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Transcript of interview with Ray Hadley: Radio 2GB/4BC: 9 March 2017: Senator Pauline Hanson; fake doctor; federal agencies; United States travel ban



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The Hon Peter Dutton MP Minister for Immigration and Border Protection

TRANSCRIPT

Interview with Ray Hadley, Radio 2GB/4BC

9 March 2017

Subjects: Senator Pauline Hanson; fake doctor; federal agencies; United States travel ban.

E&EO…………………………………………………………………………………………..

RAY HADLEY:

Every Thursday we speak to the Immigration Minister Peter Dutton, albeit slightly later this morning after I was able to catch up with Senator Pauline Hanson in Kalgoorlie. He, for the first time in a while joins me in the studio. G'day, how are you?

PETER DUTTON:

Good to be with you Ray.

RAY HADLEY:

Thank you. Now, I do apologise for putting you back by an hour, but I've been chasing Senator Hanson, figuratively and literally for a week and we caught up with her, but she's not having a great time and I think, as you'd appreciate in politics, particularly on the campaign trail, things can slide-off very quickly.

It must be; I mean in general terms, she said to my staff yesterday; look tell Ray I'm working at 3am and finishing at 11pm and she's criss-crossing Western Australia in the light aircraft and things can go astray, even for seasoned politicians in election mode.

PETER DUTTON:

Well, there's a big rich history of it Ray. I mean plenty of campaigns have gone off the rails just with a single sentence in a campaign. So it gets pretty hard.

I think where Pauline Hanson has been smart this time around is that I mean people talk about the backroom operators and the people you don't see on camera; she's got a very smart mind in James Ashby - I think who's her adviser - and I think he's scripting a lot of what Pauline says and coming out this morning to recant on her - what I thought were deeply held views about the vaccination, but she seems to have

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flipped on that - I think to have somebody like Ashby and with his capacity behind her, coming up with these lines, I think has improved her public image and persona.

She's obviously got a product to market and in the end though all of us that are in public life are open to scrutiny and if you stuff up, you need to own up and admit it and move on.

RAY HADLEY:

You’re a proud Queenslander and she's thrown a couple of people under the bus this morning. First of all, she said I've never said such a thing - Colin Tincknell, who's the One Nation leader in … she said he had a senior's moment and then we found the interview she did with 6PR - our sister station in Perth - where she as I just …you may have heard as you we're coming in, she agreed that it's inequitable the distribution of GST revenue and for that to happen her home state, where she's a Senator, would have to sacrifice that extra 17 cents in the dollar they get to give it to someone else. I don't think that is going to happen.

PETER DUTTON:

Well, the trouble with media and social media now Ray is you can't say one thing on the West Coast and hope it doesn't get back to the East Coast. It comes back pretty quickly. So, you get caught out pretty quickly if you're been telling an audience over there one thing and pretending something else when you get back home.

RAY HADLEY:

Okay now, this fella, this Indian bloke, Shyam Acharya, who posed as a doctor; not just for a year, but since 2003. The finger was being pointed - well not at you, you can't be held accountable for what happened in 2003, even though you are now the Minister, but I guess the Department could be, the Department of Immigration - but it now turns out he was actually imported by New South Wales Health on a skilled migration programme and he even got a passport in the name of the doctor from the Indian Government.

So look, once he's got that passport in the name of the Indian doctor, all the other things flow. So the problem started in India not here. But what I don't quite understand; he must have been a very good actor or a very good doctor - even though he wasn't a doctor - to escape in all these various hospitals from 2003 to 2014 without detection.

PETER DUTTON:

Well Ray obviously there's been a big failing of the system - whether it's at a federal or state level, it doesn't really matter - I mean the lesson needs to be learnt and as you say, he first came to Australia on a Tourist visa in 2002. He went out of the country and then came back on a couple of different visas. But, from that early stage he was employed by New South Wales Health in a lower position and then got his registration as I understand it, and you're right travelled on a fake passport.

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Now, my view is that the Immigration Department back, you know 10, 15 years ago was a very different beast than what it is today. I mean I get accused all the time of being too tough on these processes and you know cancelling visas and the rest of it, but these are exactly the cases that we want to identify; stop these people before they get here and you know my Department today has a huge intelligence collection function. There's a lot of work that they do today that the Immigration Department wouldn't have done 15 years ago.

So we need to be realistic because if this guy had of been a national security threat, as opposed to a threat just to patients or the health system, which is bad enough, then the consequences can be diabolical - and we saw that Man Monis and other cases as well - so it's why we've got to step up the processes that we've got.

There's $100 million that we put in last year to look at biometrics collection. There's a lot of work that we are doing around fraud and trying to identify fake documentation out of countries like India and China for example.

So, I've asked my Department to get cracking and make sure that we can get to the bottom of what happened.

RAY HADLEY:

So, I'm just thinking about… and it's an interesting argument about 2003, as opposed to 2017. I still used to get faxes on air in 2003. I'm pretty sure the mobile I used in 2003 was a ... you know one of those little Nokia things…

PETER DUTTON:

…Nokia flip.

