Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Budget 2018: Transcript of doorstop interview: Canberra: 14 May 2018: ABF Commissioner; terror attacks in Indonesia; Ryan pre-selection; Newspoll; election date



Download PDFDownload PDF

THE HON PETER DUTTON MP MINISTER FOR HOME AFFAIRS MINISTER FOR IMMIGRATION AND BORDER PROTECTION

TRANSCRIPT

DOORSTOP INTERVIEW, CANBERRA

1

The Hon Peter Dutton MP. Liberal Party of Australia. Brisbane www.minister.homeaffairs.gov.au

14 May 2018

Subjects: ABF Commissioner, Terror attacks in Indonesia, Ryan pre-selection, Newspoll, Election date.

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

PETER DUTTON:

It's a great honour to be here this morning to swear in Michael Outram as the incoming Commissioner to the Australian Border Force.

Mike's somebody with 30 years of policing and public service and he's served both in the UK and in Australia in a range of roles. All of them have equipped him well though to take up this position as the Commissioner of the ABF. At a time when we've got growing numbers of people coming across our borders, cargo, people shopping online, all of that which comes across our borders in increasing numbers, we need somebody at the helm of ABF who has the ability to lead the organisation into the 21st century and Mike Outram is that person. He's provided leadership of the course of the last 12 months as Acting Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner before that and he has the requisite skills to take this organisation to the next level as part of the Home Affairs portfolio.

I'm happy to take any questions.

JOURNALIST:

Minister, your reaction to today's Newspoll. Is it tempting to go to an early election?

PETER DUTTON:

Well, are there any questions on this topic first and then I'll go into other issues?

2

The Hon Peter Dutton MP. Liberal Party of Australia. Brisbane www.minister.homeaffairs.gov.au

JOURNALIST:

Just one question, Minister.

Commissioner Outram in his speech just then said that there needed to be a relentless pursuit of people who don't uphold the ideals of the ABF. Do you think that that is a concession that the Quaedvlieg incident did harm to the ABF and there needs to be some work done to restore its reputation?

PETER DUTTON:

Well, the idea of today's ceremony is to set the organisation on a very definite path and that is to meet the threats of people wanting to come across our borders that would seek to do us harm; to continue the success that we've had in Operation Sovereign Borders; to make sure that we deal with a threat, whether it's human or though cargo, for example, illicit substances crossing out borders.

That's what today is about.

It's about the future of the organisation and it's a very bright one. Now, there have been difficulties over the course of the last 12 months and we acknowledge all of that, but Mike Outram has demonstrated the leadership required in an acting capacity in the organisation over the last year.

He's been involved in the formation of the Australian Border Force, so he's been within the organisation since before it stood up in July of 2015 and he has the ability to really drive the Australian Border Force to a new level and that's the focus of today.

JOURNALIST:

What would you say is the biggest threat to Australia that the ABF boss has to overcome?

PETER DUTTON:

Well, as we've seen in Indonesia only in the last day or so, the threat of terrorism is with us and will be with us for our lifetime. That's the reality of the threat. We've seen innocent people - the latest figures I've seen, some 13 who have been killed and 41 or so who have been injured in Surabaya - and this is a significant threat that faces our region and democracies like ours.

So we need to make sure that we have an assurance about people who are coming into our country, whether it's by plane or by boat. We need to make sure that we are doing everything we can to neutralise that threat and our Counter Terrorism Unit officers do that as part of the Australian Border Force tasking within the CT space.

3

The Hon Peter Dutton MP. Liberal Party of Australia. Brisbane www.minister.homeaffairs.gov.au

But as I say, huge growth - 22 per cent growth in people coming across our borders, 34 per cent in cargo - these are big numbers and a big threat to deal with. We want to make sure that we have an easy passage for the 99 per cent of people who pose no threat at all and make sure that we eliminate the one per cent of threat as it exists, because we have a very, very big responsibility within the Australian Border Force and within the Home Affairs portfolio to keep Australians safe.

JOURNALIST:

How have those incidents in Indonesia, how have they affected Australia's threat level? Have we raised that at all or is there anything we're on the lookout for?

