Australia bans reporting of multi-nation corruption case involving Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam
Today, 29 July 2014, WikiLeaks releases an unprecedented Australian censorship order concerning a multi-million dollar corruption case explicitly naming the current and past heads of state of Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam, their relatives and other senior officials. The super-injunction invokes “national security” grounds to prevent reporting about the case, by anyone, in order to “prevent damage to Australia’s international relations”. The court-issued gag order follows the secret 19 June 2014 indictment of seven senior executives from subsidiaries of Australia’s central bank, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA). The case concerns allegations of multi-million dollar inducements made by agents of the RBA subsidiaries Securency and Note Printing Australia in order to secure contracts for the supply of Australian-style polymer bank notes to the governments of Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam and other countries.
The suppression order lists 17 individuals, including “any current or former Prime Minister of Malaysia”, “Truong Tan San, currently President of Vietnam”, “Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (also known as SBY), currently President of Indonesia (since 2004)”, “Megawati Sukarnoputri (also known as Mega), a former President of Indonesia (2001–2004) and current leader of the PDI-P political party” and 14 other senior officials and relatives from those countries, who specifically may not be named in connection with the corruption investigation.
The document also specifically bans the publication of the order itself as well as an affidavit affirmed last month by Australia’s representative to ASEAN Gillian Bird, who has just been appointed as Australia’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations. The gag order effectively blacks out the largest high-level corruption case in Australia and the region.
The last known blanket suppression order of this nature was granted in 1995 and concerned the joint US-Australian intelligence spying operation against the Chinese Embassy in Canberra.
WikiLeaks’ publisher Julian Assange said about the order:
“With this order, the worst in living memory, the Australian government is not just gagging the Australian press, it is blindfolding the Australian public. This is not simply a question of the Australian government failing to give this international corruption case the public scrutiny it is due. Foreign Minister Julie Bishop must explain why she is threatening every Australian with imprisonment in an attempt to cover up an embarrassing corruption scandal involving the Australian government.”
“The concept of ‘national security’ is not meant to serve as a blanket phrase to cover up serious corruption allegations involving government officials, in Australia or elsewhere. It is in the public interest for the press to be able to report on this case, which concerns the subsidiaries of the Australian central bank. Who is brokering our deals, and how are we brokering them as a nation? Corruption investigations and secret gag orders for ‘national security’ reasons are strange bedfellows. It is ironic that it took Tony Abbott to bring the worst of ‘Asian Values’ to Australia.”
Keywords: Australia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Supreme Court of Victoria, Justice Hollingworth, DFAT, AFP, DPP, Thomas Brady, Peter Sinclair Hutchinson, John Leckenby, Steven Kim Wong, Christian Boillot, Clifford John Gerathy, Myles Andrew Curtis, Mohammad Najib Abdul Razak, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Pak Lah, Puan Noni, Mahathir Mohamed, Daim Zainuddin, Rafidah Aziz, Hamid Albar, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, SBY, Megawati Sukarnoputri, Laksamana Sukardi, Truong Tan San, Nguyen Tan Dung, Le Duc Thuy, Nong Duc Manh, Note Printing Australia Pty Ltd, Securency, Gillian Elizabeth Bird, Reserve Bank of Australia, super-injunction, suppression order, censorship, corruption, bribery
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF VICTORIA AT MELBOURNE
S CR 2013: 0173, 0174, 0175, 0215
S CR 2014: 0047, 0048, 0049, 0058, 0079, 0080
BARRY THOMAS BRADY & ORS
GENERAL FORM OF ORDER
|JUDGE:||The Honourable Justice Hollingworth|
|DATE MADE:||19 June 2014|
|HOW OBTAINED:||Oral application, following the giving of notice under s 10 of the Open Courts Act 2013 (Vic)|
|ATTENDANCE:||Dr S Danaghue QC and Mr J Forsaith for the Commonwealth of Australia (instructed by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade)
Mr J Forsaith for the Commissioner of the Australian Federal Police
Mr N Robinson QC and Mr K Armstrong for the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions
Mr M Cahill for Barry Thomas Brady
Mr C Mandy for Peter Sinclair Hutchinson
Mr C Thomson for John Leckenby
Mr P Tehan QC for Steven Kim Wong
Mr P Higham for Christian Boillot and Clifford John Gerathy
Ms M Fox for Myles Andrew Curtis
THE COURT ORDERS THAT:
- Subject to further order, there be no disclosure, by publication or otherwise, of any information (whether in electronic or paper form) derived from or prepared for the purposes of these proceedings (including the terms of these orders, and the affidavit of Gillian Elizabeth Bird affirmed on 12 June 2014) that reveals, implies, suggests or alleges that any person to whom this order applies:
- received or attempted to receive a bribe or improper payment;
- acquiesced in or was wilfully blind as to any person receiving or attempting to receive a bribe or improper payment; or
- was the intended or proposed recipient of a bribe or improper payment.
