Subjects: Labor's Royal Commission into financial sector, steel industry, negative gearing, children out of detention, dual citizens involved in terrorism, Syrian refugees, Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal, returns to Nauru.
As mentioned off the top of the program, our main guest today is the Immigration Minister, Peter Dutton. He joins us live from Brisbane. Thanks very much for your company, Minister.
Thanks, Peter. Thank you.
Let me start where Paul Kelly's editorial was going, about the climate, and the situation we're in, this sort of almost cultural baying for blood, with the banks on the one hand, the Government looking at a possible DD trigger around the union movement, and the capacity therefore for this to be a bashing exercise.
What's worse, the unions or the banks? This is a tough campaign for a Government to win if it gets framed that way, isn't it?
Peter, I think what the Australian public's seen over the course of the last week or two is that strong leadership at a national level is absolutely crucial.
As Paul and many other commentators, including yourself, have pointed out, there are significant headwinds economically, both domestically and internationally, and people want to make sure that the leadership of the Government has the best interests of the country, not just particular interest groups, in mind.
Mr Shorten's opportunistic call for a royal commission into banks is frankly nothing more than a stunt. I mean, ASIC and APRA already operate very much in this space, and during my years as assistant treasurer there were many referrals made. Where banks do the wrong thing by their customers, they should be held to account.
But he's obviously selective in his use of the Royal Commission, because he presided, when he was a Minister in the Gillard Government, as Industrial Relations Minister, over lawlessness and thuggery on building sites, which adds 30% to the cost of a unit that a young couple will buy off the plan today, with the CFMEU completely out of control, and yet he sees nothing wrong with that sort of criminal behaviour.
I just think it shows that the leadership that Mr Shorten wants people to believe that is part of his DNA is clearly not there.
I just wanted to ask you a two‑pronged question as a follow‑up to that, if I can, Peter Dutton.
Has the Government given any thought to whether or not a super-profits tax on the banks is the kind of direction that the Opposition might look to go in the wake of a Royal Commission into the banking sector?
And second to that, what's wrong with a Royal Commission into the banking sector, if you're going to have one into the union movement? Don't the same principles apply?
Well, on your first point, we're Australia, not Greece. And we're not going down that sort of path, which, as you say, would be a populist line, that you could tax individuals or institutions, or whatever entity it might be, within an inch of its life.
But ultimately, if you close companies down or you put them offshore, then they stop employing Australians. And we want to make sure that we grow jobs and grow the economy, and that's what this Government's about. We want to have sensible, measured plans in place, and I think Australians want a stable government, and that's what they're seeing right now. But they want to see that into the future, after the election as well.
If we can try and make sure that the Senate is more reasonable in its approach, we can pass sensible laws. And if we do that, we can support small business, support medium and large business, because they're the employers. And we want to make sure that people, particularly young people, coming out of school, out of university, out of college, can get jobs, and we want that stability in our economy.
I just don't think Mr Shorten, who will always put the union bosses ahead of the workers, as he's demonstrated his whole working life, that is not in the best interests of our country.
If we go down populist paths, we will put the economy on a path to ruin, and I don't think Australians would want that. In fact, I'm certain they don't.
We saw a very strong speech, Minister, from Malcolm Turnbull this week to Westpac, in which he really put the banks on notice, indicated that their ethical behaviour wasn't good enough, that they were not honouring their social – their social licence.
I guess the question is, are words simply enough, or does the Government need to take some sort of practical action, to follow up, to demonstrate its concern about this issue?
Well, Paul, if you look at the regulators - ASIC and APRA - ASIC for example, has essentially more powers than a Royal Commission, in the fact that it can impose penalties and it regulates the banking sector.
The banking sector took us through the GFC largely because they were well capitalised and the prudential arrangements were world‑class, so we were able to withstand a situation that saw many banks across the United States, in Europe, collapse and we didn't see that in our country.
