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Thursday, 21 June 2018
Transcript

Interview with Ray Hadley, Radio 2GB-4BC

Subjects: National energy; Telstra; Prohibited Items in Immigration Detention Facilities Bill; child exploitation detection.

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

RAY HADLEY: 

Most Thursdays I speak to Peter Dutton our Immigration Border Protection and Home Affairs Minister. If we've got to cut it short today, we cut it short, but he's in our Canberra studio right now. Mr Dutton, good morning to you.

PETER DUTTON:        

Good morning Ray.

RAY HADLEY: 

We spoke about the Government's energy policy. I've indicated since that I think you're toeing the party line. Can you understand why Tony Abbott and others, of your colleagues, are prepared to cross the floor over this issue?

PETER DUTTON:        

Well Ray I think there's a long way to before that and as we discussed last week, and as everybody knows, the Government's working on getting prices down. We're seeing – after prices had risen by over 100 per cent under Labor – they are starting to come down. We're seeing an issue around reliability; we're addressing that issue and we're saying if you want to introduce renewables, you've got to have baseload, which includes coal and gas and other measures.

So there's a debate that will take place, but in the end I think people will support the Government's position because they know that under a Green-Labor government, the renewable energy target is much higher, electricity prices will be higher and that's the reality of the difference between the two parties.

RAY HADLEY: 

Your colleague Ian Macdonald spoke to one of my colleagues, Michael McLaren and pointed out – as we all should know – that in terms of emissions we contribute as a nation 1.4 per cent. Even the chief scientist told Ian Macdonald that if we did shut everything down tomorrow and we didn't emit anything, it would make virtually no difference to what's happening in the world. No difference.

PETER DUTTON:        

Well Ray, as I've said to you before mate, I want the cheapest possible electricity prices for families, for pensioners, for self-funded retirees, for businesses. I want to make sure that when you flick the switch on, the lights turn on. Frankly, I don't care where power comes from. I want it to be reliable and I want to make sure that it's as cheap as possible.

So people can have the arguments about all the rest of it, but from my perspective – and I think what's important to constituents of my electorate of Dickson, but across the country – is that people can have power at the cheapest possible price.

On some days, as we saw in the disastrous outcome in South Australia, some days wind or solar can provide 100 per cent of power at a very cheap price; on the next day, when the sun's not shining or the wind's not blowing, there's no energy. So you've still got to have that baseload, which is coal for us, that will continue – as a Queenslander I'm big supporter of coal – but you've got to be realistic about where the future is headed – all the technologies, all the rest of it – but as I say mate, in the end a lot of people get worked up about this issue, but for me, what's important is we bring down prices. We're doing that. Under Labor, they went up by over 100 per cent and we want to have reliability and they're the two important things for me.

RAY HADLEY: 

Well let me just take you through something I've been supplying to listeners all week. This is what happens this morning, as of 7 o'clock, where of course it was spiking again because of cold weather.

There was zero wind, zero solar in South Australia. They spiked at over $300 when they're normally between 60 and 80. Now, on the chart I have in front of me, Queensland had black coal powering it to the extent of 90 per cent. The rest came from gas and there was a little bit of hydro there by the look of it.

New South Wales had about 92 per cent coming from coal, black coal. There was a little bit of hydro and there was a little bit of wind, but only a fraction. Victoria had brown coal for about 75 to 80 per cent. There was a little bit of gas. There was a little bit of wind and a bit of hydro.

South Australia this morning relied entirely on gas, nothing else. Gas.

PETER DUTTON:        

Well this is the point though – I mean you had a government that fortunately has now been voted out in South Australia that wanted to go to 100 per cent renewable – in a Shorten government, as sure as night follows day, particularly if the Greens have got the balance of power which they will have with the Labor Party in the Senate, you'll see a huge spike in all of the renewable energy targets, which will only mean one thing; that is the unreliability that you're talking about and an increase in prices – that's the reality of what we face.

Now, Bill Shorten is running around saying, you know, he wants already to increase it to 45 or 50 per cent – but just as we know on boats – the Left of the Labor Party controls the caucus now and there are some crazy ideas that come out of the Left on border protection, on national security, on energy and we need to be realistic. I mean that's the choice that people will face at the next election.

RAY HADLEY: 

Yeah but unless you start building coal fired power stations or tell AGL not to close down Liddell, where does the power come from, Peter? Where does it come from?

PETER DUTTON:        

Well AGL should not close down Liddell.

RAY HADLEY: 

I know.

PETER DUTTON:        

It's as clear as that.

RAY HADLEY: 

But they're going to.

PETER DUTTON:        

But Ray, as I say, there is a gap that's coming; and again, you've gone into much more detail than I have because I'm actually the Home Affairs Minister not the Energy Minister…

RAY HADLEY: 

I know that.

PETER DUTTON:        

…so there's a gap of I think it's 2021 to 2024 at Liddell. Now, we're not at that point yet. The Government is working with AGL and we are going to make sure, as a Government, that the lights aren't turned off in New South Wales. Under Labor there is no such promise.

