1 Jun 2013

Inquiry wanted over asylum application by terrorist

5:57 am on 1 June 2013

The opposition in Australia is demanding an independent inquiry into the federal government's handling of an asylum application by an Egyptian man who is a convicted terrorist and murderer.

The man and his family arrived in Australia in May last year and he was cleared by ASIO to be released into community detention in the Adelaide Hills.

The man spent five months there before the Australian Federal Police discovered he was the subject of an Interpol red notice which showed he had been convicted in absentia on murder and terrorism charges in 1999.

AFP officials told a Senate hearing on Thursrday they established the man's identity last November, and advised the Immigration Department.

But he remained in low-security detention until April this year, when he was moved to the high-security Villawood detention centre in Sydney.

"The government was grossly negligent in keeping a known and convicted jihadist terrorist in low security asylum seeker family accommodation at Inverbrackie for five months," said Opposition immigration spokesman Scott Morrison.

On Thursday ASIO head David Irvine told a Senate estimates hearing he believed a clerical error may have led the spy agency to initially clear the man for community detention.

"There are issues regarding their part of the process certainly, and when were they (ASIO and the AFP) talking to each other," Mr Morrison told the ABC.

"The bit that continues to concern me is why the Minister for Immigration, the Department of Immigration, allowed this individual to stay in such a low-security facility for so long."

Mr Morrison said the Coalition would be demanding a parliamentary inquiry into the incident when Parliament returned on Monday if Immigration Minister Brendan O'Connor did not move to initiate an independent inquiry.