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Monday, 06 August 2018
Transcript

Interview with Ray Hadley, Radio 2GB-4BC

Subjects: Lombok Earthquake.

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

RAY HADLEY:

I mentioned this earthquake, Lombok – an island which is near Bali – and we mentioned that the Home Affairs Minister, Immigration Minister Peter Dutton, was there working. He's on the line from Lombok now I believe.

Minister, good morning.

PETER DUTTON:

Good morning Ray.

RAY HADLEY:

When did this hit?

PETER DUTTON:

Mate, it was last night, about 7.45 or so local time, a couple of hours behind Australian time. So tragically just waking up to news this morning that 85 people have been killed. So it's been a terrible day for the people here.

RAY HADLEY:

So where were you when it struck?

PETER DUTTON:

We're here for a counter-terrorism conference. So in the region. There's myself and other agency heads, including the Police Commissioner and others.

We were at a dinner on the 12th floor of the restaurant – of the hotel where we were staying – in a restaurant there and so we – I think in the end we were pretty lucky to get out. The building's integrity I think has been compromised. Lots of stuff fallen down.

But fortunately everyone from there got down safely and we're about to head up to Bali shortly. So we’ve got a bit of charge in the phones now, but fortunately everyone in the delegation is safe and well.

RAY HADLEY:

There was a suggestion on Sky News this morning you were knocked off your feet during the course of this. Did that happen?

PETER DUTTON:

Mate, we were knocked certainly to the floor. It was the violence of the shaking of the building – was pretty dramatic. My AFP guys did a great job as well. So anyway, everyone's a bit shaken, but all well, but people out in the villages or elsewhere haven't been so lucky unfortunately.

RAY HADLEY:

Were you fearful at any stage in relation to the structure coming down as you were trying to escape?

PETER DUTTON:

Well, we haven't – nobody’s been allowed – they’ve collected some luggage, but the local security guys did that. But nobody's been allowed back in the building. So there's certainly a lot of structural damage to the building and from the outside you can see the cracks up and down the building.

The lights went out for a short period of time. I presume there was some generators or something cut in. So going down the stairwell we were okay. But yeah, in the end I think we were pretty lucky considering. And I'm not sure whether the building had sustained any damage from that earlier earthquake, but obviously it's had a big impact right across the region I think, back up in Bali and further afield.

RAY HADLEY:

Any suggestion – how far were you actually from the centre of the earthquake given that we've had 82 people lose their lives?

PETER DUTTON:

I'm just not sure of the geography. It was to the north of the island. So we're not that far from it, but we weren't right at the epicentre, but as I say, it was a pretty violent shaking and swaying of the building. It went on for – I guess it's always hard to know in these circumstances – but a minute or so.

But the main thing is all the Australian delegation is safe and well and we were evacuated to the airport away from the buildings last night and we are just regrouping this morning and some of us heading up to Bali now for the second stage of the people smuggling conference.

RAY HADLEY:

I've never been, and many of our listeners would have never been in the situation of sitting through an earthquake. But given you were there in relation to terrorism, what was your first thought – this is terror-related or you just knew it was an earthquake?

PETER DUTTON:

No, first thought was earthquake because obviously, I guess, the previous one, where 16 or 17 people died only a couple of weeks ago, is fresh in your mind and it was clearly not an explosion, but a very, very violent shake as I said, the building swaying and things falling down. So you know, parts of the concrete and whatnot in the stairwell, windows out and doors and whatnot. So no, definitely an earthquake.

RAY HADLEY:

Alright, okay. Well travel safe to Bali and travel safe back home. I appreciate being able to catch up with you to confirm you're okay.

PETER DUTTON:

Thanks mate. Take care.