Why terrorist wasn’t being monitored
Australia's security services missed accused mass murderer Brenton Tarrant because he was rarely in the country.
That is one reason why the alleged killer's mass of hate-filled diatribes didn't earn him a place on intelligence watch lists.
His extensive travels since 2010 meant he was not noted by intelligence agencies until Friday when he allegedly killed 50 worshippers in a Christchurch mosque.
Tarrant's travels through Europe, Turkey and Asia are now being examined in detail, in part to see if he had any overseas help in carrying out the massacre.
Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton today said Tarrant had spent just 45 days in Australia over the past three years, and has been travelling internationally extensively for the past nine years.
His social media ravings were missed because of the massive amount of digital traffic which has to be monitored.
"There is only so much content that can be covered, assessed and analysed by ASIO and other partner agencies," said Mr Dutton.
The minister was defending the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation and the Australian Federal Police against suggestions they had failed to identify the danger Tarrant posed.
"There is no criticism here of our intelligence agencies," he told ABC radio.
And he rejected claims the security authorities were only focused on Islamic terrorists, ignoring right-wing extremists.
"They will look at the threat of any individual regardless of their religion, their race, their creed. They are focused on threat," Mr Dutton told ABC radio.
"And if somebody is posing a threat then they are on ASIO or the Australian Federal Police radar."
He said: "I can assure you there is a significant amount of work under way. ASIO is not blind to the threat (from right wing extremists) and it was raised with me from the very first day."
Mr Dutton said work by security agencies had "absolutely, directly saved lives".
"Our focus is people who seek to do us harm, wherever they are on the spectrum," said Mr Dutton.
Mr Dutton also urged voters to dump independent senator Fraser Anning who's been branded a disgrace for blaming the Christchurch mosque massacre on Muslim immigration.
The Morrison government and the opposition have rejected calls from the Greens to change laws to allow politicians to be expelled from federal parliament.
Mr Dutton said voters would be able to react to Mr Anning's "appalling" comments at the May election.
"People can express their view freely and respectfully at the ballot box and I think that is the strongest possible message that can be sent," the minister told Nine's Today program on Monday.
The government and Labor will move a censure motion condemning Senator Anning's comments when parliament returns next month.