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Thursday, 16 March 2017
Transcript

Interview with Ray Hadley, Radio 2GB-4BC

Subjects: Federal agencies; cancellation of visas of non-citizens who commit crimes; Yusha Evans; ACTU Secretary Sally McManus; company CEOs.

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

RAY HADLEY:        

Peter Dutton, good morning.

PETER DUTTON:

Good morning Ray.

RAY HADLEY:

Now, I just wanted to talk to you in light of this story today about Nick Kaldas, the former Deputy Commissioner in New South Wales. How close are we to this department of Homeland Security, like they have in the US or the Home Office, this super ministry, how close to it?

PETER DUTTON:

Well look Ray, I read the story about Mr Kaldas in the paper today. I've never met him. I don't know anything about him other than what I have read in relation to his time at New South Wales Police. So I think there's a lot of media speculation around at the moment, but I mean any machinery of government changes really are an issue for the PM.

I think what most people are worried about is to make sure we've got the right system in place, to make sure we defeat the terrorist threat, to make sure that we deal with crimes, cancel visas of people that shouldn't be here – all of that – and what happens and how it happens in the background I don't think frankly people are too interested in.

RAY HADLEY:

I understand that. I didn't want to have a debate about whether Nick is being offered the job, but moreover how close are we to getting this problem solved that was an idea that came forward, but then I read later in the story that we're still toing and froing with Border Force, with the AFP and with ASIO. Are we any closer to it actually being real?

PETER DUTTON:

As I said, it is an issue for the PM and I don't think he has said anything publicly one way or the other. If there is to be a change, it is a machinery of government change, which is an issue for the PM and I guess the decision that is made when these things are contemplated is whether the current system is adequate, whether there is an opportunity to improve the system and they would be things that the PM is weighing up.

RAY HADLEY:

But surely you have got to be part of that process as Immigration Minister and one of the key men in his Ministry? I mean you seem to have deferred to him on a number of occasions in our interview and you're not normally a shrinking violet. Is he restraining you as he is, or allegedly, Scott Morrison over the Budget as well?

PETER DUTTON:

I don't feel too restrained. I think some of these things are just better spoken about internally Ray than…

RAY HADLEY:

…alright, okay.

PETER DUTTON:

I think in the end what all of us want is to continue stamping out gang violence. I think Michael Keenan did a great job in stopping these guns coming in and the gang violence that people are reading about in the papers today, the numbers of arrests there, I think all of that is great and we've just got to make sure that whatever system we've got going forward is going to give our law enforcement, our intelligence agencies the best chance of defeating these people because if we don't they are keen to defeat us.

RAY HADLEY:

Okay. Specific matters – and I know that because you will be making a decision on these matters you are reluctant most times to talk to me – but this Brisbane grandmother who has got a bit of air time moved to Australia when she was two from Croatia – then the Republic of Yugoslavia – being deported after serving time in jail for drug offences, including supply and trafficking – and all of that ground is there for everyone to see and she's screaming the joint down saying I don't know anyone back there.

I mean it is a warning for people isn't it; I mean other members of her family have become Australians, she didn't, and it looks like she has lived the life of crime and now because all of a sudden you and Alex Hawke are catching up with her she starts to put on a [inaudible] and says you can't send me back there, I don't want to go.

PETER DUTTON:

Well Ray I haven't been a decision maker in relation to this matter, Alex Hawke has and I think he's done exactly the right thing and made the right judgement from what I have read in papers and seen otherwise. I mean the thing that disturbs me here is that, you know again, we've got the ABC who is out as the champion of the criminal…I mean this woman – and it is sad to see a person in that circumstance, she's got grandchildren here, family etc, she wants to stay with them, you can understand that, it would be an emotional time for her grandkids – she's got over 70 convictions.

RAY HADLEY:

Seven zero?

PETER DUTTON:

Seven zero; drugs, prostitution, theft related convictions etc, she's been warned twice before and you know the ABC frankly needs to start speaking to some of the victims of these criminals and you know if they want to champion particular causes, I think they'd be better off to champion the causes of victims and victims' rights and frankly I think we are making a big impact in cancelling these visas.

The numbers are up by 1,200 or 1,400 per cent and they are going to continue to climb because we want to welcome people here and settle people here that are doing the right thing; they contribute to society, raising a family, working hard, contributing back to our community. I don't want people here who are out selling drugs and committing crimes of theft and burglary and all the rest of it. Those people can pack their bags.

