JOURNALIST: Minister, good morning to you.
PETER DUTTON: Good morning, Ray.
JOURNALIST: I’ve got an email from a couple of listeners and I don’t know whether you can confirm it or not, but they’re telling me, they apparently have a fascination with tracking aircraft and they’re telling me the first of the people you’re deporting back to New Zealand have left Melbourne.
Is that correct?
PETER DUTTON: Ray they have left Australia and they’re in New Zealand.
So the first 12 people that have had their visas cancelled under Section 501 of the Act, so that is that they’ve failed the character test, they’ve gone back to New Zealand.
We’ve done a lot of work with the Key Government and we have put in place an arrangement where we can return them so they’re off our soil and they’re back to New Zealand.
JOURNALIST: Someone’s got a sense of humour. The aircraft code was SND2 – send to.
PETER DUTTON: No they were sent 12 on this occasion.
JOURNALIST: Well I think they’re sending the 12 to New Zealand.
PETER DUTTON: Oh, to New Zealand.
JOURNALIST: I don’t know who determined the name of what the aircraft is called, but it’s someone there with a sense of humour.
Look just a word about this in France. We’ve had news, as you probably heard while I was talking to Tom in Paris there, the wife of a suicide bomber challenged by police and blows herself up.
In Australia Fatima Elomar, the wife of terrorist - dead terrorist, thankfully, Mohamed Elomar, has pleaded guilty to trying to join him in Syria. Terror related charges.
Your Commonwealth DPP, the Commonwealth DPP, doesn’t oppose bail and she’s free to, you know, roam around the country until next April when she’s sentenced, which would suggest that whoever’s dealing with her in the court ….
[Minister’s phone drops out]
JOURNALIST: … has a predisposition, as the Minister drops out there.
We’ve lost the line from Jakarta so we’ll get him straight back up again.
Has a predisposition to let this woman loose again.
The other thing I wanted to say about Fatima Elomar, while I’m waiting. You’ll note that in the Telegraph yesterday she was shown wearing the pillbox hajib. That’s where only the eyes are visible and then it covers from the nose down and all parts of her face are covered.
Police were in contact with me and I can’t identify those police, but as part of her condition for bail she must report to Liverpool police station. She reports every time in just a headscarf with her face uncovered. They seem to think it may be some sort of stunt from this woman so that when she sees a newspaper photographer or in fact a person from a TV organisation – on goes the pillbox.
Now back we go to Peter Dutton.
Minister before that line dropped out in Jakarta I was mentioning that a woman had detonated a bomb and killed herself, the wife of a terrorist.
We’ve got, of course, Fatima Elomar in Australia, the wife of a dead terrorist, Mohamed Elomar, pleading guilty to serious charges linked to terrorism, given bail unopposed by your Commonwealth DPP.
Any reaction to that?
PETER DUTTON: Well Ray I haven’t seen the circumstances of it.
But obviously, as we’re seeing in Paris, people pose a significant threat. If they’re intent on trying to harm Australians then the courts have got some pretty serious penalties to impose.
It’s hard to know without knowing the circumstances of the individual case.
The way in which George Brandis has put the legislation together means that we’ve got very serious penalties that can and should be imposed in circumstances where people are posing a threat to our country.
The courts have to take that seriously and the DPP has got a responsibility to prosecute that, as I’m sure they do.
I just don’t have the details of the case.
JOURNALIST: Well maybe when you get back we can talk about it in more detail next week.
Now, terrorist chatter has apparently mentioned Parliament House in Canberra again. There’s increased security there.
When you do return to Australia, how safe is Canberra? In terms of our politicians?
PETER DUTTON: Look I think it is safe and for a couple of reasons.
Obviously the Federal Police have stepped up their presence at Parliament House because, I mean literally hundreds of thousands of Australians come and visit, school kids visit every day to Parliament House. So we need to make sure that it’s secure.
But, again, people need to be wary if they see anything or have any information to contact the police.
The security upgrades that have taken place at Parliament House have been pretty significant over the course of the last couple of years.
I think it’s a safe place, as safe as any place can be in the circumstances.
It’s a pretty tough situation that everybody’s facing and the police I think are working flat out to make sure that they can neutralise these threats.
JOURNALIST: You spoke to my colleague Alan Jones earlier this week and you called for the Grand Mufti to strongly condemn the Paris attacks after his lily-livered, weak-kneed media release.
That’s changed to some extent, as well.
But I note that he’s not elected by, you know, mainstream Muslims. He’s elected by the Islamic Councils in the various States.
They have a record of saying, you know, we dictate to Muslims in Australia what happens.
I’m getting complaints from everyday Muslims in Australia, Australian Muslims, that they have no say in the Grand Mufti and the Grand Mufti doesn’t represent them and puts more pressure on them.
PETER DUTTON: Well there’s obviously, you know, an internal issue within the Council or within the community and it needs to be sorted out.
When you have a look at what’s happening in countries like Indonesia and Malaysia, where they have obviously huge representation from Imams and people who have got public profiles – they have all come out and condemned the actions, not with any qualification.
They’ve come out and said that these are terrorist acts, they’re not acting in the name of Islam, they are evil people, all of that.
There’s been very strong statements.
If you’ve have a look, I did some work and had a look at a countries across the Middle East to see what their councils had to say and what their Islamic leaders had to say in condemnation of the attacks in Paris and they’re as strong as anything that we’ve said as a Government or that the US or the UK have said.
They’ve condemned the acts and we need that same leadership in Australia.
I’m happy that the Grand Mufti came out to clarify the initial statement, but we need to have that leadership in Australia that we’re seeing in other countries like Indonesia and Malaysia.
We are letting down many Australians, in particular young Australians, which is where my concerns is.
We’re stopping kids 14, 15, 16 at the borders, at the airport, trying to fly out to Syria. They are being influenced by words of leaders from their communities.
We need to get it sorted out so that there is a very strong voice that comes out to condemn and says ‘look you know if you’ve got issues that you want to deal with, happy to speak about those’.
But if somebody comes out and commits a terrorist act your responsibility is to condemn that because there is no excuse and there’s no qualification that makes that ok.
JOURNALIST: I’ll leave you with this.
Perhaps the Islamic Council on their checklist for the next Grand Mufti could at number one question say, ‘do you speak English and if the bloke says ‘Que?’ well he’s excluded from any possibility of being the Grand Mufti.
I think that would be the prerequisite to be a Grand Mufti in an English speaking country. You speak English.
PETER DUTTON: Well I think many of the leaders speak perfect English that I speak with and they, as we saw on television this week, there were leaders within the Islamic community who came out who were very strong voices and condemned the acts of the terrorists in Paris and they spoke perfect English and they conveyed it in no uncertain terms.
That’s the sort of leadership that we need.
JOURNALIST: Ok, Minister, thanks. We’ll get you back from Jakarta shortly. All the best.
PETER DUTTON: Thanks, Ray. Take care.