Community Safety

Clare O’Neil contradicts Anthony Albanese’s claim community protection board is ‘independent’

May 6, 2024

Monday 06 May 2024
Paul Karp
The Guardian

Clare O’Neil has contradicted the prime minister’s claim that an “independent” board recommended the ankle bracelet be removed from a person who allegedly robbed and assaulted a 73-year-old Perth woman with two other men.

On Monday the home affairs minister clarified that the community protection board is “not independent in the sense that it’s not a separate structure from government”.

The Albanese government established the board, which consists of Australian Border Force, home affairs department and former law enforcement officials, in December to advise on management of people released as a result of the high court’s ruling that indefinite immigration detention is unlawful.

The board’s role has received renewed focus after a delegate of the immigration minister, Andrew Giles, acted on its advice to remove an ankle bracelet for electronic monitoring from Majid Jamshidi Doukoshkan.

Doukoshkan was arrested in April along with two other men over the alleged assault of Ninette Simons, her husband, Philip, 76, and for allegedly stealing $200,000 worth of jewellery.

On Friday Anthony Albanese was asked if the board’s recommendation to remove the ankle bracelet was a failure.

“Yes, it is,” the prime minister told Channel Seven’s Sunrise. “I think that’s a wrong decision by that board, but they make the decisions.

“Well, they make the decisions independent [sic]. One of the things that we have in this country is a separation there.”

On Monday O’Neil clarified: “Well, it is a part of the government, but it’s a group of experts who are making decisions and recommendations to a delegate within the home affairs department.

“It’s not independent in the sense that it’s not a separate structure from government,” she told ABC Melbourne.

“But we must be able to show that we are making good decisions based on the advice of experts. And that’s why the community protection board exists.”

O’Neil said that in the NZYQ ruling on indefinite detention the high court was in effect saying “ministers, you do not have the power to punish, that’s the role of the courts”.

On Monday the shadow home affairs minister, James Paterson, told 2GB Radio: “[Albanese] said the community protection board makes decisions. That’s wrong. The community protection board has no power to make decisions. They only make recommendations.”

Paterson noted the border force commissioner, Michael Outram, had said in Senate estimates in February that Giles had been the decision-maker in dozens of decisions on ankle bracelets and curfews.

“[Albanese] also said on Friday that it’s an independent process to decide to oppose bail,” Paterson said. “Well, actually, the attorney general has power to direct the prosecutors to oppose bail in these instances, and he failed to do so.”

Asked on Monday if he accepted the board only provides advice and the decision is, ultimately, the minister’s, Albanese told reporters in Canberra: “No.”

“The processes that are in place are to ensure that decisions, when it comes to these things, have integrity and are at arm’s length.

“I was asked my opinion of what I would do, I stated my opinion. I stand by that.”

Recent News

All Posts