The Royal Commission into the Christchurch mosque shootings has imposed a 30-year suppression on evidence given by ministers and senior public servants:
The commission’s report, which will be released by the Government on Tuesday, December 8, is expected to detail any failings within government organisations, including police and the spy agencies, in the lead up to the terror attack – including how the terrorist obtained a firearms licence.
Among the widespread suppression rulings made by the commission are the permanent suppression of the police staff involved in granting the Australian-national a firearms licence, including the two people who vouched for the terrorist.
Stuff has previously reported on police’s failure to properly scrutinise the terrorist, wrongly licencing him to purchase the stockpile of semi-automatic guns later used to murder 51 people.
Islamic Women’s Council national coordinator Anjum Rahman was concerned the suppression of evidence given by ministers and chief executives, in particular, might prevent accountability for negligence, wrong-doing, and incompetence. . .
The commissioners decided the evidence provided by Government agency chief executives and current and former Cabinet ministers should be suppressed for 30-years, allowing public release in the future when national security concerns “dissipate”.
“Historians and others will have a legitimate interest in understanding in due course what those officials and former and current ministers had to say to a Royal Commission like ours.” . .
There is a case for suppressing evidence that could be used as a how-to for other would-be killers. But surely all evidence provided by public sector CEOs and cabinet ministers can’t fall into that category.
It’s not just future historians who will have a legitimate interest in understanding what these people said.
Survivors, victims’ families, many of whom may well be dead in three decades, and the wider public have a legitimate interest now.
The 30-year suppression begs the questions: who’s hiding what?
Another question is, what sort of administration error allowed the gunman to get a firearms licence when he shouldn’t have?
The Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand (FIANZ) wrote a report for the Royal Commission into the attack.
It found the terrorist should never have got the gun licence because he did not have appropriate referees – but police gave it to him anyway. . .
Mahrukh Sarwar and Nour Malak investigated how police let the terrorist get a gun licence that allowed him to buy the weapons he used in last year’s attack.
“If the police had followed their own processes, we are saying they should not have given him the licence,” Sarwar said.
The police forms show one referee must be a spouse, partner, or next-of-kin who normally resides with or is related to you, and the other must be a person who is unrelated to you, over 20 years old, and knows you well.
But the terrorist’s referees were his online gaming friend and the online gaming friend’s father.
The young Muslims say this was an administrative failure by police that had a huge cost. . .
If information that could answer how that happened is suppressed, can we be confident that whatever shortcomings led to it have been fixed so it never happens again?