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Thursday, 23 November 2017
Transcript

Interview with Ray Hadley, Radio 2GB-4BC

Subjects: Closure of Manus RPC; Queensland state election; judicial decisions; Cabinet.

E&EO………………………………………………………………………………………….. 

RAY HADLEY: 

Minister, good morning.

PETER DUTTON: 

Good morning, Ray.

RAY HADLEY: 

Now, a developing story, Manus Island, PNG Police, what's happened?

PETER DUTTON: 

Well, Ray, there is a police operation up on Manus at the moment. Obviously we are very keen for people to move out of the Manus Regional Processing Centre.

I think it's outrageous that people are still there and they have trashed the facility, they're living in squalor and the Australian taxpayers have paid about $10 million for a new facility and we want people to move.

Obviously it's, in the end, an issue for PNG Police and the authorities up there, but there is an operation involving the police at the centre this morning.

RAY HADLEY: 

Now, we've had prominent Australians write to both Bill Shorten and the Prime Minister.
I don't quite understand where these people are coming from. We're talking, firstly, economic refugees – fit, healthy young men who should be much more productive than what they are at the moment – but they have whinged and whined about the detention centre for a number of years – since Labor decided to put them there – and now, all of a sudden, they're given the opportunity to go elsewhere and so they want to stay in the filth that they are now.

PETER DUTTON: 

Well this is the choice they're making and the difficulty is you've got people back here Ray – they might be well-intentioned, they could be big-hearted, think they're doing the right thing – but by telling these people not to engage with the authorities, not to accept the package to return back to your country – accept once and for all – because our position will not change – you are never coming to Australia.

They think by staying that somehow they're going to exert pressure on us and some of them believe that if there's violence with the police that the footage will be broadcast back here and that will twist our arm and we'll change the policy position.

Under no circumstance will these people be coming to Australia. And that's the final decision and unfortunately some of them think that by staying there, they can change the Government's view. It's not going to change and we want them to move as quickly as possible into the facility.

These facilities aren't like jails, they're not – people aren't locked up at the East Lorengau reception centre, they can come and go.

There were 190 people a day on buses going down to the local community from the Manus Regional Processing Centre, so they mix in the community regularly.

The Australian taxpayer has been incredibly generous and I just hope that people advertising at the moment, or have got their names in the paper or whatever they're doing – writing letters – publish a thanks to our Border Protection staff and our Navy staff that have run Operation Sovereign Borders and we haven't had a death at sea in three years, because the people I worry most about are the 1200 who drowned at sea and we're not going to see a repeat of that circumstance.

RAY HADLEY: 

Okay. Now, Sky News are reporting that it looks like over 300 of the people have moved out, but 100 are now refusing to leave. As a result the PNG Army is moving in on that facility on Manus Island to clear the other 100 out.

Now, you know, we've seen all the vision on the ABC and the bleeding hearts talking about the filth they're living in. Well they've had basically their own personal butlers and cleaning maids up there for a number of years and now because the electricity is off, the water's off, what else do they expect?

PETER DUTTON: 

Well Ray, it's like the tenant that won't move out of the house when you've built a new house for them to move into.

You've given them six months' notice – which we've done up there – we've said that this new facility's available, we want you to move.

The only difference between the two is that you've got to prepare your own meals with food provided at the new centre - which you get the a la carte service at the current centre. All the medical is provided for free, we've spent millions of dollars on medical services up there.

In the end, as we've discussed before, the 50,000 people who arrived on 800 boats have cost the taxpayers so far $11 billion.

And for Bill Shorten to announce that they're going to change their policy and allow these people to come here or allow the boats to restart; why on earth they would be contemplating going back to that sort of Rudd policy is beyond anybody's comprehension.

But people can say a lot about this Government or Malcolm Turnbull or me or whatever, the fact is we have made tough decisions yes and we have stopped people coming on boats and we're going to continue to do that and the policy is not going to change.

RAY HADLEY: 

I've got some worries about this election coming up in your home state Queensland on Saturday with the mandatory preferential voting. And given that it hasn't been in operation for quite some time – I think 22 years I read recently – I'm worried that people are going to waste their vote.

I'm going to talk to the Electoral Commission tomorrow, but I've implored people listening through those Queensland stations headed up by 4BC already, that they must number every box on the ballot paper. If they don't it becomes an informal vote and therefore a wasted vote.

PETER DUTTON: 

And ultimately, if you're a conservative voter, it's a vote for Labor because it's infuriating, Ray, when you're on election night going through the ballots and hundreds of people have just voted one for the LNP candidate and that vote doesn't count. You do need to number every box.

