2 whistleblowers appear in Australian court over leaks
CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Two whistleblowers have appeared in a Canberra court charged separately with leaking classified government information that alleges Australia bugged East Timor’s Cabinet and potential war crimes committed by Australian troops in Afghanistan.
Free speech demonstrators rallied outside the Australian Capital Territory Supreme Court during preliminary hearings on Thursday for lawyer Bernard Collaery and former army officer David McBride.
Both are at the center of a new campaign in Australia to wind back national security laws that infringe on press freedom and to provide legal protections for whistleblowers who expose government wrongdoing.
Collaery is charged with conspiring with a former spy to reveal classified information about an allegation that Australia bugged East Timor’s government during negotiations over the sharing of billions of dollars in oil and gas revenue in 2004.