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Monday, May 14, 2012

Allan Kessing on display

By Yiyang Liu-with permission.
Allan Kessing has plenty to be disappointed about, but not this outstanding piece. He and the artist Yiyang Liu are philosophical that it didn't make it into the Archibald Prize this year or even the Salon des Refuses. Currently on display at Sydney's Tap Gallery, next step is a crack at the Moran Portraiture Prize.

Of course Kessing has plenty of experience with raw deals-charged and convicted under a draconian law that in this form should have been erased from the statute book years ago; disclosures after the event of information that should have been made available to his lawyer during the trial and appeal, and if made available would have materially affected the way the case was handled; years of maintaining his innocence of the offence as charged, but an admission after his conviction that he did pass on information to the office of a then opposition parliamentarian, now a government minister, about a report on the parlous state of security at Sydney Airport that had languished in his boss' in-tray for two years ; continued silence from some who know the full story of the disclosure to journalists at The Australian that led to his conviction, and incidentally, to urgent attention to the security issues identified, to the tune of $200 million; and with some reluctance, to apply for a pardon in 2009 and to have the issues raised publicly by Senator Xenophon in 2010 and listed in the incoming brief for the attorney general that year as a "Hot Topic", to be left wondering as it disappeared from sight ever since.

Kessing told me some time ago he is past caring, "happy" to smell the wattle instead. The rest of us need to do both.

Nothing can right the wrongs, but it would help if Attorney General Roxon called for the file, and asked questions about the Kessing case. Here is a reminder what the ALP was saying about the importance of whistleblower protection and Kessing-in 2007! Come to think of it Special Minister of State Gray who appears to be struggling on the corporate memory front should be interested in that as well.

A win in the Moran for Yiyang Liu who accurately portrays Kessing as a proud, courageous man would be icing on a bittersweet pardon cake.

 Best wishes.

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