We want to make sure that we've got strong institutions, because the last thing that you want is the fundamentals of the economy undermined, and frankly, that's what the union movement would do if they had control of the Prime Minister of the day. They would act in their own best interests, and not in the best interests of the country.
I think it is important to recognise that where the banks do the wrong thing, and in cases where they don't abide by their codes, or they expose clients to unnecessary risk, they should be held to account for that and that's the job of the regulator.
But Minister, can I just follow up Paul's question? I think at the heart of it, is partly this.
If the Prime Minister's going to be strong with his rhetoric, but we've already got the regulators in place and there's not going to be further action from the Government to try and come down on this conduct that is being reported by the banks, aren't you at risk as a Government, and Malcolm Turnbull as a Prime Minister, of looking like it's just rhetoric, in the face of the Labor Party now going after something pretty significant that they've put up a as an alternative, a Royal Commission?
But, Peter, if you look at recent instances, in relation to Storm Financial for example, I mean, there was some egregious behaviour by individuals in companies, as well obviously in banks. Now, the reason that we're talking about this is that it was exposed.
There was a Senate inquiry into the situation. There was all of the detail brought to light and banks have paid penalties, heavy penalties, for that. They've paid compensation, there have been class actions, the regulators have weighed in in a significant way and that's exactly why we're having this conversation.
I think the reason, though, that Mr Shorten wants not to accept that ASIC and others have the power to act, and they should act, he's creating a stunt a day.
I mean, let's call this out for what it is. He wasn't supportive of a royal commission when it came to the building industry.
If he's worried about mums and dads, and he's worried about young families wanting to get into home ownership, or worried about the expenses that they might face each month in their monthly budget, think about the fact that because of the actions of the CFMEU and other union thugs, and the fact that they stopped concrete pours on building sites, they inflate wages, they have extortion practices involving bikies, that adds 30% to the cost of a home.
Young couples who are going out to open inspections today are looking at a unit for $350,000 or $400,000. You're talking about adding 30% onto that just because of the actions of these unions.
Now, Mr Shorten presided over the actions of those union bosses, which results in a 30% increase that's added on to every unit or every house or every commercial building site around the country, yet he did nothing.
When the Royal Commission exposed the criminal behaviour of those members that he's been affiliated with for so long within the union movement, he dismissed it.
In fact, he was called to give evidence himself because of his own involvement in some of these activities over the years.
I think it demonstrates to people that there is a very stark choice now, in the run‑up to the election, and we're only weeks away, presumably, from an election.
The two parties, the two leaders, stand for very different things.
The negative gearing policy that Labor presides over, which will see an increase in rents and a drop in housing prices, will be a disaster for the economy and I think people will start to focus on these issues in the run‑up to the election.
Minister, do you think that bank ethics and bank behaviour is going to figure prominently as a front‑line issue in the election?
Look, Paul, there will be lots of populist examples that Labor can point to. I think the banks and others, in the majority of cases, do the right thing, and where they do the wrong thing, they should be held to account.
They should treat their customers with respect. They should abide by the law. They should abide by the codes of practice that they sign up to and if they do the wrong thing, then the regulators in ASIC and APRA have existing powers to come down very heavily on them and they should, and they do, and that's exactly what should happen.
But if Mr Shorten is out running populist lines, well, let him do that. People in the end will see through it, because people want a stable economy.
They want an economy that's growing, where there's jobs growth, so that we can support small business, we can support families, and ultimately we can grow the economy over the coming years, because there will be significant headwinds, as I say internationally and domestically, as our economy transitions into a new phase.
Now, as you have indicated, there have been a number of specific examples of unethical behaviour and scandals in the bank and finance sector in recent years.
Now, Bill Shorten says there's a systemic problem. That is, the banking system, the financial system, has a systemic problem, and this is why Labor is setting up a Royal Commission. Do you believe there's a systemic problem?