So we need to look at both sides of these stories. I just don't understand why the ABC continues to use resources, tax payer funded resources, to champion the causes of these criminals.

RAY HADLEY:

I'm reading the piece you are talking about now and it is all very sympathetic to the Brisbane grandmother who has lived in Australia for 50 years, being deported by this cruel bludger Alex Hawke the Assistant Minister and so it goes on – my words not theirs in relation to him being a bludger – but that is how he is portrayed, as some sort of low life and as you've said, if you get to the body of the story, she has been given a number of warnings she needs to stop her criminal behaviour and she hasn't stopped, she just continued down a life of crime for 70 convictions overall.

PETER DUTTON:

Well Ray, I just think people make their own outcomes in these situations. They commit crimes and they're here as a non-citizen; they can expect to have their visa cancelled and I don't care where people are from. We are very serious about this.

Ninety nine per cent of people who come to this country do the right thing, but the one per cent, I just can't accept that they are valuably here. I think we need to have a look at their circumstance, which we do. In some cases we decide because of children or circumstances otherwise not to cancel visas, but in the cases where it is pretty straight forward, you've had a long, long criminal history, you have violated against the lives of children or women in this country, then I am going to cancel a visa.

RAY HADLEY:

I spoke last week about this Yusha Evans, a US convert preacher to Islam, opposing a threat and invited to speak at an Australia Islamic Peace Conference, which seems to fly in the face of what he seems to be all about. Born in South Carolina, raised a conservative Christian, but converted to Islam in 1998 and has made all sorts of outrageous claims and comments. He says he is sickened by Muslims who show affection for disbelievers – that would be you and me – where are we up to with him? Is he coming here or has he been denied a visa?

PETER DUTTON:

Look Ray, the advice that I've got is that he has not been into Australia since November 2014, so obviously he is not coming for the conference, but we do cancel visas or deny visas being issued on a regular basis if there are people who we think are a threat, we will stop them from boarding planes. From what I have seen of this individual it would be very hard for him to get a visa to come to our country.

RAY HADLEY:

What do you make of the newly appointed ACTU Secretary Sally McManus encouraging her members to break the law if they're not happy with the law as she did last night on the 7.30 Report with Leigh Sales?

PETER DUTTON:

Well Ray I just can't believe that the union movement has got to this point. The union movement is about helping workers and providing for rights of workers and the rest of it, but the trouble with the modern union movement for many of these people in these leadership positons, is that it has become solely about the union bosses.

It is unbelievable that when you look at the words of Bill Shorten overnight, basically he just noted the comments; he didn't say that she should retract them, didn't say that it was offensive that this woman was saying that people should act outside the law – she's got a leadership positon as the head union boss in the country.

The CFMEU basically are running around as the modern day teamsters, you know breaking arms and extorting money and carrying on across building sites etc and Bill Shorten had nothing to say about it. These people were dragged before the Royal Commission, there was evidence led against them, there were hundreds of people within the CFMEU who have been charged. This woman says that she won't distance the ACTU from the CFMEU and Bill Shorten the same, says that you know they should conduct their activities as they are and continue on and I think it is frankly, in my mind, it is a test of leadership for Mr Shorten and he has failed it yet again.

I mean he has to stand up to these people and if they're, surely, if people are advocating that union members should act outside of the law or the CFMEU have been charged and convicted of criminal offences, surely the alternative prime minister in this country has to show some leadership and say that they should be condemned or that they should withdraw comments and I think again, last night, Mr Shorten demonstrated how beholden he is, absolutely 100 per cent beholden he is to the union bosses.

RAY HADLEY:

Have you caught up with this story, I had a yarn during Alan's programme with Caroline Overington from The Australian this morning about this Coopers Brewery furore. Two of your colleagues decided to have a debate about same sex marriage. One supports it, one doesn't. It was convivial, dignified. They clinked bottles at the end of it, apparently drinking Coopers and all of a sudden the keyboard warriors go on the attack and Coopers are forced to apologise. What for, we don't know, but they apologised because they were being attacked and people were encouraged not to drink their product – a 150 year old Australian company – it is bizarre.

