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Transcript of interview with Kieran Gilbert: AM Agenda : 06 June 2013: National security breach



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Michael Keenan MP - Federal Member for Stirling AM Agenda Interview with Kieran Gilbert June 06, 2013

Topics: National security breach

Kieran Gilbert

Michael Keenan thanks for your time. The Opposition questioned the scope of this investigation yesterday. The Minister this morning issued a statement quoting the relevant Act, the Inspector-General Security and Intelligence Act 1986. It can cover a Commonwealth agency according to the Act and according to the advice of the Minister, so you would be happy with that obviously?

Michael Keenan

Do we really expect that the Government is going to have a broad ranging inquiry into their own national security failures? I don’t think that is a realistic expectation from this Government and that is why it is actually the Parliament that is the appropriate place to conduct this inquiry and we have been calling for that since last week. We have even drafted Terms of Reference that we put to the Parliament. Surely with a national security breach of this scale, it is appropriate for the Australian Parliament to take an interest and I might add that almost all members of the cross bench agree with us.

Kieran Gilbert

You say the Government is investigating itself but it’s not. It is the Security and Intelligence watchdog, the top watchdog in this area, independent, that oversees the agencies in this area not the Government?

Michael Keenan

We haven’t seen any Terms of Reference and presumably the Government will be setting out the parameters for the Inspector-General to conduct that inquiry. With a national security breach that is this grave, we need to understand why it has happened and we need to understand how we can prevent it from happening again.

Kieran Gilbert

But isn’t the watchdog the best place to start?

Michael Keenan

No the Parliament is the best place to start.

Kieran Gilbert

But this is the peak agency that oversees all the security agencies?

Michael Keenan

It has oversight for our six intelligence agencies. What I am saying is the Parliament is the appropriate place to conduct an inquiry such as this. It needs to be transparent and it needs to get to the bottom of what seems to be the incredible chaotic handling of national security within the Gillard Government.

Kieran Gilbert

Refugee advocates have questioned the veracity of the convictions against this man following a trial, according to these advocates, which the man was tortured in Egypt back in 1999 under Mubarak. What do we know about the man concerned?

Michael Keenan

We only know about the evidence that has been put on the record by ASIO and the AFP at Senate Estimates. That is

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where we have got our information and it is very credible information because it wouldn’t be put on the Senate record unless it was. What we know is that this man was a member of one of the worst terrorist organisations that has emerged in the past forty years. That organisation subsequently merged with al-Qaeda and quite frankly Kieran this is not somebody that we want to remain in Australia.

Kieran Gilbert

The Opposition has been accused of politicising national security over this matter. Do you accept that at least in part?

Michael Keenan

Absolutely not. The Government has failed a fundamental test of national security here and we are rightly asking questions and trying to get to the bottom of it. When we first started asking questions about this, and that has been over seven weeks ago, the Government told us there was nothing to see here, there was nothing wrong. Now we know that is not the case because they have actually ordered an inquiry. Clearly there have been enormous national security failings in the Gillard Labor Government and we want to get to the bottom of that.

Kieran Gilbert

Ok Michael Keenan appreciate your time. Thank you.

Michael Keenan

Good to talk to you.

Ends…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

© Authorised by Michael Keenan MP, 203 Wanneroo Road, Tuart Hill WA 6060

www.keenan.net.au

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