Journalist: Quick reaction to the Volkswagen saga as a strong proponent of climate change action yourself? Are you cynical about what they've done?
Peter Dutton: Well they've got a lot to answer. I only know what I've seen publicly, but obviously investors, people who would be purchasers otherwise, punish companies for that sort of deceptive behaviour.
So they've got some big issues and it will cost them a lot of money.
Journalist: As it probably should, you would have to think. Let's move into your portfolio, I want to talk to you about some of the issues going forward around potential boats trying to make their way here, but it would be remiss of me not to just get your reaction to an interview that the new Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull did just earlier.
Talking about the change with you no longer being on the National Security Committee, it's a-la what the case was for Amanda Vanstone rather than Philip Ruddock, obviously you've got to go with that, but how often do you think you'll end up joining it given that there's been such a focus on stopping the boats?
Peter Dutton: Look Peter my job will be to contribute to the National Security Committee when there are issues in my area of responsibility. I don't think there's any news in that.
The Prime Minister's keen to try and cut the numbers on these committees down wherever possible.
My job is to provide information as required and I'll continue to do that. We obviously have done a lot of work not only in relation to stopping the boats in this portfolio, but also the Counter Terrorism Unit officers at the airports. We have done a lot of work with international agencies as well, given the footprint of border protection.
On the occasions when I'm required and co-opted into NSC obviously I'll be able to supply the information that the committee is seeking.
Journalist: Is there any truth to this notion that there may well be a renewed effort by people smugglers to start sending boats and plying their trade to Australia with the change of Prime Minister or just in the current climate?
Peter Dutton: Yes there is and I want to be very clear, as we have been all along, to people smugglers, to those who would seek to take money from innocent people and to put them on boats - is that the Government's policy is as strong as it has ever been.
The Prime Minister has stated publicly, as he has to me privately, that he wants a continuation of the policy to make sure that we don't allow the people smugglers to get back into business.
It was a key election issue. The Coalition Government was elected to stop the boats - we've stopped them.
As you know people smugglers are organised criminals. They are a sophisticated network of people – not just in Indonesia – but across the Middle East and parts of Asia otherwise and we have to make sure that we can stare down these threats.
When I came into the portfolio to replace Scott Morrison they were messaging out to say that a softer Minister had come in and you can get on boats and come to Australia.
We've continued the resolve. They will try and message out in relation to the Prime Minister coming in to his job, to us being very generous in terms of taking 12,000 refugees from Syria.
These are people who know no morals and they will do whatever they can to try and get back into business and I want to send a very clear message to them that this Government remains absolutely resolute that we will not allow the drownings to recommence at sea and we will not allow people to arrive in our country by boat.
Journalist: But isn't that message diluted somewhat when the new PM starts musing about his concerns in relation to women and families being on Nauru and Manus Island.
I mean I share his concerns, but putting that up in lights so early on with one of his first long form interviews, isn't that making it harder to combat the rhetoric, the spin and the propaganda of the people smugglers?
Peter Dutton: No. I saw the Prime Minister's interview and I agree with him 100 per cent.
Where we can we will get people out of Nauru and into permanent arrangements somewhere else in the world, we should do that and we are working very hard on a bilateral basis, but also with agencies otherwise including the UN to see what options may be available.
The Prime Minister remains absolutely resolute in making sure that we can have Regional Processing Centres as part of our deterrent – it is one part of our deterrent.
Temporary Protection Visas, which Labor doesn't support, is another key aspect to it and making sure that we turn back boats in a genuine way – not the temporary turn-back that Bill Shorten suggested – but to make sure that we have that resolve on each and every occasion that's been the secret of our success.
Where we can we will move people out as quickly as possible. We act in a compassionate way, we provide a lot of support around medical services, as well as education, but ultimately we've been very clear that people will not be settling in Australia.
We will work as a Government through the Cabinet process as the Prime Minister points out to make sure that if we need to sharpen our programmes, our policies, which will make it even harder for people smugglers to get through the net that's exactly what we'll do.
Journalist: Do you have any concerns about Border Force in Immigration with the strike action that's been going on?
I spoke to Nadine Flood about that the other day. It's an ongoing dispute, there's some suggestion with Michaelia Cash moving into the portfolio of Employment and IR that there may be an attempt to resolve that dispute now.
She of course was your former Assistant Immigration Minister, do you worry about it from (a) a national security perspective with the strike and (b) in terms of its lasting impact and the ability to maybe get it dealt with now possibly in no small fact for there being a change of Minister?
Peter Dutton: Well the answer to (a) is no, I don't have any concerns in relation to there being a compromise of national security. There are other arrangements that are put in place.
Obviously the Government wants a resolution to the issue. We want parties to negotiate in good faith.
As you point out Michaelia Cash has responsibility for the public service and she'll conduct the negotiations on behalf of the Government so I'll leave that side of it for her to comment on.
But in terms of the work that ABF officers do – they keep us safe every day. I was at Adelaide yesterday visiting people there who are involved in the analytics – the collection of data – it is a very sophisticated department in terms of the use of IT, all of the technology available to us to disrupt people – and not only when we're talking about terrorism, or in relation to people smuggling, but also in relation to the smuggling of narcotics.
Ice is a huge issue for us.
They're intercepting drug packages everyday through the airports through sea cargo as well, and we have a very serious workforce that is world class, professional and able to protect our borders because if you don't have secure borders you can't have a safe community and that's what they're doing.
The people that I saw yesterday and the people that I see around the country within ABF, within Immigration are – really make me very proud to be Minister in this portfolio.
Journalist: Just finally Mr Dutton before I let you go. There's been so much in politics as well as in policy over the last few weeks, something that's moved into the background is citizenship, foreign fighters legislation and in the context of the ongoing conflict in Syria; have you got anything more to be able to tell us on that because we've seen these figures about the number of people fighting overseas that perhaps could have their citizenship revoked because of dual nationality?
Peter Dutton: Well Peter, the legislation has been referred off to the intelligence committee.
They've come back to Government with some recommendations so that's a joint committee – Liberal and Labor members on that committee – they do some great work, led by Dan Tehan, and we're considering those recommendations and we'll make a response in due course.
Journalist: OK, but are you happy with what's come in? When you say in due course, is it sooner rather than later, do we have a timeframe?
Peter Dutton: Well we're getting some legal advice around some of the recommendations that they've made. We'll respond as quickly as we can.
The only point I'd make, I think the committee works well, they've worked well in their contemplation on national security matters in the past and I think they've done a good job in response to this particular Bill, but we're just wading through the detail, having a look at some of the implications and the consequences of what they've recommended and then we'll come back publicly with a response once we've been able to properly consider their recommendations.
Journalist: Alright we'll watch with interest when it happens. Minister, thanks for joining us on Newsday.