Subjects: Dismantling of Operations Sovereign Borders, delays to listing terrorist organisations
PETA CREDLIN: Well, let’s go back down to the Home Affairs Minister. I think we’ve got her, Karen Andrews. Karen, I’ve introduced the issues, you know well, I think Australians terrifyingly understand you break apart Operations Sovereign Borders, you get the boats back. It’s happened before, under labor and it looks like it might happen again. Given what we know from people smugglers now already marketing this TPV decision. You’ve been the minister that had the boat stopped and kept, the boats stopped. What’s your reaction to what’s happened in recent days?
KAREN ANDREWS: Look, the issue really is that the actions that the Labor government have now taken with changing the rules around TPVs for those people who arrived some years ago now, means that the people smugglers will be able to send a very clear message to the people that they are trying to lure onto boats. And unfortunately, that message is likely to be that Australia is once again open for business. And if you wait around long enough, then there may well be a path to permanency now, under a Coalition government that would never, ever have been allowed to happen. So I think that, whilst Mr. Albanese has said, well, we took that policy to the election, I would’ve liked him to reconsider that in light of pretty clear advice that was given to the Home Affairs Minister in her incoming brief about the deterrent effect of temporary protection visas, how important it was to maintain all of the significant parts of Operation Sovereign Borders and to have them working to together. And that was the key part of the advice that was given to the minister. Now, the action taken has clearly put Australia at risk. Look, I hope the boats don’t continue, but we know that under the Labor government, there’s been on average one boat a month since they were elected, we know that there’s been dozens of boats that have been stopped by the Sri Lankan Navy. So it’s already started. So they’ve, they’ve got some big issues that they’re going to have to face.
PETA CREDLIN: Yeah. And of course there’s a front bench littered with former failed immigration ministers there, Chris Bowen, Tony Burke, of course, Anthony Albanese was a frontbencher with the Rudd, Gillard governments when all of this played out and the idea that they think they can fix it from opposition and do something different, they get into government. The official advice says, don’t do it. And they do it anyway. Well, it’s on their heads. Unfortunately, lives were lost last time. And that’s risk again. I’ve gotta ask you about this national security stuff that happened today. A report picked up by our colleague here, Olivia Caisley. This is the blowout in terrorism assessments are for listing under permanent protection. Let’s have a listen to what she’s got to say.
Under machinery of government changes, issues such as relisting terrorist organizations now have to go through two ministers. Not one took 22 days for the re-listing of multiple terrorist organizations to be bounced between Home Affairs and also the Attorney-General before being given the green light. The timeline shows. The Home Affairs Department asked Clare O’Neil, the Home Affairs minister to consider re-listing Islamic State Sin Province, Al-Qaeda in the Indian subcontinent and Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula on October four last year. She wrote to the Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus, 13 days later, to endorse the re-listing of these bodies under the Criminal Code Act.
PETA CREDLIN: I mean, this is a concern if you’ve got these delays and we’re talking about Islamic State, we’re talking about Al-Qaeda and proscribing these organizations as ban terror organizations in Australia. Is the minister out of her depth? Is the Attorney-General trying to take over her portfolio? What’s going on?
KAREN ANDREWS: Well, the current Minister for Home Affairs only has half the portfolio that Home Affairs ministers had under the Coalition Government. So half of it’s been stripped from Home Affairs and has gone to the Attorney-General. That includes responsibility of the Australian Federal Police. So the minister who’s responsible for the AFP is the one that determines listings of terrorist organizations. So effectively you’ve got a lame duck Home Affairs Minister sitting there purporting to be part of the listing process. So her department is briefing her, she’s then sitting on it for a considerable period of time before going to the Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus in his capacity as the Minister for the AFP to list an organization. But quite frankly, the Attorney-General doesn’t have to take the Minister for Home Affairs’ advice at all. So you’ve really got a significant delay in the process for no reason whatsoever. So really the process should formally be bypassing the Minister for Home Affairs’ advice, should be going to the Attorney-General, and he should be making that decision. That will streamline things quite a bit.
PETA CREDLIN: They can’t leave well enough alone. They always gotta break stuff that’s fixed the Labor Party in this area. Karen Andrews, thank you for your time.