House debates

Tuesday, 13 February 2024

Questions without Notice

Immigration Detention

2:59 pm

Photo of Dan TehanDan Tehan (Wannon, Liberal Party, Shadow Minister for Immigration and Citizenship) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs. The Albanese government has released 149 criminals from immigration detention, including seven murderers and 37 sex offenders. So far, 18 of these criminals have been charged by state and territory police for new offences. Evidence in estimates has revealed the government has not even applied for a single community safety order to protect the public from these criminals. Minister, how is this possible?

Photo of Andrew GilesAndrew Giles (Scullin, Australian Labor Party, Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs) Share this | | Hansard source

I thank the shadow minister for his question and say, once again, it was the decision of the High Court that required the release of the individuals that are the subject of his question. I remind him again that our top priority has been, and remains, keeping Australians safe through four layers of protection as well as the wider framework, which of course includes the community safety order and preventative detention regime.

I'm pleased that members opposite joined us in putting in place this regime before Christmas, and I thank them for their support in the House. I remind them too that our scheme is modelled, as proposed by members opposite, on their own high-risk terrorist offender scheme. And I remind them, including the Leader of the Opposition, who was the minister at the time, that it took more than three years for the first continuing detention order application to be lodged under the high-risk terrorist offender scheme.

We are preparing applications and we are making sure, as the evidence of Ms Sharpe made clear in the Senate estimates yesterday, that we will do so properly. And as Senator Paterson pointed out, back in 2021, there is:

… a very high legal threshold to be met for a Court to agree to the ongoing detention of an offender who continues to pose an unacceptable risk.

It's a serious piece of work to be done. That is why we are taking it seriously, to ensure applications are made properly.

And it isn't just Senator Paterson who made this point. Indeed, this morning a prominent member of the opposition said this:

Well, of course we are all aware there is a higher threshold, and we knew that before we put the legislation through the parliament before Christmas.

That was the member for Wannon.

Photo of Milton DickMilton Dick (Speaker) Share this | | Hansard source

Order. The member for Wright will cease interjecting.

Order. The member for Groom will also cease interjecting or be warned.