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Transcript of interview with Luke Grant: 2GB: 4 November 2012: Latest Boat Arrivals



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Michael Keenan MP - Federal Member for Stirling 2GB Interview with Luke Grant November 04, 2012

Topics: Latest Boat Arrivals

Luke Grant

Now you won’t believe it but four boats this weekend, four boats. Michael Keenan, who is the Shadow Minister for Justice, Customs and Border Protection, is saying the unprecedented flood of illegal boat arrivals continues as it becomes increasingly clear that Labor cannot solve this problem. He joins us on the line, Michael thanks so much for your time.

Michael Keenan

Good afternoon Luke always good to talk to you.

Luke Grant

Thank you and you Michael. Extraordinary we have had another four boats over the weekend, the Government wanting to excise the mainland of Australia and all sorts of things. Can you see any end to this or do we just have to put up with what’s going on until such time as a Coalition Government is elected and you take some real action?

Michael Keenan

I think that is right. I think that it is the Labor Government themselves that are now the problem. They created this problem but the policies they pursued ever since they have pursued failed policy after failed policy, has led the people smugglers to get their measure. The people smugglers, who are very vicious criminals making an enormous amount of money on the back of this trade, look to Canberra and see the Government there and that these are people are never going to have the

resolve or the courage to take them on.

Luke Grant

Yeah you are right. It is a bad bagathon, there was East Timor, there was Malaysia, now we will give Nauru a go, now we will excise the mainland. Everything just seems to be an add on but there is no, it seems to me anyway and it seems to many of my listeners, no concerted effort to get tough and say it ends today. They don’t take the Government serious and that’s the point isn’t it?

Michael Keenan

That’s right. You have to have credibility to go out there and actually mean what you say. Say you are going to pursue a certain set of policies and stick to it even when you come under enormous pressure to change. That is what happened when we were in Government in 2001 and I am sure a lot of your listeners will remember the criticisms the Howard Government took for pursuing some pretty tough border protection policies. But what they did actually worked to show these guys that we were deadly serious about stopping them and when they look at the Labor Party they don’t see any of that resolve or courage. That is why I think the Labor Party themselves are really the road block to getting any resolution to this border protection crisis.

Luke Grant

What about those from Sri Lanka? What can we say about those Michael? I noticed that the Department put out a release today saying that another 26 Sri Lankans have gone back home. What is the story there and how do we stop the boats from arriving from Sri Lanka?

Michael Keenan

It is good that they have been sent home but of course it is too little too late. They should have been sending people who didn’t have a rightful claim to be a refugee home long before now. The Sri Lankan Government are keen to stop people from leaving and I think there is a good case that the human rights situation in Sri Lanka has changed significantly since the end of the civil war there and I think we need to work very closely with the Government there to see what we can do to stop people from leaving there in the first place and if they do we should intercept them and turn them straight back around.

Luke Grant

Just on that point, a lot of people are saying, including some senior officials in immigration, are saying that the Pacific

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Solution won’t work now. Is it possible that you have the numbers to at least test the notion going forward with temporary protection visas? What is stopping the Coalition from putting that on the table in the Parliament to see what happens?

Michael Keenan

There is an indication in the Parliament, where the cross benchers hold the balance of power, won’t support it.

Luke Grant

They won’t support it.

Michael Keenan

We have put measures up in the past and the cross benchers have always voted with the Labor Party. We would do it if we thought we could get some success but we are not going to be able to do it until the Government changes and hopefully that will happen at the next election. When we do, we will pursue all these policies in a very tough campaign against the people smugglers to show them that we are serious and they are not going to be in charge of sending people down to Australia anymore and we are going to regain control of our immigration system.

Luke Grant

And finally in respect for diplomacy, is it not possible for our Government to speak to the Indonesians and the Sri Lankans to get something happening at their end before the boats start on their very dangerous trip?

Michael Keenan

It is completely possible but the problem that the Labor Party has got is when they go and talk to the Indonesians or the Sri Lankans then they will say well why don’t you change your domestic policies which are creating this huge magnet. Indonesian officials have been very explicit and were very explicit again this week that it is Australian policy that is causing this by essentially providing a huge incentive for people to be smuggled here. We don’t need anyone else to fix that, we can fix it ourselves and once we do fix that then we should go and speak to Indonesia and Sri Lanka from a position of strength.

Luke Grant

Michael always good to talk to you, we appreciate your time.

Michael Keenan

Nice to talk to you.

Ends……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

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

www.keenan.net.au

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