Brennan speaks at inquiry
KIDNAP victim Nigel Brennan has hit out at the government's conduct in relation to his case, saying their behaviour may have prolonged his time in captivity and increased his ransom.
The former NewsMail photo journalist was kidnapped and held hostage in Somalia for more than a year, during which time he says the Federal Government's behaviour hindered his release.
Mr Brennan, along with his sister Nicole Bonney, addressed a Senate Inquiry into the government handling of Australians kidnapped overseas on Tuesday night.
"By all accounts it went really well," he said.
"I think the senators were really interested in what we had to say and our opinions on how the government can make changes."
Mr Brennan said at the time he was kidnapped, the average land-based kidnapping lasted an estimated three months, with the average cost in Somalia being $54,000.
But he was held for 462 days and his family forced to pay a $660,576 ransom to free Mr Brennan and his colleague Amanda Lindhout.
"Their policy says the government won't pay ransom, which I agree with," he said.
"But why did they negotiate with kidnappers and talk about paying money for 10-and-a-half months?"
The Australian Federal Police (AFP) and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) handled Mr Brennan's case for almost 11 months before his family chose to cut ties with the government and hire a private company which saw him released just four months later.
"I know Kevin Rudd and (former foreign minister) Stephen Smith probably aren't impressed but if they believe I'm incorrect, they should come to the table and show their evidence," Mr Brennan said.
During the hearing, Mr Brennan urged the government to waive a $100,000 consular loan given to his family.
"They need to put their hand up and be honest and say 'we messed up' and take responsibility," Mr Brennan said.
"Out of all this, I'd like to see them set up a task force that involved DFAT, the AFP, psychologists for the family and a private company with experience in these things."
The Senate committee is due to report back by November 24.