Topics: Victorian State Government release of man convicted of terrorism related offences.
ALISON LANGDON: Minister, thanks for your time. Adam Brookman bragged on social media about his exploits. How could something like this be allowed to happen?
KAREN ANDREWS: Well, it is absolutely outrageous. Look, clearly it is a policy failure by the Victorian Government here. There was an individual who had been convicted of terrorism-related offences, he was sentenced, he was given an extra nine months that he needed to serve, that sentencing came down at 3 o’clock on Wednesday, and by midnight he was already released because he got discounted for being locked up during COVID. I mean it’s an absolutely appalling situation.
KARL STEFANOVIC: I think everyone’s scratching their heads, saying, how on Earth did this happen? Whose fault is it Department-wise?
KAREN ANDREWS: Well, it’s a Government policy initiative. They were the ones who determined that there would be discounts on sentences if people were, effectively locked up and affected by the COVID situation, so that’s what’s happened. So, in this case, the individual had accrued several hundred hours; days had, had been taken off his sentence, and that meant that he got to serve an extra nine hours. And quite frankly, that was only because they were probably looking at how he was going to be released into the community. So it’s appalling.
The good thing about that was that the Australian Federal Police was prepared, that there might be this eventuality. So, they had already started to put in place what they needed to do to make sure the Victorian community was safe. But it should never ever have got to this. And the obvious question is, how many other people are out there now in similar circumstances?
ALISON LANGDON: Yeah. I don’t understand why a pandemic makes a difference to your prison sentence. But, how much of a risk is this to our national security? And what can you do about it?
KAREN ANDREWS: Well, the good thing is, as I’ve said, the Australian Federal Police were prepared. I’ve spoken to the Commissioner, Reece Kershaw. He’s assured me that everything is in place, as it should be, to make sure the Victorian community is protected. They are in the process of preparing documentation to seek a control order which, if approved by the courts, would mean that there would be orders around how this individual is allowed to remain in the community. So, we’re doing all we can now, but it’s-
ALISON LANGDON: So, do you have the power to send him back to prison?
KAREN ANDREWS: I don’t have the power to send him back to prison, but I do have the authority to sign off on applications for control orders which would control an individual in the community. And this is where it comes back to, in this case, the Victorian Government. They should not be allowing this sort of thing to happen through policy initiatives. I mean, this individual had nine months, in addition, to serve. The judge made it very clear that the individual has probably not been rehabilitated. So, there were a range of circumstances which meant this individual should still be locked up.
And quite frankly, Victoria’s gone through so many lock downs, where people in the community have had to stay at home. And here we have someone who got locked up in prison, and because COVID supposedly affected them, they’re allowed to roam free.
KARL STEFANOVIC: They should be in the clink, and not putting more pressure on the AFP – they’re already busy. Thank you so much for your time today. Appreciate it.