But there is again, there's a lot of responsibility at a state level. There are issues around gas exploration where you have had moratoriums in New South Wales and Victoria, which has resulted in a huge spike in domestic gas prices, which feeds into gas fired power, etc. You've got difficulties, you know, where Queensland is exporting gas to the southern market.

So there are many layers to this problem, but just, as I say, like boats and other issues, we don't solve problems of Labor's making overnight and we're not finished with this policy area yet. There's a lot yet to come between now and the election and people will see a big difference between us and the Labor Party by the time of the next election.

RAY HADLEY: 

Okay. A quick one, again, not your portfolio. Eight thousand people are going to get the punt at Telstra. The CEO, who's seen $40 billion disappear off its share price, off its market value, he stays in place. I mean I know government doesn't interfere with what Telstra does, formerly government-owned Telstra, but I mean how with the stroke of a pen does a CEO who has presided over a disaster get rid of 8,000 people? And I've spoken about their mental health. Think about the wives, the husbands, the children; the main bread winner comes home in a week – and there are 32,000 people employed there – 8,000 are going. They don't know who they are yet. It's just monstrous.

PETER DUTTON:        

Well Ray, as you say mate, I mean for the 8,000 people, their future has been thrown into uncertainty. The company said that they will…I think there's a $50 million package to help people with financial advice, get in to new jobs, retraining, all of that, but you're right, I mean you can't help but feel for 8,000 people; the families and kids that are affected by that.

The flipside is that, as a consumer, when I speak to people in my electorate, they want cheaper broadband, they want cheaper mobile phone plans, they want more mobile phone towers so that there's greater coverage. The reality is in that, in that changing technology, there are less jobs that are required because the technology means that there's a change in the business and we've seen that in telecommunications companies across the world.

Now Ray, I have a division…

RAY HADLEY: 

…you've got to go. Okay, you've got to go.

PETER DUTTON:        

….which is on the tax bill. So I want to vote for it because I want lower taxes…

RAY HADLEY: 

Yeah, you better go.

PETER DUTTON:        

Thanks, mate.

RAY HADLEY: 

Okay, see you later. He had to go. We forewarned you that he would have to leave. He's got to get to the Chamber to vote because it's come back to the Lower House and he's got to get there to vote on it. So off he goes – and we knew that before we started – that's Peter Dutton.

If he is available after the division, I'm happy to get him back on if he's got time because I want to talk to him about Brian Burston. I want to talk to him about a story from A Current Affair on Monday night about Border Force officers and paedophiles coming to this country, or trying to leave this country to go to other places.

So there is a division required and Peter Dutton will be rushing to the Chamber to get inside so he can be there for that vote. It's being covered live on Sky News. Pauline Hanson, once it passes the Lower House, has confirmed she will vote with the Government on this one, which will make it law.

[Division in the House of Representatives]

RAY HADLEY: 

Minister, good morning again.

PETER DUTTON:        

Good morning Ray.

RAY HADLEY: 

How did it go?

PETER DUTTON:        

Mate we got it through the Lower House, so good news for people that want to work harder and keep more of their own money in their own pocket. It goes off to the Senate now.

I think Mathias Cormann's done a great job in negotiating with Pauline Hanson and the others to get it through and for some reason Labor still voted against tax cuts which help low income people, but everybody right across the board.

RAY HADLEY: 

Just as an aside, how far were you located in our studio to where you had to go?

PETER DUTTON:        

You're right at the other end of the building.

RAY HADLEY: 

And how long have you got to get from when you brushed me to get there?

PETER DUTTON:        

Four minutes I think. So I can do two steps at a time going down the stairwell with a security detail behind, so it's all good fun…

RAY HADLEY: 

…and I noticed when you said I'm going; I looked up at Sky News, there's an egg timer there.

PETER DUTTON:        

Yes, yes.

RAY HADLEY: 

So we live in 2018, but you're governed by an egg timer.

PETER DUTTON:        

It's old school, it's old school and it's nice actually.

RAY HADLEY: 

Yeah, a bit of old world stuff. Okay. Back to what we're talking about.

Look, I'm not going to argue with you anymore about renewables and the like because this is what I think and I don't expect you to comment. You're towing the Cabinet line and you'll get pimples on your tongue if you lie normally, but when you toe the Cabinet line I think we can forgive you because I think it's nonsense. I think renewables with 3.6 billion that were explained the other day goes into it, and then [inaudible], Scott Morrison and others inside your Cabinet room saying: oh no, they're much cheaper than coal. That's just B.S. Let's move on.

I feel like a dope, I gave Brian Burton a wrap here for being an honourable man. He's a weasel. He says one thing in the Senate and then within 45 minutes he's out there getting wet with Clive Palmer saying exactly the opposite.

PETER DUTTON:        

Yeah look, I don't understand what Clive Palmer's doing to be honest Ray. I mean we've discussed it before. I just can't believe that he thinks the brand is strong in Queensland where he lives.

He's on the Gold Coast. I mean he's talking about running for a federal seat. I just don't think there's traction there and I think it's obviously a lot of money that's been expended and I don't know who's being paid what, but there's obviously some arrangements that go on to… he thinks he can win a seat. I just can't see it. So it's just hard to say what he's motivated by and what the outcome will be.

