Govt failed to vet siege gunman: Labor

Labor has accused the federal government of raising Australia’s terror threat level without changing the way people like the Sydney siege gunman are vetted by government agencies.


Shadow attorney-general Mark Dreyfus says Attorney-General George Brandis’ failure to provide a letter he received from Man Haron Monis to the joint review into the cafe siege raises questions about how the terror threats are being monitored.

“It’s a very proper question, on this letter, to inquire why no red flag went up, why the letter wasn’t referred to ASIO, and why nobody within the government – despite the raising of the terror threat level – seems to have thought this was a matter sufficiently important to do anything at all about it,” Mr Dreyfus told reporters in Melbourne on Friday.

Mr Dreyfus says it’s worrying that the coalition says it followed the same protocols he would have followed as attorney-general in 2013 – because the terror threat level was lower back then.

“That in itself demonstrates the government is not paying sufficient attention to the national security issues that are raised here,” he said.

Australia’s terrorism threat level was changed from medium to high in September last year. The level for police was raised to high in January.

Senator Brandis’ office received a letter from Monis that mentions Islamic State on October 7, 2014 and a response was sent on November 5 – six weeks before the siege.

Mr Dreyfus says it seems no changes have been made to internal protocols despite the government’s increased focus on the “death cult”.

Labor want to recall a parliamentary committee after Foreign Minister Julie Bishop admitted an “administrative error” meant Monis’ letter was not given to a review by the heads of the prime minister’s department and NSW Premier Mike Baird’s office.

Mr Dreyfus needs support from three committee members to recall a Senate estimates hearing.

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