Matters of Public Importance – Prime Minister

At this moment, I want to focus on the No. 1 job of the Prime Minister and the government, in actually keeping Australians safe. After all, they are in government right now. When you talk to people out in the community, do they feel less safe and less secure? In the current circumstances, unfortunately, the answer is yes. It has been a dreadful, dangerous and damaging debacle that we’ve seen here. Unfortunately, the Australian people now know that the Prime Minister has been weak on this particular issue.

Labor is actually in government, and must take responsibility for the actions that they have chosen to take. We’ve seen a litany of terrible examples of the dreadful and very personal effects on Australians’ lives. The tragic consequences have been laid bare in this House. We know that last year the government made a decision to release 153 criminals into the community, and they included sex offenders, child sex offenders, domestic violence perpetrators, drug traffickers and murderers. We do know that the Prime Minister then clearly put the then New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern above the safety and security of Australians by insisting on that direction 99, where those ties were given primary consideration by the AAT. No-one can deny that this has caused considerable harm; that is irrefutable. It caused harm and it was a decision of this Labor government and the Prime Minister.

These violent and obscene crimes, particularly those relating to young girls, by noncitizens whose visa cancellations were reversed as a result of this decision, should give every member in this House pause. Each one of those has a personal story behind them. We have seen so many of these serious offenders released. We saw a particular person who has been charged with the stabbing murder of a 22-year-old. Added to this is case after case of violent criminals, with appalling convictions, who have been allowed to stay in Australia by this government. That is irrefutable. On top of this, we now know that at least two murderers are in the community without electronic monitoring; two murderers are exempt from curfews; 26 sex offenders, including child sex offenders, are no longer electronically monitored; and 27 sex offenders, including child sex offenders, no longer have a curfew. I would be surprised if every single member of this chamber is not concerned about those people and what they may or may not do to people in our communities.

Each one of us has a community of people that could be affected by this. That’s not constant monitoring by any stretch of anyone’s imagination. Again, this is a weak Prime Minister who has put Australians at enormous risk. He should have acted well before this today. The Prime Minister and the Minister for Immigration knew the risks of section 99; they were warned. I cannot get over the 14-year-old girl who was raped by her stepfather when her mother was giving birth. What has that young girl got to live with from here on? What effect is that having on that little family? Of course, we have seen some really seriously traumatising attacks. We had a lovely lady in Western Australia, Nanette Simons, who was bashed so badly that her face should be one that sticks in the minds of everyone in this place when we’re discussing this issue—the human face of that poor woman, who did not deserve the treatment that she got.

This is where we need the Prime Minister and government to actually have the courage and the strength to apologise to that woman. I know the Prime Minister came to WA—he was there at the time. I’m sure that Nanette Simons would have really appreciated a quiet call or a drop-in by the Prime Minister, where he actually said, ‘It’s a decision we made; we made the wrong decision and I apologise for what has happened to you.’