Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has renewed the government’s attack on Human Rights Commission president Gilliant Triggs, labelling her ‘ill-informed’, while denying Labor’s claims of bullying.
The two are at loggerheads over the federal government’s immigration policies, particularly surrounding asylum seekers and a plan to remove Australian citizenship from dual nationals involved in terrorism.
Mr Dutton has accused Ms Triggs of reducing her office to that of a political advocate, saying she was far more lenient on the former Labor government.
“I believe very strongly that people who are making ill-informed comments in relation to these matters need to be appraised of all the facts,” Mr Dutton said in Brisbane on Tuesday.
He rejected opposition claims he had bullied Ms Triggs.
“They’re wrong,” he said.
“To point out the facts in relation to a particular matter is not bullying.”
Mr Dutton last week urged Ms Triggs to reconsider her position.
The tensions began on Thursday, when Ms Triggs used a forum in Adelaide to criticise the government for its policy of turning asylum-seeker boats back to Indonesia.
She then continued her attack on Friday night, criticising the government’s plan to remove Australian citizenship of dual national terror supporters.
Meanwhile, Mr Dutton had accused Ms Triggs of linking the execution of Bali Nine drug smugglers Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran with Australia’s border protection policies.
On Monday, Shadow Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus said the human rights boss has been “bullied” and “vilified”, and compared criticism of Ms Triggs to criticism of a judge — something governments normally avoid.
“It’s no way for any government to behave and they need to just get an understanding of what’s called for,” Mr Dreyfus told the ABC.
“Next we’ll see them attacking judges.”