The only other point that I'd make too, Ray, is that in addition to the advice about people having to number every box, I want people to vote one for their LNP candidate and then number every box from there; but if they're going to vote for a minor party or they're going to vote for One Nation don't follow the One Nation how to vote card where they're preferencing the Labor candidates or a Green candidate ahead of the Liberal-National Party candidate.

Please make sure that your first preference goes to the LNP because otherwise you'll end up in regional areas with Labor candidates who would be hopeless for rural communities. So, there's a lot for people to consider.

RAY HADLEY: 

Yeah, people don't – I know it sounds stupid, but you get the how to vote cards handed out outside the booths and people think: 'oh I've got to follow this', you don't, you don't.

If you wish to vote for One Nation, or LNP, or Labor, you can the determine your preferences as you see fit and you can number them according to your feelings, not blindly follow what someone tells you to do, but you must number every box.

PETER DUTTON: 

Correct. And I mean some people start with putting the Greens last. If you've got six candidates, number six beside the Greens, number five beside Labor and then they go up the line from there.

So, all I would say is please make sure that if you're going to vote for a minor party or vote for Pauline Hanson then give your second preference to the LNP candidate and then number every other box.

But it's incredibly important, but I think Tim Nicholls has had a great campaign. I think he's done well and I think Queensland needs roads; people sitting in congestion for hours each day, the lack of infrastructure spending, the State's really ground to a halt. Queensland should be a boom state. At the moment it's not, it can be again and I hope that Tim Nicholls can get elected on the weekend.

RAY HADLEY: 

Well, particularly when you read in the Courier Mail today, the CFMEU are one of the great benefactors for the Palaszczuk Government. I wonder what markers they'll be calling in if Annastacia Palaszczuk is returned.

PETER DUTTON: 

Well I mean that's the history Ray and these people are secretly meeting with Palaszczuk and the Ministers within her government.

Of course they exert influence and that's bad for builders, bad for subcontractors, it's bad for jobs and if you're worried about your kids' jobs or your grandkid's jobs, Queensland needs investment in mining. There's well over 100,000 people just in Brisbane who rely on the mining sector in other parts of the State and we need to have development in this state, we need to care for the environment. All of those things are important to people and I think that Tim Nicholls can deliver that. He's got the experience and I've known him for almost 30 years, he's a great guy.

RAY HADLEY: 

Okay, that'll be determined by the voters of Queensland this coming Saturday.

Now, every time we talk about judicial matters, you seem to get yourself into strife and I applaud the courage you have.

Yesterday - and I'll talk to a victim of this paedophile in the second hour of the program; it's a very brave mother who rang me this morning and wanted to state her case and I'll talk to her - her husband was sentenced to 24 years minimum yesterday by Judge Paul Conlon in the New South Wales District Court.

You may know that while that's happening, we've got a judge in Dubbo, John North, suspending a sentence for another paedophile and also his identity, despite the fact that the victims wish to be identified and therefore identify him.

You've got a magistrate in Queensland just getting four and a half years jail. We've now got a magistrate facing historical child sex offences in New South Wales.

When will it come to pass that people will understand - just like Judge Paul Conlon did yesterday - that these horrible offenders need to be locked up for a long, long time?

PETER DUTTON: 

Well,  Ray, when you start listening to the victims and to their parents, and as I say, Judge Paul Conlon should be congratulated, that's the first point. So I congratulate him on the tough stance that he's taken.

But look, we've got to take a step back here, Ray. And I said this to a gathering of police leaders only a couple of months ago: there needs to be greater scrutiny about the process of selecting these magistrates and judges. And state governments, both Liberal and Labor, make good decisions and bad, but the reality is you can point to many of these magistrates in Queensland or in New South Wales for example, that have come from a civil libertarian background, or they've been associated or affiliated with the Labor Party in some way, and they are appointed to these positions for their working life, effectively.

And if you go back through the history; I mean many moons ago when I was a policeman the clerks of the court used to grow up under the magistrate's wing and they're sitting there running the process within the court. They would be tutored in that way and they became strong magistrates because they listened to the victims, they listened to the impact on those families, the devastation that sexual assault can cause on boys and girls, and they were strong leaders within the courts.

We can't be putting people who are activists into magistrate's or judge's roles. Palaszczuk has made some shocking appointments up here in Queensland.

RAY HADLEY: 

Try the Gold Coast for a start. Southport Court, God strike me, Peter.

PETER DUTTON: 

But mate, you wonder why these people get a slap on the wrist or you take into account sleep deprivation or insomnia or long toenails, whatever the problem is, the fact is that this person has committed a heinous offence against a vulnerable victim.