- Subject to further order, order 1 applies to the following persons:
- any current or former Prime Minister of Malaysia (including refereces to ‘PM’);
- any current or former Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia (including references to ‘DPM’);
- any current or former Finance Minister of Malaysia (including references to ‘FM’);
- Mohammad Najib Abdul Razak, currently Prime Minister (since 2009) and Finance Minister (since 2008) of Malaysia;
- Abdullah Ahmad Badawi (also known as Pak Lah), a former Prime Minister (2003 – 2009) and Finance Minister (2003 – 2008) of Malaysia;
- Puan Noni (also knows as Ms/Madame Noni, or Nonni), a sister-in-law of Abdullah Ahmad Badawi;
- Mahathir Mohamed, a former Prime Minister (1981 – 2003) and Finance Minister (2001 – 2003) of Malaysia;
- Daim Zainuddin, a former Finance Minister of Malaysia (1984 – 1991; 1999 – 2001);
- Rafidah Aziz, a former Trade Minister of Malaysia (1987 – 2008);
- Hamid Albar, a former Minister for Foreign Affairs (1999 – 2008) and Minister of Home Affairs (2008 – 2009) of Malaysia;
- Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (also known as SBY), currently President of Indonesia (since 2004);
- Megawati Sukarnoputri (also known as Mega), a former President of Indonesia (2001 – 2004) and current leader of the PDI-P political party;
- Laksamana Sukardi, a former Indonesian minister (2001 – 2004; in Megawati Sukarnoputri’s goverment);
- Truong Tan San, currently President of Vietnam (since 2011);
- Nguyen Tan Dung, currently Prime Minister of Vietnam (since 2006);
- Le Duc Thuy, a Former Chairman of the National Financial Supervisory Committee (2007 – 2011) and a former Governor of the State Bank of Vietnam (1999 – 2007); and
- Nong Duc Manh, a former General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam (2001 – 2011).
- Subject to further order, order 1 does not prevent:
- disclosures to and among Commonwealth officers (as defined by s 3 of Crimes Act 1914 (Cth)) or international investigators, international prosecuting authorities, and other like international entities;
- provision by the Court to registered media organisations, under cover of a notice referring to the existence of these orders, of transcript and exhibits (which, for the avoidance of doubt, must then be treated in accordance with order 1 above);
- provision of material by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions to Note Printing Australia Pty Ltd and its legal representatives, provided any such material is provided together with a copy of these orders.
- The prohibition on publication in order 1 applies throughout Australia.
- The purpose of these orders is to prevent damage to Australia’s international relations that may be caused by the publication of material that may damage the reputations of specified individuals who are not the subject of charges in these proceedings.
- These orders are made on the grounds that they are:
- necessary to prevent a real and substantial risk of prejudice to the proper administration of justice that cannot be prevented by other reasonably available means; and
- necessary to prevent prejudice to the interests of the Commonwealth in relation to national security.
- These orders operate for a period of 5 years from the date of these orders, unless sooner revoked.
- The affidavit of Gillian Elizabeth Bird affirmed on 12 June 2014 be sealed in an envelope marked “Not to be opened without an order of the Court”, and not be opened without order of the Court.
- There be liberty to apply.
DATE AUTHENTICATED: 19 June 2014