RAY HADLEY:

Yeah, you didn't have the facilities to Google and go on the internet. So, as you would appreciate in the studio now, I can click on and get answers to questions almost immediately from a whole range of credible sources, as opposed to you know Wikipedia or something. So, it would stand to reason that the checks and balances in 2017 with a push of a button would be much more sophisticated than they were even in 2003.

PETER DUTTON:

Yeah, even the collection of the facial biometrics, which can be run against photos of people within our Five Eyes partners…I mean there is an enormous amount that we're doing in this space where you do detect fraud, you do detect people saying that they're X when they're really Y - and you're right, the technology is unbelievable and it will only improve - I mean there's this new technology they're talking about as people are coming off planes into airports now, which at the moment can recognise the face of that person and identify them and in time, in the next generation of that technology, you'll be able to walk essentially all the way through to collect your luggage and the tests and the screening will already be done in the background. So

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the five or six people that we might want to look at who come off an A380 we can pull to one side, the rest just go seamlessly through. So the technology's unbelievable, unrecognisable to what it was 10 years ago.

RAY HADLEY:

See for instance, you were exactly right, they were flip phones and Motorola were the biggest distributor of phones back in that period and Samsung had an S300, which is a flip phone, so they were the ones that now we see on TV and we think; oh how old is that technology.

PETER DUTTON:

I thought I was pretty flash. I remember being on call at one stage and taking home the bag phone and you'd have to plug it into the cigarette lighter in the car on the way home just to get enough charge to get home and then plug it into the 240 and lug this thing around like a briefcase.

RAY HADLEY:

Well I can remember when I started in radio having to use a two way - no phones in 1981 and 1982. Okay, we move on to other things.

Now, in relation to…oh, one other thing about that; penalties. Brad Hazzard the New South Wales Health Minister said the $30,000 fine is woefully inadequate; I'd agree with that.

PETER DUTTON:

I agree with that, yeah. Greg Hunt the Health Minister, I think's onto this straight away as well, so he's looking at additional fines and the rest of it. So I'd be more than happy to support that.

RAY HADLEY:

Yeah. The Government's considering a proposal to merge at least half a dozen relevant federal agencies from two departments into a mega department, not dissimilar to the US-style Department of Homeland Security. It is reported that ASIO and the AFP have advised against it. It's not about savings, surely? It's about making sure that we have one place to protect us.

PETER DUTTON:

Well Ray in the UK there's a Home Affairs Office and in the United States there's the Homeland Security. So after 9/11 in the US, George W. Bush decided to have a look at the process because the intelligence agencies there were essentially operating in silos - that was the genesis back then. Now, Homeland Security or Home Affairs has been spoken about here over a long period of time, different governments and ministers have looked at it. The Prime Minister made comment on it the other day,

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but I'm just not aware of the process beyond that and if there's consideration, it's an issue for others.

But from my perspective, I mean we work well with the agencies and we want to make sure that there are no silos, we want to make sure that we're sharing all of the intelligence and information because it's part of the reason that we can thwart these terrorist threats before they are realised.

RAY HADLEY:

Just to amplify your point, in the inquest into the Lindt Café siege, it's now being produced that the AFP and other agencies didn't share information on the day and on the night with the New South Wales Police and so, I mean, I'm not suggesting that we have a combination of those, but it's a point to be made that in times of crisis there's a bit of ownership on intelligence and maybe we need to make sure that we do share information with other agencies.

PETER DUTTON:

Well if you have a look at this doctor by way of one example - and again, I might be a decision maker in relation to matters regarding his citizenship and what not, so I won't comment on the detail of it - but we have these cases, you necessarily want to make sure that you're getting access to all of the information, that whatever government department holds on that person.

We just live in a very different age than as we said10 years ago, let alone 15, 20 years ago and who can really predict what will happen over the next 10 or 15, 20 years in terms of security threats. So we've just got to make sure that we've got a modern system that is going to deal with people crossing our borders, sharing intelligence with law enforcement agencies and intel bodies and the rest of it. We've got the best people in the world and my sense, my only requirement really, is that we continue that world's best practice.

RAY HADLEY:

Just finally, the Trump Administration has introduced its new travel ban; this is an attempt by the President to I guess get around decisions by courts and the like. Does that impact on us? Because there's been much speculation about exactly where we sit now in relation to the refugee swap, so to speak, from Costa Rica and from Manus and Nauru, how do we sit?

PETER DUTTON:

It doesn't affect the arrangement that we've got with the US. I was up in PNG yesterday and speaking with the Minister up there, we're still full steam ahead in working with the US, trying to get people off Nauru and Manus and just doing it in a way that the boats don't re-start and we don't get new arrivals. So it's all going according to plan, Ray. So hopefully these people that Labor put up on the two islands, we can get them off as quickly as possible.

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RAY HADLEY:

Okay, thanks for your time. As always we'll talk again next Thursday.

PETER DUTTON:

Okay Thanks Ray. Cheers mate.

[ends]