Subjects: 501 Character Cancellations; Outlaw motorcycle gang members; New Zealand resettlement offer.
Good morning Peter.
Morning Ed, how are you?
Good thanks mate. Peter, we want to talk to you obviously about the change in proceedings yesterday in the courts in relation to Dustin Martin's father Shane. Can you bring us up to date on what has happened?
Well mate just very quickly, obviously I'd made a decision in relation to Mr Martin – and we'd made it in relation to a number of other bikies and people that had been involved in distribution of drugs and organised crime activities otherwise, and we know that the Rebels of which Mr Martin was the president is an organisation that is involved in all sorts of illegal activities – so we made the decision to cancel the visa.
Now there's a case before the court at the moment which I can't really comment on because obviously it's been adjourned until I think 19 December, but in essence it largely hinges on whether or not the lawyers representing me made a declaration around whether or not Mr Martin was or is a member of an outlaw motorcycle gang. There needed to be a nomination made in the declaration. So it's a legal technicality that they're looking at and there's a lot of hype around whether Mr Martin would be back by Christmas or if he's coming back.
I've been very clear about the fact that I've examined in close detail all of the information, both publicly available and the classified information in relation to the activities of Mr Martin, the Rebels and all of that which goes on in the background.
He doesn't hold a valid visa and I've been very clear about my decision in relation to Shane Martin.
So just in that – if I could ask you Peter – the outcome of this litigation will not result in the reinstatement of Mr Martin's visa, we've been reported and he remains offshore, has no visa to enter Australia. So regardless of the outcome or of this loophole if you like, you're saying there would not be a visa reinstatement?
I'm saying Ed, well that's exactly right, but the only point I'd add to it is that he can apply for a visa, but he'd have to satisfy the character grounds in relation to that and I would have to make a decision in relation to it.
But I've been very clear; I've looked at every detail of this case, I've examined it very closely – obviously there are many other bikies around that have been involved in distribution of drugs, extortion, standover, all sorts of activities that outlaw motorcycle gangs involve themselves in – nobody's interested in those cases because they don't have a famous son and, you know, Dusty is a great footy player, but it doesn't make his old man a good person.
So I have to make the decision in relation to these cases and there are lots of victims of crime out there that I think support the Government's approach in cancelling visas of people that we believe are involved in activities that outlaw motorcycle gangs are involved in and these are always tough decisions, but that's a decision that I've made.
Mr Dutton, speaking of New Zealand, why can't we do a deal with New Zealand on the Manus refugees? I think there's a lot of Australians who at the moment are just a bit embarrassed about the situation that's happening over there and we're wondering just why if another country is saying we are willing to take these people, why we as a country can't at least do a deal to let them do that?
Yeah well Wil it's a good question. So we've done this deal with United States of 1,250 people to go. I want to close down the Manus arrangement. I don't want people there. I didn't put people there, but it's my responsibility to get rid of them and to send them back to their country of origin or to send them to a third country, provide a safe outcome and the difference between the United States and New Zealand for example, is that the United States doesn't have the ability – even though they're a close ally – for their citizens to come to Australia without a visa.
The difference with New Zealand is that it's the only country in the world where you can jump on a flight from Auckland or Wellington and land in Sydney or Melbourne or Brisbane and get a visa on arrival.
We've already stopped four vessels in the last 12 months or so that have been on their way to New Zealand. The people smugglers market New Zealand like they do Australia and the boats are trying to come across the top of the Torres Strait, and if those people get to New Zealand or if we send people from Manus to New Zealand, then once they become a New Zealand citizen, there is an as of right to come to Australia.
The difficulty is that the people smugglers are out there. The intelligence is clear at the moment. They're saying; 'look, you know, you can spend a couple of years on Manus, you'll be to New Zealand to Australia which is what you wanted.' If we do that mate, the boats start again, the deaths at sea start.
I've got every child out of detention. I've not had a person drown at sea on my watch and I just don't want the people smugglers back into business.
Yep, very difficult one that one Peter to handle, but completely understand that explanation.
Coming back to your desire to get people with criminal records out, is this a set back to that? Because a lot of people are supportive of your campaign on this. You've been very strong from day one.
Can you tell us how many people have been deported under this and are you concerned now that there are going to be legal loopholes going forward?
Well Darce, there's always a legal minefield in the immigration space. I think I'm the most litigated Minister in the Commonwealth and that's just the nature of migration law; there's lots of technicalities that are tested right up to the High Court.
Look, we are confident of our position. We've changed and improved legislation. In the end we've got the numbers up over 3,000 now, including over 150 bikies and when you read the devastating stories or speak to the mums or dads that have had kids that have overdosed, or that have just gone to a party and tried one pill or one tablet or they're suffering because of the scourge of ice in a country town, the outlaw motorcycle gang members – the bikies – that's their business, I mean that's their core business. They're not running the local mechanics shop, they're not running the local café, these people aren't involved in legitimate businesses. Their business, their livelihood, is to conduct organised crime in a way that's profitable – similar to the people smugglers where they couldn't care less about whether people go to the bottom of the ocean or get to Australia, they just want to take the cash – and whether they're trading in drugs or prostitutes or tobacco, whatever it is, the people are just another commodity. They're evil people and that's…I suppose, keeping borders secure, making sure that we keep our community safe – and people across Victoria know what happens when you get it wrong, if you bring people in, in the migration programme just the one per cent who do the wrong thing – there are serious consequences to the victims of that crime.
Ninety nine per cent of people do the right thing, but we need to exclude the number that don't and we've had to take tough decisions because I think if we don't, then we do get people who suffer at the hands of these criminals.
We've got a real push on at the moment to try and round up as many paedophiles as possible, as I can within the law and cancel their visas and send them back to their country of origin because I just don't believe that they deserve to be here.
I don't think there's many people arguing against you Peter.
Thank you very much this morning for coming on the line here on Triple M and having your say. We always appreciate the fact that you make yourself available for the listeners of Triple M. Thanks Peter.
Pleasure boys. Thanks.