To the Point with Kristina Keneally

 SUBJECTS: Mal Brough, control orders, citizenship










SUBJECTS: Mal Brough, control orders, citizenship


KRISTINA KENEALLY: Mark, thank you for being with me on To The Point.


MARK DREYFUS: Thanks for having me, Kristina.


KRISTINA KENEALLY: When Parliament last sat the Government had introduced its legislation to strip citizenship from dual nationals who were involved in terrorist activity, who had engaged in terrorist activity. At the time the Leader of the Opposition Bill Shorten said that Labor would support in principle, but wanted to have a good look. It was not their job just to wave that legislation through but that they would not unduly delay it. Are you in a position now to confirm that when Parliament returns that the Opposition will be supporting this legislation?


MARK DREYFUS: Yes I can Kristina. We started debating this in the last sitting week, and that debate follows on an inquiry by the Intelligence Committee, of which I’m a member, which made, as really we have in relation to a range of other Bills that the Government has brought to the Parliament on national security, we made a number of recommendations for change. Labor said that, provided the Government agreed to those recommendations and brought amendments in that gave effect to those recommendations, we’d be supporting the Bill, and that is our position. I spoke on the Bill last Thursday week. The debate will continue this coming Monday in Parliament.


KRISTINA KENEALLY: When do you anticipate there’ll be a vote? Are we likely to see this go through before Parliament rises for the year?


MARK DREYFUS: As I understand it Kristina that’s the Government’s intention. That it will pass through the House of Representatives in the next sitting week and can then go to the Senate and be debated there.


KRISTINA KENEALLY: Alright, well we’ll wait and see. One of the other pieces oflegislation that the Government is bringing forward is to apply control orders to people as young as fourteen. There’s some other changes in that legislation but that is one of the key recommendations. Do you have any concerns about the Government having the ability to put a control order on minors at that young age?


MARK DREYFUS: Of course there are concerns about dealing with younger people. The criminal law historically treats people under eighteen differently. What the Government’s done is now bring in a Bill which would make it possible for a judge ordering a control order, putting on a control order because it has to be a judge, on someone aged between fourteen and eighteen. As with other pieces of national security legislation, that too is going to go to an inquiry by the Intelligence Committee – it’s gone to the Intelligence Committee. The Committee’s called for submissions, we’ll be holding hearings in the coming weeks.


KRISTINA KENEALLY: Well we’ll wait and see how that one pans out too. I’m pretty sure there’s going to be a fairly robust debate in the Parliament over that legislation, perhaps more so than we’ve seen with the dual nationals legislation. But I want to ask you as well about the Grand Mufti of Australia, Ibrahim Abu Mohamed, who has come under some fire in the past few days, notably from some Government ministers, for what they say is his failure to comprehensively condemn the attacks. He has in his comments sought to contemplate, if you will, publicly, some of the reasons people might radicalise and turn to terrorist activity. He’s talked about racism and Islamophobia. One, were you concerned about the tenor of his comments in his response?


MARK DREYFUS: I think it shows – the reaction to the Mufti’s comments shows the care that everybody has to take in the language that they use. The Mufti of course has put out a correcting statement. The problem was his use of the term ‘causative factors’, and some people thought that he might be suggesting there was a justification for terrorism. Of course there is none. There can never be. And the Mufti in his correcting statement made that absolutely clear. But I’d also say that the Mufti for many, many months going right back to the first emergence of ISIL is on record as condemning terrorism and saying in direct terms that there can be no justification of terrorism. But again I’d say we all need to use care in the words that we choose when we’re talking about terrorism, the Mufti included.


KRISTINA KENEALLY: My own personal view on this Mark, my reaction when I saw some of those Ministers’ comments, is I thought for goodness sake you Ministers spend a lot of time contemplating why people are radicalised. We have Government programs that are looking at why people are radicalised. Here we have a Muslim leader who’s seeking to at least explore some of his thoughts as to why are people are radicalised but I take your point about language and it’s one we should all bear in mind. But let me take you to something else because we saw earlier today the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull express his confidence in Mal Brough, the Special Minister for State. And this comes following revelations from Minister Brough that the AFP in his words had ‘visited’ him and sought information from him relating to the diaries of the former Speaker Peter Slipper. Do you share the Prime Minister’s confidence in Minister Brough?


MARK DREYFUS: Well I think the Prime Minister might have used the words ‘at this stage’ and it is an extraordinary circumstance Kristina that we’ve got a senior Minister of the Commonwealth being subjected to a search by the Australian Federal Police and we know from something published in The Australian yesterday, the third page of a document which was a search warrant that the Australian Federal Police has taken out, that the Federal Police are considering criminal charges against Mal Brough as well as a number of others including of course James Ashby concerned with the theft of the diary or parts of the diary of the Speaker of the House of Representatives. This is something that Labor drew to the attention of the Federal Police last year when Mal Brough made some extraordinary admissions on 60 Minutes and it’s right that the police are investigating this but it also should be the case now that Mr Brough explain himself in much greater detail than he’s chosen to do up until now.


KRISTINA KENEALLY: Well are you thinking of perhaps Parliament as a forum he should make that explanation?


MARK DREYFUS: Well if it comes to it we will of course consider using parliamentary processes to ask questions, possibly give him an opportunity to explain his conduct, but people should be contemplating what an extraordinary thing it is that the Minister responsible for Government integrity, the Special Minister of State, is the subject of an Australian Federal Police investigation and serious corruption charges being considered as well. Mr Brough engaged in some pretty grubby conduct to bring down the Speaker of the House of Representatives back in 2012. I’m hoping that he disclosed his full role to Malcolm Turnbull before he was appointed to the Ministry because of course we said at the time that he was appointed that it was a very strange thing that he could be appointed to an integrity position when there was still many unanswered questions about his conduct in relation to Peter Slipper and so I hope that he made full disclosure to Mr Turnbull. If he didn’t, he should. Mr Turnbull should have insisted on it. Mr Turnbull has made a choice to appoint him knowing that there was this cloud hanging over him and these unanswered questions, arising of course from his own disclosure to 60 Minutes of what he’d done, which was effectively to encourage James Ashby to steal parts of the diary of the Speaker of the House of Representatives.


KRISTINA KENEALLY: Well we will see, I’m pretty sure that this may come up in Question Time next week but Mark Dreyfus thank you for joining me this afternoon on To The Point.


MARK DREYFUS: Thanks for having me Kristina.