Prime minister Tony Abbott has taken to YouTube to claim that Australians are being taken “for mugs” by some immigrants, flagging a crackdown in the name of national security to remove “the benefit of the doubt”.
“There’s been the benefit of the doubt at our borders, the benefit of the doubt for residency, the benefit of the doubt for citizenship and the benefit of the doubt at Centrelink,” he said in the YouTube address.
“It’s clear to me, that for too long, we have given those who might be a threat to our country the benefit of the doubt.
“We are a free and fair nation. But that doesn’t mean we should let bad people play us for mugs, and all too often they have: Well, that’s going to stop.”
He said the government is currently considering the joint review into the Sydney siege and it will be released publicly soon, along with the government’s response.
The prime minister said he will make statement on national security on January 23.
The renewed focus on national security and immigration follows the revelation that Martin Place gunman Man Haron Monis, an Iranian-born Australian citizen, was on bail after being charged with serving as an accessory to the murder his ex-wife.
Monis came to Australia in 1996 on a temporary visa and was granted a permanent protection visa four years later. Then in 2004 he granted Australian citizenship.
“There has been bail, when clearly there should have been jail,” Abbott said.
“We are currently considering additional legislation on data retention that’s before the Parliament – and this will make it easier to keep you safe and we want to get this legislation passed as quickly as we can,” he said
The government ramped up its national security measures at the end of last year by introducing the Foreign Fighters counter-terrorism bill which includes new offences relating to overseas travel to known terrorist locations and enhanced powers for Australian law enforcement agencies.
Read more on that here.
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