Time for Turnbull and Brandis to defend their man

It has been four days since ASIO boss Duncan Lewis appeared at Senate estimates, and expertly handled a series of clumsy questions from Senator Pauline Hanson alleging a connection between refugees and terrorism.

MARK DREYFUS QC MP

SHADOW ATTORNEY-GENERAL

SHADOW MINISTER FOR NATIONAL SECURITY

MEMBER FOR ISAACS

 

TIME FOR TURNBULL AND BRANDIS TO DEFEND THEIR MAN

 

It has been four days since ASIO boss Duncan Lewis appeared at Senate estimates, and expertly handled a series of clumsy questions from Senator Pauline Hanson alleging a connection between refugees and terrorism.

 

He explained the fact, based on intelligence and the rigorous judgement of our security agencies, that there was no causal link between being a refugee and being a terrorist.

 

Since that evening ASIO’s Director-General, Mr Lewis, a former Army Special Operations Commander and former Ambassador to NATO, has faced a storm of criticism not just from right-wing armchair commentators, but now from the former Prime Minister of the government that appointed him.

 

Mr Abbott’s suggestion that Mr Lewis has jeopardised ASIO’s standing in the community by trying to combat Senator Hanson’s fear-mongering with the facts is ridiculous and cynically self-serving. Trying to undermine the standing of our intelligence agencies for some imagined political advantage is typical of Abbott’s destructiveness.

 

Does Mr Abbott really think that he knows more than the head of Australia’s intelligence agency about the nature of the terrorist threat to Australia?

 

Mr Lewis has a larger responsibility than pandering to prejudice. He is more interested in keeping Australians safe, and that is a job he has performed excellently.

 

While Mr Abbott and other coalition MPs have attacked Mr Lewis, Prime Minister Turnbull and Attorney-General George Brandis have stayed silent. This is unacceptable.

 

It’s time for this government to stand up for the dedicated public servants and officers who serve this country so loyally.

 

TUESDAY, 30 MAY 2017

 

An opinion piece on this topic was published today on the Huffington Post