With yesterdays revelation of the so-called ‘secret’ information that he felt was justification for his decision to revoke Dr Haneef’s visa, it dawned on me this morning that Mr Andrews has exercised a democractic right to choose – something that shows that he may have more in common with Dr Haneef than I had previously thought.
Knowing full well the media frenzy that has been surrounding Dr Haneef since his arrest and the extreme pressure that he has been feeling from the community to be transparent in this matter – and most probably concerned colleagues as well – Mr Andrews has had a number of options to choose from:
- To be completely transparent and release all relevant information so that the public can make their own mind up, or,
- To take the risk of staying silent, knowing that any further release of information may prejudice further appeals or hearings, but may not adequately stem community calls for his resignation, or
- To release selected quotations from material in his possession that supported his position and would more than likely bolster public opinion against Dr Haneef in an attempt to save his political skin.
Whatever your feelings about Dr Haneef, he too has had some clear choices in his life:
- To follow a path of radicalism and extremism, or,
- To reject terrorism and extremism and follow a moderate path.
Like the overwhelming majority of people, whatever their religious background or leanings, Dr Haneef has chosen not to engage in terrorism or extremism and to reject it. Despite having relatives that have allegedly made less enlightened choices in their lives, Dr Haneef has made every effort to do the right thing throughout this whole sordid affair. This, in the face of overwhelming opposition from Australian Authorities, the Department of Immigration, the Australian Federal police and the media.
Both parties, over the past few months, have been faced with choices – and no matter what your politics, belief systems, or personal views are, it cannot be denied that Dr Haneef has made the effort to make the right choices in his life.
Unfortunately the same cannot be said for Mr Andrews – and this is where any commonality diverges.
Mr Andrews is simply a man looking desperately for a way out of a hole he has dug for himself. He doesn’t really care about Dr Haneef at all and only wants to do whatever he can to keep his job and political career. Any hole that Dr Haneef finds himself in is certainly not one of his own making.
It is clearer now than ever before that by revoking Dr Haneef’s visa in the first place, Mr Andrews was placed in an untenable position – a position he will now do anything to wiggle out of – even at the expense of his own integrity and the integrity of his department.
By revoking Dr Haneef’s visa, he placed his department at the beck-and-call of the Attorney General and Prime Minister John Howard. He did not act in an impartial manner and no matter what your politics are or opinion of Dr Haneef is, it is vital for the safety and security of Australia that we can rely on ministers and Government to act at all times in the best interests of Australia – when sometimes this may conflict with their own best interests.