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Transcript of interview with David Bone : ABC: 07 May 2013: Geraldton boat arrival / Labor's border protection failures



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Michael Keenan MP - Federal Member for Stirling ABC Interview with David Bone May 07, 2013

E&OE…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Topics: Geraldton boat arrival / Labor’s border protection failures

David Bone

Well Michael Keenan you have seen the release from the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service, does it explain fully how the boat was able to get into Geraldton harbour?

Michael Keenan

I don’t think so. We will be seeking further details at a briefing we are going to have later on today.

David Bone

Which questions remain unanswered?

Michael Keenan

We will be getting a confidential briefing so I am a little bit reluctant to share details or give an indication as to what things we will be asking. What I can say is that this should never have occurred and the fact that a boat could sail directly into Geraldton harbour and essentially be picked up first by people sitting at the Dome café drinking coffee is something that just should not happen. The blame for this lies at the suite of policies that have been pursued by Julia Gillard and the Labor Party that are encouraging people smugglers and that is what we need to change if we are to stop this from happening again.

David Bone

What would have stopped this vessel from getting this close to the coast? What would have stopped it?

Michael Keenan

What will stop it is policies that stop people smuggling. We are faced at the moment with an unprecedented wave of illegal boat arrivals. We have never faced the sheer volume of boats that we are facing at the moment. In April we have had the worst month in the history of Australia, with over 3300 people arriving illegally on boats. It is impossible for Border Protection Command, with the resources at their disposal and being subject to very significant budget cuts by the Labor Party I might add, to be able to police this sheer number of boats. We need to the change policies that encourage this from happening and get some control over our borders.

David Bone

Well Border Protection Command say that there was no information or actionable intelligence. Whose role is it to gather that intelligence? Surely that is their role?

Michael Keenan

It is their role but Border Protection Command are dealing with the consequences of the Labor Party’s failed policies. They have limited resources and an enormous stretch of ocean to cover and they are faced with a wave of illegal boat arrivals that we have never seen before in our history. Border Protection Command are doing a very difficult job under impossible circumstances.

David Bone

Are they doing it as well as could be expected though?

Michael Keenan

As I said they are faced with an impossible task at the moment. They are very hard working men and women mopping up the consequences of Labor’s failed border protection policies. They deserve some support from the Government in the fact that they are resourced properly but also through policies that are going to discourage people smuggling. Border Protection Command are not the issue here. It is the policies that are leading to this enormous unprecedented rate of illegal boat

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arrivals that needs to be addressed.

David Bone

It certainly came as a shock to members of Border Protection Command when that vessel arrived. They are now considering the establishment of a more formal flying squad will that work?

Michael Keenan

There is really nothing at the end of the day that Customs and Border Protection Command can do unless we change the policies that are encouraging people smuggling. You couldn’t possibly have enough resources to look after what is such an enormous section of coastline.

David Bone

Well Shadow Minister if there is nothing that they can do, what is the point of having a confidential briefing with them then?

Michael Keenan

Because what we want to do is find out the circumstances about how this boat came down here. What I am saying is there is nothing they can do when policies are being pursued in Canberra to encourage this. That is really the issue here. Border Protection Command cannot deploy enough resources…

David Bone

So you are saying there is absolutely nothing they can do? There are no changes to their operational strategy at all which would have any impact on the arrival of these boats?

Michael Keenan

No what needs to change is the policies that are encouraging people smuggling. That is the issue here. Whilst we have policies that are resulting in such an unprecedented rate of illegal boat arrivals…

David Bone

So nothing can be done? There hands are tied. There is nothing that Border Protection Command can do to change the way that they have operated until now, is that right?

Michael Keenan

Border Protection Command are not the issue. The issue is the policies that are allowing this to happen. When we have policies that have reinvigorated people smuggling and have helped people smugglers to operate at such an enormous tempo then Border Protection Command are the victims of Labor’s failed border protection policies. They are not the issue here. It is Julia Gillard and her colleagues and the policies that they are pursuing that are the issue and that is what needs to be addressed if we are going to stop boats from sailing into Geraldton harbour, like we saw two weeks ago.

David Bone

Michael Keenan thanks so much for being our guest.

Michael Keenan

No worries, happy to talk to you David.

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

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

www.keenan.net.au

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