I think the problem that we've got here, Paul, is that Mr Shorten is wanting to be populist. I've been in this game for 15 years. I've watched Opposition Leaders for that time and a long period before that.
The most dangerous Opposition Leaders are those that promise everything to everyone, that give away every dollar, that make populist announcements, just like Mark Latham did, and just like Julia Gillard did, and we need to be very mindful of that.
I think the Australian public is more sophisticated. They want to make sure that the banks do the right thing. They want to make sure that, where they step outside of their codes of practice, the regulator comes down heavily upon them. And if Mr Shorten believes that there are changes needed to the regulators' powers, well, make them public. I mean, let's hear what he has to say.
But to put off anything to do with Royal Commissions in relation to the union industry, I think, shows where Bill Shorten's priorities lie.
I think if we have a Prime Minister in this country that is completely and utterly beholden to the CFMEU, the AWU, and other unions, it will demonstrate, as Mr Shorten's demonstrated through his working life, that he will always put union bosses ahead of workers, and certainly ahead of the general public. And that is not in the best interests of our country.
Does the Government need to get its act together, and be less messy in the way that it presents itself to the Australian people?
Your Queensland colleague, the member for Capricornia, said as much, and we did of course see the Newspoll this week that I mentioned off the top of the programme, showing that the Government has fallen behind Labor for the first time under Malcolm Turnbull's leadership.
Peter, I think in the run‑up to the Budget we'll see further announcements.
The Prime Minister's announcement today of $500 million of infrastructure funding to Western Australia, on top of the billions of dollars that we're pledging in road funding, including the announcements in Victoria this week, I think demonstrate that the Government's getting on with business.
People want to see governments, talking not about themselves, but about what we're doing for our country. Malcolm Turnbull's been able to have that conversation this week, and again today...
Well, can I ask on that, Minister, sorry to interrupt, but isn't that an example, though, of messiness?
You've got a $500 million announcement today via the papers about money being granted to WA. Yesterday, you had the Prime Minister talking about how this was not going to be a "fistful of dollars" election, when he was in Victoria. That to me is exactly what the member for Capricornia is talking about.
Well, Peter, obviously there's been a lot of work that's been put into the announcement today. The offsets have been identified, and the program's been properly funded through the forward estimates, and that's what you would expect from a responsible Government.
So we make announcements, and investing into infrastructure where there's a multiplier, particularly in an economy like WA, which is suffering from low commodity prices, there is a significant benefit in the announcement that's made today.
So I think out of the Budget as well, you'll see a lot of work and preparation that's been put in by the Treasurer and by the Prime Minister now, which will set our country up for years to come. And I think people want to see that work, those announcements, and I think we'll be rewarded for that.
I think the period before elections always becomes scrappy. But in the end, people's attention will start to sharpen and focus on who is the best person to lead our country, who do you trust most to lead our country, to grow the economy, to put the jobs in place for the 21st century?
I think the starkness now between Bill Shorten, who will always side with the union bosses, and Malcolm Turnbull, who will always do his best to help grow jobs and grow the economy, people will focus on that over the coming couple of months. And I think, in the end, the Coalition can win that debate.
Minister, Bill Shorten has said that Australia must maintain its steel industry. He wants a mandated provision for Australian steel in contracts. He talks about a co‑investment strategy for steel. What's the Government's response to this?
Well, Paul, I think you have to have a look at the track record of the Government. We haven't co‑invested into companies like SPC, we didn't co‑invest into Qantas, and I thought that was a very sound decision.
You'll remember that the Labor Party had pledged to invest taxpayers' money - borrowed money - into Qantas and the Government took a decision that we weren't going to do that. We've had record profit announcements from Qantas over the last month or so and we need to make sure that we get the broader settings right within the economy.
South Australia is a very difficult economy, so we need to provide whatever support we can to industry and obviously in terms of defence acquisition construction, all of that is on the table. But there's a lot of money that's been invested into South Australia, and we'll continue to do that, because it's a very important part of the Australian economy.
