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Tuesday, 22 March 2011
Page: 2674

Mr KEENAN (3:12 PM) —My question is to the Prime Minister. Will the Prime Minister confirm that, in order to comply with the commitment given to rioting asylum seekers on Christmas Island for outstanding security assessments to be completed by the end of April, ASIO will not conduct individual risk assessments for each case but instead make a general assessment for each of the regions from which the asylum seekers originate?

Ms GILLARD (Prime Minister) —We have questions based on chain emails, by the sound of it. I thank the shadow minister for immigration for his question. I can advise him of the following. The security assessment process that we do for people whose applications are being processed is, of course, an important part of our border security regime. We, as a government that has deployed more assets patrolling our border than ever before, will of course not be compromising on this very important part of our border security regime.

I understand that floating out there are some chain emails and the like, but the facts are these. There has been no deal in regard to security assessments—that is completely untrue. You may have picked that up from an email sent to you, but it is untrue. Over recent months there has been ongoing collaboration between the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation and the immigration department to streamline security checking arrangements to reduce processing times without compromising national security. That means that, for most existing cases, security checking for people whose claims have now been accepted will be completed progressively by the end of April. As you would expect, in some individual cases, completing security assessments will take more time. That is important for Australia’s national security and important for the protection of the Australian community, and of course the time necessary will be taken to do those security assessments. That is the answer to the member’s question.