Community Safety

Transcript | Sky News First Edition | 02 May 2024

May 2, 2024

Thursday 02 May 2024
Interview on Sky News First Edition
Subjects: NSW clubs data breach, Labor’s detainee fiasco, pro-Palestinian university encampments

PETER STEFANOVIC: Let's go to our political matters of the day now with the Shadow Home Affairs Minister, James Paterson. James, good to see you. Thanks for your time as always. Let's just start with this data breach this morning in New South Wales involving state pubs and clubs. It seems as though the data, it's not a hack but is being held as ransom. Some kind of ransom, what are your thoughts on this?

JAMES PATERSON: Good morning Pete, look, it looks like a variation of a ransomware attack. It's not an external third party, but apparently a party that was involved in dealing with this data in a commercial sense, in a commercial dispute. But the effect of it for affected customers is the same. Your data is potentially going to be exposed on the internet. I think it's very important that the service provider here in Australia is very transparent about what has happened. I have seen a statement that they put out this morning, which is frankly pretty defensive and didn't provide much information at all. And clubs and pubs who have contracted this service provider need to be transparent as well, because while they are required to collect this information by law to verify people's identity when they come into these venues, it's not clear to me that they need to continue to hold this data beyond a certain period of time. And if it is the case that they've been storing it for longer than they should have been, then they have exacerbated this risk. So some transparency is required here, so customers are informed and it's critical that the federal government get involved here and see if they can remediate this. We have a much vaunted cyber security coordinator. I hope they're on the job right now dealing with this.

STEFANOVIC: Okay. On to the detainee saga. Andrew Giles spoke to the West Australian grandmother yesterday. She says she still feels scared. So there's a bit more talk coming from the government, but still not much action?

PATERSON: Well, the Ninette Simon's is absolutely right to raise the questions that she did with the Immigration Minister, and I hope he gave her better answers than he's given the public, because so far, neither he nor the Home Affairs Minister has been able to explain why this person was free in the community, why they didn't oppose bail, why his ankle bracelet was removed, why before that, his ankle bracelet wasn't working and it took days before police went and saw him. I mean, this has been a litany of failures from start to finish. And the Prime Minister is showing remarkable tolerance for incompetence. In any normal government these ministers would have been sacked by now. Not only are they bad at their jobs, they can't even explain their failures to the public and front up and to be honest. And I just can't understand why they haven't been sacked.

STEFANOVIC: So what do they need to do?

PATERSON: Well, I wish we could turn back time and undo all the bad decisions they have made in the past. Like letting this person out without an ankle bracelet. Like failing to apply for a preventative detention order, like the concessions that were made in the High Court that never should have been made. Obviously, we can't do that. What we can do now is find out exactly what happened here, why it happened, and be transparent about it, and give the community confidence that it's never going to happen again. There's a couple of things they can make sure happen now to make sure this doesn't happen again. The first is, they need to apply for a preventive detention order. The Parliament gave them these powers nearly six months ago and they haven't done one. Not one murderer, not one sex offender, not one violent assaulter has been taken off the streets using those powers. They also need to make sure these people are wearing ankle bracelets. Of the 153 people out in the community now, only half of them are still wearing ankle bracelet. The rest have been released of that responsibility, including this person and this alleged offender. And look at the consequences of that. So there is still time to right the ship. But I've got, frankly, no confidence that Clare O'Neil or Andrew Giles would be able to do that.

STEFANOVIC: Is the threshold too high? That's what they're hiding behind.

PATERSON: It might be, we are very open to amendments, if that's necessary to fix the law. When we suggested that they pass these laws, when we facilitated the passage of these laws before Christmas, we did so on the basis that they would be used expeditiously, that be used urgently. And they haven't been. Now if there's a problem with the law, well the Parliament has sat for many weeks already this year we would have facilitated amendments to make it easier. I'm still willing to facilitate amendments to make it easier. The government just has to come to us and explain that. Actually, I think that's just an excuse Pete. I think they are just hiding behind that. They're really not strong enough to make the tough decisions required to protect the community, and there's no better evidence than that than the Magistrate themselves describing their decision to allow bail, to not oppose bail in this instance as being “generous.” Well, frankly, I don't think generosity is what is required towards these people who have violated the principles of their visit here to Australia by committing serious crimes while they were on visas and have been released into the community. And generosity is not what I'll be offering them.

STEFANOVIC: Okay, just a final one here, James, on these student protests. Look, it's a big thing as you know, in America, we're seeing more dramatic footage overnight of these clashes between students and police. If the police are actually even there. It's starting to spread here in Australia, though, at the moment, some smaller protests popping up. What are your thoughts on that?

PATERSON: I strongly support the right to free speech. I strongly support the right to protest. But I also agree with Professor Peter Singer, the Australian ethicist at Princeton University, who says a right to free speech and a right to protest does not include the right to occupy buildings, particularly occupying them indefinitely. That is not protest, that is trespassing and that is vandalism, and that is threatening people on campus. And I do not want to see the violence and intimidation we've seen at American universities here at Australian universities. And I think, frankly, the passive approach that Australian universities have taken towards this issue so far is going to encourage that. I fear what we will see in the coming days and weeks on our campuses If they don't toughen up and take action.

STEFANOVIC: James Paterson, thanks for your time this morning.


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