But for governments to take an equity stake, or to try and pick winners, as Labor Governments at a state and federal level have proven over many, many years, that is a fraught exercise, and ultimately you put at risk taxpayers' money.
Bearing in mind that every dollar we now spend is borrowed, you need to be very mindful of where you're putting that money.
This is a difficult situation, though, for the Government politically, given that Labor is saying we are committed to the company, we are committed to the steel industry, we're prepared to do what is required.
How does the Government handle the electoral politics of that?
Well, I would just say to the people of South Australia, Labor never built anything, never built anything, in the area of ships or submarines, when they were in government for six years.
They made all these sorts of promises from Opposition. In 2007, Mr Rudd pledged all sorts of things to South Australia, and to every other state and territory. And this is the point that I made earlier. There's nothing more dangerous than an Opposition Leader who can see the white line and will throw everything at it, will promise everything, spend every dollar, even more. That's exactly the space where Mr Shorten is at, at the moment.
In addition to that, it's made even worse by the fact that they'll have this stunt a day, whether it's an announcement of a Royal Commission that they don't really believe is necessary, or whether it's an announcement of – or some veiled promise, some whisper, about the possibility, perhaps, of co‑investing in a particular industry or company. That's the space that Bill Shorten is in. And people will see through it.
People want fundamentally for governments to do the right thing by the Australian public, or by the South Australian public in this instance, and that's what the Government will do. We'll invest in a sensible way. We'll work with the Weatherill Government to make sure that we can invest in South Australia, to grow the jobs there, to help it transition. In my own area, we are helping provide support to the South Australian Government through – through some of the immigration programs, and that's – that's important.
So there are different tangible ways in which we can act, but people should be very concerned about the populist way in which Mr Shorten is approaching this. We haven't even got into the election campaign yet. At least – at least in the run‑up to the 2007 election, Kevin Rudd had the decency to say that the reckless spending must stop. He waited until he got into government before the reckless spending started.
But Bill Shorten's not even under that pretence. He's out there recklessly pledging to spend money that he hasn't got, and people will see it ultimately as damaging to the Australian economy.
You mention, you know, the approach that the Opposition are taking, throwing everything at it. I just want to take you back to something that you mentioned earlier, Minister, in relation to the CFMEU, and them pushing up house prices by something in the order of 30%.
So you're saying that the CFMEU on construction sites push house prices up. How does that gel with the message from the Government that the negative gearing policy of the Labor Party is going to push house prices down?
Well, think about it this way, Peter. So if the CFMEU are locking gates on building sites when concrete trucks are turning up and the concrete has to be disposed of, if there are contractors on the building site that are only approved by the CFMEU, if there are training funds set up that builders have to contribute to, ultimately that are funnelled back to the CFMEU and other unions, people know that that cost is not borne by the builder, it's not borne by the developer. It's born ultimately by the end consumer, by the young couple, or the investor that wants to go out and buy the home, or buy the unit, or build a shop, or whatever it might be. That's where the 30% increase comes from.
But in addition to that, it's made worse by this announcement. I don't think people are properly comprehending yet what it is Labor has announced here. They've said that negative gearing will end for every asset class, except for new dwellings.
Now, if you go out as an investor and buy a dwelling today, and you're bidding against everybody else at the auction, in the circumstance that Labor proposes, when you sell that unit, it effectively becomes a second-hand unit. Who is going to buy that unit? Because people can't negatively gear that. And there's no investor that's going to buy that unit from that person that owns the unit, if the negative gearing is not there.
It's a basic principle of taxation, that if you have an income, you can offset the expenses against that. And so, for people that have got a share portfolio, they might have a few blue-chip shares that they're trying to add to as they approach retirement, they might have a margin loan, all of that goes under what Labor is proposing.
So if you take all of those buyers out of the market, if you take those people out of the market, that were relying on negative gearing before, you will see a reduction in those prices.
