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Tuesday, 4 June 2013
Page: 5243


Mr KEENAN (Stirling) (18:41): I address my questions to the Minister for Home Affairs. I am sure this was designed by the parliament to be an accountability exercise, but it strikes me as being a bit of a farce at the moment.

Mr Dreyfus: That is because of you.

Mr KEENAN: That is a very interesting interjection from the Attorney-General, but I suspect it has been made this way by a government that does not seem to appreciate scrutiny. My questions are for the Minister for Home Affairs. I ask about the evidence that the Australian Federal Police provided to estimates last week, particularly in light of the fact that Fairfax papers are running a story today that the Department of Immigration and Citizenship refuted what the AFP said to estimates.

What the AFP said to estimates was quite definitive in relation to the Egyptian terrorist who had been held in Inverbrackie and their inquiries in relation to him. I am sure the minister will be aware that ASIO confirmed that they had informed the department of Immigration that they had positively identified him on 30 August. It appears that the Australian Federal Police were doing a parallel investigation. It strikes me as slightly strange that ASIO and the AFP would not have liaised about this matter, but there does not seem to be any evidence that either agency was aware that the other was conducting an inquiry. The AFP gave evidence to estimates which said that they notified DIAC of exactly the same information that they had positively identified this individual on 14 November.

Fairfax News ran a report today to say that DIAC rejected that. DIAC said that they were not notified by the police, as stated in estimates, until February. In fairness, the AFP evidence is on the record in estimates and the counterpoint to that is through the media, so I am asking the minister if he would not mind providing some illumination into that particular issue. When did the AFP notify DIAC? Was it on 14 November as they suggested?

I also ask the minister to answer the question about when he was notified by the Australian Federal Police about the presence of a dangerous terrorist within Inverbrackie, and whether he made any recommendations as to how this individual should be dealt with, particularly how we should fulfil our international obligations in relation to the Interpol Red Notice that had been issued about this individual, and whether there is anything further he might care to add about what is a significant national security issue.