PETER DUTTON:

Well, Australia stands with Indonesia. I was in Indonesia speaking to General Wiranto only a matter of weeks ago and I hosted him in Brisbane in November of last year. So the links are as strong as they've ever been between the agencies - the Australian Federal Police Commissioner, the Australian Border Force Commissioner - all of the agencies have very close links with their counterparts in Indonesia.

So, as I said last night, we have sympathy and our thoughts and prayers go out to those people that have been injured or killed, their families in particular.

This is the biggest attack in Indonesia that we've seen since the hotel attacks in 2009. So this threat is not going away and Australia stands absolutely united with a very, very crucial friend in Indonesia, to make sure that we can work with the President and all of the people responsible in the leadership in the Indonesian Government to keep their people safe.

We know that a million Australians travel to Indonesia each year and we have a lot of equity in that relationship and we will do whatever is required to support the Indonesian people, but they have done amazing work themselves in keeping this threat at bay, but unfortunately, evil has prevailed in recent hours in Surabaya in three separate attacks and where you're talking about women and children being involved it's particularly egregious.

JOURNALIST:

Minister, on that whatever is required, would that mean increasing resources and support around our borders, around helping with the Indonesian border?

PETER DUTTON:

Already we have significant exchange of intelligence with the Indonesians. We have people embedded within the Indonesian system, we train people, we've put a significant amount of resource into professional development and the training centre. Obviously, since the Bali attacks, Australia's provided a great deal of support in forensic sciences and we are the

4

The Hon Peter Dutton MP. Liberal Party of Australia. Brisbane www.minister.homeaffairs.gov.au

biggest aid donor, as you know, to Indonesia, in terms of people who've been displaced or potentially going to be offered a place to hop on a boat to come to our country.

So, there's a lot that we're doing in the relationship with Indonesia. If more's required, then we'll certainly step up to the plate.

JOURNALIST:

Minister, just on another matter, you are a member of the Queensland LNP and there has been a lot of discussion about one of your colleagues, Jane Prentice, missing out, being dumped by the party as the candidate for the seat of Ryan.

You're reported to have sent around letters endorsing her, saying that she's doing a great job in her role as Assistant Social Services Minister. Why wasn't she good enough to maintain her position as the Liberal's candidate there and why can't the State Executive intervene?

PETER DUTTON:

I'll just make a couple of points.

Firstly, I want to thank Jane Prentice very much for the work that she's doing now and that she's done over a long period of time. She's been a servant to the Liberal Party and in more recent years, the LNP in Queensland. She's performed very ably as a Minister and she's a colleague, obviously, and on that basis, I provided her a reference and support at her pre-selection.

It's important to recognise that the LNP has just pre-selected - and now has been sworn in to the Parliament - Amanda Stoker as the replacement for George Brandis. So we're very much, within the LNP, minded to encourage women into Parliament wherever possible.

But the LNP has a democratic process in place and the LNP, probably more so than any other division across the country, supports the decision of the grassroot members in pre-selection processes. It's a democratic process. I wouldn't comment on the numbers of the vote, but I see it's been reported that some 250 people to 100 people supported a very good candidate, an exceptional candidate in Julian Simmonds and we don't override that decision in the LNP.

I was at the pre-selection on the weekend. Without doing a head count, I would have said that there would be close to a majority of women in the audience within that pre-selection council and they looked at the individual merits of the candidates and they took a decision to support Julian Simmonds, who I think is an incredibly able candidate who's already demonstrated his capacity to deliver for the people of the western suburbs of Brisbane and I think he will go on to be a cabinet minister in a future government.

5

The Hon Peter Dutton MP. Liberal Party of Australia. Brisbane www.minister.homeaffairs.gov.au

He is a very, very good candidate. He presented very well on the weekend. These are always hotly contested positions, particularly in safer seats and Jane Prentice, far from not having had a chance to contribute to public life, has been involved in public life for decades, has been a councillor and now a member for Ryan, in the seat of Ryan for a period of time as well. So all of those factors blended into the outcome.

JOURNALIST:

But should she have been looked after like Ian Goodenough?

