Subjects: Defence White Paper; Returns to Nauru.
Minister we’ve seen referral of some leaks from the NSC Committee to the Federal Police, are you concerned this has come from the NSC, a body that you have been part of it in the past?
Obviously the Prime Minister has spoken about the process. Nobody wants to see any leaks and the good work that has come out of the Defence White Paper I think stands us in significant contrast to Labor.
The fact that they were never able to deliver a ship or a submarine speaks of their priority.
This Government’s been able to preside over a record investment into defence and that’s going to continue over the next decade which is very important for a nation like ours, particularly from a border security perspective because we work very closely with Defence and we don’t want distractions from that.
There’s been some confusion over dates of the rollout of the first of the next generation of subs, was it ever the case of 2026-27 being a potential start date from your recollection of those early workings?
Well Charles as you’d appreciate I wouldn’t have any comment to make in relation to NSC deliberations or those matters which are confidential.
Questions in relation to any of the programme rollout probably are best directed to the Defence Minister.
Is it reasonable then for the former Prime Minister to be making comments on exactly that?
I’ve noted the comments of the former Prime Minister and I think he’s been very clear in his statements.
The focus for us is on the $40 billion that we are putting into defence which is going to provide a significant investment and certainty around investment from companies that might want to build subs here or might want to build patrol boats here and from my perspective in border security we need that relationship with Defence to continue into the future in such a strong way as it has been in the past.
And you believe the current system and the current timeframe as it is doesn’t leave us short at any stage in the future?
I just think people need to contrast where this Government is in terms of the $40 billion dollar investment to what Labor presided over where they didn’t build a sub, they didn’t build one ship and that is always the case for Labor.
They’ll promise in the run-up to this election that they’ll invest into defence, if they win the election as sure as night follows day they will pull money out of defence.
The ADF personnel know that and the Australian public knows it as well.
You’re confident though again that we won’t be left short in ten years’ time.
I think the White Paper has demonstrated, I think the Defence Minister has demonstrated, that the Government has thought hard and long about this process and an investment of $40 billion.
Subs and patrol boats, all of the equipment that is contained within that investment, will secure our nation and that is something we should be very proud of.
I know you were speaking on the radio about this just then, but has there been an update with baby Asha in Queensland now that a lot of hype has died down there, where are we at with that?
There’s no update in relation to individuals. The comment that I made this morning was that when people have received medical assistance they’ll be returned to Nauru or back to their country of origin if they’re not owed protection.
There’s a very frustrating legal process here because the Commonwealth has won the High Court case recently, but lawyers I think will take us again to the High Court to prevent some people going back. So that will be, I suspect, a prolonged, protracted legal process.
We’ll go through that, but ultimately we’ve been very clear about the fact that people who seek to come to our country by boat won’t be settled in Australia.
Are you confident you’ll win that long, protracted legal case?
The Government obviously won the case recently in the High Court and that assured us of the legality and constitutionality of the Regional Processing Centre arrangement.
We don’t want to go back to a day where people are drowning at sea and we lose control of our borders. This Government will not return to those days of dysfunction. Thank you.