Saturday, August 04, 2007

Haneef Case Review

There have been calls from the Federal Opposition and Green Parties for a judicial review of the handling of the investigation into Dr Mohamed Haneef.
Following are the "findings" a reasonable person might have made:

  • Dr Haneef was granted a 457 visa so he could work in Queensland, because there is a shortage of (hospital) doctors.
  • Although he made some comments early, Prime Minister John Howard left most of the media commenting to Attorney-General Phillip Ruddock, and Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews. This does not mean he had nothing to do with them. His office alone employs 40-odd people, and Ministers do not make comment without Mr Howard knowing what they are saying.
  • While the AFP rightly claim that intelligence information can, and does change quickly, they seem to have been reticent to incorporate changed information into questions asked of Dr Haneef'.
  • There are still allegations that AFP officers made some entries into Dr Haneef's diary, then asked him about the entries.
  • The AFP, and its officers and analysts, was under considerable political pressure because politicians kept making comments during the investigations. Perhaps, if they had been silent, as they should, a death might have been prevented.
  • AFP Commissioner Mick Keelty showed some political promise when "passing the buck" for mistakes, including blaming the media. One would hope that he remedies the causes of the mistakes in the organisation he leads.
  • There is no doubt that the Federal Government was very keen for Dr Haneef to leave the country: the case had brought significant bad press for the Federal Government, particularly in relation to the use of Section 501 (ministerial discretion) to cancel Dr Haneef's visa, and to leave it cancelled after the DPP reviewed the case and dropped all charges. That the Commonwealth Solicitor-General gave legal advice that the visa cancellation was perfectly legal, even where no case exists, highlights the need for oversight of such "Ministerial discretion".

I'm certain the Federal Government doesn't want the formal judicial review: it could only make them look worse.