Shane Rattenbury, ACT Minister for Justice and Corrections:
“I am deeply disturbed by the extraordinary levels of secrecy surrounding the ‘Witness J’ case: secrecy that is a direct result of the Commonwealth Government’s apparent growing disregard for the principles of open justice and a robust democracy.
It is especially disturbing that Canberrans, along with other Australians, only learned about this case after the fact through the media – thanks due to the restrictive to Commonwealth legislation.
It is disturbing that Canberrans, along with other Australians, only learned about this case after the fact due to the restrictive Commonwealth legislation. I include myself in this group – despite my role as Minister in a Territory Government, I was not advised in relation to this issue.
That Commonwealth agencies simply do not, or cannot, provide the public with information surrounding these matters is a clear erosion of the principles of open justice.
Canberrans, and Australians, deserve better.
I am also concerned that we’re seeing more and more cases of this kind. This only highlights the need for ongoing scrutiny of the role of the Federal agencies and their oversight of law enforcement agencies under the auspices of Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton, and the Commonwealth Attorney General Christian Porter.
The ACT Government believes in open and transparent judicial processes. There are, at times, limitations on these important and fundamental principles for a range of reasons.
The ACT justice system and the independent judiciary operated in accordance with the relevant legislation.
This case, including matters relating to non-disclosure of identity and detailers were governed by Commonwealth law and applied to specific facts by a fully independent member of the judiciary.”