• MPs defend ASIO boss’s phone calls

    Date: 2019.04.19 | Category: 杭州夜生活 | Tags:

    Government and opposition MPs have rushed to the defence of intelligence chief Duncan Lewis who telephoned coalition MPs, urging them to tone down their comments on Islam.


    That prompted a backlash from some Liberals who accused the director general of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation of playing politics.

    Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said it was appropriate for Mr Lewis to speak out if public debate put counter-terrorism work at risk.

    Shadow attorney-general Mark Dreyfus said Mr Lewis had done nothing wrong and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull had failed to rein in some of his own backbenchers.

    One of those backbenchers is former prime minister Tony Abbott who has written that Islam had never undergone its own reformation and needed to modernise from the kill-or-be-killed milieu of the Prophet Mohammed.

    Other Liberals have also commented, specifically criticising ambivalent comments of the Australian Grand Mufti following the Paris terror attacks.

    The Australian newspaper reported on Thursday that Mr Lewis had telephoned a number of MPs, saying their robust comments could be a risk to national security. Just who was called hasn’t been revealed.

    Mr Lewis urged them to be more temperate in their remarks, more like the prime minister.

    The paper cited unnamed MPs who said they were angry at this improper intervention into legitimate political issues.

    Liberal backbencher Andrew Laming said it appeared that Mr Lewis had been playing politics in calling MPs and briefings to the whole party room would be more effective and helpful.

    Ms Bishop wasn’t concerned.

    “If the director-general of ASIO has formed a view that the public debate might have the potential to put at risk the work that his organisation is undertaking in counter-terrorism, then of course he should speak out,” she told reporters in Sydney.

    Defence Minister Marise Payne said she had total confidence in Mr Lewis.

    “I think Duncan is an exceptional chief of ASIO and his judgment is judgment which I would back all the way,” Senator Payne told reporters in Adelaide.

    Mr Dreyfus said there was nothing wrong with Mr Lewis, the public face of ASIO, talking to MPs who should not have disclosed those conversations.

    “Duncan Lewis has behaved commendably in taking the trouble to ring these Liberal Party members and explaining to them what the imperatives of security are,” he told Sky News.

    The chairman of federal parliament’s intelligence and security committee, Dan Tehan, told ABC radio Mr Lewis “has every right to do what he needs to do to keep the nation safe”.