This is the great dilemma, because not only will you have that outcome, you'll also see an increase in rents, because people will not be buying the investment properties that are then subsequently put on to the rental market.
I think as people analyse this, every builder, every carpenter, every mortgage broker, will have a look at what is being proposed here and this will be devastating. I think you'll see more about this in the run‑up to the election.
But, you know, Mr Shorten never mentioned this policy at the people's forum on Sky last week.
He very rarely mentions this policy now, because people have realised that it is a complete dud and it would undo the building industry in a way that we haven't seen since Mark Latham proposed, or that other leaders like Paul Keating and others have proposed over the years, but never been crazy enough to implement.
Let me ask you in your portfolio area, Mr Dutton, about you the story last Sunday that was front page of the newspapers, about there being no more children in detention.
The Greens have questioned that during the course of the week, almost as a definitional issue. What's your reaction to that?
Well, the front page of the paper, obviously, Peter, was that boat kids are out of detention and that's something we should be very proud of. Labor had 8,500 children in detention, when 50,000 people came on 800 boats, and 1,200 people drowned at sea.
We've not had a single successful boat arrive in over 600 days, we've turned back boats where it's safe to do so, and we've been able to remove those children off boats out of detention and the number is at zero.
So we've got two children, as I'm advised, in detention at the moment, who have arrived by air. And in those cases where you've had people arrive on fraudulent documentation, or their parents have committed crimes out in the community, they are taken into detention until they can be deported back to their country of origin.
Now, if Labor or the Greens are suggesting that we're not going to have that sort of an arrangement, well, they'd better give up on border control altogether.
As we're seeing in Europe at the moment, governments must have strong borders, they must exert their sovereignty. They must have strong borders to have safe communities. And there will be people that, including families and children, that haven't come from boats, for example, that will cycle through detention, because there are compliance activities where people are brought in, they have evaded their compliance officers for a period of time, but they are brought in until they can be deported, and that is the normal course of things.
But the context that we were discussing the children out of detention was in relation to boats, and that is one of the strongest achievements of this Government. I'm very proud of it.
Minister, when will we see Australian jihadists who've gone to Iraq and Syria lose their citizenship, and how many of them are likely to lose their citizenship?
Well again, Paul, I think this is one of the significant achievements of our period in Government as well, and that is that we are proposing for dual citizens to strip their citizenship, if they've been involved in terrorist activities, if they've been convicted of a terrorist offence, or if they have been involved in a proscribed organisation that's involved in terrorist activities.
There is a citizenship loss board that has had its first meeting. It's made up of the secretaries of a number of departments, including my own department, but ASIO, ASIS, AGD - Attorney-General Department, Prime Minister and Cabinet, Justice, others. There are many high‑level officials that sit on that committee.
They will look at the conduct of individuals, and in some cases, we will see people lose their Australian citizenship, and we think that is a very significant way to reduce the threat of terrorism in this country, particularly for people who are offshore, if we can prevent them from coming back to Australia, especially if they've been in Syria or Iraq, or been trained in the art of terrorism elsewhere, then we reduce the threat of a terrorist act taking place on our own soil.
So those deliberations are taking place now, and over the coming months we'll see the result of what has been a very strong act by this Government.
Mr Dreyfus and others didn't support it. Eventually they came around, but it shows the fundamental difference, particularly on national security, the very strong approach on national security, keeping our borders safe and strong and secure.
We've increased the amount of funding, we've restored funding cuts to Customs, and to those areas that are front-line to keeping our borders secure, that we saw Labor preside over.
So again, on national security, there is a very strong approach by this Government, and a pretty wishy‑washy approach by Labor, Mark Dreyfus and others within the left of the Labor Party.
Well, just on this point, seeing that you've talked this up, you've said this is one of the significant achievements of the Government, well, if it's a significant achievement, presumably there are going to be a fairly substantial number of jihadists who in fact lose their citizenship. Is that likely to be the case?
