Subjects: Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation; humanitarian assistance to minority groups in South Africa; visa grants.
There was a major announcement today involving some $70 million. It's going to set up a brand new centre, a brand new scheme, a brand new way that the Federal Police can work with other agencies to make sure that they can crack down on the things evil people are doing to children on the internet and other elements of child sex abuse. We had a chat a bit earlier today when he was in Canberra and I'm here at Sky News.
This is the most difficult area of practice for any police officer and they're doing a great job at the moment, but we need to put more funding in and not just about more investigators, but about more technical expertise – so images captured of a crime scene we had a look at this morning where they're able to gather evidence off that crime scene in an effort to try and identify the children that may have been videoed, being brutalised or raped, sexually assaulted – and I just think it's the most important area that we need to invest in. So we're going to do that, as you say, to the tune of $70 million in this Budget.
They do a lot of good work with the state police agencies, but also the international agencies within our region trying to identify the paedophiles, the rings that have all of these animals within them. The demand for this content is going up and up because people can hide behind their screens in their bedrooms at home and kids are being trafficked, sold and bought through the dark web and the rest of it.
So this is a scourge as we know and for me I think it's one of the most important things that we can do as a government to protect our children and it comes on the back of the 260-odd visas that we've cancelled of criminals who are here, who have committed serious sexual offences against children or have been in possession of child pornography.
It's a big announcement today and I'm really proud that we've been able to provide that support to the police.
The extent of this problem is always sickening, we always hear a story at least two or three a week, let alone the relentless, multiple a day, let alone the numbers that you just mentioned about people physically trying to leave the country to go on these child sex tours. It is a constant reminder that this sort of stuff it is as frontline as homicide or as frontline as domestic violence or anything else that we talk about all day every day and that's why we've got to have the best possible gear to shut this stuff down.
You're right mate and there is a big effort as I say underway already through the use of the technology. So again trying to identify the source of where this video is being shot and trying to identify the children that are involved.
Some of the investigators have to watch these videos over a series of years where children are growing up and as they get older obviously they're discarded, but for a number of years they're sexually abused within these videos. That is horrific work and fortunately most of us are spared that, but we need to be realistic about the threat and the threat is there for our kids, both online in terms of a cyber sense, but paedophiles here in our own country who we know prey on young boys and girls. We need to deal with these people as they need to be dealt with and that is they need to be arrested and locked up for as long as possible.
Many of the court sentences that you have a look at are grossly inadequate and the actions of some of the courts I think needs to be examined here as well. We need to impose longer sentences and we need to have a greater deterrence for some of these paedophiles because they'll act out overseas, they'll order product online, but they'll also violate children here in our own society. So again, I just think it's the number one priority of government to keep our kids safe and that's the idea of the announcement.
Minister, we know you're on side when it comes to South African farmers and those that have been hunted down, can you help me out; how does the process work from here? How do we either expedite the people that are in danger to be able to come here, how does the process work where we're going to be able to start scooping some people out of danger here?
Well Paul we've got a program of about 18,750 people a year that we bring in through the refugee and humanitarian program. The idea of the program is that we identify people either through referrals from international agencies – like the United Nations – or from families or church groups or community groups that might be resident in Australia to identify those people that are facing persecution, and if they meet the criteria under the Act, under the program, then they have the ability to be granted a place in our country.
We don't discriminate on the basis of sex or religion. We don't discriminate on the basis of somebody's skin colour. We have a look at the circumstances that they're facing and I don't think we should be backward in saying that South Africans over a long period of time have settled well in our country, they work hard, they educate their kids, they abide by the law and we want to make sure that…and I say this all the time, that decisions I'm making will be based on what is in our country's best interest.
I'm not bringing people to our country who I think are going to do the wrong thing, not integrate, not abide by our laws. I want to make sure that we're bringing people in who are going to add value, work hard, pay taxes and contribute to society and that's been the story of migrants over a long period of time.
But we're not going to discriminate against people from South Africa because of their skin colour, whether they're black or white. The fact is that if they're persecuted – and as we know at the moment people are and people are being driven off their farms – if they meet the criteria under the refugee and humanitarian program, then like anybody else, they can apply to come here and my Department's looking at ways in which we can identify some of those cases and already we've had a number of cases that have been referred to us. They're under investigation right now.
But there's this fundamental racism that you would have seen playing out last week with people completely over reacting to common sense language – and that's why we like you – common sense stuff that you said last week about these people, but also how sort of the left has gone out of its way to try to say; well, compared to the murder rate here and compared to this, they're not really suffering as much as this people over…have you been surprised that I think there is the racial element to all of this that there are people who want to pretend there's no white people in trouble anywhere in the world who would qualify to be refugees which of course is fundamentally (a) not true, and (b) racist.
Well Paul, the people you saw expressing outrage over the last week and attacking me are basically the Greens. I mean the Greens suffered a bad loss in Batman. Richard Di Natale's under huge pressure internally. I mean he's barely got contained is nest of crazies. People like Lee Rhiannon and the rest of it biting at the bit to roll Richard Di Natale. So I sort of take it with a grain of salt on the one hand.
