ASIO spy raids: Abbott, the people don’t believe you

Prime Minister Tony Abbott.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott. Vicki Wood

PRIME Minister Tony Abbott has defended a raid on the Canberra offices of a lawyer for East Timor who alleged Australian intelligence agencies illegally listened in on negotiations over gas licences.

The lawyer, Bernard Collaery, was expected to allege, in a case East Timor is taking to The Hague, Australia had tapped the its cabinet room in 2004 to listen in on the sensitive talks.

East Timor wants to rescind a treaty it signed with Australia in 2006 which set out international boundaries covering sea gas deposits between the two countries.

The visa of a former intelligence agent who was expected to be a witness in the case has also been cancelled by Australian authorities.

Mr Abbott told reporters the moves were to ensure national security and not to interfere in the court case.


Our online readers have had plenty to say on the issue:

Ghostinthemachine: "Short story not including that the foreign minister at the time was Downer and the company that benefited the most was Woodside, now Downers employer. Now two of his former colleagues at the time, Abbot and Brandis are trying to rescue him using the term 'National Interest' and the full force of the ASIO legislation."

Centrelink-rorter: "seriously this has got to be some sort of joke being played on the Australian public. can we please have an adult in charge. every day seems to have yet another catastrophe. i fear what will be next."

Evil-monkey: "this poor excuse for a government will not be happy until they have upset all of our neighbours the quicker these idiots are turfed out the better; they are ruining Australia's reputation."

Tstevens: "John Howard used ASIO to gain information on when was the best time to invade East Timor.This is a continuation of the same kind of spying, for the same reason.The LNP pretty much stole the oil in the Timor Sea by invading East Timor and taking it away from Indonesia. Attempts by the East Timorese to get their oil back meant showing the word the truth behind John Howard's 'humanitarian' activities in their country."

Vagabond: "When a government has some thing to hide National Security is the cover all. Menzies had "Reds under the bed" Abbott has "National Security". What I'd have to question is the timing, but there you go, Brandis would not lie would he?"

Canary: "Next step, New Zealand. Well we have upset the rest of our neighbours."

Gobsmacked: "National interest". Is that another way of saying "We justify our cheating and underhanded tactics against a minor neighbour because we wan't an unfair advantage when we appear before an International Court? Was that the sound of Australia's credibility going down the drain I can hear? .

Greenwash: "George Brandis should be stood down pending the results of a judicial inquiry into this internationally embarrassing matter. It is becoming clear the only reason we went into Timor was to plunder the resources, democracy and human rights obviously had nothing to do with it. Timor continues to be so broke they can't afford to feed themselves and we cheat them out of an income. SHAME AUSTRALIA SHAME!!!!

- Have your say in the comments section below

Do you accept the raid on Bernard Collaery's office was a matter of national security?

This poll ended on 19 December 2013.

Yes - 12%

No - 87%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

Topics:  asio east timor editors picks george brandis

Casuarina Beach Rugby Club to launch senior side in 2017

BIG NAMES: Adam Wallace-Harrison and former Waratah  Adam Leach are ready to launch Casuarina senior rugby.

Green light to go for Casuarina senior rugby

Girl guides gather

The group of ladies meet every year to remember their time as Girl Guides.

Girl Guides from the past reunite.

Dann died 'doing what he loved'

Dann Jenkins was killed in a crash yesterday morning.

Tribute to much-loved 22-year-old Dann Jenkins, who died yesterday

Local Partners

Steve Irwin's final days through dad's eyes

Bob Irwin with his son Steve.

'You never expect that’s the last time you’re going to see your son'

Kristie doesn't mind being the third wheel in Survivor final

Kristie Bennett in a scene from Australian Survivor.

SOLO player will take on Survivor's power couple Lee and El tonight.

Scary hoping Posh and Sporty will re-join The Spice Girls

Mel B

Mel B hoping Victoria Beckham, Mel C will re-join The Spice Girls

REVIEW: Michael McIntyre has Brisbane in stitches

Michael McIntyre in a scene from his TV series Michael McIntyre's Comedy Roadshow.

BRITISH comedian is in the country on his Happy and Glorious Tour.

Cliff Richard doesn't need Rod Stewart's help with legal bills

Sir Cliff Richard

"'Don't worry, I'm loaded. I won't keep you to it.' "

Look at me! Kath and Kim home up for sale

Kath and Kim from the iconic Aussie TV series.

'Crack open the Baileys and grab a box of BBQ Shapes'

How to fit 100,000 new homes on the Coast

Property, real estate, housing, suburb,  August 2016

Fitting 2m extra people in south-east Qld in 25 years a balance

Hinterland horse stud passed in for $8.25 million

UNREAL: This Maleny estate is incredible.

12-bedroom hinterland horse stud still available

Hit songwriter's Noosa mansion on market

SPECIAL PLACE: The Cintamani estate is going to tender, marketed by Tom Offermann Real Estate.

Is this Queensland's best property?

Kiwi siblings snap up Dotcom mansion for $32.5m

The new toy company owners of the Coatesville mansion want replace any controversy with positivity and fun. Photo / Barfoot and Thompson

The trio paid $32.5 million for the property in June

New $200 million development will create 580 jobs

Cassie And Josh with baby Alfie and daughter Andee. They have bought at new Lennox Head development Epiq.

Majority of new positions will be given to Northern Rivers locals