DFAT looks into allegations of 60 Minutes payment


The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade will look into allegations 60 Minutes paid $115,000 to a controversial ‘child recovery agency.’

“There is a compassionate element to this case, because of course it involves children,” Minister Julie Bishop said yesterday.

“We are providing as much support as we can, meeting with officials within the Lebanese government and doing what we can to ascertain what is proposed, in relation to the crew and the alleged involvement of the crew in this case.”

ABC reported that Lebanese authorities say they now have a signed statement from a member of the “recovery team” who says Nine paid $115,000 for the operation.

But the statement is uncorroborated, and the ABC has not seen it.

60 Minutes travelled to Lebanon to film Brisbane mother Sally Faulkner’s attempt to take the children from their father using a controversial ‘child recovery agency.’ But the attempt was botched when the child recovery agents were arrested, and has landed the 60 Minutes crew and Ms. Faulkner behind bars.

ABC reported that in detention Tara Brown and Ms. Faulkner have been kept shackled together with handcuffs.

“Officials of the Australian Embassy in Beirut are continuing to visit the Australians in detention to confirm their welfare and are providing consular assistance,” a DFAT spokesman said.

Source: Fairfax, ABC


    • DFAT would be asking the media to please shut up, stop speculating and stop misreporting. It would have been unhelpful for Michael Usher to say “The program is working with local authorities to have Brown and the crew released, the crew were witnessing and observing what was a risky operation as the mother tried to regain custody of her children and [the crew] were obviously part of that”. The responsible way would be to only report what’s being officially released and this is what DFAT would be asking. Hardly “manipulation”, just asking for some commonsense.

      • How standards change once it is one of their own. Were misreporting, speculation and common sense an issue when 9 falsely reported 7 had paid for an interview with the Corbys?

        • Yeah funny that. Also, Nine News is selective with their language. To them it’s a “recovery operation”, not an attempted kidnapping.

        • Situation was quite different. Corby had been tried, convicted and jailed. The 60 Minutes people are in a delicate and precarious position. DFAT was not involved in the Corby interview issue.

    • Secret Squïrrel

      ABC evening news didn’t bury it. They reported on it responsibly.

      It’s funny how the commercial TV networks have acceded to DFAT’s request now that some of their own are in trouble with an overseas authority, but they were merrily running unhelpful reports on the Indonesian justice system when Corby was on trial.

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