15 November, 2015
Subject: Paris attacks
E & EO Transcript
JOURNALIST: Minister thanks for joining us this evening.
PETER DUTTON: Thanks Chris.
JOURNALIST: We had our corresponded in Paris Mike Amor tell us before that one of the gunmen is believed to be a Syrian refugee who went through from Greece on October 3rd in the large wave of refugees that came into Europe.
I want to ask you the question that so many Australians will be asking tonight.
How can you be sure there are no ISIS members among the 12,000 Syrian refugees we're bringing into the country at this moment?
PETER DUTTON: Well Chris obviously there's an enormous amount of detail we don't know yet.
People will be asking questions about documents, whether they were fake documents or legitimate travel documents.
In terms of the 12,000 people that we seek to bring here through the Humanitarian Programme, these are people who have been attacked by ISIS themselves, by the Assad regime. They're persecuted minorities that have seen people in their villages attacked by these terrorists.
For us we need to go through the biometric tests and we need to work with our security partners to make sure we can identify people, who they are, before they come to our country.
We want to provide a new home, but I have been very clear about the fact that we are not going to compromise in relation to the security checks and we'll make sure we know who is coming to our country.
JOURNALIST: Alright Minister I want to bring Janet Albrechtsen from the Australian into the conversation. You heard the Minister talk about biometrics and lots of security checks.
Does that give you comfort?
JANET ALBRECHTSEN: It gives me comfort in the sense that we are not dealing with the kinds of numbers Europe is dealing with.
We're dealing with 12,000 people, but you still have to accept that there is a risk in all of these processes. When you invite immigrants in, unless you - you're never going to be 100% sure. The fear will always be that if you're not 100% sure what are the dangers for Australia?
But if you think about what Europe is facing, Germany alone this year will have 1.5 million refugees according to a classified report that was leaked recently to the Bild Newspaper.
The German Refugee Agency has told the German Government that the security checks, the identity checks, that they are doing on asylum seekers/refugees are completely ineffective. There are many thousands of economic asylum seekers coming in, but also terrorists.
The Pope said the same thing a couple of months ago and not too many people paid attention to that, so of course there's a risk there. Of course there is a risk there.
JOURNALIST: Minister, can I ask you, I mean what are your fears about what's going to happen now in Australia in response to the Paris attacks.
Do you worry about the relationships between the Islam community and the broader community in Australia as a response to that?
PETER DUTTON: Well Chris I think the good thing is that the decent and honourable leaders within the Islamic community in Australia will be speaking out to condemn this attack because it's an attack on all law abiding citizens, people who hold democracy near and dear.
So it doesn't matter their religious background the leaders will be condemning these attacks.
I think Australians should look at that and applaud it frankly because we an island nation. We are not with the same problems, as Janet points out, that Europe has with land borders.
But we do know when 50,000 people came here on 800 boats there were many people released into the community that we just didn't know the proper identity of.
This is why the Government sometimes gets criticised for having a very tough border policy, but we must manage and maintain strict control of border movements because if you don't then people will take advantage of that arrangement, of that disorganisation.
And we have to make sure that we recognise that this is a threat that's going to be with us for a generation and it is the first of many attacks to come. We saw in Lebanon in the last week or so, 40-odd people who were killed there in an ISIL attack.
This is not just happening in Paris for the first time. We have seen attacks and we will see many, many more.
JOURNALIST: Minister, I want bring in Kuranda Seyit if I can, the Secretary of the Islamic council of Victoria. You've heard the Minister talking there Kuranda.
What do you think about - firstly of all your reaction to what's happened in Paris and your concerns about what implications there are for the Muslim community here?
KURANDA SEYIT: Well we were in utter shock, I think, with the rest of the nation. This is something that's just appalling and beyond belief.
So, definitely our condolences with the victims and their families and really our thoughts are with the country of France right now.
I think that the Minister has spoken really well. He has spoken reasonably and fairly that this is an issue that affects all people regardless of their faith or their race or creed.
I think that we have to always remind ourselves that religion cannot ever be equated with criminal activity, particularly terrorism.
We've got these nutters out there who are using, unfortunately, Islam to further their aims.
And we need to be reassured that the Muslim community, just like other people in some of these violent cases, are usually the victims of this type of terrorism.
So, it's important that here in Australia we work together as a community because we don't want the terrorists to win. We don't want them to divide us as a nation because that's ultimately what they want to do. They want to drive young people further into the margins, making it much easier to prey on them.
This is really important, that we stick together in solidarity and as a nation.
JOURNALIST: Janet, a quick response on that issue. Particularly do you think enough is being done from the Government and from the Muslim community itself against radicalisation?
JANET ALBRECHTSEN: Look radicalisation requires all sorts of different forms in terms of education, dealing with youth that you see go astray, identifying and keeping control over them, making sure they are not being radicalised and having your feelers out right. All of that kind of stuff.
But as I mentioned earlier there is a debate we need to have, that I don't feel we do have, that I don't hear from Muslim leaders. I don't hear enough of; it's not enough for Muslim leaders to say "well we abhor what Islamic State stands for" - that is simply not enough.
And I come back again to David Cameron's speech for the simple reason that is that he is the only gutsy leader we have had out there who said that's not enough, that bar is too low. You need to do more, you need to stop feeding the narrative that allows this kind of radicalisation…
JOURNALIST: … I have to cut in if I can. Thanks very much Janet and Minister as well thanks for your time. Kuranda Seyit as well.
Now let's head back to Sam in Paris.