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Transcript of interview with Ray Hadley: Radio 2GB: 28 October 2013: Operation Sovereign Borders; visit to Malaysia; Administrative Appeals Tribunal

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Minister for Immigration & Border Protection

Scott Morrison

Operation Sovereign Borders, visit to Malaysia, Administrative Appeals Tribunal

Monday, 28 October 2013

Interview with Ray Hadley, 2GB The Ray Hadley Morning Show

Ray Hadley: Now, the Immigration Minister, Scott Morrison, on line for our weekly chat. Minister, good morning.

Scott Morrison: Good morning, Ray.

Ray Hadley: You confirmed on Friday two boats.

Scott Morrison: That's right.

Ray Hadley: 166 people, 126 and 40, total of four crew. Now, these people, are they still on Christmas Island or are they about to be moved?

Scott Morrison: Well, the majority of those, other than where there's any medical reason for not being able to transfer people, have been sent there.

Ray Hadley: Okay. So they've been sent off Christmas Island?

Scott Morrison: Yeah, that's where they go and I know there's been a bit of commentary about the population on Christmas Island. As you know, we reveal those numbers at each of our weekly briefings. There were 2272 people there at our last briefing and that's actually 200 less than a month ago because we have been moving people off Christmas Island up to Nauru and Manus. And we inherited over 2000 people at Christmas Island when we came into government because the previous government just wasn't transferring people to Nauru and Manus Island.

And that's why offshore processing under Operation Sovereign Borders is different. It's got universal application. People turn up and with the target of 48 hours, they're sent offshore. That's when operation - an operation like this works.

Ray Hadley: So from - 48 hours from the time they land on Christmas Island, within 48 - the intention is if they're able, they're offshore?

Scott Morrison: Yeah, within two working days, basically.

Ray Hadley: Okay.

Scott Morrison: And, you know, there are some religious issues in places like Nauru and Papua New Guinea in terms of transfers on Sundays and things like that,

which we have to respect, but from when they come into the care of the Immigration Department, the target is to have them out within two working days.

Ray Hadley: We're talking to Scott Morrison now. I mentioned that rain. Mick has phoned me from Monterey, which is on the water down there around Botany Bay. Bucketing down there, as we thought it would. It's all the coastal. And Tilla phoned me from the Hume Highway, truck in lane two, northbound at Elizabeth Drive intersection, Liverpool. So if you're coming down the Hume Highway, truck in lane two, northbound, Elizabeth Drive intersection broken down there. Take care.

Now, what about reports that Manus and Nauru are filling or have filled?

Scott Morrison: Well, they're not full is the short answer to that question. We've certainly transferred a lot more people there over the last five weeks because that's what we're doing. We're implementing offshore processing for those who turn up illegally by boat. But there is still capacity there, as the Commander said last Friday, and we've got additional capacity coming on stream at the end of this week on Manus Island, an additional over 400 places. And on Nauru there is already a lot more capacity there and we're rapidly expanding that as well.

So anyone thinking of getting on a boat, if - you'll end up in Nauru and Manus in pretty quick order.

Ray Hadley: Okay. Now, what about the report in the Fairfax newspapers yesterday that they're talking about using containers? You know, I don't know how they intend to beat you using containers.

Scott Morrison: Well, it doesn't matter whether you turn up at Port Botany, Tullamarine, or Christmas Island, if you've turned up illegally, you're going to Nauru and Manus. Now, I have no doubt that people smugglers will try and get around these much tougher arrangements that we've put in place, but without me obviously going into any intelligence we might have, you know, we'll anticipate these things and we'll ensure they're thwarted. But someone coming on a container or coming by a plane rather than a boat is not going to get a different treatment if they've turned up illegally.

Ray Hadley: I note that your counterpart from opposition, Richard Marles, is saying your language is aimed at demonising people who arrive by boat. I would prefer to say that you're actually telling the truth while former immigration ministers under the former Labor Government told porkies.

Scott Morrison: Well, they tried to socialise it, basically, and try and make out that I - you know, if it's not illegal entry, then why were they trying to stop it? We're trying to stop it, not to try to make people feel better about people arrival illegally by boat. That's why we want to stop that practise. It's a dangerous practise, it undermines our immigration system, and it's something we want to stop.

