Wed, 14 Feb 2024 - 16:39



Shadow Minister for Science and the Arts

Shadow Minister for Government Services and the Digital Economy

Manager of Opposition Business in the House




14 FEBRUARY 2024



KIERAN GILBERT: Joining me live in the studio is the manager of Opposition Business, Paul Fletcher. Thanks for your time. I guess you'd go again at Andrew Giles. He's been under the pump this week on the detainee issue. That's your strategy this afternoon?

PAUL FLETCHER: Well, look, we've been asking a lot of questions of Andrew Giles because what we know is there's 149 hardcore criminals who've been released by this government, including seven murderers, 37 sex offenders. And we've been asking questions yesterday and on Monday to find out from Andrew Giles, what is the government doing about these people? Where are they? Have they applied for any of these community safety orders that they gave themselves the power to apply for, with the help of the opposition last year? Remember when this High Court decision came out, they seemed completely unsure what to do. And frankly, with a lot of help from the opposition and Peter Dutton in particular, with all his experience in this space, the government has now got some powers to deal with these, but they haven't exercised these powers. –

KIERAN GILBERT: The government said, had Tony Burke on the programme earlier and he said that under the similar framework, when used for terrorists, it took the former coalition government three years to seek an application.

PAUL FLETCHER: Let's be clear on the urgency of this situation, right. There's 149 hardcore criminals who've been released. Mr Giles won't say where they are. Which cities are they in? Where do Australians need to be concerned about their personal safety? Because you've got convicted murderers and sex offenders walking the streets. So this is an absolutely urgent matter, and it should be the first priority of this government to be applying for those orders in respect of as many people as they can. Mr. Giles refuses to give any answers on these matters, and this is an absolutely central issue of public safety.

KIERAN GILBERT: He did say, correct me if I'm wrong, but he said a number of times that they do know where they are, these individuals and that they are being monitored continuously. So there was that reassurance, at least?

PAUL FLETCHER: Yeah, but what we also know is that I think there are 36, he said, that are exempted from the ankle bracelet monitoring. So we need to understand exactly what is going on. We do need to understand this claim about continuous monitoring. It sounds all very reassuring, but in fact, what we also know from some of the things that have been said in estimates is that at least some of these people have, there are reports of criminal behaviour from at least some of them, I think, 27 reports of criminal behaviour according to what -

KIERAN GILBERT: Should the Prime Minister sack the minister?

PAUL FLETCHER: What the Prime Minister should certainly be doing is insisting that this minister gives answers to detailed questions that we have asked for two days in a row. And we'll be asking further today, because this is a central order of issue of public safety.

KIERAN GILBERT: Paul Fletcher, I appreciate your time. As always.