Senior Liberal Steve Ciobo has told a Sydney man previously accused of terror offences that he would be pleased to be a part of a government that would kick the man out of the country, even though he has been acquitted.
Zaky Mallah, who in 2003 was the first man in NSW charged under then new anti-terrorism laws, had asked the panel of the ABC's Q&A program about plans by the Abbott government to legislate to strip dual nationals of their Australian citizenship if they were involved with terrorist groups.
The 30-year-old was acquitted in 2005 on terror charges after he made a video which allegedly contained a threat to carry out a suicide attack on federal government offices in Sydney.
"As the first man in Australia to be charged with terrorism under the harsh Liberal Howard government in 2003, I was subject to solitary confinement, a 22-hour lockdown, dressed in most times in an orange overall and treated like a convicted terrorist while under the presumption of innocence," he said on Monday.
"I had done and said some stupid things including threatening to kidnap and kill but, in 2005, I was acquitted of those terrorism charges."
He questioned what would happen to him under the laws to be introduced this week.
Mr Ciobo, the parliamentary secretary to the minister for foreign affairs, said he wasn't familiar with the details of the case, but that it was his impression that Mr Mallah had been "acquitted on a technicality rather than it being on the basis of a substantial finding of fact".
"My understanding of your case was, you were acquitted because at that point in time, the laws weren't retrospective," Mr Ciobo said.
"But I'm going to look you straight in the eye and say I'd be pleased to be part of a government that would say you're out of the country as far as I'm concerned.
"I would sleep very soundly at night with that point of view."
The comments come amid division within government ranks about giving the immigration minister the power to strip the citizenship of dual nationals.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott said the legislation would address outstanding concerns.