Turnbull Must Reconsider National Security Appointment

Prime Minister Turnbull must reconsider the appointment of hardliner Andrew Nikolic as the Chair of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security, one of the most powerful committees in our Parliament, which oversees all national security legislation and ensures fundamental rights and freedoms of Australians are not put at risk.

THE HON. MARK DREYFUS QC, MP
SHADOW ATTORNEY-GENERAL
MEMBER FOR ISAACS

 

 

TURNBULL MUST RECONSIDER NATIONAL SECURITY APPOINTMENT

 

Prime Minister Turnbull must reconsider the appointment of hardliner Andrew Nikolic as the Chair of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security, one of the most powerful committees in our Parliament, which oversees all national security legislation and ensures fundamental rights and freedoms of Australians are not put at risk.

 

Mr Nikolic has disqualified himself from such an important and influential role by his own publicly expressed extreme views on national security issues.

 

In December last year, he told the Parliament that ideas like liberty and freedom should be considered as “luxuries” when national security was at stake.

 

In May, he called for Australians to be stripped of their citizenship without authorities needing to prove a person was engaged in terrorist activities.

 

He is also facing claims of harassment of political opponents in Tasmania and was accused of trying to start a physical brawl in Parliament during Question Time.

 

Labor would be very concerned if this appointment was made by Mr Turnbull in an effort to placate one of his harshest critics within the Liberal Party.

 

Mr Turnbull is undermining the integrity and bipartisanship of the parliamentary oversight process of national security legislation.

 

Labor has a proud record of careful bipartisanship in the area of national security, where it is often important for political differences to be put aside for the best interests of our country.

 

Under former chair Dan Tehan, the PJCIS has been an effective forum to negotiate that bipartisanship, and it has ensured that the raft of national security legislation brought by the Abbott government was carefully considered and amended as necessary. It was operating extremely well as a highly respected committee, with over one hundred of its recommendations on national security legislation in this term of Parliament being accepted by the government.

 

Mr Turnbull must act immediately and reconsider Mr Nikolic’s appointment.

 

THURSDAY, 25 FEBRUARY 2016