Subjects: Queensland politics; terrorist killed; IS declared a terrorist organisation: 17 detention centres closed; Nauru self-harm incidents; Operation Sovereign Borders; WA boat seizure.
Minister good morning.
Good morning Ray.
As a Queenslander it looks like it will be a hot time in the old town tomorrow.
Look Ray, obviously it's an issue for the party room in the Queensland Parliament. All of us as Queenslanders want to make sure that the economy can get back on track.
The Palaszczuk Government is basically only done one thing and that is to put on more public servants which keeps the unions up there happy, but it doesn't employ people in small business, it doesn't help grow the Queensland economy.
So as a united team the LNP in Queensland I think has a very good chance at the next election and the party room will make a decision about leadership tomorrow, as you say, and its well and truly an issue for them.
Okay. Back to matters that you can comment on.
We have heard news that two Australian, including the most senior Australian fighting with Islamic State, Neil Prakash, has been killed. The other one Shadi Jabar the son of Farhad Jabar who murdered Curtis Cheng were both killed by US airstrikes – one in Iraq and one in Syria.
Now this isn't the first time we have heard reports of Prakash's death, but this time the Americans have confirmed it.
Well the Americans are very sure, as sure as they can be in these circumstances, that Prakash has been killed in this strike.
For all of us who are involved in working hard to keep Australians safe, and we are involved in that work every day, this is a good outcome for the safety and security of our country.
He is an evil person, he was involved in the deaths of people, he was wanting to inspire hatred in our country, he wanted young people to be following in the footsteps of martyr's elsewhere committing terrorist acts here and our country is a safer place for him having left it.
How significant a blow is it, his death I mean, to Islamic State's terrorist arm when it comes to recruiting Australians?
We have heard the discussions about money being spent on trying to help parents who are in charge of radicalised youth. Does it help to that end?
Ray I think it strikes a big blow, but none the less the threat remains. We have 110 plus Australians who are over in the Middle East involved in foreign fighting now and it's a big threat because of course the use the internet and social media and secure messaging and all sorts of ways to communicate messages of evil back into Australia.
I think we need to recognise that we have a significant ongoing threat and this is not just something that people are watching on their television screens overseas, this is a real threat for our country and I just have nothing, but praise for ASIO, for all of the intelligence and law enforcement and Defence agencies that are involved.
There is a lot of work as you could imagine that goes on for a long period of time behind the scenes to look at these targets and we do a lot of good work with the United States.
I think it's a good day in terms of making sure our community can be a safer place and one less terrorist means that our kids are safer.
And now I heard on the news this morning very early I think at 4am that there has been a meeting in the Middle East involving the allies and the Americans and the sort of tone was from the Americans particularly is that we need to get a bit tougher.
Now I don't know whether it's a reaction to what's being said by the man who will be the Republican candidate for the next presidential election, Donald Trump. Under the Democrats they are even talking tougher and saying they need to actually wipe them out.
Bill Clinton demonstrated when he was in the White House and as did George Herbert Walker Bush, as did George W Bush, and Reagan before them that America needs to be strong.
We need to have a strong America because we have got issues obviously in Russia with Putin extending into Ukraine, we have got Putin extending into Syria and we have got all sorts of difficulties that need to be dealt with.
America is doing a good job in securing extra territory in the Middle East trying to drive ISIL away from innocent families there like here absolutely detest these terrorist movements.
So we will continue the work we do with the United States because for us they are an invaluable partner and we need to, as I say, recognise that this movement wants to spread worldwide and we need to deal with it and deal with it swiftly.
And I'm told that you will today confirm this Government's intention to take this IS a step further as well. What are you doing?
I will. So you'll remember last year the Government did a lot of work on legislation around taking citizenship away from terrorists, taking Australia citizenship away from terrorists, if they are dual nationals.
So we don't render people stateless, but there is a provision within that Act that means that if people are part of an organisation which is prescribed then they can loose their Australian citizenship.
It's appropriate that the first terrorist organisation that I'll prescribe under the Act is ISIS.
We know the threat that they face, we talk about it regularly and it really is a very significant threat for our country.
So people who are members of that organisation, depending on their circumstances, may well lose their Australian citizenship and I think that reflects the values and the expectations of the Australian public.
So ISIS is the first organisation to be declared under the Citizenship Act, using provisions passed by Parliament last year, as a terrorist organisation and these 110 people that you referred to will obviously be the target of perhaps the first move.
You say that they will have their citizenship revoked if they are members of Islamic State so what's the next step?
Well Ray we are obviously doing a lot of work with agencies at the moment to try and identify people who we think don't deserve to be Australian citizens.
In the end, if you wanting to kill Australians and murder Australians in a great number in a terrorist attack then you don't deserve to be an Australian citizen.
We have been very tough in securing our border so we can have a safer community and part of that, keeping people safe, is to deal with terrorists and those who support the ideals of terrorist organisations like ISIL.
If they have been involved in activities then we are working on all of that right now and people can expect to lose their Australian citizenship if they have been doing the wrong thing.
