TRANSCRIPT – Sky News Credlin
Subjects: The 2018 Bourke Street attack, the National Archives, and the Green’s Anti-Adani Convoy
PETA CREDLIN: Back in November 2018, Hassan Ali went on a violent rampage along Melbourne's Bourke Street, fatally stabbing the much love owner of Pellegrini’s Espresso Bar, Sisto Malaspina, and knifing two others. Yesterday, Victoria's coroner confirmed what so many of us already knew: Hasson, whose brother was jailed for plotting an attack on Federation Square in 2017, was an Islamist terrorist. According to Justice John Cain, Hassan's actions constituted a premeditated act of terrorism, an [Islamic State] inspired attack attributable to his adherence to an extremist interpretation of Islam. Cain also found Victoria's police anti-terror squad missed opportunities ahead of the attack, but did not conclude that the incident could have been averted.
To discuss this and more, I’m joined by my political panel; Assistant Minister for Women, Amanda Stoker, and Labor MP Joel Fitzgibbon.
Amanda, I'll start with you if I can. Earlier in the year, the head of ASIO, the director-general, announced that the organization would replace the term “Islamic extremism”, instead using “religiously motivated violent extremism”. Now, how is it that the Victorian coroner can call out the problem, but our domestic spy guy, he can't. You can't fight an enemy that you can't name, surely?
AMANDA STOKER: Hi, Peta. Thanks for having me on the show. I think it is important we call things as they are, but there's been a lot of fiddling around with the language about the way we talk about extremism in this country. That reflects, I think, a political push, and a shifting in the sense, because we are seeing extremism at the moment that takes a whole lot of different political and religious characters. But most importantly to take away from findings of the coroner are the idea that there are matters we can learn from. We shouldn't forget the suffering that the Malaspina family have gone through, and that's significant. And we also, I think, need to keep a sharp eye on the Victorian government, who seems intent on making sure that people who are convicted of terrorism offences don't seem to
spend an awful lot of time repenting for doing so. Now, we have an example of only a week or two, where a fellow who was convicted of a terrorist offence in Victoria spent no more than nine hours, after having his sentence imposed, before being released with a COVID discount. We should have seen him do at least nine months of time. It's very important that Victorian government faces up to how many people are in this category, because we don't have any transparency around that. And we need to understand the nature of the risk that that poses to the community. The federal government is of course seeking control order in relation to that person, considering its options there. But this is a serious problem.
PETA CREDLIN: I couldn’t agree more, and more control orders the better, if they're getting out in COVID discounts. But if you can't call it Islamic terrorism, if that's what it is, then I think ASIO has a problem.
Joel, a little earlier on I had Keith Pitt on the show. I regard him as one of the best on the front bench. He's been pushed out of cabinet, but of course that means that resources and water have left cabinet as well. This is an own goal, but by Barnaby Joyce, isn’t it?
JOEL FITZGIBBON: It's extraordinary Peta, and came as a shock to me, quite frankly. I thought Joyce would be smarter than that. The problem, of course, is that he made too many promises to win the leadership, and someone had to go. But what people need to understand is that Morrison created this super department which had three cabinet ministers; David Littleproud in agriculture, Susan Lee in the environment, and of course Keith Pitt in resources, all sitting at the cabinet table when the important decisions are made. And of course, sometimes those portfolios are somewhat in conflict. So you need a Keith, or his equivalent, at the table. Well Barnaby Joyce's first act was to punt resources out of the cabinet room, which is going to be a huge mistake. And of course he won the leadership promising his colleagues that he’d put mining front and centre in the community debate. Well, not a good start.
PETA CREDLIN: No, that's not a good start at all. Amanda, you've got responsibility for at least some of the issues in relation to the National Archives, as I understand. I thought more broadly there in the portfolio, but you'll correct me. They're looking for around $67 million to digitize a whole lot of deteriorating records. And it's over a seven year period I might add. How likely is it that they're going to get a reprieve here?
AMANDA STOKER: I'm optimistic that we will be able to provide the kind of support that's necessary for the archives to be able to make sure that records that are in danger of perishing are able to be rescued. But it's important that we don't see this in isolation. We need to make sure that the archives is operating as a best in the world operation. We need to make sure the taxpayer money is being used wisely. And we need to make sure that they're doing it in an environment of appropriate, for instance, cyber security measures, appropriate technological storage measures, and with appropriate access and timeframes for providing that information to the public. We are going through, behind the scenes, the process of getting all of those things right. And I'm optimistic we'll be able to do what's necessary to make sure the archives can deal with its present issue.
PETA CREDLIN: Alright, well I look forward to the detail, but it sounds like they're going to get some money at the very least. I've got to ask you Joel, Greens leader Adam Bandt was out there defending the infamous anti-Adani convoy from last election. He says it was a rip snorter, he says it boosted the Greens vote in Queensland helped getting Larissa Waters over the line. I don’t believe him for a minute. What do you reckon?
JOEL FITZGIBBON: I'm tempted to describe him as delusional, Peta, but I know better than that. Adam Bandt couldn't possibly believe this to be true. What happened in central Queensland, in particular, during that convoy was that the people of Queensland gave Bob Brown the collective finger. And it did the Greens and the Labor Party enormous damage, because at the time we were equivocating over Adani – not me of course, Peta, but our leadership was equivocating. That sent a very, very clear anti-mining message to communities in the Hunter Valley and central and north Queensland. And the convoy – cleverly planned, in a sense, by Bob Brown, if it was his intention to do Labor harm – really solidified the views of local people. And a lot of that big swing against us in coal mining communities can be attributed to the Bob Brown convoy. There is absolutely no doubt about that.
PETA CREDLIN: Look. I absolutely agree with you, and you'd be smart to watch out, they’re probably planning one to come your way in Hunter at the next election. But I know you’re across all of that. Amanda Stoker, Joel Fitzgibbon, thank you for your time.
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