CONFIDENTIAL emails between top AFP agents and a senior public servant advising Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews indicate that there was a secret plan to thwart a decision by a magistrate to release then terror suspect Mohamed Haneef on bail. The emails show the AFP was aware of a weekend "contingency" plan to ensure the Indian doctor would remain behind bars by having Mr Andrews revoke his visa under the Migration Act in the event of bail being granted by Brisbane magistrate Jacqui Payne on the following Monday.
This goes back to what I was saying earlier about public confidence in politicians. I don't know a single person - not a single one - who will be surprised by this revelation, or whose opinion of either Kevin Andrews or the Australian Federal Police will change as a result. We know now, after all, that the 'contingency' did arise, and that Andrews did revoke Haneef's visa. In doing so, he was merrily disregarding, constitutionally speaking, the longstanding principle of separation of powers, and functionally speaking, the even longer-standing principle of habeas corpus. Here's a rule of thumb: if you think what you're proposing might contravene the Magna frigging Carta, you ought to consider the possibility that it's a very bad idea.
Not Kevin the Lesser, though. He's adamant that he and his department acted impeccably throughout the Haneef case. Labor's Tony Burke, who at the time couldn't support Andrews quickly or loudly enough, is calling for a judicial inquiry, presumably one unaffected by political interference. And so the world turns: the outraged among us grow a little more outraged, the minister concerned ducks for cover, and the apathetic continue not knowing or caring. Plus ça change.