EDITORIAL: When will the incompetence on immigration end?

Editorial
The Nightly
3 Min Read
Andrew Giles was forced to admit on Monday, there are no surveillance drones tracking crims around the suburbs. 
Andrew Giles was forced to admit on Monday, there are no surveillance drones tracking crims around the suburbs.  Credit: LUKAS COCH/AAPIMAGE

Just when we all thought the long-running detention saga had reached peak stupidity, Immigration Minister Andrew Giles goes and surprises us all with the depth of his capacity for incompetence.

Last week, as he faced heat from the media over his bungled Direction 99, which has led to the deportations of hundreds of criminal non-citizens being overturned, Mr Giles made the remarkable claim that drones were being used to keep a watchful eye on some of the 153 criminals who had been released from immigration detention through a separate bungle in his portfolio.

Drones, as Mr Giles likely well knows, are cool. The concept conjures up images of high-tech machines whizzing about, following around these nefarious characters, rapists and killers among them. It’s like something out of a high-tech sci-fi fantasy.

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Which of course it was.

As Mr Giles was forced to admit on Monday, there are no surveillance drones tracking crims around the suburbs.

Not that this bizarre untruth was his fault, of course.

“I relied on information provided by my department at the time, which has since been clarified,” Mr Giles said.

“As part of the work monitoring and supporting community safety, Operation AEGIS draws on information from a range of sources using different technologies including aerial open-source and other imagery through their work with state and territory law enforcement bodies.”

One of the many reasons Mr Giles’ claims that drones were being used was so ridiculous in the first place is that it was completely unnecessary.

Why bother with a sci-fi fantasy when you could simply slap ankle bracelets onto those in the cohort whose violent offending warranted monitoring?

Ankle bracelets are a tried and tested technology. And yet the Government has been curiously reluctant to use them.

At a Senate estimates hearing last week, Australian Border Force officials revealed that at least two murderers or attempted murderers and 26 sex offenders released as a result of the original NZYQ High Court decision which kicked off this sorry saga, were not required to wear electronic monitors or observe a curfew.

Australian Immigration Minister Andrew Giles reacts during Question Time at Parliament House in Canberra, Monday, March 25, 2024. (AAP Image/Lukas Coch) NO ARCHIVING
As Mr Giles was forced to admit on Monday, there are no surveillance drones tracking crims around the suburbs.  Credit: LUKAS COCH/AAPIMAGE

That includes one of the men who now stands accused of beating Perth woman Ninette Simons, 73, and her 76-year-old husband, Philip to a pulp during an alleged violent home invasion in April.

The Government should be focused on addressing the cost-of-living crisis which is driving many Australian families to the wall. With inflation threatening to once again spiral out of control, this should be an all-hands-on-deck scenario.

Instead, Labor is busy defending a crisis entirely of its own making.

What began as a case of flat-footedness when the Government was caught unawares by the High Court’s decision that indefinite detention without the prospect of deportation was unlawful has morphed into a sideshow of incompetence.

It’s time this painful soap opera came to an end.

Responsibility for the editorial comment is taken by WAN Editor Christopher Dore

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