Andrew Giles, Minister for Buck-Passing

We are used to the art of political spin whereby the flaws in a proposal or negative consequences of some ill-advised decision are minimized and the pluses, if any, are magnified.  All sides do it, and, although we may roll our eyes, we generally put up with it.

But what happens when the stuff-up is monumental? We should be able to expect the politician responsible to cop it sweet.  But not under our current Albanese government.

One of the tactics now regularly used by Albanese & Co in deflecting inconvenient questions about the actions of detainees prematurely released by his hapless Immigration and Home Affairs ministers, is to seek refuge from criticism in the fact that at least one of the released detainees is in the dock and facing criminal charges. “This is a matter which is before the court, so I can’t possibly comment”, they intone, smugly channelling Francis Urquhart, while totally glossing over the fact that the question goes not to the truth or otherwise of the allegations made against, say, Majid Jamshidi Doukoshkan, but to the undeniable fact that he was out on bail and unmonitored after numerous breaches of the law.  All of that, plus no preventative detention order having been sought against him. Regardless of his guilt or innocence in allegedly beating senseless the elderly Ninette Simons while robbing her Perth home, his case presents an indisputable failure of governance. It staggers me that experienced journalists let them get away with the standard “sub judice” obfuscation.

But now there is an even more egregious example of the contempt with which these politicians and their mouthpieces hold both the press and the public. It was reported in The Australian recently, in relation to the ongoing detainee debacle:

Decisions about visas issued to this group are extremely likely to be the subject of legal challenge and as such it is critical that they be informed by independent, expert advice,” said a spokeswoman for Mr Giles.

These decisions are delegated to officials within the department, at arm’s length from politicians.

This is absolute nonsense. Certainly, criminal matters are handled independently of politicians, for very obvious reasons, but many administrative decisions, not just the issue of visas, are subject to legal challenge. The fact that they may be made personally by the relevant minister does not make them more or less likely to fail legally.  We don’t pay ministers the big bucks just to give press conferences and announce dodgy policies, although you might be mistaken for thinking so.

Delegation of responsibility isn’t made to protect the relevant minister; it works this way to prevent the minister from being overwhelmed with minutiae.  To ensure that his or her valuable time and intellect (debatable in Andrew Giles’ case) can be concentrated on the most important aspects of his portfolio.  Has Giles, or his flacks, ever heard the term ‘ministerial responsibility’?  Departmental officials are not at arm’s length from their political masters.  

Finance Minister Katy Gallagher repeated this line on ABC Insiders on Sunday, stating that the Immigration Minister is the one most litigated against and, therefore, these decisions have to be made departmentally at arm’s length from him. One of the ABC show’s invited commentators noted that the High Court might rule that the imposition of an ankle bracelet is a form of punishment and, therefore, it would be unconstitutional unless determined by a court.  Even if the decision were made by the Community Protection Board, such a ruling would not be immune from legal challenge because it would be implementing government legislation.  But it didn’t make a decision!  Its remit is to make recommendations to the ABF Commissioner and the Minister.

From the government’s own website:

The Albanese Government is strengthening its community safety framework, by establishing the Community Protection Board to provide evidence-based recommendations regarding the management of individuals required to be released from immigration detention by the High Court.

The Board consisting of Australian Border Force, Department of Home Affairs and former law enforcement officials met for the first time in Canberra yesterday.

The Board will advise the ABF Commissioner and Minister for Immigration on the management of individuals in the group released due the decision of the High Court.

To repeat, the decision was made by the Minister’s delegate.  Ipso facto, by the Minister himself.  To their shame, the Insiders panel did not call this out, agreeing among themselves that it was a grey area. This government obfuscation is no mere spin.  It is deception, pure and simple.  It has become the shambolic hallmark of the Albanese government and its incompetence.

And, in this case, one might imagine that the location and conduct of non-citizen convicted criminals would be high on the list of important topics over which the Minister might want to exercise personal oversight.  Particularly, given the propensity of members of this group to re-offend, which has been a recurrent theme since November, when the detention centre’s gates were thrown open.

Perhaps Minister Giles has other matters on his mind to be bothered about the safety of Australian citizens, such as Ninette Simons.

