Subjects: Extended Supervision Orders, Cricket culture
GARETH PARKER: The federal Attorney-General is Christian Porter. He joins us each Thursday. Christian, good morning to you.
ATTORNEY-GENERAL: Good morning mate. James Reyne intro, he's playing at the Astor Theatre on Friday night. So that will be a big one.
GARETH PARKER: Have you got tickets?
ATTORNEY-GENERAL: Absolutely I've got tickets. They were my birthday present so it's my big one night out a year. It's going to be awesome.
GARETH PARKER: Your one big night out. Were you a big Aussie Crawl fan obviously?
ATTORNEY-GENERAL: Huge. James Reyne, great Australian song writer, fantastic. Can't wait.
GARETH PARKER: Right. Well we continue learning. I want to ask you about cricket but we'll come to that. We'll come to that. There's some implications for the way that we sort of manage this whole issue, this emerging issue of terrorism. Some of the first criminals convicted of terrorism offenses are now getting to, I mean we've been really living in the era of terror I guess, since September 11, 2001 that's when it really kind of crystallised for us here in Australia. Some of the people who have been convicted of terrorism offences have now been in jail for 10, 15-plus years …
ATTORNEY-GENERAL: Yeah, that's right.
GARETH PARKER: … and they're starting to get towards the period where they might be eligible for parole, is that right?
ATTORNEY-GENERAL: Yeah, so we'll face that issue next year; towards the middle of next year. And recently there was a Parliamentary Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence and Security that recommended an additional type of order that we would need to legislate for and which we will - called an extended supervision order. So at the moment we can have a continuing detention order for people if they're deemed to be too dangerous who, if you like, can actually be detained in prison for longer than their head sentence. There's also a control order regime that can apply to people before they go into prison. After they've been to prison, once they come out and that allows you to have a range of critical orders that will be placed on someone that's considered to be a threat to the community. But what was recommended was something that is quite similar to the detention order regime here that can apply to sex offenders. So it has a preventative mechanism in it. It's called an extended supervision order and it's, if you like, a very strengthened form of parole, so that once someone is actually released from prison after serving their head term, a whole range of conditions right down to use of internet for instance can be potentially placed on them. Now we think that's probably a good additional way in which you can deal with this problem of people leaving prison. It's complicated.
GARETH PARKER: Yeah.
ATTORNEY-GENERAL: …and it needs to be legislated for in cooperation with the states and with a referral of powers from the states, but I think that it would just be an extra element and mechanism that we could deploy to ensure that community safety is as strong as it can be when these people are released which will start happening next year.
GARETH PARKER: Do you have any power to keep them behind bars beyond the expiry of their sentence?
ATTORNEY-GENERAL: Yes, we do. So that exists. That's a continuing detention order. We have power to put all sorts of requirements and conditions on people outside of prison that we consider are threats to the community under the control order regime. But what was recommended basically was that this order, that kind of sits in between those two orders, also be legislated for. People will be very familiar with the concept of parole but you get out before your head sentence expires on certain conditions. You breach those conditions you go back in. This is in a way a form of very strong parole but after the head sentence has been served in full. So you don't get out early of course …
GARETH PARKER: Yep.
ATTORNEY-GENERAL: … but once your head sentence is served in full, and you're out, you're out on certain terms and conditions.
GARETH PARKER: Right. So it sounds like ...
ATTORNEY-GENERAL: Now, I think that that's very useful.
GARETH PARKER: Yeah, it sounds most like the regime that applies for sex offenders as you said. So for a dangerous …
ATTORNEY-GENERAL: Very similar.
GARETH PARKER: … repeat sex offender, they might have served eight years in prison but then when they get out a judge may order on application usually of the DPP to say well you can't go within 500 metres at that primary school, you can't associate with these people, you've got to report your activities and your movements to police once a week, you can't use the internet or whatever, you can't use alcohol or drugs. Is this, I mean what sorts of orders could be imposed on a terrorist?
