Independent Tasmanian Senator Jacqui Lambie, has renewed her call for Defence Minister Payne to resign after lawyers acting for the Government sent a letter complaining about SAS Trooper Evan Donaldson’s appearance on Sydney Commercial Radio.
“The letter of complaint sent to Trooper Donaldson today, via his lawyers - from the lawyers acting for the government - is clear proof that the Defence Minister Payne has lost control of the situation and her department.
``I can’t believe that Minister Payne would have been stupid enough to authorise a letter, which implicitly threatens an official SAS whistleblower. So the only option I have (until the Defence Minister corrects the record) is to come to the conclusion that the lawyers, employed by the government have gone rogue, and acted without the directions or authority of the new Defence Minister,” Senator Lambie said.
“No Minister of the Crown in their right mind would order - or even hint at legal action against an innocent SAS whistleblower who has simply told the truth on Sydney Radio about a sub-standard government offer of compensation – http://www.2gb.com/article/senator-jacqui-lambie-and-former-sas-trooper-evan-donaldson - in order to try fix and cover up a situation where a government employee illegally altered official records and the Army unlawfully stopped paying SAS Trooper Donaldson for six years,” Senator Lambie said.
“I’m sure that Minister Payne understands that it’s a serious criminal offence to be part of any act that could be thought of by a reasonable person as a reprisal, against someone like Trooper Donaldson, who is protected by the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013.
``So the only rational assumption that Trooper Donaldson and I can make is that the lawyers hired by Defence to deal with his long-running legal matter have turned rogue, and have not taken any instructions from the Defence Minister, regarding Trooper Donaldson’s commercial radio appearance,” Senator Lambie said.
``I repeat my message - Defence Minister Payne, who had a chance on 10th of December 2015, to deliver fair compensation to Mr Donaldson – failed despite promising me, face-to-face, that she would take a personal interest in the case. I’m now calling on Prime Minister Turnbull to take charge and immediately act.
``He must sack Defence Minister Payne and replace her with someone who will not be part of a cover-up of a crime that has lasted for six years – and denied justice to SAS Trooper Donaldson and his family,'' Senator Lambie said.
“I would appreciate all Senators’ support for the establishment of a Special Committee to examine the case of SAS Trooper Evan Donaldson and others - who are all victims of a very dysfunctional, corrupt and lethal Defence and DVA system,” Senator Lambie said.
“I want to reiterate that there was absolutely no agreement of confidentiality entered into before discussions with Defence nor could they legally demand that from me. You can't gag a whistleblower with protections.
``That's illegal, but Defence Legal didn't care about that, they are mad at what I said about them and they wanted to intimidate me from commenting again. They are using Commonwealth funds to pay commercial lawyers to intimidate us,” Trooper Evan Donaldson said.