from the AFP, and made the decision John Howard wanted him to make.

Mr Andrews made further comments to the media that a judicial enquiry was not needed because:
"This process has been overseen by the judiciary at every step. The
investigation and the timing of it, the amount of time that people could
question Dr Haneef was all under the direction of a magistrate.
there was a bail hearing in which the magistrate made a decision.
thirdly, the director of public prosecutions personally reviews the whole case."

In saying this Mr Andrews was trying to move away from the purpose of the called-for enquiry: he does not want an investigation into his own, and the government's, actions. Nor does John Howard or Phillip Ruddock.