The furor over the AFP raid of the AWU premises to gather information about donations to GetUp! has embroiled Minister Cash (who is one of the more effective Ministers in the Turnbull Government) in controversy as the media was tipped off and present at the raid.
The Registered Organisations Commission – an independent statutory agency – secured a search warrant from a magistrate and this was executed by the AFP. That should have been the end of it – the media should never have heard of the raid until after the event. Had that been so, the Government would not be embroiled in any controversy, and depending on the material seized the pressure would be on the AWU and GetUp!.
Instead there has been an attack on two independent institutions – the AFP and the AEC – as well as Minister Cash.
It seems that a staffer in Cash’s office exercised extremely poor judgement in alerting the media to an impending raid. That was stupid.
But why was the Minister’s office informed of an impending raid in the first place? Was it from the ROC or the AFP? Either way they should not have divulged that information. What it someone in the ROC or the AFP who also alerted the media? Certainly the AWU and GetUp! benefit from knowing about the raid before it happened – documents can be destroyed. And by alerting the media it can deflect the pressure that would otherwise sit entirely on the AWU and GetUp!
So there you have it – no one can keep a secret. Whether it be poor judgement (Cash’s staffer), political deflection (ROC or AFP staff) it is a disgrace that has damaged the rule of law. If some Labor supporter in the ROC and/or AFP alerted the media to the raid, he or she has acted unethically and should be sacked.