Andrew Giles detainees saga continues

Detainees release debacle continues to expose poor talent of Albo cabinet

It was panic all over Australia when the Albanese government chose to release, when it was not ordered to by the High Court in my view, 149 detainees being held in its detention centers awaiting deportation.

I have written earlier the order related to just one detainee, NZYQ, who had gone to High Court seeking release or deportation.

The High Court found that if NZYQ could not be deported in the foreseeable future, (and that was the position accepted by the Minister for Immigration Andrew Giles), the detainee ought to be released from detention.

In other words, the detainee, and it was only NZYQ in the court litigating, could not be detained indefinitely.

It would seem, the government went into panic mode and released a whole lot of, in fact 149 of them, into the community.

It is well documented that for NZYQ, while the matter was in court, the government’s attempts to send him to a third country, were unsuccessful, although, perhaps not fully exhausted.

But that was only for detainee NZYQ.

Why did the government release the whole lot?

It has not been clearly answered nor has the legal advice on that made public.

But, the government was very quick to bring in legislation, fully supported by the Opposition, to be able to make application to the courts to ‘re-detain’ those detainees from among the 149 it had released who were convicted of serious offences.

Some of those released still had some matters pending in court. Some reoffended within days.

Soon as the legislation passed and became law, it was the expectation of the community that the government would do the right thing, get off its butt, act and obtain orders to re-detain those serious offenders.

To the utmost disappointment of Australians, it has not made a single application to bring a single detainee back in detention.

Prime Minister Albanese has said the legislation “sets a high bar”.

That means the government is not confident that the legislation will enable it to make a successful application to bring detainees back in detention.

If that is the case, his government proceeded with an inadequate bill last year and has misled Australians.

Of the 149 detainees released, 24 have already reoffended and 18 have been charged by police.

It remains to be seen how many serious offenders are still in custody.

Among the detainees released last year, 7 were murderers, 37 sex offenders and 72 violent criminals, 13 drug traffickers, 5 people smugglers and 16 domestic violence offenders.

Just 5 out of 149 released individuals were described as being convicted of low-level crimes or having no criminality at all.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has said that the government didn’t want to apply for a preventative detention order that was not successful.

“We are taking advice and we will take action for everyone who the advice suggests can be successfully detained,” he said.

I have two questions for the Prime Minister on this:

1. Is the advice being ordered from another universe? Or
2. Were Australians fooled about the efficacy of the legislation passed last year to cure the problem the government had created?

Australians would remember Andrew Giles and Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil had said in the parliament last year, they would leave no stone unturned to protect the community.

From its conduct, it is clear the government now admits the legislation they enacted to cure their blunder isn’t good enough to be able to make an application to have serious criminals back in detention.

As one can see, they are waiting for ‘advice’.

Also read: Who will lead in 2025? Will Albo be there?

The Community Protection Board announced on December 12 last year was to assess each case and advise the government with individualised assessments of appropriate measures, which may include one or more of the following:

1. Preventative Detention;
2. Community Safety Supervision Orders;
3. Electronic Monitoring Devices and Curfews;
4. Stringent visa conditions.

While writing this piece, I checked for the membership of the Community Protection Board which was established and announced on 12 December by a joint media release from the offices of Minister O’Neil and Minister Giles, there is one name – Jake Sharman, Commander and the links go into a loop with the Board and Jake Sharman.

To me, although the board was announced last year, members perhaps are yet to be nominated to their positions if the website is reflective of its current position.

And that means the ‘advice’ Albanese is waiting for has not been requested of it.

So much so for his “we have serious work underway” answer on Sydney radio.

“We want to, we are taking advice and we will take action for everyone who the advice suggests can be successfully detained,” he said.

For that, the board needs to be populated with individuals who are skilled and qualified to provide that advice.

On this issue, the way it has been handled, I wonder why Anthony Albanese has not sacked Andrew Giles and Clare O’Neil. Is it because of factional settings of his cabinet or it is his own poor judgement that he cannot see their handling of their portfolios?

Peta Credlin questions in her piece – Inept Andrew Giles shows Albanese is the true weak link in the Australian whether Andrew Giles has sympathy for these criminals because of his previous work as a lawyer for boatpeople.

“Could it be that his time working as a lawyer acting for boatpeople on the notorious Tampa means his sympathies lie with these foreign criminals and not the community? I hope I am wrong”, she writes.

If it is not incompetence of Andrew Giles, his inaction for more than two months may seem to some as if he is ‘unwilling’ to act and needs constant goading by the Opposition to have the criminals back in detention.

I am of the considered view the honeymoon of revised Stage 3 Tax cuts will not help Anthony Albanese if he keeps on pussyfooting around the issue of community safety.

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