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Transcript of interview with Ray Hadley: 2GB: 16 June 2014: Christmas Island transfers; Operation Sovereign Borders; Manus Island Senate inquiry; Prime Minister; Senate

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Minister for Immigration and Border Protection

Scott Morrison

Christmas Island transfers, Operation Sovereign Borders, Manus Island Senate inquiry, Prime Minister, Senate

Monday, 16 June 2014

Interview with Ray Hadley, 2GB Ray Hadley Programme

Ray Hadley: Minister good morning.

Minister Morrison: Good morning Ray.

Hadley: Now just the story we carried in the news about babies being moved to Christmas Island in the middle of the night. Fairfax claims at least two five month old babies were forced to leave Inverbrackie in Adelaide. Is that true?

Minister Morrison: Well they were given advanced notice of the transfer as the normal practice is and they had received medical treatment in Australia on the mainland and they were being returned to Christmas Island which is what the policy is. So there is nothing terribly strange about this, it is the normal process. If people need medical treatment they are brought to the mainland and when they are medically cleared to go back to Christmas Island then that is what happens. There is no great conspiracy here it is just another beat up from Fairfax.

Hadley: Ok, so it is normal procedure, they are medically treated on the mainland and their families and their children are then taken back to Christmas Island once that treatment is successfully completed?

Minister Morrison: That's right and as you know we are closing Inverbrackie too at the end of the year so everyone will be moving out of Inverbrackie at some point.

Hadley: Ok, your colleague Justice Minister Michael Keenan is making a speech today where Operation Sovereign Borders will be held up as an example of successful international cooperation. He will be telling delegates that a similar approach could be used to tackle both drug and gun trafficking gangs. So this is the blueprint for future plans it sounds like?

Minister Morrison: Well we have learnt a lot from Operation Sovereign Borders in combatting people smuggling and the results I think speak for themselves to date and it is not the only threat we face on our borders and more generally to the country and whether it is drugs or whether it is guns or whether it is other sort of organised criminal activity the way we have brought together all the various law enforcement, civil, and military agencies to focus on this problem has been very effective and we want to see more of it not less of it.

Hadley: Now you are across Sarah Hanson Young as I understand it and her bleatings in the Senate last week with your colleague Senator Ian Macdonald and the Manus Island riots. She doesn't seem to give in easily except when she needs to

take responsibility for her role in making sure people were on Manus Island and people were dying on their way to either Christmas Island or eventually Manus Island and Nauru.

Let's have a listen for the benefit of the people who haven't heard this.

Senator Ian Macdonald: Isn't the main thing to find them somewhere safe to live? Not somewhere in an economic— Senator Hanson-Young: Safe isn't being chopped to bits with machetes, I would suggest. Senator Ian Macdonald: Who got chopped to bits with machetes? Senator Hanson-Young: A number of people had their throats slit with machetes Senator Macdonald. That is what happened. That is not keeping people safe. Senator Ian Macdonald: Well it is a pity, Senator Hanson-Young, that you did not make Mr Rudd aware of this when you propped up his government— Senator Hanson-Young: I did, Senator Macdonald. I did— Senator Ian Macdonald: and when his government made these decisions that we are now complaining about. Senator Hanson-Young: You want to have an argument about how many times I have— Senator Ian Macdonald: We are now setting up committees. Senator Hanson-Young interjecting— Senator Ian Macdonald: How many committees did you set up under the Labor government? Senator Hanson-Young: versus how many times you have openly boasted that you sent people to— Senator Ian Macdonald: Yes, how many did you? Senator Hanson-Young: where they were shot, whipped and cut with machetes, Senator Macdonald? Chair: Order! Senator Hanson-Young: That is on your head. Chair: Senator Singh has a point of order.

I don't know what happened with the point of order Scott Morrison but she gets wound up Sarah.

Minister Morrison: She is becoming increasingly shrill. Every day that Operation Sovereign Borders has another success she seems to just get more and more worked up and I mean she doesn't have a lot of regards for the facts. Now the Cornall Report was fairly detailed and comprehensive in terms of what happened on Manus Island. Now we know that there was one individual that did have their throat cut, that individual survived. There is no evidence as to whether it was done with a machete or some other implement but that was the only instance of that that was identified. So look I think it is important to stay with the facts on these things and how she runs off in this sort of way I don't think is very helpful or very mature and Senator Macdonald made a very good point. How many committees did she set up under the Labor government? I am aware of one which we had to drag the Greens kicking and screaming to support us on and that was when Villawood and Christmas Island burnt to the ground.

Hadley: You are back in Canberra today and the Prime Minister is returning from that trip to Europe and the US viewed by you and others as what, successful?

Minister Morrison: A very successful trip, very successful and despite all the bleatings that went on before predicting that it would be a great disaster and all the rest of it. As each day went on it just demonstrated the way that this Prime Minister has carried himself in the international community and has been received very, very warmly and with a great deal of respect. That respect obviously just doesn't reflect on the Prime Minister it reflects on the country and that is what our leaders do when they go overseas. The Prime Minister did a great job in representing our country and the strong position his government is taking on so many of these issues.

Hadley: I know I bring it up with you every week but we draw closer to the Senate changing as of July 1. Are you any more hopeful rather than confident that Mr Palmer will perhaps be a little less confrontational once they do have the balance of power?

Minister Morrison: Well it is just a bit hard to call I think Ray at the moment and sometimes I think you have just got to wait until people get on the paddock and start running around to have an idea about what is going to happen and we will seek to engage constructively but that is a matter for all of the Senators and I would remind everyone there are other Senators up there not just PUP, whether it is the Liberal Democrats, or of course people like Senator Xenophon who has been around for some time. We need to work with quite a number of the cross-benchers and we have got important legislation to get through for the country and we are very focussed on that.

Hadley: Ok talk next Monday. Thanks for your time.

Minister Morrison: Thanks Ray.