Well, Paul, it's hard to say, to give a definitive number. Certainly we know that there are well over 100 foreign fighters from Australia fighting in the Middle East now. Others will join them.
But the conduct is prospective. So that is, we'll be looking at conduct of people. We'll have information and intelligence provided to us in relation to individuals and there will be an application, potentially, to people that are incarcerated, having been convicted of a terrorist offence in our country already and we will look at people who have membership of particular organisations.
So I think it will have wide application. The Government will review it in time if we believe that it needs to have wider application because the Australian public demands that, in this very volatile climate, they're watching what's happening in Europe and in the United States and elsewhere, in terms of these terrorist threats, and acts against Western democracies.
If we need to change it, then we will, and if we need to broaden its application, then we will. But we'll see how it operates in the first instance. We'll see how many people are captured by it.
But ultimately, my desire, the desire of the Justice Minister, the Attorney‑General and the Prime Minister, is to make sure that we can keep the Australian public as safe as possible.
Now, can you just define for us what is Government policy in relation to the acceptance of the Syrian refugees into this country?
The Government has said that it wants to focus on those minorities who are most significantly at risk. Is there a policy to offer significant preference to Christians, and to other aspects of the profile? Just what's the situation here?
Well, Paul, again, we've been very consistent from day one, when Prime Minister Abbott made this announcement. And Prime Minister Turnbull, both publicly and privately with me, has reinforced that we're heading in the right direction here, and that there should be no change of policy.
We've said that we want to target those persecuted minorities, in particular those people that can't return to their villages, to their towns, or to their cities, to their place of worship, or to their home.
We have concentrated on families. We don't want to take men of fighting age.
We want to make sure that we collect biometrics on all applicants and we want to make sure that we run the appropriate security checks with our Five Eyes intelligence partners, principally the United States.
So we want to reduce the risk of bringing any problems from the Middle East or from Syria into Australia.
We want to provide a new home, a new opportunity, to people that have been persecuted, or that are facing the same threat from terrorists that we've seen from acts in Paris and Brussels and elsewhere.
So there are, for example, some minority groups, including Christians, as you say, that are facing a threat that they've not faced in thousands of years. They're being wiped off in great numbers, wiped off the planet in great numbers. And so we will extend an opportunity to people, including Christians. We will take references from the United Nations, and we'll take referrals from people living in Australia, already part of the Australian population, that may have come from Syria in recent years.
But ultimately, we'll decide who we accept into the programme because that is the right of any sovereign country, to make sure that we accept the right people, that are going to take the opportunity afforded to them to start a new life.
But in no way at all am I going to accept pressure from the Greens and the Labor Party to rush this programme, because I'm not going to compromise the national security of our nation.
Before we let you go, Minister, I want to ask about the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal. There are reports that the Government is looking to abolish it. Paul Kelly said as much during the week on Sky News. Why?
Well, Paul, again, this is a breaking story. There are 50,000 people who are affected by this - mum‑and‑dad truck drivers - that might own a single truck, or two or three trucks.
Basically they're being sent broke by this policy, which was introduced in 2012 by Bill Shorten when he was the Industrial Relations Minister.
These trucks, as I understand it, are going to descend on Canberra, because the way in which Mr Shorten set this Bill up was that it is to favour the union bosses, to favour the Transport Workers' Union, and it is going to confer a benefit on bigger companies, so that the small other operators are squeezed out.
And it just goes to the point – I mean, Bill Shorten has a very patchy past.
If you look at the work that he did around the cleaners, where they got paid less, if you have a look at the favouring of the CFMEU bosses, over mums and dads and young adults who are out trying to buy a house, if you have a look at the way in which he sided with the TWU officials and the union bosses over the mum‑and‑dad operators of small trucking companies, this man has a track record of favouring the unions and union bosses over workers and over the public and this is the latest demonstration of it.
