When I was Shadow Attorney-General in 2006 I campaigned for David Hicks to be given a fair trial. He was never given a fair trial. What happened was that David Hicks pleaded guilty to an offence which didn't exist when he was arrested, in exchange for being released from Guantanamo Bay and returned to Australia.
I have always believed that David Hicks guilty plea did not make him a guilty man. He had been detained in Guantanamo Bay in solitary confinement for five and a half years with no recourse to a fair trial. I believe many people placed in such a situation would have acted similarly.
I therefore welcome these developments. I regret that the Australian Government, and particularly the Foreign Minister of the time Alexander Downer, did so little for so long to try to get David Hicks a fair trial. Like that Government's meek compliance with the US Government's disastrous decision to invade Iraq, the consequences of which we are still living with today, it was weak and unworthy – more lapdog than national government.