April 11, 2004


An important piece of information is missing from this story about brave, uncompromising, I-cannot-tell-a-lie former defence advisor Jane Errey:

A senior Defence adviser has been sacked after refusing to write media briefings that supported claims that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction.

Engineer and analyst Jane Errey was an adviser to former Chief Defence Scientist Dr Ian Chessell and wrote briefings for Defence Minister Robert Hill. Her job at Defence gave her access to secret intelligence on Iraq's weaponry from the Defence Intelligence Organisation and the Office of National Assessments.

Ms Errey claims that on the day before the Iraq war started, she was asked to write what she believed was "sexed-up" propaganda about Iraq's capabilities.

The next day - March 20 last year - she went on holiday rather than write what she claimed would have been a misleading briefing.

But she was sacked last Monday, after more than nine years at Defence, on "performance grounds".

In the piece, Errey is described as “a public servant”, “a highly regarded official within the Defence Science and Technology Organisation”, a “disillusioned official”, and “an electrical engineer”. Nowhere is it mentioned that Errey is a senior member of the Australian Democrats who stood for election as recently as three years ago.

Little surprise, then, that Errey took this position:

"Anything that I was doing with respect to the war was making me uncomfortable," Ms Errey said. "Then to have to brief the minister and fundamentally give him - even though I didn't write it - lines of propaganda that I didn't believe with respect to the war was beyond what I was prepared to do. I wouldn't lie or mislead the public."

Is it not misleading the public to conceal her allegiance to a political party that opposed the war? And why didn’t any of the journalists covering this story bother to reveal said allegiance?

(Via reader Alfred B. and the Gnu Hunter, whose doubts over Errey’s identity should be put to rest by this profile, which describes Democrat candidate Errey as an engineer and electrician. And here are pics of the candidate and the uncompromising former defence advisor.)

UPDATE. Geoff Honnor has more.

Posted by Tim Blair at April 11, 2004 11:15 PM


Interesting time frame though!

Aus election on the way. Good time to throw a smear against the good guys.

Dem's need to recover lost ground. Lots of feet on ground to reverse fortunes! No more leave allowed(?)!

Conspiracy theories are wonderful are they not?

Posted by: DaveACT at April 12, 2004 at 12:00 AM

Ho hum. Another 5th columnist exposed.

What the hell was this silly b*tch doind in that position anyway? Hill should take a good ahrd look at the twits in his employ.

Posted by: murph at April 12, 2004 at 12:08 AM

thank fuck she's uncompromising because i'd never want to be in a compromising position with her.

Posted by: anon at April 12, 2004 at 12:34 AM

As soon as I read about this woman I thought "Andrew Wilke" and wondered how many weeks it would take for her to get a nomination for the Greens. These people stink of political ambition. Thanks Tim for exposing another fraud.

Posted by: Craig Mc at April 12, 2004 at 12:53 AM

The most disturbing news here is the complete failure of the media to mention an important and relevant fact. This stinks.

Posted by: EvilPundit at April 12, 2004 at 03:11 AM

I thought I heard it mentioned on ABC tv news tonight that she was a former democrat.

Posted by: Andjam at April 12, 2004 at 03:33 AM

Brisbane's "Courier Mail" mentions Errey's party allegiance in this report, and also the more plausible reason for why she was sacked (not turning up for work tends to have that consequence).

And this ABC report mentions that Errey "has previously stood as a candidate for the Australian Democrats in the ACT".

Posted by: Jethro at April 12, 2004 at 10:57 AM



I can't see her winning the Wilkie vote with this record. She sounds like a disgruntled troublemaker, nothing more.

I think she'll quickly fade into oblivion in the mainstream press, as distinct from our favorite junior intelligence analyst and Greens candidate for Benelong.

The two serious questions to be asked here are:

1. As Murph alluded to: How the hell did she get her security clearance? Blind Fredddy could see that her background should be ringing warning bells.

2. As Evilpundit notes: Where is the basic fact checking of the reporters involved? For crying in the wet, throw the name into Google and out pops a veritable rap sheet of political activism.

I see this crap all the time. For my trouble, I am called a Nazi and a fascist at home and at work (to which I politely respond by pointing out that the Greens and Socialists are far closer in political philosophy to Adolph and co than a conservative libertarian such as myself).

Off topic:


Check the last sentence:

"...A US tank was set on fire west of Baghdad and locals said a 10-year-old boy had hit it with a rocket-propelled grenade."

Kind of blurs the distinction between children and legitimate targets, doesn't it?

Posted by: Al Bundy at April 12, 2004 at 11:32 AM

Given that the parliamentary committee that Ms Errey gave testimony before included Robery Ray, Kim Beazley, and Leo McLay (all ALP members and, one would consider, eager to stick the boot in the Howard government), why has not one capitalised on her "sex- up claim" by attacking the government in parliament or, at the very least, making reference to her testimony in the findings of the committee report? Is it because her claims are groundless and the ALP would be stuck with their pants down when the government counter attacked?

However, Andrew Bartlett, who isn't on the committe nor is any other Australian Democrat) had this to say:

"It does raise concerns, it does unfortunately have a ring of truth about it and those allegations should be certainly be properly investigated and publicly investigated. I don't think it's good enough to say it's an internal matter when it's now become public and Ms Errey has made the decision to make a public allegation that she was sacked because of her refusal to be part of dismissing serious internal concerns that were attempted to be communicated to the Government."

Under section 44 of our Constitution, a public servant cannot be elected as a senator or a member of the House of Representatives (as Phil Cleary found to his disappointment in 1992: http://www.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/disp.pl/au/cases/cth/HCA/1992/60.html?query=title+%28+%22cleary%22+%29),has Errey

Will Errey be running in the next Federal election and this a way of getting her name known by the electorate? What does Andrew Bartlett have to say about this?

Posted by: B at April 12, 2004 at 02:31 PM

On thing i've noticed about lefties: if there's an MI6 staffer who's "uncomfortable" and gins up some story, then everyone else tries to find one of their own.

Posted by: Joe at April 13, 2004 at 04:29 AM

So, it's not possible to support an opposition party and still be part of the public service in Howard's government?

So, in Howard's Australia it's perfectly justified to sack someone from the public service if they have views at variance from the government of the day?

Hey bloghead, can you grab that list from your bottom drawer and publish it. You know, the one naming all the Liberal Party apparatchiks that currently choke the ranks of the Australian Public Service.

Gone are the days when an Australian government could call on independent advice, delivered without fear or favour. Today it's a case give them what you know they want to hear or risk losing your job.

Posted by: Miranda Divide at April 13, 2004 at 05:53 AM

Shown up for any work lately, Miranda?

Posted by: JorgXMcKie at April 13, 2004 at 10:46 AM

Her working hours are intermittent; it depends on when her cell phone rings.

Posted by: JeffS at April 13, 2004 at 10:50 AM