So the practicalities of it, and the United Kingdom did this, you make a decision as a Government that you would withdraw their Australian citizenship – do they have any right of appeal?
They do and they can appeal through the courts, but essentially…
…but what if they are over there?
Well there can be notices that are issued and essentially though this is an important point, their acts are self-declaratory if you like.
So if they are involved in a terrorist act they are by their very conduct saying that they don't want to be an Australian citizen so that's the basic thrust of it.
But would that exclude them from having a right to appeal by those acts? And we are talking about the people holding severed heads and you know declaring that they want men in women in Australia killed.
No there is a legal process that they can go through so we don't deny people their legal rights and we live in a civilised country so people have the right….
…yeah, but you are dealing with the most uncivilised people.
Well of course we are and we come down very hard on them. I mean this legislation that we have introduced to strip citizenship, I think, says exactly that and believe me we are working…
…when will you move against the first people in the Middle East in either Iraq or Syria and declare them non-citizens of Australia?
Well Ray the agencies as you would expect are doing work on this now so it will be an issue for them to bring them to our attention.
Alright. Just before the Budget was handed down this week you announced in Parliament the Government was closing down another four immigration detention centres making the total of 17 you will close – the same number that Labor had opened while in power.
There is very good reason that they needed to open them because the boats kept coming and so did 50,000 people. Take me through the major centres you will be shutting down.
Ah well we have got no need, as you say, when boats aren't arriving for these detention centres to remain open.
We have worked pretty hard on this front. We have got savings in this Budget where Labor had blowouts of some $11 billion.
We have been able to announce that we are going to close some facilities including the Perth Immigration Centre, Maribyrnong Immigration Detention Centre in Melbourne, the Blaxland compound at Villawood Immigration Detention Centre in Sydney and the lease for the Wickham Point centre comes up in November.
So we don't have the people arriving on boats, as you say, and let's hope that they don't restart.
People are putting a lot of effort into getting the boats restarted.
These people smugglers are evil, evil people and they have been again touting their business.
I see people smugglers up in Indonesia believe there is a change of government at the election then people smugglers will be back into business and the boats will restart.
We just need to make sure that doesn't happen.
You have had a 23 year old Iranian man die. A 21 year old from Somali woman is in a critical condition in a Brisbane hospital as they both set themselves of fire. You have indicated the Somali woman is in a very, very, very bad way.
Do you have any update on her condition?
No further update other than she is in a critical condition.
Obviously nobody wants to these scenes, we don't want to see people harming themselves, but people aren't protesting against the living conditions.
There are several hundred people now who are off boats who are employed in Nauru, 30-odd people who have set up small businesses, we are providing education, we have spent a lot of money on health care up there including the improvement of the facilities around mental health.
So there is a lot of support that is provided, but people obviously want to come to Australia because they have paid people smugglers thousands of dollars to come here.
Equally I speak to sailors who have pulled bodies from the sea when 1,200 drowned at sea when we lost control of our borders.
So we have to take tough decisions and the tough decision that we have taken is that people will not be settled in this country and regardless of action, regardless of what advocates are suggesting to people they should do in terms of resisting any support the Government offers to return them back to their country we are not going to settle people in this country if they have come by boat.
We are going to continue that line because I don't want to see boats restart and I certainly don't want to see drownings at sea recommence.
Well on Monday I almost had to play this [plays audio]…which hasn't been played for a long, long time.
A boat carrying Sri Lankan asylum seekers reportedly intercepted very close to the Cocos Islands in bad weather.
It would have been the first boat to reach Australian waters in many years. A 10-11 metre wooden boat with 12 people on board.
Where they people coming to our country illegally?
Well Ray, look as been the case for a long period of time, I just don't comment on those sort of matters.
If the Government has something to say we will make it known at the appropriate time. But when we get these reports over a long period of time both Scott Morrison and myself have just not commented one way or another.
We have a lot of assets at sea as you understand, we have boats and we have some of the best people within the Australian Border Force and the Royal Australian Navy involved in Operation Sovereign Borders.
We have air crews, we have surveillance techniques, we use a lot of support to make sure that we stop boats and if we find boats to turn them around where it's safe to do so.
That's why this Government has had the resolve and the success in stopping the boats and if we have got something to say about particular boats then we will say it at the right time.
Okay. There is another one. Eight Chinese crew members have been taken into immigration detention.
My information from 6PR in Perth is this boat off the West Australian coast was actually involved in some sort of drug smuggling operation. Any confirmation on that?
Well again Ray, I just can't comment because there is an operation underway at the moment.
But Australian Border Force does do a lot of work with the Australian Federal Police and West Australian Police or Queensland Police whatever the case might be in looking at vessels where there may be a suspected drug importation or involvement in transportation of weapons or tobacco and other illegal substances that come across the border and there are operations all the time.
So again I just can't comment in relation to that matter because there is an ongoing and current investigation.
Okay. As always, thanks very much for your time.
Thanks Ray. All the best mate.