Subjects: Sydney terror plot, political donations.
Let's go back to the raids that have taken place in Sydney over the weekend that appear to have thwarted an alleged terror plot.
Immigration Minister Peter Dutton joins us from Melbourne. Good morning to you.
Reports this morning that the alleged perpetrators were planning a gas attack on the plane, can you confirm that?
Michael, I don't want to go into the detail, but obviously there is a lot of activity now, ramped-up security at the airports and our message is for people to be patient, to understand that there was a significant threat, that Federal Police and ASIO, the NSW Police and other agencies have dealt with and are the process of dealing with, so there is a need for people to turn up to airports much sooner than they otherwise would have – so three hours for international flights and two hours for domestic flights – and for people that don't need to be going through security lines, so people who are bidding farewell to a loved one or a colleague, if they don't need to go through the security checkpoint to airside then it would be best that they don't.
So there is a lot of activity still going on behind the scenes as well and the Federal Police and ASIO are doing everything they can, as the Government is, of course, to keep us safe.
Speaking of more activity, could there be further arrests on that front?
Well, there well could be. Obviously the searching of premises is still taking place.
Obviously the Federal Police conduct their inquiries and investigations and anybody with any information, a snippet of information which they think might be of benefit to authorities, if they can contact the National terrorism hotline on 1800123 400 then that would be greatly appreciated and it may be that bit of information that helps police thwart the next plot.
We know with the return of foreign fighters, with the growth of domestic terrorism here, people being indoctrinated online and receiving instruction otherwise, this is a significant threat and people need to take seriously the advice being given to them by authorities at the moment and be reassured by the fact that we do have the best intelligence and law enforcement agencies in the world working day and night to keep us safe.
The allegation is, and it’s only an allegation at this stage, that these men arrested wanting to bring some sort of improvised explosive device on a plane and bring that plane down.
What does that say to you Peter Dutton about the intent and capability of Islamic inspired groups like IS?
Well, it is very clear to all of us, that as we've seen in other parts of the world, this ideology is being played out in western countries like Australia, and we need to be very cognisant of that.
We need to recognise that these people do have the capacity through the internet or through instruction otherwise; they have the ability to bring the skill together, to execute a plan and to bring a plane down, or to bring some device onto a plane.
It may be that their intent is something other than that. They may be looking at places of mass gathering otherwise, so there is always that body of work going on with the police and with the agencies to disrupt these activities and this threat is not going away; it is not abating at all.
So we need to be mindful of the fact that, as I say, anybody with information please provide that to the authorities because we are living in a very uncertain time.
We do know about these tougher security measures in place, well and truly, at airports at the moment.
Minister, calls this morning from some security professionals for that to go even higher with things like photo IDs for all domestic travellers. Is that something the Government will consider?
Well, Michael, we are looking at the arrangements at not only the international, but also the domestic airports at the moment.
There is a graded response and the response that has been put in place at the moment is based on the advice from the Federal Police, from ASIO and from the Department of Transport, so already that additional effort has been put into place off the back of the advice that they have given us.
If there is a need to provide a stronger response, if the threat dictates that there is an additional measure or measures that are required, then they will be implemented, but at the moment we're acting on the advice from the experts that have all the detail available and we've responded accordingly.
Now, while I've got you, to another issue, Labor Senator Sam Dastyari has made a very bold call this morning for all political donations to be banned in Australia for all parties.
What do you make of that and is that something the Coalition Government would consider?
Well, it is an easy claim to make if you're receiving millions and millions of dollars from the trade union movement each year and you're assured of the rivers of gold from the union movement.
It is also interesting that allegations in the Sydney Morning Herald today around $400,000 worth of donations being received by the Labor Party through a back-door arrangement of people involved in tobacco. I mean, they are claims that Mr Shorten needs to answer today as well.
So look, I wouldn't take Sam Dastyari as the perfect specimen here to be providing advice to anybody frankly when it comes to political interactions or donations and I’d look to self-interest as being a main motivator of Sam Dastyari offering advice on political donations. So I might take it with a grain of salt, if you don't mind.
OK, but is there a problem with donations perhaps being seen to potentially corrupt or interfere with the political process in Australia?
Well, if people are taking secret donations and not disclosing them, then I think that's a big problem. It is actually against the law already. So we need proper disclosure and that's a requirement on anybody who is involved in the political process.
If the Labor Party has been taking secret donations and they haven't been declared, then already that is against the law. It needs to be declared and the Labor Party needs to provide all of the detail if they haven't already.
So if Mr Dastyari is reflecting on his own party's inadequacies, then he should provide the detail and Mr Shorten should be the one answering the questions today on the basis of this donation and how it aligns with the public commitments Labor has given around tobacco and otherwise.
OK we’ll leave it there, Immigration Minister Peter Dutton thank you very much for joining Breakfast this morning.
Pleasure. Thank you.