18 thoughts on “Andrew Giles, Minister for Buck-Passing

  • Podargus says:

    Our immigration system is bound in legal knots by our adherence to the 1951 Refugee Convention and the associated 1967 protocol.
    There have been many changes in the global situation in the past 70 years. A tripling of population for a start. There is no end in sight to the refugee problem. Most of them are looking for better living conditions, not escaping persecution.
    Our currently insane immigration system would at least partially regain some semblance of sanity if our fearless leaders would abrogate the refugee convention.
    No entry for undesirables, deportation for those already here. No more lawyer picnics or judicial big noting.

  • DougD says:

    Podargus is on the money with his suggestion about the Refugee Convention.. Peter gives one of the reasons I no longer watch Insiders. I can get Labor bumf in my letter box.

  • Geoff Sherrington says:

    Politician Gareth Evans was involved with an explosion of the numbers of international treaties around the 1980s. Most of these treaties were put into force unknown to the majority of voters and without significant voter input. The treaties that remain in force (most or even all of them) are affected by normal change with time of national and social preferences. It is predictable that treaties from the 80s have different consequences today. Yet, we are bound by them until they are abandoned, re-negotiated or amended.
    There used to be a public document, the Australian Treaty List, that I have not seen for decades when it had, IIRC, some 1,200 entries. Who knows what the count is today? Who knows of their latent harm? Do we have grave immigration problems now because folk like Gareth had a rush of blood decades ago?
    BTW, we are now facing another mess as the World Health Organisation of the UN is attempting a takeover of our sovereignty re who controls the people when the next epidemic happens. But all readers here know about it because we have been kept up to date by parliament and the press, O.K.? Geoff S

    • David Isaac says:

      Thanks Mr Sherrington. Evans was and presumably remains an unabashed Fabian and no doubt has long pined for a day when such ludicrous entities as sovereign nations are but the stuff of legend, so I think it’s too generous to ascribe his actions to any impetuosity. These days anyone can be a Fabian for a year for $15.00 and you’ll have to hold your nose and join if you desire a chance to buy Evans’ pamphlet on foregn affairs, written in 1989. You needn’t worry too much as you’ll still only be an outer Outer Party member.

    • Peter OBrien says:

      Last week, The Australian had a piece by Ashley Bloomfield (described as co-chair of the WGIHR and served as New Zealand’s director-general of health from 2018-22.) titled
      ‘WHO’s focus is on global health, not secret power grab’

      That’s what we really need – advice and assurances on pandemic management from someone who oversaw NZ’s response to Covid.

      Here are two excerpts from that piece and my online comments.

      “The process now under way is to review and update them in the light of our Covid-19 experience, in the largest global pandemic in a century.”

      If we cannot, or will not, conduct our own comprehensive review, how can we possibly contribute meaningfully to any global review? And if we cannot do that, how do we know that what WHO comes up with is useful or effective?


      “It’s unclear why Dr Thakur is raising the spectre of WHO usurping the sovereignty of individual countries when this simply cannot happen.”

      It can happen when national governments are too lazy or gutless to think for themselves and would rather have a scapegoat to blame if things go pear-shaped. Much as Albanese and co are doing right now in relation to released detainees. We threw out the pandemic management plan carefully out in place by Tony Abbott and followed the WHO plan. Look where that got us.

    • Rebekah Meredith says:

      What I DON’T understand is why we haven’t been kept up-to-date about it by Quadrant.


    Buck-passing is a blatant statement that no one’s in charge. Meanwhile, the immigration juggernaught bumbles on out of control.

  • ianl says:

    “We don’t pay ministers the big bucks just to give press conferences and announce dodgy policies” [quote from O’Brien’s article]

    You may very well think so; I couldn’t possibly comment.

    As noted in a comment above, the WHO is girding its’ loins to implement global dictates on anything it may label a pandemic. Our own invented “National Cabinet” will roll over for this, even though this invention is designed to allow politicians and actual Cabinets to avoid accountability. This was made bulletproof by the High Court pretending that, just like a real constitutional Cabinet, the minutes were safe from public gaze. Yet we know that State Ministers were on their mobiles gainsaying any imposted “decision” that they supposedly had just voted for before the meeting had broken up.