On the other hand, I must say, that being called a racist or a fascist or a Neo-Nazi as they did last week, you know, some of that mud sticks and it angers me because that's not the person I am. If you look at my life in this place, as a police officer, I've not discriminated against people and I'm very plain speaking, I tell it how I see it is and I think it's fair for them to not like me about the border protection policies, but they use these other issues as proxies to express their outrage, their foe outrage.
I said last week; point me to a sentence, to a word that I used that was racist or fascist or Neo-Nazi in its content or intent and of course they can't. They fabricate these stories and regrettably they've got many travellers on the left within the media who don't call them out, who refuse to call them out and I'm just not going to be cowered into submission.
I called out the African gang violence in Victoria at the beginning of the year. I was told that there was no such problem, there were no gangs. Well again, I said well point out where I was factually incorrect, but of course they can't.
So there's all these politically correct elements of society of the media going around at the moment, I just think hard working people who pay their taxes, want to take care of their kids and their family, want to see our country continue to be the great country it is for us all to live in peace and not to have troubles brought to our shores, they just shake their heads at this nonsense and I just think we continue to stare it down, we don't accept it and call it out for what it is.
If we do that then I think we'll protect what's most important to us and that's the focus that I have and as I said last week the Greens and their fellow travellers are dead to me, they were dead to me last week, they're dead to me this week and they'll continue to be, so that's how I see it.
Good stuff. You put steel in the Government's spine. This is what we like. Hope for the side. Final one here, Labor tried to today – and it started off as a story and then it made it eventually to Question Time – but it was only very slinkingly brought up at the end of Question Time and it's all to do with the approval of an au pair.
An au pair who…people who came in here on tourist visas, told Border Force officials that they were planning on doing a little bit of child-minding work, then their visas got revoked, there was a chance they were going to be put into detention. You overruled it and said; well look as long as you don't work you can come in, they came in, they've left the country.
But they're seeming to pretend here that the au pair either your know or works for you or works for a member of your family and it's pretty low stuff, but let's deal with the yes no's. Do you know this woman or these women at all?
No, not at all and I said in Question Time today that it is a complete fabrication. I don't know where the story's come from. I don't know the women involved. I don't know anything about their backgrounds. They're not employed by me, they never have been. Not employed by my wife, never have been. Not employed by my extended family, anyone that I know, it's just again more mud.
I visited a gun manufacturer and distributor in Brisbane a couple of weeks ago. They've supplied guns to the Australian Defence Force, the Australian Federal Police, ABF, state police forces and the rest of it. I did nothing more than visit that particular business which employs a number of people in Brisbane, and next thing the left are out there outraged that I'm about to change the gun laws and water down John Howard's gun laws, where nothing was even suggested along those lines.
The story today that you refer to, again; I've said to that journalist before who's pedalled this story, if it's written again, if my wife and children are written into the story again, then I'm going to take action in the courts because it's defamatory and I'm not going to have my wife and children subject to that sort of baseless suggestion.
We've never employed an au pair or a nanny. We don't have one employed now. My kids are 16, 13 and 12 and my wife does an amazing job and takes care of them when I'm not there etc. So again there's just no truth to it.
I deal with hundreds of cases each year where you have a look at the individual circumstances and you might decide to intervene; a sick child, a parent that's been ripped off by a child that doesn't have any money to travel back overseas, somebody with Alzheimer's or Dementia, you take a decision for their visa to be reinstated even if they've overstayed.
In this case I looked at it. They're two separate cases, two young girls as I was advised at the time that came here on tourist visas, when they were asked what they were doing here by the Border Force officers, I'm told they said that they were going to do a bit of babysitting whilst they were here and that wasn't a condition obviously within the tourist visa. So they cancelled the visas. The girls were going to be taken into detention and then deported. I just thought that was pretty rough when I saw the circumstances and said if they give an undertaking that they're not going to do paid work on their tourist visa, reinstate the visa which it was. They didn't overstay. They didn't have any criminal history. They weren't posing any threat to our country, but somehow that's been turned into, you know, me getting some personal benefit which as I say, is just defamatory and untrue. But the mud sticks and they don't like me over border protection or Nauru or Manus or cancelling visas of criminals, so they try and get me through these other ways Paul.
But I make you one promise mate that it only makes me more determined to continue to do the work that we're doing because I know the vast majority, the silent majority of Australians support the work that we're doing in cancelling visas of criminals and making sure that our borders are kept secure and that we do all we can to support our police and intelligence agencies to keep us safe. That's my job and that's what I'm going to continue to do. So they can dislike me all they like, but that's the way it is mate.
Good on you mate. Strength to your arm, what a surprise it's the people pushing it around who always are the ones first to give the microphone over to the Greens to keep spewing their garbage, you know, get out the fake news stamp, but when it involves to wife and kids why wouldn't you go as hard as you have today.
Minister, I look forward to talking to you soon. Congrats on the big announcement at the start and we'll be following it with great interest in the next little while. Stay strong mate. Thank you.
Thanks Paul, take care mate, thank you.