Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash

Shadow Attorney-General

Shadow Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations

Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Senate


13 February 2024

Topics: Criminal detainees, Attorney-General


Peta Credlin

Welcome back, still to come – John Anderson shortly on the dire state of our defence force and those ‘no’ supporters turning the tables on the Yes Voice activist. But let’s go back to the state, to the parliament and the issue of course that’s dominated question time today, I don’t think it’s going away anytime soon and that’s Labor’s sheer incompetence in its handling of the foreign criminals issue. And that performance again today, dismal performance from Immigration Minister Andrew Giles. Labor’s clearly under pressure, it’s showing the blokes not across his brief and the government’s bleeding on this. Joining me now for more Shadow Attorney-General Michaelia Cash. Well Senator, Labor want to say that the threshold for putting in an application is incredibly tough, it’s very high, that’s why they have not yet put an application to re-detain any of these people. Now you’re a former Attorney-General, does that wash with you?

Senator Cash

Absolutely not, you at least try on behalf of the Australian people. You either take national security and the security of Australians seriously, or you don’t. And it is pretty clear based on what we now know that they have made not one application in relation to hardcore criminals that were released under their watch – pedophiles, murderers, rapists, and a contract killer. Not one application has been made and yet what do we also know yesterday Peta? Well apparently they had 20 lawyers working on these applications over the Christmas break. Are you kidding me? Seriously, you’ve got to start wondering if Minister Giles and Minister O’Neil were over the Christmas break exercising their right to disconnect. Because quite frankly, if you take national security seriously, if you believe in protecting Australians from these types of people, you at least try on their behalf. They are full of excuses, and nothing more.

Peta Credlin

Last year Giles and the Home Affairs Minister both pretended that they were caught unaware by this high court decision. I bet you on my program making the point, you’ve been there before, you know you have a Plan B in case it doesn’t go the way you hope. You know fingers crossed, you want to win your court case doesn’t always work out like that. We find from Senate Estimates last night though that there were three briefings provided to the Minister about having a contingency for just what happened, when the court went against him. Now, he didn’t turn up to any of those briefings. They were held with his staff. Again, he didn’t front. I don’t know what he was doing on the 8th of August. But on the other two dates, he was attending ‘Yes’ campaign rallies for the voice – one in Canberra and the other one, he found the time to fly to London.

Senator Cash

Well Peta, this government without a doubt has been distracted from day one by its divisive voice. Everything else went by the wayside. But Peta, do you know what I discovered in estimates today? The Attorney-General of Australia in June of last year was made aware of the comments of Justice Gleeson and the fact that Justice Gleeson gave a very clear indication that the government may well lose the case. Now I would have thought Peta, alarm bells start ringing. You pick up the phone to Minister Giles and Minister O’Neil and you say – Houston, we have a problem, we need a contingency plan. Peta, do you want to know what the Attorney-General of Australia did instead? He actually personally signed off on the Australian Human Rights Commission intervening against the government in this case. Peta, This is Monty Python-esque. You could not script this if you tried. So the Attorney-General of Australia, his fingerprints are all over this in terms of knowledge – June of last year. And quite frankly, he has some very serious questions now that need to be answered.

Peta Credlin

Thank you Minister. I’ll leave it there or Shadow Minister as you are now. Thank you Michaelia Cash.