Topics: Continuing threat of terrorism; combatting crime on the dark web; extended supervision orders legislation.
DAVID KOCH: Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews joins me now – we were worried about COVID; now terrorism as a result of it? Just how concerned should we be of a terror attack out of all of this?
KAREN ANDREWS: Good morning Kochie. The terrorist threat in Australia is set at ‘probable’ and what that means is our agencies have credible intelligence to say there are individuals or groups out there, that have the intent and the capability to conduct a terrorist attack in Australia. It is a threat we take very seriously, and we do know that during COVID people have had a lot of time at home – they’ve had a lot of time to be online – and some people have been looking at things they clearly should not be looking at. So we know radicalisation has increased.
DAVID KOCH: Okay, so that threat level hasn’t increased, has it? It’s been at ‘probable’ for a while?
KAREN ANDREWS: It’s been at ‘probable’ since 2014, so we have had that heightened risk for some time. It’s the COVID threat which now means we have to be very conscious of what’s happening – and what’s happening in Afghanistan and overseas.
DAVID KOCH: Yeah, so do our intelligence agencies monitor what we access? So we get early warnings of these people that are spending more time on the dark web – if you like – looking at terror related instructions?
KAREN ANDREWS: Our intelligence agencies are very, very good – some of the world’s best. They monitor what’s happening in Australia; they also monitor what is happening overseas. There are people that are known within Australia that are closely monitored; so they are doing all that they can to make sure that Australians are kept safe and secure.
DAVID KOCH: Alright, just quickly there are some high-risk terror offenders due to be released from prison in the not-to-distant future; how’s that going to be managed?
KAREN ANDREWS: There’s currently 51 offenders in jail at the moment who have been charged with terrorist offences, and have been committed to serve jail terms. They will be starting to come out over the coming years. There’s currently legislation before the Parliament that would give us the opportunity to put in place extended supervision orders so that we would be able to monitor those people closely with a tailored solution, and again that’s all about keeping Australians safe.
DAVID KOCH: Okay, that’s good. Karen Andrews, appreciate your time – thank you.
KAREN ANDREWS: Pleasure, thank you.