Anthony Albanese accused of being missing in action as dangerous criminals are released
Anthony Albanese is under fire for being “missing in action” over the fallout from the release of 83 criminals into the community after a High Court decision.
Amid calls to cancel his latest overseas trip to deal with the issue, reports emerged that some of the former detainees were initially released without a visa.
A paedophile who raped a 10-year-old boy, a hit man who blew up a pregnant woman with explosives and a sex predator who attacked elderly women are among the criminals released into the community following a High Court decision that the continued detention was unlawful.
The issue again dominated question time on Wednesday amid reports that some of the criminals released had been briefly declared “unlawful non-citizens” and released into the community without a visa.
“It turns out that this Minister has released these dangerous criminals into the community without a visa,’’ Liberal leader Peter Dutton said.
“How does this Prime Minister respond? He goes off overseas again. Prime Minister, don’t leave this country until you have dealt with these issues.
“Don’t hop on the plane again to the United States, you just met with President Biden, an incredibly important relationship, but you have just met with the President. The first responsibility for you, Prime Minister, is to be here.”
The Government confirmed on Wednesday that the number of detainees released had now increased from 81 to 83.
But Immigration Minister Andrew Giles was slammed as “evasive” and “tricky” as he repeatedly insisted all the former detainees were now on bridging visas.
“I can confirm that all of those individuals required to be released as a result of the decision of the High Court are on bridging visas with appropriate conditions,’’ Mr Giles said.
He did not detail whether they were initially released as unlawful citizens without a visa.
In parliament, Mr Dutton said the Prime Minister has one of the most serious responsibilities in this country.
“That is to take care of the Australian people, to protect, to defend them,’’ he said.
“And he fails at the first hurdle.”
Mr Dutton also he took aim at the Prime Minister over an increase in anti Semitism.
“This Prime Minister has gone missing,’’ he said.
“I never thought that I would see in my lifetime a repeat of the horrific scenes that we saw and that we have read about during the course of the Second World War repeated in our lifetimes, but to see people of Jewish faith cowering in their homes, being dragged from cupboards out into the street, when children are still abducted and still held hostage, this Prime Minister needs to stand up.
“The words have been qualified, the message divided.”
In response, the Prime Minister accused Peter Dutton of trying to “weaponise” the rise in anti-Semitisms.
“The attempt to weaponise anti-Semitism in this chamber and make it a partisan issue is frankly beyond contempt. Frankly beyond contempt,’’ Mr Albanese said.
“It is also the case that Arab Australians and Islamic Australians and women wearing hijabs in the streets of Sydney and Melbourne are being threatened and I stand against that as well.”
On Sunrise, host Natalie Barr confronted the Albanese Government over the issue on breakfast television.
“So far, political debate has focused on who to blame rather than to fix it,” she said.
Home affairs Minister Clare O’Neil said the government was releasing people under “the strictest possible visa conditions”.
“It includes us continuously monitoring things like social media and email addresses and phone numbers and the like,” she said.
“Some of these people have committed disgusting crimes. Disgusting crimes. Some of them have hurt people who are still here in our country and it is those victims that we care about,’’ she said.
The Immigration Minister said that Individuals required to be released by the High Court as a result of the decision have been subject to a range of strict, mandatory visa conditions.
“Such conditions include restricting types of employment, requiring regular reporting to authorities, and requiring released detainees to report their personal detail including their social media profiles, which we are actively monitoring,” he said.