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Transcript of interview with Mandy Presland: ABC News Radio : 28 June 2013: Labor's border protection failures



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Michael Keenan MP - Federal Member for Stirling ABC News Radio interview with Mandy Presland June 28, 2013

Topics: Labor’s border protection failures

Mandy Presland

I have here the Shadow Border Protection Minister Michael Keenan. Mr Keenan can we assume that the Coalition election advertising will be reminding people about Kevin Rudd’s decision to scrap the Pacific Solution and Temporary Protection Visas?

Michael Keenan

I am not responsible for advertising, but I certainly think the Australian people deserve to know that Kevin Rudd was the one who created and started this problem and he did so by taking a whole series of foolish decisions when he became Prime Minister that allowed people smugglers to go back into business. That has led to the sorry state we see at the moment, where we have had over 45,000 people arrive here illegally on 742 boats. The fact that on his first full day of resuming the Prime Ministership yesterday we had three more illegal boat arrivals announced is just a reminder that this is one of his greatest failures as Prime Minister.

Mandy Presland

Well the Senate is sitting today but there is no more Parliamentary sitting days expected until after the Federal election. That means no more new laws can be passed. What can Kevin Rudd do now to stem the flow of asylum seekers?

Michael Keenan

Well I am not sure. Labor created this problem and they had plenty of opportunities to solve it. Now Kevin Rudd has been plotting his return to the Prime Ministership for three years yet apparently he doesn’t have any answers to this problem that he created, which I find surprising because you would have thought that if he wanted to take over as Prime Minister then he would do so on the basis that he had some answers to the problems that Labor are currently facing but we haven’t seen any evidence of that yet to date. What they need to do is actually adopt the policies that they abolished when Kevin Rudd came to power and if they were to do that then that would send the signal loud and clear to people smugglers that they were serious about stopping them but I don’t believe that they will do that and what we will see is just a continuation of the same.

Mandy Presland

Your colleague Scott Morrison is due in Indonesia for talks on border protection, what can he hope to achieve from Opposition that the Government hasn’t been able to do whilst in power?

Michael Keenan

What he is doing up there is getting to know his counterparts within the administration of Indonesia. He is talking to them and getting a better understanding about where they sit on these things but particularly the administrative arrangements around things like search and rescue and making sure that they have a good understanding of the policies that we would implement if we do get a chance to govern.

Mandy Presland

Julia Gillard had intended to hold talks with the Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in the next week. Should Kevin Rudd be going in her place?

Michael Keenan

That will be a question that Kevin Rudd needs to address but I don’t see the point necessarily in engaging Indonesia unless they come up with a new policy prescription. If it is just going to be more of the same then there doesn’t seem to be terribly much to tell the Indonesian President. If they were going to come up with a new plan that actually does something to tackle people smuggling then sure that would be a good idea but we don’t see any evidence of that yet from Kevin Rudd in his second iteration as Prime Minister.

Mandy Presland

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The Opposition has spent the last three years highlighting the failures of the border protection policies of the current Government. Realistically, if you did go into government, can you stop the stem of boats?

Michael Keenan

Absolutely and our policy will be solely and totally focused on eradicating people smuggling. We know we can do it. The only reason we are facing this surge in people smuggling was because the policies that we had implemented when we were in government last time were dismantled. Those policies stopped people smuggling and they will stop it again.

Mandy Presland

Shadow Border Protection Minister, Michael Keenan, thank you very much for your time.

Michael Keenan

Pleasure to be with you.

Ends………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

© Authorised by Michael Keenan MP, 203 Wanneroo Road, Tuart Hill WA 6060

www.keenan.net.au

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