PETER DUTTON:

Well Ray, it is bizarre and these are Greens and people on the far Left in society, but others…I mean there are companies, listed companies in this country who are part of taking action, sort of moral stances on particular issues and frankly I don't care what their stance is on gay marriage, they shouldn't shove their views down our throats and for Australian products to be boycotted or for Australian companies to be targeted by institutions, by shareholder groups – it is the same in our space where we've got people, companies, who are legitimately contracted to my Department providing services to offshore detention or to refugee services being boycotted, people stopping investment going into those companies – it is an outrage and it should be called out for what it is.

Frankly, the CEO's would be better off out there arguing at the moment for the economy to be run a particular way or for tax to be reformed in this way so that they can grow their businesses and grow jobs, as opposed to taking on these morale causes. If they want to run for politics; well you know resign from their position, stick their hand up at the next election, but don't jam your politically correct views down our throats. I think there needs to be, frankly, a shot across their bow at the moment.

Some of these CEOs who are doing the wrong thing, who are part of campaigns to criticise companies like Coopers and others, frankly need to be publicly shamed and I think people frankly are just getting sick of all this politically correct nonsense.

RAY HADLEY:

Well you are talking about some of the CEOs of the largest companies in the country, including Telstra, Qantas, I mean they're signatories to what you're talking about.

PETER DUTTON:

Well, let me give you an example of Telstra. Ray, my view of Telstra is that they'd be better off to concentrate their efforts on cleaning up their call centre operations because we had a problem with our phone at home last week; now, like you, I lead a fairly busy life, the thought of hanging on the phone for an hour to some person in the Philippines and still getting nowhere at the end of the call drives me crazy.

Now, here's a suggestion for Telstra. Instead of getting caught up and spending your investors' money, your shareholders' money on all these political causes, what about tidying up your own backyard first and providing a proper standard of care and service to your customers – that actually would be a good starting point – and once all that's done, you've then got time on your hands to concentrate on these other fringe issues.

RAY HADLEY:

Well let me tell you two things about Telstra. When David Thodey, no longer there, became Chief Executive he sat in the studio with me, hand on heart, and I said 'look, people are really concerned about call centres, they're currently based in Australia what you are going to do?'

He said, 'Ray, gold plated guarantee while I'm in charge there'll never be a call centre outside of Australia'.

Within about 12 months they got hold of him and of course we're in the Philippines and we're still in the Philippines – that's point one.

Point two is I get more complaints from listeners about getting their phones either fixed, reactivated or complaints about the billing processes from Telstra, so I agree with you.

The new boss of Telstra, even though he probably can't reverse the decision that has been taken by his predecessor – who lied to me David Thodey and lie is a big word, but that's exactly what he did, shortly after he told me it would never happen, it did happen because the bottom line was better and he thinks he's got an obligation to his shareholders – so I agree with you to the extent that Telstra and other companies need to worry about what they're doing, not what – they're not the social conscience of the rest of Australia – and I'm not talking about same sex marriage, I'm talking about a range of issues. Run the business and leave the rest of it to other people.

PETER DUTTON:

Well Ray I agree with you 100 per cent. I know Andy Penn well, the CEO of Telstra, he's a good bloke, but he needs to concentrate and others in the CEO world who are on big dollars, need to concentrate on their businesses and frankly on the improvement in the economy, contribute to that debate, but the social issues – and as you say whether it's gay marriage or anything else – leave that up to the politicians, to the leaders, to talkback hosts like yourself, to normal people who can have those discussions without the millions of dollars being thrown behind campaigns because somehow it makes the board feel better or meets their social obligation that they've got.

I think frankly this is a debate that is worth having because the customers are missing out and the service is inferior and it needs to be addressed and if they want to come on the show and argue that this stance that they're taking in relation to marriage or whatever other issue it is, trumps their obligation to customers, loyal customers, who pay their bills on time each month and have been with Telstra or whatever other company it is for years and years, then let them make that argument. I don't think they can make that argument and frankly I think that's what angers people.

If people want to enter politics, then do that, but don't do it from the office overlooking the harbour on multi-million dollar fees each year. I just think its high time these people pulled back from these moralistic stances and we'd be a better society without them.

RAY HADLEY:

Thanks for your time as always.

PETER DUTTON:

Thanks Ray. Cheers mate.

 [ends]