And we need to take more time to ask at election times and hold governments to account for the appointments that they've made, because these are most important appointments that a government can make.

And if Labor believe that they can just make these appointments behind closed doors and placate the lawyers and the rest of it; the victims are the ones that end up missing out because these offenders aren't jailed and they go on to commit other offences, particularly sexual predators.

RAY HADLEY: 

Do you remember that old song, there's a hole in the bucket, dear Henry, dear Henry, there's a hole in the bucket?

PETER DUTTON: 

Yes.

RAY HADLEY: 

Yeah, well there's a hole in your Cabinet bucket. I'm just watching Sky News. Julie Bishop has taken the extraordinary step of saying that 'I'm not the leak' - and that's the leak concerning the banks.

It was leaked that you were someone who thought there might need to be a Royal Commission. Scott Morrison, the Treasurer, thought there might not be a Royal Commission. There's certainly a leak there, we know that. Have you speculated on who is leaking?

PETER DUTTON: 

Look Ray, I mean it's such a [indistinct] …

RAY HADLEY: 

…well, let me just say this. Do you accept there's a leak?

PETER DUTTON: 

Well, I'm not going to comment on any Cabinet matters, but if people are leaking then they don't do anybody any good. There's no good that comes of it. And as I've said, for a long time, I mean I've served under four Liberal leaders now. I've served each of them, starting with John Howard, loyally, and I continue to do that to this day.

I offer my frank advice, I argue with the Prime Minister, he argues with me behind the scenes about different policies or decisions that the Government might make. I support him 100 per cent because I believe Bill Shorten would be a disaster for this country.

RAY HADLEY: 

What, you support him even though you might lose the argument?

PETER DUTTON: 

Well, and of course. I mean that's what – we don't live in a dictatorship.

Prime Ministers want frank advice and I give frank advice and we work to get the best possible outcome. And if people believe that somehow their careers are furthered by leaking or by trying to put out something that's going to damage the Government, or damage me, or damage Malcolm, well, look it says more about them than it does about us.

RAY HADLEY: 

…would you accept that someone, then, who might be sucking up in Cabinet is then leaking as opposed to sucking?

PETER DUTTON: 

Well, look, I think if you've got leaks out of Cabinet then it's a poor reflection on the character of that person; that's all I would say.

So, we've got some great achievements as a government, we need to talk more about them but at the moment it's hard to get that story out because you've got citizenship and other things, so we've got to deal with it.

RAY HADLEY: 

But given your history as a police officer, your legendary investigative skills, would you have a gut feeling as to who the leaker is?

PETER DUTTON: 

Well, I would have a gut feeling on those sorts of matters, Ray …

RAY HADLEY: 

…..I don't suppose you're prepared to reveal here what that gut feeling might be?

PETER DUTTON: 

I was realising, if you're in the witness box you've got to know where you're being lead. So …

RAY HADLEY: 

……well I would never lead you as a witness, but by gee, it would be a good scoop if you'd tell me!

PETER DUTTON: 

No.

RAY HADLEY: 

Get me on the front page of The Australian tomorrow, Paul Whittaker would be in a state of conniption.

PETER DUTTON: 

I'll leave it to that person to out themselves. But look mate in the end, I want the Government to succeed and we're doing good stuff in this portfolio. I honestly believe that if Shorten was elected Prime Minister the boats start again and …

RAY HADLEY: 

….yeah……

PETER DUTTON: 

… so many other things would be a disaster. So we've just got to continue to work hard and win back the faith of those people that are waning a bit at the moment.

RAY HADLEY: 

I bet there'll be very, very, very early risers on Monday in your Cabinet - be they leakers or not - because the 24th straight Newspoll loss is on the horizon in The Australian newspaper.

PETER DUTTON: 

Well, we've got to win the by-elections, we need to get the good messages out as we've said and there is good that the Government's doing - we need to talk more about it - in the welfare space, in this space.

You know, the indicators in the economy are good. We don't want high interest rates and high unemployment again under Labor.

And one of the things that people realise is that Shorten is still proposing abolition of negative gearing which would be a disaster for families that might have a rental property or two, trying to set themselves up in retirement and that would be a disaster for housing prices whether you're an owner-occupier or an investor.

So they're big taxing, as they always are; the Prime Minister has spoken about income tax cuts and support for families and businesses and we've just got to continue to talk about that message because it's, there's a big difference between the two parties.

RAY HADLEY: 

Okay. We'll talk next week. Thanks for your time.

PETER DUTTON: 

Thanks. See you mate.