Topics: Coalition cleaning up Labor’s mess on released detainees;
Tuesday, 5 December 2023
Kieran Gilbert: With me now is the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, Simon Birmingham. We saw your contribution during the motion after Question Time, a very strong attack on the government. The government’s relented and voted to bring on the vote today. But will that expedite its passage through the Parliament more broadly? It probably won’t, given other commitments tomorrow relating to the condolences for Peter Murphy.
Simon Birmingham: Well, that’s right, Kieran. Now, of course, everybody respects what is happening tomorrow and acknowledges the tragic loss of Peter Murphy, the amazing contribution she made and tomorrow in the House of Representatives will rightly be a very respectful day. But in relation to this matter, the government were urging, saying the matter could be brought on. So, we called their bluff and caught them out and they have actually agreed to now bring this on. But it’s not really a matter about whether it passes through the Senate today or tomorrow, or the House of Representatives Thursday. The real shame and crime of this government is that these measures, these preventative detention reforms, should have been prepared as a contingency before the High Court handed down its ruling, and they should have been ready to legislate it not days ago but weeks ago.
Kieran Gilbert: Well, you said the House of Reps should have been sitting today which they aren’t.
Simon Birmingham: If the government thought this was ready to go and thought it was so urgent, could have sat yesterday, could have sat today, could have been ready to deal with this at any time this week-
Kieran Gilbert: And the Government could have then gone, made applications to the court to get the worst offenders back behind bars?
Simon Birmingham: That is precisely it, because we cannot lose sight of what is now playing out in the Australian community. One, two, three individuals now charged out of those who had been released. When the Opposition was saying as the government rushed to release people following the High Court decision, that these were dangerous individuals who posed a threat to the safety of Australians. We weren’t kidding. We were serious. Tragically, that has proven to be the case. Now the government has had to be led to every single action it’s taken to date. It had to be led to legislate in the first place, to put in place some of the monitoring arrangements. It then had to be led to strengthen those monitoring arrangements, had to be led to put in place the preventative detention regime, and had to be led to bring the vote on in the Senate today and on every occasion, it’s been led by Peter Dutton and the Coalition, rather than the government being able to lead. This really is the indictment that falls right on the Ministers, Andrew Giles and Minister O’Neil. They are the ones who should be taking responsibility, who increasingly are missing from action in defending these issues. That’s why Anthony Albanese should come out from hiding and frankly, sack these Ministers.
Kieran Gilbert: Well, we haven’t heard from any of those aforementioned ministers. Simon Birmingham, thank you. We did hear, as I say, your contribution in Parliament earlier. We appreciate you making your way up.