Federal independent Senator Nick Xenophon has called for convicted whistleblower and former Customs officer Allan Kessing to be pardoned, in light of the corruption allegations engulfing the Customs service.
On Thursday, a 7.30 and Fairfax investigation revealed that a cell of suspected corrupt Customs officers allegedly helped smuggle drugs through Sydney Airport.
Home Affairs Minister Jason Clare has announced a "root and branch" overhaul of Customs after eight people were charged in connection to the alleged drug ring.
Mr Kessing compiled two reports on security flaws within Customs operations at Sydney Airport.
The information was leaked in 2005, and Mr Kessing was convicted over the leak.
Mr Kessing insists he only took the reports to his local MP, the now Transport Minister Anthony Albanese, and not to The Australian, which leaked the reports.
Senator Xenophon says this week's arrests have vindicated the former Customs official.
"The scandal here is that this man, who deserves a medal for the work that he did 10 years ago, was actually persecuted through the courts, had his life effectively ruined by virtue of being charged under section 70 of the Crimes Act," he said.
Senator Xenophon says the reports must be released and provided to the head of the new Customs Reform Board, Justice James Wood.
"In light of these event Mr Kessing's application for a pardon must be reconsidered and the reports must be released," he said.
"There is nothing in those reports that would breach security or national security.
"Mr Clare, if he's fair dinkum about this, ought to release those reports as a matter of urgency to give a historical context to what's has occurred."
He say if the reports were acted on 10 years ago, Customs would not be facing such serious issues.
"How many Australians have overdosed on narcotics as a result of corrupt customs officials allowing those drugs to be brought into the country," he said.
I would doubt that it [corruption] goes beyond the airport itself inasmuch as I don't think it extends to Canberra, but bear in mind those officers in Canberra, in the headquarters down there, have come through the system, so one cannot know.
Whistleblower Alan Kessing
"How many Australians have been injured or killed as a result of weapons being brought into the country as a result of corrupt Customs officials?"
'Nothing will change'
Yesterday Mr Kessing told The World Today that many Customs officers are decent people, but are reluctant to complain, and he is sceptical about Customs' ability to change its internal culture.
"If the culture does not permit an honest person come forward and call their bluff, blow the whistle as it were, then no, nothing will ever change. It needs root-and-branch reform," he said
"It wouldn't be difficult at all if there was the will from above but it's the Peter Principle - people rise to the level of their incompetence, and once there, they do what they can to maintain the situation.
"So they will resist change being forced on them from above to their last breath because change would mean they would be out on their ears basically."
Senator Xenophon's comments come after the joint investigation also revealed corruption within Customs extends to Australia's waterfront, where underworld figures are using corrupt dock workers to import drugs and possibly even guns.
At Port Botany, authorities have identified at least a dozen Customs staff involved in suspected corruption or serious misconduct.
It is feared this activity is not only allowing drugs and illegal tobacco past the border, but guns as well.
New South Wales police are searching for illegal pistols, some which may be behind some of Sydney's recent shootings.
Some of the pistols are suspected to have been smuggled in shipping containers which Customs officers claimed they had X-rayed when they had not.
Sources say Customs paperwork has been fraudulently filled out, giving the all clear to containers that may have been filled with illegal handguns.
Insiders say security breaches on the waterfront highlight how vulnerable the system is and different authorities are grappling with the best way to confront it.