Clare O’Neil and Andrew Giles avoid attention over mistakes made with former detainees

A key part of the Albanian government’s political strategy is to fill the news cycle with its presence and messages. Ministers are deployed to their fullest, even when they have little to say.

This week we have seen an opposite tactic. The government has done everything possible to limit, as far as possible, the ministerial visibility of news that harms it.

Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil and Immigration Minister Andrew Giles remained silent after it was reported that one of around 150 former immigrant detainees released late last year was among three people alleged to have committed a violent home invasion in Perth in April.

In the incident, the perpetrators allegedly posed as police officers to enter the elderly couple’s home. His wife, Ninette Simons, suffered serious injuries to her face. Apparently, her husband was tied up.

After the matter was reported, the ministers did just one interview each: Giles on ABC radio late on Tuesday and O’Neil on his regular Seven Sunrise show on Wednesday.

There should have been a full-scale press conference.

Ministers attempted to justify their avoidance of the media by arguing that the former detainee, Majid Jamshidi Doukoshkan, is before the courts. He is charged with the crimes of aggravated home invasion, theft, impersonation of a public official, assault and detention of a person.

The ministers’ excuse for their reticence is of no use, because the matter encompasses broader issues relating to shortcomings in the way these detainees, including Doukoshkan, have been treated.