Is it time to question the competence of Peter Dutton and his department?

Peter Dutton and his department have been in the news quite a bit recently. But not in a good way.

 Has this minister ever achieved anything that is creditworthy?

 First, there is the news that the detention centre on Manus Island is about to close bringing to an end one of the more disgraceful periods in Australian domestic and foreign policy.

It is not particularly good news for the detainees on the island, as they will be forced to return to their country of origin if they have not been granted refugee status. The unfortunate aspect of this is that Dutton’s department, which does not have a particularly good record of sensitivity in the handling of human matters, is in charge of this operation.

The second matter was the Four Corners program on the ABC which featured a documentary on the illegal importation of Glock firearms into Australia by a small group of petty criminals.

The Glock 26 will fit in your purse and fires 17 rounds of ammunition

One member of this group had already been convicted of the illegal importation of firearms and should have been on a watch list but wasn’t for some inexplicable reason.

The program was essentially a documentary about the fundamental failure of border security. This particular group of petty criminals were hardly criminal masterminds and one wonders what a group of better-organised criminals would be able to do. One of the group was also the postmaster at an Australia Post post office. The leader of the group got a lengthy prison sentence while the other two will be back on the street within two or three years, no doubt looking for honest jobs.

The bulk of the illegally imported firearms have not been recovered and remains in the hands of criminals throughout Australia. These guns are capable of being converted into handheld machine guns capable of firing 50 rounds within approximately five seconds.

Australians should be horrified that the total failure of border security has left the Australian public that such risk.

And then on top of all this comes the announcement that Border Security is spending $250m upgrading its offices in Canberra, probably with a beautifully lavish office for the Minister. Wouldn’t it be better to be spending this kind of money on upgrading the capabilities of our customs services and upgrading the facilities at our custom centres in an effort to stem the flow of illegal firearms or making some effort to recover the illegal handguns in hands of criminals rather than providing more comfortable offices for desk-bound bureaucrats in Canberra?

But this is a question for Minister Dutton.

 Meanwhile in Canberra on the gun running issue

When asked whether the Government would bring the legislation on for debate in the Lower House, Justice Minister Mr Keenan said the Coalition would continue trying to convince the Senate to back minimum sentences.

Opposition spokesperson for justice Clare O’Neil said “The only thing standing between these tough new laws and getting gun traffickers put away for life is the Government’s unwillingness to bring this back to the House of Representatives.

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