ATTORNEY-GENERAL: Oh all of those. I mean you can have any order that you would conceivably think could be enhance community safely. I mean one of the types of orders …
GARETH PARKER: So you can't associate with this person, you can't go to that place of worship, wherever.
ATTORNEY-GENERAL: Correct. Correct.…you might be banned from using the internet or accessing certain websites. And that has worked well for dangerous sex offenders. I mean I applied for those things when I was a prosecutor and you know it's not a system without its controversy. But if we as a community consider that's an appropriate level of community protection that you require for a dangerous sex offender, it's in my observation entirely appropriate to have a similar scheme for dangerous terrorism offenders once they've served their time in prison because the fact is that we go through our best efforts to de-radicalise people in prison but that is not always successful.
GARETH PARKER: Okay. Can you or do you have any evidence about whether terrorists currently in Australian prisons still believe the things they believe that put them in prison? Have there been any de-radicalisation efforts inside behind bars? Do we know if they have had any effect?
ATTORNEY-GENERAL: Well we go to great lengths to attempt that but the reality is that that is not always successful so I wouldn't go into individual cases here. But the reality is that we know that there are people that have not been de-radicalised even over a 10-year period. And that's why we maintain already a control regime which would apply to those people when they come out. But it's also why we're considering and we'll legislate just this extra protection which would give a very similar regime to dangerous sex offenders. And as I say, that seems to the Government to be most appropriate because if it works and it does work for dangerous sex offenders, there's no reason why it can't apply appropriately and also work for dangerous offenders who have been convicted and served long terms of imprisonment for terrorism.
GARETH PARKER: Okay. I want to talk about cricket with you. This sounds a bit unusual, mate, perhaps for listeners but you're a cricket lover. You were for a time on the board of the WACCA. Earlier this week we saw the cultural review of the Australian, of Cricket Australia come out. A lot of it wasn't surprising but a lot of it laid significant blame at the feet not just of the cricketers, the 11 players on the field or the coaches or the support staff but of the whole culture of Australian cricket, indeed of the governance of Australian cricket, from the chairman David Peever down. Now I've already said on this program this week that I just don't understand how he retains his job. I thought it was amazing that he was reappointed by the states for another three years before the report was made available to the people making the decision i.e. the state cricket associations and before it was made public. How have you regarded all of this?
ATTORNEY-GENERAL: I haven't read the entire report yet. I've started reading it, and I think it goes in the right direction, like it is meant to try and expose a culture that is inappropriate and that has decayed over time and needs to be fixed. My early reading of it is, if anything, it probably doesn't go hard enough. Your observations are well made. I mean they're not for politicians to make, the further politicians keep out of sports administration the better. But my sort of sense of it, is that the culture which was the hard but fair culture which was designed to produce winning teams at some point along the way became completely corrupted and the fair bit dropped away and it became hard and full of sharp practices and cheating and the sort of on-field conduct that ends up permeating every part of the game.
And like when you've got, like the circle of violence here, if you like, when you've got guys like Warner who end up being suspended from the game and then coming back for a club cricket and then are sledged in the most grotesque ways, as I understand it about Hughes and obviously a player and friend of Warner's that's died, that says to me that the culture that was set at the very elite levels of Test cricket has started to filter down through all levels of cricket. And that kind of behaviour will do immense damage to the game not just in terms of our ability to win Test matches and ODIs but why would Australian mums want to put their kids into a sport where their boys and girls potentially are subject to that kind of stuff on the field? And I think that cricket needs to really grab this bull by the horns and be as hard as they conceivably can to change in that culture.
My sense is that probably the best decision they've made and the most critical part of the culture change will come with the coach. Like I think Justine Langer is an outstanding individual; moral, ethical, represent all of the best aspects of that hard but fair culture that did exist for a period of time in Australian cricket but from which we've drifted.
So I kind of share your concern. I think that if you don't get on top of this really, really quickly and in a very firm and hard fashion then it just rocks every part of the game.
GARETH PARKER: Appreciate your time this morning Christian.
ATTORNEY-GENERAL: Pleasure, cheers mate.
GARETH PARKER: Christian Porter, the federal Attorney-General.