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Man Monis ( Lindt Cafe killer) not a boat person - arrived by air in 1996 on a business Visa

Multiple failures left wife-beater Man Haron Monis free to seize Lindt cafe

A review of Man Haron Monis' interaction with authorities was generous to conclude that, despite multiple failures, government agencies' actions were reasonable.
Flowers left as a mark of respect near the site where Monis took 18 people hostage during the fatal siege.
Flowers left as a mark of respect near the site where Monis took 18 people hostage during the fatal siege. Photo: Joosep Martinson
Here's a little quiz question you won't find in the entertainment pages of your magazine: 
Under which visa did Man Haron Monis enter Australia?
a) a business visa; b) a study visa; c) a tourism visa; d) a refugee visa; or e) a protection visa.
Answer: Monis arrived in Sydney on a 456 Business (Short Stay) Visa onOctober 28, 1996.
Monis wasn't one of those unwelcome boat people. He flew into Sydney airport with the support of the Australian Trade Commission, Austrade.
But within a month of his arrival he was seeking asylum and, in succession, was granted a bridging visa, a protection visa and ultimately Australian citizenship.

The report of the joint Commonwealth/NSW review of the siege, which was released last Sunday, reveals much detail about Monis and his interaction with government agencies.
Overall the reviewers, Michael Thawley, secretary of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, and Blair Comley, secretary of the NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet, conclude the actions of the government agencies were reasonable.
But others less closely committed to the public service might not be so happy with the bureaucrats' performance.
The facts and opinions are there for all to see on the web. But unfortunately with the speed of the news cycle, the media moved quickly on and, by Monday morning, news coverage concentrated on the Prime Minister's response to the report, with limited coverage of the review itself.
The review deserves more attention than that. It reveals that had the authorities done their job properly, Monis would not have received a visa to enter Australia at all.
On his application Monis identified himself as a legal consultant to the managing director of the Iran Marine Structure Manufacture and Engineering Company. His stated purpose for visiting Australia was to meet BHP Billiton.
But Monis was not a lawyer working for the engineering company. Regrettably there are no records of whether or how Immigration staff checked the veracity of his claims. Had they called BHP Billiton he would have been exposed. 
But the review excuses this failure saying that the high volume of business visa applications at that time meant that Immigration inevitably had to take a risk-assessment approach in checking applicants' claims. 
The review notes that immigration continues to use a risk-based approach today but is unable to form a judgment on whether current risk-assessment models are effective and appropriate. 
Immigration records indicate that Austrade supported Monis' visa application.
Austrade explains this by saying that in the mid-1990s BHP Billiton invited many Iranian customers to visit their offices and facilities in Australia. As BHP Billiton was a leading Australian exporter to Iran at that time, the local BHP Billiton representative had a practice of calling Austrade to advise that their customers were applying for visas to travel to Australia. 
Today Austrade maintains that it has strict protocols around any official letters that staff prepare in support of any application.
But the administrative failures do not stop there. 
Customs records suggest that when questioned at the entry control point, Monis claimed his business involved "carpets". In 1996, Customs officers did not have access to immigration records, so the discrepancy between Monis' visa application and his incoming passenger card was not obvious.
Today we are told Customs officers are able to access some visa application information in real time. But Thawley and Comley say the decision to do so would normally be taken only if a discrepancy in documentation was detected, or abnormal behaviour observed. 
Australia's visa system, and the checks and balances within it, has changed significantly in recent years and the 456 Business (Short Stay) Visa on which Monis arrived was repealed in March 2013.
We can only hope that administrators are now willing and able to pick up the phone to make a few basic checks of applicants' claims.
The Thawley/Comley report also clears law enforcement agencies and the justice system. 
While revealing that the National Security Hotline received 18 calls in relation to Monis in the week before he took hostages in the Lindt Café the review found that "right up until the siege, and notwithstanding their familiarity with Monis, ASIO and law enforcement agencies never found any information to indicate Monis had the intent or desire to commit a terrorist act".
This conclusion reflects the tunnel vision of the agencies, the government and the reviewers themselves.
As Deng Xiaoping famously said, it doesn't matter what colour the cat is, as long as it catches mice. It shouldn't matter what name the agency has as long as it catches criminals.
Unfortunately, our government is obsessed with terrorism and that's where the money and resources have gone. Since September 11 2001 Australian Federal Police numbers have doubled and ASIO numbers have tripled.
But the major work of tackling violent crime is left to state police.
At the time of the siege, Monis had been granted bail on charges of being an accessory before (and after) the murder of his estranged partner. He had also been granted bail in relation to charges for numerous sexual offences.
Thawley and Comley say that despite the violent nature of these alleged crimes, Monis had still not breached terrorism laws or met the threshold to trigger the availability of national security powers, such as a control order or preventive detention order.
"Monis's acts of personal violence were exclusively directed towards women who he knew in one capacity or another, rather than towards the public at large. National security agencies assessed there was nothing to suggest Monis was involved in terrorist related activities."
That's OK then. His crimes were exclusively directed against women.
According to Destroy the Joint's Counting Dead Women Australia project, up to February 17 this year 14 women have been murdered in this country. On the information available at least two-thirds of these were cases of domestic violence.
Had the 5000 extra staff that have gone to ASIO and the Australian Federal Police since 2001 been deployed by state police to tackle domestic violence, many, many lives would have been saved and there's every chance Monis would have been in jail, or under strict surveillance, on siege day December 15, 2014.

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