ALI MOORE: You've been hearing in the news about the fact that a third former detainee released from indefinite immigration detention after that High Court ruling has been arrested after he allegedly reoffended. Police have confirmed the 33 year old man, he was a registered sex offender. He was arrested in Dandenong on Tuesday after allegedly breaching his reporting obligations. He is of course among the more than 140, 140 detainees who were released after that High Court decision. And that ruling that indefinite immigration detention is unlawful where there's no prospect of a person being deported in the reasonably foreseeable future is what is leading to another round of legislation that will be put to the Parliament tomorrow. Jane Hume is the Shadow Finance Minister and Senator Victoria. Senator Hume, welcome to Drive.
JANE HUME: Good to be with you, Ali.
ALI MOORE: Quick question before we get to the immigration detainees, no rate rise, good news?
JANE HUME: Well, certainly I think Australians that hold a mortgage will be heaving an enormous sigh of relief, but it's nothing to celebrate. Certainly I don't agree with Jim Chalmers on that. Inflation is still way way way too high. In fact, you know, core inflation which is the measure that strips out the volatile and the seasonal factors like fuel and travel, that's still higher than in any G7 country except for the UK. And of course, if you do have a mortgage and you know, a family with a $750,000 mortgage, is now paying an additional $24,000 a year or $2,000 a month, more than they were just 18 months ago. So it's going to be a very tough Christmas for many, many Australians. We've been calling on the Government to tackle inflation head on, to have a plan to tackle it that sticky, homegrown that's what the Governor of the Reserve Bank calls it, homegrown inflation by using its fiscal levers, not just relying on the Reserve Bank to do all the heavy lifting.
ALI MOORE: Does that mean scrapping stage three tax cuts?
JANE HUME: Well, it certainly means that the Government should consider what it's spending its spend, whether it's on NDIS or or aged care, rather than just talking about actually reducing costs actually doing so. We've already said that the Opposition will support the Government in those reforms. It should probably rethink perhaps putting on an additional 10,000 public servants. I don't know whether anybody out there feels like that they're 10,000 public servants better off in terms of the level of service that they're getting. And quite frankly, they should also be concentrating on bringing down energy prices, rather than these massive market interventions that are stifling supply and pushing prices up.
ALI MOORE: Let's go to the detainees. We've now had three we knew about two yesterday and now a third that have been arrested. Two of them are facing charges at this point. How much do you know about those three?
JANE HUME: Well, so little were relying on media reports. We're listening in to programs like yours to get updates because let's face it, there's been no one from the Government out on this. Where is Minister Giles? Where is Minister O'Neill? Where’s the Prime Minister on this? Quite frankly, I'm furious at this. The number one job of a Government is to keep people safe. This situation was entirely predictable, and it was entirely avoidable. And those Labor ministers have been asleep at the wheel and let the situation get beyond them. And now we're seeing people assaulted, allegedly assaulted in Adelaide. We're seeing one man charged allegedly with drug possessions in Sydney and now this third man after allegedly breaching his reporting obligations in Melbourne. We don't know how many people are out there. We don't know what it is that they have done. What visa conditions they are currently under. Quite frankly, the Government was caught flat footed, they blamed the High Court. They blame the opposition. They blamed the laws but the one thing that didn't do was act. So now this migration amendment is being debated in the Senate right now. As we speak, the Coalition told the Government that we were ready to debate it today. So it's been brought on right now
ALI MOORE: So it's been brought on earlier? That's all been happening while I've been on air.
JANE HUME: It has, it's been brought on early and you know quite frankly, this should have been done weeks ago. We've been calling for preventative detention measures to be included in the regime repeatedly. The Minister Clare O'Neil said that that was impossible. Now, of course it's happening and quite frankly, the Coalition has been doing the Government's job here because they've failed to do so.
ALI MOORE: Did the Government not have to wait for the High Court's decisions for its ruling prior to being able to put in place at a tentative sorry, a preventative detention jurisdiction?
JANE HUME: Well, in fact, if they had waited for the High Court's ruling, they would have realised that they didn't actually necessarily need to release all of those in detention.
ALI MOORE: They've taken great issue with that interpretation.
JANE HUME: They have, which is putting Australians at risk right now because they let them out without any Plan B. A Plan B that lets quite let's face it, they could have done months ago. First of all, they said this is the High Court, you can't overrule the High Court but you can legislate for, around a High Court decision. We've already demonstrated that you can legislate to keep people in detention if they present a danger to the community. That's what we did with the Anti-terrorist legislation.
ALI MOORE: So this legislation that has now been put to the House and as you said it's currently being debated. It actually mirrors that anti-terrorist legislation. So will it be passed?
JANE HUME: Well, that's exactly what it does mirror that but we don't think that it goes far enough. We would like to see amendments. We're going to move some amendments to again, improve the scheme that Labor has rushed.
ALI MOORE: What are the amendments you want to see?
JANE HUME: Well, we want to understand exactly, we want the Minister to prepare a statement so we can understand on what basis any visa has been granted to release detainees, what type of visa it is what conditions that visa allows, on what basis-
ALI MOORE: Does that need an amendment to the current legislation?
JANE HUME: Absolutely, it does, because quite frankly, the legislation now doesn't allow for that. It doesn't allow for that level of transparency. We don't know, nobody knows the number of people that are out in the community on what basis they're out in the community. Whether there is any real prospect of the removal of a non citizen from Australia and that was why they were released. We don't know what they've been convicted of in Australia. We don't know what they've been convicted of in a foreign country, what offense that might have occurred over there. So we want to see all of this made very clear before anybody gets released.
ALI MOORE: So Jane Hume, can I just clarify though, you need to put that in the legislation that you need absolute clarity on these 140 odd people who have been released what they've been charged with, what they've saved time for both in this jurisdiction and other jurisdictions as part of the legislation?
JANE HUME: Well don't you think that that would be a basic request from an Australian population that has been let's face it has been put at risk because of the mismanagement, the botching of this by two Labor ministers.
ALI MOORE: Senator, my question was more, is that something that goes in legislation? Is that something you, maybe you demand that of government as a condition of passing the legislation, but do you actually need it in the legislation? Jane, we are out of time, but just just very, very quickly. Is that the only amendment that you need?
JANE HUME: That's why it's an amendment to the legislation to require that there is a statement about the granting of visas to non citizens released from immigration detention. There isn't that now, we would like to see that occur. Quite frankly, the Labor Government seems to be waiting around for the Coalition to do its job for it on so many of these issues at the moment. They want to blame Peter Dutton. They want to blame the High Court. They want to blame the Opposition. They want to blame their department, but this is on them. Instead of acting, they locked themselves in their offices and prepared talking points that pointed the finger at anybody else other than themselves. It's time that they acted not just by, you know, bringing on this legislation now, but by making sure that it's robust enough that Australians aren't put in danger. That we are protected, that there isn't an ongoing risk, because- We want to make sure that this bill is as robust as it can be. These are the amendments that have been moved in the Senate right now, right now. Tomorrow, this will be debated in the House of Representatives and quite frankly, I don't want to preempt what might happen there. But we want to make sure that this is robust as it possibly can. Where there was no preventative detention regime there, there should be. We've been calling on it for months. It's about time Labor stepped up.
ALI MOORE: Jane Hume, thanks for your time.
JANE HUME: Good to be with you.
ALI MOORE: Jane Hume the Shadow Finance Minister there.