But look, the Labor Party is still riddled by angst over this, that's what led them to have such double minded policies over so long and why so many people turned up. We're just not plagued by that level of double mindedness or angst.

Ray Hadley: I was surprised by the number of people reported over the course of the weekend that travel to our country via Malaysia, as opposed to Indonesia. Now, you have cemented relationships with Malaysia and I - the Malaysian solution was one - I keep thinking about it. It's 500 for 4000 and we still take the 4000, 1000 a year for four years, an eight to one capacity, and they haven't taken one. What have you done in relation to Malaysia if anything?

Scott Morrison: Well, look, we've reset the arrangement and rebooted it, and what I mean by that is our focus up there is on the disruption and the deterrence, not people swaps. What we're doing up there is supporting their immigration department, their special branch of their police force, to ensure that we have stronger controls coming in at the airports and across the land border with Thailand and Malaysia where most of the Afghans come across. And Rohingyas from up there go across the sea to Langkawi and other places, so we're supporting their efforts up there.

But also on the Malacca Strait, which is where they transfer from Malaysia across to Sumatra and Indonesia, and I was out there on some of their patrol vessels and looking at their radar equipment and there are a number of things we can immediately do there to assist them in disrupting and intercepting people getting across.

Now, that has two massive benefits. One is obviously it disrupts people smuggling activity full stop, but it also stops people getting into Indonesia. And what we're saying to Indonesia, and I'll be up there later this week, is we want to make the region's borders stronger, not just ours, because when we do that, we all benefit. So we're working hard to remove Indonesia's burden as much as we are our own.

Ray Hadley: Now, we still get emails on a regular basis. I know I've raised this with you at least once since you became minister. Captain Emad's family in Canberra. There was an excellent expose done by Four Corners on the ABC, of all programs, into Captain Emad and his family. Can we have any updates on his wife and children who lied to gain visas to be in our country by saying he was deceased and they were in danger of returning to their homeland because he'd been murdered?

Scott Morrison: I don't have any updates for you on that Ray It is still trapped in a bit of a legal process, I understand, internally, but I'll seek to resolve that to come back to you on that next week.

Ray Hadley: Okay. Now, there has been a good decision - I didn't think I'd ever say this - by the Admin Appeals Tribunal.

Scott Morrison: It occasionally happens.

Ray Hadley: Well, I've been waiting a long time. A bloke from Turkey convicted of kidnapping and attempted murder in 2004, Hassan Huseyin Alipek was sentenced to 11 years minimum for pouring petrol over a woman and setting her alight.

Scott Morrison: Yeah, outrageous.

Ray Hadley: They have dismissed his appeal, the Admin Appeals Tribunal, to keep his protection visa saying the likelihood and extended potential harm in the future

should not be tolerated. So finally a good result. Now, are you the signatory on deporting this creature?

Scott Morrison: Well, that's how the process works, so yes, but what I'm also doing, Ray, is cases like this, I don't understand why they were ever made at an officer level to enable the AAT review. I mean, what I'm doing is calling all those types of cases involving serious character issues directly into my office so I make the decision and it's not reviewable by the AAT. You can still go to the Federal Court if they insist, but what it does is it removes that, you know, further step in the process and we can act more decisively and more quickly.

And so any characters out there who are of poor character and committing crimes and causing havoc, they can expect their case to land on my desk and I'll make a decision.

Ray Hadley: So are you telling me that this particular fellow, because he ended up in the AAT prior to you being installed as minister, that the previous minister, whoever that may have been - could have been Chris Bowen, for all I know - didn't decide to call it up and left it in the hands of the Admin Appeals Tribunal?

Scott Morrison: Well, that's my assumption because that's the only way it can go to the AAT is if it's done on that basis. And so we've changed the system to bring a lot more of those cases directly to me as minister. Now, that obviously means a bigger workload for me, but that's okay. That's the job.

Ray Hadley: Okay. Thanks for your time.

Scott Morrison: Thanks, Ray.

Ray Hadley: Talk next Monday. That's the Immigration Minister, Scott Morrison. Our weekly update; two boats since we last spoke, 166 people, one with 40, one with 126.