PETER DUTTON:

Well again, I've spoken about the approach of the LNP, the culture within the LNP in Queensland to take the direction of the local pre-selection council. This wasn't some fix from a State Executive or a factional play. There were over 350 people at the pre-selection, many of them women. They looked at the merits of the individual candidates and they made a decision. We are a democratic party. We don't apply quotas like the Labor Party does and I think that's a good thing to be honest.

JOURNALIST:

Is there a deeper cultural issue of the LNP not pre-selecting women? Something needs to change here.

PETER DUTTON:

Well again, I point you to the facts instead of the emotion. The fact is that Amanda Stoker has just been appointed as the LNP replacement for George Brandis. So that's the reality.

JOURNALIST:

But surely you can concede that it is a bad public look when you have a State Executive in one state, in WA, stepping in to save a male member in Ian Goodenough, but then over in Queensland, a female member is not saved. From the public's point of view …

PETER DUTTON:

…well again, I've dealt with the reasons why.

Any other questions?

JOURNALIST:

Just on Newspoll, are you disappointed that there wasn't as much of a Budget bounce as you thought there would be, considering this was supposed to be what was a Santa Claus Budget?

6

The Hon Peter Dutton MP. Liberal Party of Australia. Brisbane www.minister.homeaffairs.gov.au

PETER DUTTON:

Well, after spending a couple of days back in the electorate, I'll tell you a couple of things about what I heard and what people are saying to me.

That is, firstly that the Government showed its competence in delivering a complex Budget, but one that provided tax reform, incentive for people to work, to provide for their families, support for small businesses so that they could employ young Australians and mature Australians into jobs.

We've got 140,000 people off welfare. We're no longer paying those people welfare and they're paying taxes because they're in jobs. So that gives you the ability to invest like we have, for example, the $70 million into the child exploitation centre, the $300 million that we've put into airport security within this portfolio.

So people saw this Budget as a very, very strong statement of the Government's competence and the leadership of the Prime Minister.

The second point that they made is that they don't believe Bill Shorten. Bill Shorten could have promised to double or treble the tax cuts, but the problem is he's just not believable. These numbers were plucked out of the air and I think those two factors frankly led into the Newspoll...

JOURNALIST:

…that hasn't translated in the polls though.

PETER DUTTON:

Well it has in terms of a number of aspects of the poll. But again, I've been around for some time and the polling numbers in the Howard years, they went up, they went down.

Ultimately, people decided that the Liberal Party, the Coalition was more competent, more able to manage the Australian community, more able to manage border protection and national security.

I think that was the case in the Howard years, I think it's the case in the Turnbull years and I think we'll demonstrate that on election day, whenever that is next year.

JOURNALIST:

Given that, any temptation to go to an early election?

7

The Hon Peter Dutton MP. Liberal Party of Australia. Brisbane www.minister.homeaffairs.gov.au

PETER DUTTON:

No, the Prime Minister's been clear about the fact that the election is due sometime in the first and second quarter of next year and I don't see any indication that that's changing.

JOURNALIST:

Are you concerned that the fallout from the Jane Prentice decision could affect other seats in Queensland such as your own seat of Dickson?

PETER DUTTON:

Well, again, I point to the fact that the LNP has just elected Amanda Stoker, who's a wonderful candidate. She was in a very strong field and was able to gain pre-selection and has taken her position in the Senate to replace George Brandis.

The Liberal Party and the LNP is a democratic party…

JOURNALIST:

…but politics is just as much about emotion as it is about facts. Surely the public would be looking at this and wondering - particularly women - why they should vote for the LNP in Queensland.

PETER DUTTON:

Well, because the LNP is a party that has just endorsed Amanda Stoker. Michelle Landry is a member in Central Queensland. We've got other candidates during a process now as we lead up to the next election. I think there have been a number of seats that have just been opened up. So look, we'll allow that democratic process to take place, but again I'll just refer you back to the points I made before.

JOURNALIST:

So some of those Liberal and National MPs that have spoken….

PETER DUTTON:

….are there questions on other topics? Because I've dealt with this topic. Alright, thanks very much.

[ends]