The Government will apply common sense here, and make sure that we can help these businesses grow, and not be destroyed by is this act of thuggery, which was basically designed by Bill Shorten when he was a Minister in the Gillard government, to help out the union bosses and increase union membership, in the full knowledge, knowing full well, that he was going to drive these 50,000 mum‑and‑dad small businesses to the wall.
We won't stand for it. So I think you'll see a strong announcement by the Prime Minister today, and I think, as a country, we should be proud of that, because we're putting jobs and growth ahead of sectional interests, and that's the test that Mr Shorten has failed for many years.
Just to finish up, Minister, what's happened to the group of people from Nauru who were subject to that High Court decision? Have you, on a case‑by‑case basis, sent any people back to Nauru?
Paul, nobody's gone back to Nauru as yet. But we are looking at it case by case, as you say, because we've been very clear about the fact that if people seek to come to our country by boat, they won't be successful.
So we'll have a look at each of those cases and where the medical attention has been provided, and those issues have been resolved, where legal matters don't prevent us from returning those people to Nauru, then they will go back to Nauru.
We've been clear about that, because it's not fair otherwise for the people on Nauru that look at those that have made it to Australia for medical assistance and somehow think that they're going to subvert the process.
We're not going to allow that to happen, because it will just allow the people smugglers to go out and say, 'if you have families, pay your money and get onto boats'. As we saw during the week on a documentary on Channel Seven, there was an interview with a refugee in Indonesia who, when asked, said we're waiting for a change of government and we think the boats will restart and that's what the people smugglers are waiting for as well. We're not going to allow the people smugglers to get back into business.
We'll increase the number of refugees that we bring in by plane and through the United Nations referrals. We do that each year in the run‑up to 2018-19, where it peeks at 18,750 that year, in addition to the 12,000 Syrians.
But we are not going to allow boats to recommence, or the deaths at sea to start up again. We've got control of our borders and we aren't going to allow the Labor Party to lose control of those borders ever again.
Look, I put to you, it seems to me, at face value here, that in relation to Nauru, you're saying one thing and doing something else. You're talking tough, as you just did then, but in actual fact, you're unlikely to send anyone back.
No, Paul, that's not the case. We've got some legal impediments, so there's been a fresh round of High Court injunctions that have taken place, that advocates want to paint a very different picture to what's actually happening on the ground in Nauru. Hundreds of people are employed on Nauru.
But look, ultimately, these people have paid thousands of dollars to a people smuggler and they only want one outcome, that is to settle in Australia and they will do, frankly, whatever it takes to come to Australia.
They're being told by the advocates here, 'don't accept the offers to go back to your country of origin', like hundreds of people before them have done, 'don't listen to the Government that you're not coming to Australia, eventually the Government will bend'.
We are working with third countries, to try and provide options for people to leave Nauru, to live there as opposed to living in Australia, and we're working through those options now.
But no, the Government's resolve is absolutely rock solid. And that is, once people have had their medical attention, they will be going back to Nauru. I've been very clear about that.
There is an open‑centre arrangement on Nauru, so people can come and go from the facility there 24/7, so there is no detention on Nauru.
But we are not going to allow a situation that will see the people smugglers getting back into business.
One of the biggest benefits that we have are temporary protection visas and Labor proposes to abolish that, which will see the boats recommence.
There's no doubt in my mind and there's no doubt in the people smugglers' minds, that if Labor wins the election and temporary protection visas are abolished, women and children will get on those boats.
They will pay the money. 14,000 people already are sitting, waiting in Indonesia to get onto boats tomorrow, and this Government is not going to step back from what has been a successful, tough, but fair policy.
If the Labor Party wins government, the Left will dominate within the opening days of a Shorten government and the boats will recommence.
Immigration Minister Peter Dutton, we appreciate you finding the time to talk to us on Australian Agenda this morning. Thanks for your company.
Thanks, Peter. Thanks, Paul. Thank you.