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ADFA 'secret' report leaked already

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ADFA 'secret' report leaked already

March 9, 2012

In what will go down in history as a new low for the Gillard Government, the previously unreleased Kirkham Report into the handling of the ADFA Skype incident has been selectively given to a television network.

Shadow Defence Minister David Johnston today said that after taking great pains to explain the legal and privacy reasons behind keeping the Kirkham Report out of the public domain, it appears someone in the Defence Minister’s office or the Department saw fit to leak the secret report less than 24 hours later.

“It is extraordinary in a week where the Defence Minister faced a barrage of criticism for not apologising to Bruce Kafer, whose removal from ADFA 12 months ago was found to have no legal basis, Channel 10 are given a copy of what was apparently a confidential and legally sensitive report,” Senator Johnston said.

“The Defence Minister needs to explain what is going on. His Department is trusted with the most top secret, classified documents yet in this case they can’t hold onto a report that was so important according to the Minister to keep confidential that he couldn’t release it to the rest of the media or the public just two days ago.”

Senator Johnston said 12 months ago Stephen Smith decided to turn the Skype incident into a political statement about his absolute authority as the Defence Minister.

His own inquiry found that Commandant Kafer, a highly regarded senior military officer,

should be reinstated to ADFA yet the Minister refuses to accept the findings of an independent judicial officer of his choosing in Andrew Kirkham QC.

“Now it just so happens that the secret report is leaked to Channel 10 in what is clearly a ham fisted attempt to paint Stephen Smith in a better light after a very ordinary week,” Senator Johnston said.

“I call on Defence to immediately launch an investigation on exactly where this report was leaked from and whether or not it came from the Minister’s office.”