    Accountability is now a notion cynically used as a paper puppet.

  • Peter OBrien says:

    Off topic but I’ve got to share this with you. Today The Australian has a story about Albanese slapping Clare down on his ridiculous proposal that from the rover to the sea or intifada could mean the opposite of death to Israel. It quotes Albanese as saying:

    “The long-term solution in the Middle East requires a two-state solution, the right of Israel to continue to exist with insecure borders”

    My comment ‘Typo or Freudian slip?’ was rejected but the quote still has not been corrected.

  • padraic says:

    There is an old saying among the cynics in politics and the public service that if an implemented policy turns out to be a raging success the minister gets the kudos, but if it is an unmitigated disaster the department gets the blame.

  • Peter OBrien says:

    Albanese has doubled down on this this afternoon:

    “The Prime Minister has defended Mr Giles saying that he “stands by” his comments that decisions were made by delegates to ensure their “integrity”, while refusing to answer key questions on who was responsible for removing Majid Jamshidi Doukoshkan’s ankle bracelet before he allegedly bashed a Perth grandmother.”

    So, in other words Giles cannot be trusted to make an objective or defendable decision. This delegate is implementing government policy.

    This makes my blood boil.

  • David Isaac says:

    These people are all being sent here to destroy the old, “racist”, historically conscious Australia. The most senior members of the parliamentary socialist party know this and they also know that with the media’s connivance they can spin just about any outrage with their anti-racist flim-flam. Giles, Wong, Albo et al’s eyes are fixed firmly on the horizon and the great world to come, not on the supposed suffering of historical oppressors.

  • Paul.Harrison says:

    I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately, and also realising that I am starting to feel the stirrings of fear concerning our national and international position. Considering that, can I make what I feel to be an important point, at least for me. Trust is a very, very important process, as it takes years to build and only one act or word to tear down. What I mean by that, is that I lost trust in politicians of any stripe way back in 1973, when Comrade Cairns was so arrogantly sure of his safety in what he was going to do. That was to travel to Hanoi in order to hand the enemy a war cheque, while our men were still, covertly, engaged in the war in the south. I have announced in this forum that in another, more just?, war, he would have been shot for treason. To the present day: Having zero trust in them allows me to clearly judge their actions, and none of them, from the far left to the far right, and everywhere else in the paddock of our politics, has any loyalty to their citizens. They are so blantantly engaged in their war on Australians, from the Governer General, all the way through politicians to the homeless Aussie living on the street, they are so uncaring of their Commission from the King, that they may as well tear it up and throw it in the bin. Only supreme arrogance and confidence can cause them to front up to the media and openly outline their plan. My emotions hit rock bottom when I watched the conga line of pollies and public servants, and people of any other persuasion wait in line to bow and scrape in front of the feminazes after they ‘found’ $1 Billion in the kitty to buy their suckhole way into the good books of those who live in the shadows. The imaginarium was working overtime when it was announced that the tragic deaths of some women to domestic violence was so egregious that we declared it a generational emergency and named it a crisis of national concern. I wanted to vomit. For some 30 years we have been screamed at about the treatment of aboriginal women by their husbands or partners or anyone else for that matter, but let us not talk about that. It was obviously a power grab designed to demonstrate their hold over Australia and its citizens, and they disgust me. Let me finish with this little cliche: Evidence of success may not be evidence of improvement. Hhmm, I wonder if I could take that cliche to one of those abused Aboriginal women in Alice Springs.

    • Rebekah Meredith says:

      Most politicians, I agree, are to be viewed with a great deal of suspicion. But every single one being rotten to the core? Jacinta Price? Alex Antic? Malcolm Roberts? Gerard Rennick? It is neither fair nor right to ignore the good work that some few are still doing; for this reason, I disliked the “Sack Them All” campaign of the 2022 election. Even politicians of a lesser stripe than those named above can still do good at times. The member for my local area, Andrew Hastie, was utterly AWOL during the Panicdemic; I certainly cannot trust him fully again. However, he fought hard against the Voice and is opposing the proposed wind farm off WA’s Southwest. Surely it is right to acknowledge when even politicians do the right thing (albeit with an undue level of political motivation, at times).

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