Subjects: Labor’s immigration detention shambles; calls for Minister O’Neil and Minister Giles to be sacked; the Prime Minister’s weak leadership.
You can text us too on the text line. The overwhelming majority of them have been about this horrific scenario that’s played out in the northern part of Adelaide at the Main North Road in right in Pooraka, where one of the former detainees released under High Court order, has now faced the Adelaide Magistrates Court charged with two counts of indecent assault.
Someone with a history of this kind of behaviour, was locked up for it. The judge, Paul Cuthbertson, who first sentenced Aliyawar Yawari in 2016, called him a ‘danger to the Australian community’ and an ‘ongoing risk to women’.
Well, we await the outcome of this trial, of course, but this person was detained for a reason, they’ve been released, and this is the scenario we’re now facing, it is the subject of this morning’s Breaking at 8.
That’s why we’re joined now by the federal Leader of the Opposition, Peter Dutton.
Mr Dutton, good morning and thanks so much for joining us today on the Fiveaa Breakfast Show. This is, in hindsight, almost predictable, isn’t it, and perverse, what’s happened here in SA?
Well, Penbo, it’s really tragic because somebody, another Australian, has fallen victim to one of these individuals – that’s the allegation that’s been made – and obviously the matter’s before the court, so it’ll be dealt with, but I think your point is spot on. This was all predictable and it was avoidable.
The Minister’s made catastrophic mistakes in his decision-making, and unfortunately now that they’ve released 147 people in total, with a potential 340 (more), the likelihood of attacks, and given the cohort, the nature of these people, the high degree of the viciousness of some of the offending, the very high likelihood is that there will be more victims and it’s avoidable and it’s a tragedy.
The thing we find really hard to fathom is just the flat-footedness that mars this whole scenario, where I mean, you’ve been in government, there’s a there’s a Crown Solicitor’s office, is there not, that gives the Government real time legal advice and says, hey, you know, when you’ve got something like this High Court judgement? They would have they would have known that the freight train was potentially coming on this front, would they not?
Of course, mate. They had indications as far back as June and when they came to the Parliament – only a couple of weeks ago – they said, ‘oh, well, this is the decision of the High Court, there’s nothing we, the Government, can do about it’, and we said, ‘well, hang on, there’s some legislation that you can pass’, and eventually they ended up agreeing to that legislation. They’ve got another bill to go before the Parliament later this week as well, but they should have had legislation prepared back in June.
The really significant error that the Minister’s made is that he has agreed with the Court or there is an agreed fact in the submission to the court that the individual, NZYQ, who was the case that went before the High Court, that that individual had no prospect of being returned and deported from Australia. Now, I don’t understand why the Minister made that concession, but don’t forget that Minister Giles was one of the lawyers on the Tampa case many years ago. So he’s been an immigration lawyer acting on behalf of people of this nature for a long period of time. To be honest, I think he’s looked at it and said, you know, ‘fantastic. The courts made the decision that I really want to make, I’ll just be bound by it now’, and in addition to the individual case – which was bad enough – he’s now released almost 150 more. Again, that means that he’s made a concession in each of those cases that the individual doesn’t have any prospect of being repatriated back to their country of origin. That’s not a concession he should be making. He should be searching the world for outcomes for these people. That’s exactly what we did when we were in government. We had these cases before the court right up to the High Court regularly.
The Minister for Immigration is the most litigated Minister in the Commonwealth, but they’ve capitulated and the Prime Minister’s weakness here is just unbelievable, and the Australian public will pay the price because we know that many of these people have committed murder, they’re paedophiles, rapists, and they should be back in immigration detention.
I think it’s why the calls are out there for both Minister Giles and Minister O’Neil, the Immigration Minister and the Home Affairs Minister, to be sacked. If the Prime Minister doesn’t do that, it’s an ultimate display of complete weakness and capitulation.
So, it sounds like, Peter Dutton, you’re advocating not necessarily for indefinite detention, but rather a model whereby these people are either sent back to where they came from or some other third party. What’s the model on which that’s based? How do you make that work? How do you incentivise someone to take a person that we don’t want to have here?
Well, Will, under the Constitution you can’t detain somebody indefinitely. We accept that. But there was a court case about 20 years ago – the Al-Kateb case, which was the case law that provided the authority for the Minister of the day to act.
Now, when I was Immigration Minister and Home Affairs Minister, countless cases came before us where you had to look at somebody who was stateless, somebody who couldn’t be sent back to a war zone. But over time, Afghanistan, by way of example, that society moves from civil war into a society where it is safe for people to be returned back. There’s a situation in Sri Lanka where Tamil Tigers came for a period and were able to claim protection because there was a civil war and they claimed that they were at risk. Well, that civil war is now over and you can return people back to Sri Lanka. There are there are deals that you can do with third countries where they might have witnesses who are in protection that Australia might take, and as part of that arrangement, you might be able to send somebody to that country.
There are myriad opportunities and cases that the Minister will look at, but I honestly think that they’ve just said, ‘okay, too hard for us and this is the outcome really that we want. We don’t want to see these people in detention, it’s a human rights issue for us’, and that’s how the Left of the Labor Party think.
Their first responsibility, the Prime Minister’s first charge, is to protect Australians and I think that’s failed, and I’m really very upset by the fact that an innocent victim in Adelaide in this case, but potentially right across the country, it could have been avoided and somebody has gone through a very excruciating and difficult encounter with one of these individuals, the police are alleging, and the matter will now go before the courts.
Just finally, Peter Dutton, if not for the fact that we were sitting here in the studio only, it feels like light years ago, but it was only a little bit over two weeks ago, we had our excellent Police Commissioner, Grant Stevens, sitting here to my right and we asked him about the level of briefings that SAPOL had received from the AFP, about who these people were, what kind of threat they represented and so forth. Now, it was it was our Commissioner, who actually, on this show, gave us some specific numbers. It was the first time anyone had shown any candour around what this would mean at the sort of, you know, local, town, suburb level here in SA, about who these people were.
Do you think that at the state level, though, there needs to be some sort of a review? Because we’ve had these pat reassurances from the local Police Minister that, ‘don’t worry, these people are going to be monitored.’ Well, we now know this guy allegedly did all this while he was wearing an ankle bracelet. So, what sort of flimsy reassurances are they?
Well, they’re no reassurances at all, and full marks to Commissioner Stevens for putting the detail out there, because believe me, it’s like pulling teeth, getting details on any of these matters in the briefings that we’ve had from Ministers Giles and O’Neil.
As you know, it wasn’t until Prime Minister Albanese went overseas that the acting Prime Minister, Richard Marles, ended up agreeing to the tightening up of the legislation that we proposed. Ever since then this line that’s pushed, ‘oh, if they’ve ankle bracelet on, there’s tracking available’. It takes a massive resource, police resource, to surveil somebody for a day, let alone 24/7. I mean, you’re talking about dozens and dozens of police officers. SAPOL and others just don’t have the resources to do that for one or two cases, let alone a couple of hundred cases, and it’s a nonsense.
In the end, if somebody is going to commit a crime, whether they’re wearing an ankle bracelet or not, all the ankle bracelet will end up doing is giving you a GPS location of where they committed the crime, and that’s…
Which is exactly what’s happened in this case.
Well, exactly mate, and it’s cold comfort for the victim.
So, it’s a nonsense. I think the PM’s got to step up here, or just admit that they have made a catastrophic error and it’s going to get worse from here.
Peter Dutton, Opposition Leader, thanks very much for joining us this morning on Fiveaa for Breaking at 8.
Thanks, guys. Take care.