Community Safety

Transcript | Doorstop Australian Parliament House | 06 June 2024

June 6, 2024

Thursday 06 June 2024
Doorstop interview at APH
Subjects: Serial offender released detainee, Benbrika, miserable economic numbers

JAMES PATERSON: Well good morning. We learnt in The Age today that a former immigration detainee with 200 convictions, has breached the conditions of his visa ten times in four weeks and led police to be completely exasperated by any attempt to control his behaviour in the community. This is exactly the kind of case study that the Parliament had in mind when it legislated a preventive detention scheme seven months ago, before Christmas. We rushed it through the Parliament so the government had the power to get dangerous offenders and recidivist offenders like this off the streets to protect the community. But in the seven months since, the Albanese government has not applied for one single preventative detention order to protect the community. Until they do so, we are going to have serious violent convicted offenders reoffending in the community, breaching visa conditions. With no constraints whatsoever. It's time for the Minister for Home Affairs Clare O'Neil and the Minister for Immigration, Andrew Giles, to pull their finger out and actually use the powers the Parliament gave them to protect the community.

JOURNALIST: Has Peter Dutton been hypocritical by going so hard on Andrew Giles now that a Victorian judge will refer him to the National Security Watchdog?

PATERSON: This is a bizarre story. After having just cited The Age on another story, in The Age this morning, completely misunderstands the role of the Independent National Security Legislation Monitor. The INSLM, as the name suggests, has a role in reviewing the proportionality and effectiveness of legislation and providing that advice to Parliament. It does not investigate departments, it does not investigate agencies, and it certainly does not investigate ministers. It has no power to do so. If you look at the legislation, that's very clear. So I cannot understand why some of the media are suggesting today that the former minister is somehow under investigation by this body, as it has no power to do so.

JOURNALIST: Andrew Giles has indicated that he'll make some kind of change to Direction 99 this week. It's Thursday, it's the last day of the House of reps sittings, does he need to do something today?

PATERSON: It's extraordinary that after spending a week defending Direction, 99 that the government has finally admitted that they got it wrong in the first place, that direction 99 is the cause of these problems. That it has led to violent offenders being allowed to stay in Australia, being released into the community, and yet it is taking them a ridiculous amount of time to actually fix it. What is taking so long? All they had to do, frankly, was return to the directions under previous governments which got the balance right on this. Which actually put community protection first instead of elevating ties to the Australian community as a primary consideration, as this government did in Direction 99. Andrew Giles needs to get his skates on, because every day the AAT is making decisions to overturn people's visa cancellation and allowing them to stay in the community. And until he fixes Direction 99, that's going to continue.

JOURNALIST: Have you seen a draft of the rework?

PATERSON: No, the Opposition has seen absolutely nothing whatsoever. And frankly, we'd like to see it because we have no confidence that this government would get this right. They stuffed up so badly on the first time, we don't have any confidence in their ability to get it right this time. And we want to see the detail.

JOURNALIST: And you expecting that you will get that draft?

PATERSON: I'm not optimistic, to be completely honest. The government has shown no engagement on this issue other than denying their responsibility for it and trying to blame others. So, they haven't been consulting us. They haven't provided us with any insight into what they plan.

JOURNALIST: And just on national accounts, we've only grown 0.1%, in this quarter. Is that concerning?

PATERSON: It is deeply concerning. This is a very bleak and miserable set of numbers. We've had a per capita recession now for five quarters in a row. Households are going backwards and are under serious financial strain. And we have a bizarre situation of an economy that's slowing and inflation that is rising. A few more quarters like this and we'll start having a conversation about stagflation, something we haven't seen since the 1970s, where you have rising unemployment and rising inflation at the same time. And the tragedy of that is that the only way to fix it is punishingly high interest rates, which causes a very significant increase in unemployment and a very serious recession. But all the policy choices made by the Albanese government so far have increased the likelihood that this happens. They've lost all fiscal discipline in this latest budget. Their increased public spending is putting increasing pressure on inflation and therefore on the Reserve Bank to increase interest rates. And I'm very worried about the consequences for households.

Thank you.


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