Call for inquiry into Brennan case

SENATOR Bob Brown has called for a senate inquiry into the federal government’s policy on Australians kidnapped overseas, after concerns over the handling of Bundaberg man Nigel Brennan’s case.

Mr Brown, who donated money to the Brennan family to help free their son after 15 months of captivity in Somalia, gave notice of a motion for a Senate inquiry at parliament yesterday, to be delivered by May 13.

He said the inquiry should examine the effectiveness of the response offered by the Australian Federal Police, Department of Foreign Affairs, and consular staff to Australian citizens who were kidnapped and held for ransom overseas.

He also called for the inquiry to examine how the Australian Government’s response compared to the approach taken by other countries, and how more assistance could be offered to victims and their families.

Entrepreneur Dick Smith, who also gave the Brennans financial assistance, added his support to calls for an inquiry.

“It’s certainly necessary,” Mr Smith said.

He said he was concerned the Australian government did not advise families to get independent negotiators from day one.

“I believe if they government had advised the Brennans to get a private negotiator as soon as possible, Nigel and Amanda would have been freed after 90 days instead of 15 months,” he said.

The Brennan family could not be reached for comment yesterday.