Subjects: Judicial decisions; United States resettlement of refugees from Nauru and PNG.
Minister good morning.
Good morning Ray.
You've upset a number of left leaning Magistrates with your comments on my programme regarding the completely unacceptable situation in Queensland where we saw Teresa Bradford killed by her husband shortly after being released on bail.
Judicial Conference of Australia President Justice Robert Beech-Jones has accused you of undermining the judiciary in a letter to The Courier Mail. He said the judiciary does not engage in such attacks upon the executive and the executive must not attack the judiciary. Justice Beech-Jones said the fact the attack was made by a Government Minister was inconsistent with the respect that must be afforded by the various branches of government towards each other. Do you stand by your comments?
Ray, it is hard to pick it up on radio, but that was me just having a big yawn. I don't think you can worry too much about these things. I mean if people want to be precious, let them be precious.
My view is that the judiciary has a responsibility to the public and when I came into Parliament 15 years ago, having been a policeman for 10 years before that, I vowed to do what I could to make our community a safer place. I have never been intimidated by anyone and I don't intend to start now. I'll stand up for what I believe in and I want to make our country a safer place, particularly for older Australians who should after a lifetime of work be able to go about their lives and enjoy their lives with their grandkids and everything else.
And if the judiciary makes a mistake then they should be held to account. And if Annastacia Palaszczuk and others are going to continue to appoint Magistrates that allow people bail in circumstances that they shouldn't be given bail or penalties that are woefully inadequate then I don't think any of us should be afraid to call that out.
Well remarkably a Magistrate that I've discussed previously – because of you, protesters on the roof of your Electorate Office – has come to my attention again, Trevor Morgan.
He yesterday released a male person on one condition, one condition for bail, who had breached a domestic violence order against a partner I presume, nine times, evaded police once, broke and enter into the partner's house, then allegedly slashed her tyres. Police objected vehemently to the persons bail, concerns for his escalating behaviour and no regard to the domestic violence order put in place, seeing he breached it nine times, but old mate Trevor gave him bail.
Well Ray, I mean the case on the Gold Coast and many others that you see on a regular basis, it is unacceptable where people are getting bail, in my judgement and Magistrates can speak for themselves. I mean let's hear from the head of this judicial council or whatever they are to explain to the public why that's acceptable. I mean let him come onto your programme and explain to your listeners why it is acceptable for somebody in that circumstance to be granted bail.
Well Justice Robert Beech-Jones would be a most welcome guest as a Judicial Conference of Australia President to explain how Trevor Morgan in light of the death of that young woman whose funeral was yesterday, how he can allow someone to walk free despite police saying his behaviour is escalating – in other words we are fearful of what he will do next.
Well Ray, I think there's a big issue in Queensland with the laws. I think Annastacia Palaszczuk has accepted that the Government of Queensland has failed here and they are talking about a reverse onus in relation to bail. I know Tim Nicholls has been pushing hard on this issue and he should because he is reflecting the views of the community and the view of the community is that in a civilised society, like the one we live in, people respect older people within family units or within society. People should be respectful, young people in particular respectful to people that are older than themselves and in relationships, in marriages, in families, violence, like that, is not to be tolerated. We're very clear as a society that we don't want to tolerate violence against women in particular and the Magistrates, the Judges, should reflect that community view and that's the responsibility that they owe.
They don't need to be offended by what I've said. They need to heed the view of the Australian public and I believe very strongly that if they want to embark on this particular path then they need to come out and explain why they are doing it.
US officials have arrived on Manus Island to conduct interviews with refugees in preparation for this swap deal. What is the process they're going through? Are you aware of it or do they act autonomously?
Well Ray, I can confirm that we have US officials up on Manus Island at the moment. They have been previously on Nauru and there will be another contingent of US officials to go to Nauru shortly.
The reason for that is that they're conducting interviews with people on the two islands with a view to having them settle in the United States and our desire always has been to get people off as quickly as possible with the priority being women and children.
There are no women or children up on Manus Island, only on Nauru, so they will interview the males up there. And ultimately though, as is the case for our country, I mean it is our Government that decides who comes here and we decide if we are going to deport people etc, but in the US they obviously have sovereign right as well.
Now Ray, I'm being told there is a division so I'm going to have to head off mate I'm sorry.
Alright, no, no, we understand fully. We understand fully. We'll come back to you a bit later if it is applicable. Peter Dutton in the Canberra studio.