RAY HADLEY: 

Okay. One thing that people haven't taken much note of, a story earlier this week in The Australian, it's called the Migration Amendment (Prohibiting Items in Immigration Detention Facilities) Bill. Now, you'd imagine that if you were in immigration detention you can't just take whatever you like in there, but apparently you can.

PETER DUTTON:        

Well Ray, there's a difference obviously between a jail and immigration detention, but the fact is because the boats have stopped, most of the people that came on boats are living out in the community or they've been deported back to their country of origin and at the same time, as we've discussed many times, we've ramped up the number of visa cancellations of criminals; people who have committed serious offences.

So the immigration detention centres now really contain a big number of people who are high risk and we've got an issue around the security guards that run the centres – and again I remember discussing maybe 12 or 18 months ago with you about a guard that was attacked and I think his belonging's stolen and license taken and the rest of it.

So we wanted to introduce a Bill, which we've done, which provides certain powers for the security guards in the centre – so it makes them safer and it makes the whole centre safer – and it includes not allowing people to take mobile phones into the centre because escapes are being organised, we're worried about drugs, all the normal sorts of things that you would find in a jail, you find in immigration detention and for whatever reason Bill Shorten is voting against this Bill now for the second time.

It is beyond belief that they don't accept that there's a problem there, that what we're trying to do actually provides for a safer work environment for the guards and it says to people we aren't running immigration detention centres for fun, we're not going to have criminals running the place and we've got Labor and the Greens, again, voting against it, which I just think is a really bad outcome.

RAY HADLEY: 

Okay, we'll leave the politics out of it. Your Commissioner, the Australian Border Force Commissioner says: things like mobile phones, SIM cards, electronic devices, alcohol, food items, medication, compose a risk to good order. Mobile phones have been used by some detainees to organise criminal activities outside the centre, organise escapes, threaten other detainees, escalate disturbances.

Now, the people we're talking about – these are not, you know, economic refugees who have come here via boat – the list that I've got here in detention; 112 there because of assault and their visas have been cancelled, 71 other violent offences, 54 on drug offences, 46 on child sex offences – you want them to have a mobile phone – 36 on non-violent offences, 30 for theft, robbery, break and enter; 29 for rape, sexual offences, armed robbery 29; GBH, that's grievous bodily harm and reckless injury, 29, and murder seven and Labor and the Greens want these people to be armed with the sort of material that could threaten those on the outside.

PETER DUTTON:        

It's a no-brainer in my mind that the change needs to happen and again, maybe they can explain to you why they're opposed to it, but it's a bad outcome and somebody's going to get seriously hurt. It may be a guard, or it may be somebody else within the detention centre and we're trying to prevent that.

RAY HADLEY: 

Look, I must point out that if you were not to be the Minister, your replacement under a Labor government and Bill Shorten would be a wanker called Shayne Neumann.

PETER DUTTON:        

You know him?

RAY HADLEY: 

Yep, well obviously. Yeah, yeah, complete wanker.

PETER DUTTON:        

So 700 days now he's been the minister (assistant minister) has not asked a single question on boats.

RAY HADLEY: 

No, but listen to this; he said evidence heard at the Senate inquiry has showed access to mobile phones is imperative for contact with legal representatives and external support networks. So it's imperative that a paedophile or a murderer be given a mobile phone in detention so they can either download content of little children being harmed, or contact someone else to bump off witnesses outside the detention centre. The bloke is a complete imbecile and could well be the next Immigration minister.

PETER DUTTON:        

Well let him come on the show and explain it, Ray.

RAY HADLEY: 

Oh mate, listen…

PETER DUTTON:        

I can't…

RAY HADLEY: 

I've had approaches recently from a couple on that side of politics to have regular content on the program. I haven't replied to them. Some of them – if Albanese wants to come on, someone with a bit of power in the joint, he can come on, but the rest of the wankers can stay off, including Shayne Neumann, who is a waste of space. If he's the Immigration minister, it may cause my retirement.

PETER DUTTON:        

Well it won't cause the retirement of the people smugglers. They'll be rubbing their hands together.

RAY HADLEY: 

Alright, now one final thing. I just watched this morning an episode from earlier in the week on A Current Affair about the great work done by again your officers, and we're talking about Border Protection; paedophiles, either trying to come here or trying to leave here and go to other places in Asia to ply their trade, so to speak, and they're doing a great job.

PETER DUTTON:        

Mate, they are doing a great job. The Border Force officers sometimes get a bad rap, but they really do a great job and they've not only stopped, as you say, the paedophiles coming into Australia, but we've cancelled visas now of a couple of hundred and we've deported those people. I mean they would have harmed Australian kids without doubt, and similarly paedophiles coming to our country, we won't tolerate it and we've put another $70 million into the Australian Federal Police. I met with him yesterday actually, about some of the work that we're doing, which is pretty amazing in recovering kids, in making sure that they're protected and I think it's wonderful work that they do and we should pay full credit to them.

RAY HADLEY: 

Okay, well done. Thanks very much for coming back to us.

PETER DUTTON:        

Thanks Ray. See you mate.

[ends]