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Thomas tells of curfew frustration -

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Thomas tells of curfew frustration

Broadcast: 30/08/2006

Reporter: Helen Brown

Jack Thomas has spoken out for the first time since being released from jail, venting his
frustration at the Government imposed curfew and treatment by the media.

Transcript

TONY JONES: Jack Thomas has spoken for the first time since being issued with a control order
earlier this week. Mr Thomas says he's not a terrorist and has never intended to mount an attack
against Australia or its allies. The interview was carried out by reporters from the Seven network,
who talked their way into the Thomas home in suburban Melbourne today. It was passed on to the ABC
as part of a pool arrangement, and Mr Thomas' lawyer now says he's angry about the way the
interview was obtained. Helen Brown reports.

HELEN BROWN: Media interest in Jack Thomas has been intense, and this morning, reporters from
Channel Seven's news and 'Today Tonight' program managed to obtain an interview.

CHANNEL SEVEN REPORTER: (Knocks on window)

WOMAN INSIDE: Who is it?

CHANNEL SEVEN REPORTER: Oh hi, it's Siobhan speaking from Channel Seven.

WOMAN INSIDE: Yes?

CHANNEL SEVEN REPORTER: I'm just hoping for a word with Jack if he's about.

WOMAN INSIDE: I beg your pardon?

CHANNEL SEVEN REPORTER: I'm wondering if Jack-

WOMAN INSIDE: Sorry, what was your name?

CHANNEL SEVEN REPORTER: It's Siobhan, from Channel Seven, and we're hoping to have a word to Jack.

WOMAN INSIDE: Oh, hang on a second, just in the shower.

CHANNEL SEVEN REPORTER: Oh, is he?

WOMAN INSIDE: Yes.

JACK THOMAS: It's just that, I'm not allowed to say anything.

WOMAN: We're not allowed to say anything.

CHANNEL SEVEN REPORTER: That was just being explained. I will give you an undertaking that I won't
ask you anything that will get you into trouble with the authorities. I've spoken to Rob, so I do
appreciate that there's some things that can and can't be said.

HELEN BROWN: Mr Thomas' lawyer, Rob Stary, says although he'd spoken to the journalists, it wasn't
about giving permission for an interview with his client. But he says that was the impression the
journalists gave to Mr Thomas and his wife. The executive producer of Today Tonight, Neil Mooney,
says the journalists knocked on the door and were invited on to the property, and did not
misrepresent the situation.

JACK THOMAS: Rob...What's the story?

CHANNEL SEVEN REPORTER: Well, why don't we, any questions that you don't want to answer, don't
answer.

JACK THOMAS: It's not that, it's just...

MALE CHANNEL SEVEN REPORTER: Is it good to be home? Just give us a second, if that's alright. Give
us a second, if that's alright. Sorry, cause I didn't realise. I just came to put the nappy in the
bin.

(To daughter) Good girl, good girl.

HELEN BROWN: In an often rambling interview, Jack Thomas said the thought of being home with his
family was the only thing that had kept him going. Mr Thomas said the accusations had hit hard and
he has post-traumatic stress disorder.

JACK THOMAS: You would've found me dangling from the end of a string if I had have been found
guilty of attacking my own country. Or any other - or anyone else's country.

HELEN BROWN: He says his detention in Pakistan drove him to breaking point.

JACK THOMAS: It's not a good look to talk about those times. It's just not good. It's just not a
good...

CHANNEL SEVEN REPORTER: What is it that upsets you?

JACK THOMAS: (Cries) Just...being home. That's what always...trying to get back here.

CHANNEL SEVEN REPORTER: So what is it about that time that upsets you the most, is it the
accusations, is it the...

JACK THOMAS: Look, it's obviously...I'm sorry Shannon, if, if you don't mind, I'm trying to get
back from breaking point.

HELEN BROWN: But he doesn't feel anger about people who don't believe him, or wonder about his
allegiances.

CHANNEL SEVEN REPORTER: So are you an Australian or a Muslim?

JACK THOMAS: I'm an Australian. Well, obviously I don't worship my country, I worship the creator
of all the worlds, the different worlds. So obviously I'm a fifth-generation Australian, I'm of
Irish descent, so what does it make me? I don't know.

HELEN BROWN: Jack Thomas said after seven months in the training camp in Afghanistan, he realised
there were evil elements in the Taliban.

JACK THOMAS: That's why we'd packed up and were ready to leave before September 11. Then, we'd had
enough. I'd had enough. I'd seen what I'd - I'd been and done what I needed to do to fulfil my, you
know - well, curiosity killed the cat, I guess. But you know, and we'd packed up ready to leave and
then two aeroplanes hit the buildings in New York and Washington. So you're trapped, I was trapped
and...basically branded.

HELEN BROWN: And denies that he's a terrorist.

JACK THOMAS: In my heart, I know I haven't done the wrong thing, alright? And I'm not opposed to or
rebellious against the Australian Government or the Australian authorities, indeed I do my best to
do all I can.

HELEN BROWN: Jack Thomas is attempting to build a business, constructing an industrial kitchen and
trying to get on with his life. And says he denounces al-Qaeda and hadn't even heard of them before
the September 11 attacks.

JACK THOMAS: Absolutely. I out and out denounce everything, everything that they do and the way
that they are doing it. Out and out. It's not the way.

HELEN BROWN: He also gave credit to his wife.

JACK THOMAS: Looking after three kids by yourself, let alone paying the mortgage and all the
bills...she's a very strong woman.

HELEN BROWN: The first court hearing in regards to Mr Thomas' interim control order is listed for
tomorrow morning. Tonight, Jack Thomas made his second visit to a police station as a condition of
those orders. Helen Brown, Lateline. Search Lateline