10 November, 2015
Subject: Christmas Island Detention Centre disturbance
E & EO Transcript
JOURNALIST: For more I’m joined by Immigration Minister Peter Dutton. Minister good morning to you.
Have the reinforcements quelled the trouble? What’s the latest?
PETER DUTTON: Well the reinforcements have arrived and they are in the centre at the moment. So there is an operation underway.
I think some of the compounds have been settled and the police obviously are still doing their work.
They will work through the centre to make sure that they can restore calm and peace and order and we can get back to core business.
People should remember that those housed now in the Christmas Island Detention Centre are amongst some of the hardest criminals in terms of some of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gang members.
People who have had their visa cancelled that have been charged or served sentences for manslaughter and sexual offences against children.
So it’s a very different population up on Christmas Island now and the police are dealing with this uprising.
JOURNALIST: Ok a lot of people may not have caught up with that. So Christmas Island is where all the hard nuts go?
PETER DUTTON: For a lot of them, Kochie.
So whether you've come by boat or a visa overstayer or you've had your visa cancelled because you have conducted yourself in a way that’s unacceptable and you failed the character test.
Border force does an assessment on each individual about whether or not they should be detained on Christmas Island or in a detention centre on the mainland like Villawood for example or Maribyrnong.
So the risk profile for each of the detainees is conducted by Border Force.
Those people up on Christmas Island, generally speaking, are high risk individuals and we are keen to get them back to their country of origin because they have committed some pretty serious crimes.
JOURNALIST: Ok. This was a serious situation with guards told to evacuate.
So basically the detainees just ran the place for what 12-24 hours?
PETER DUTTON: Yeah look as you see in a detention centre here on the mainland or indeed in a jail, authorities will make a decision about whether an incident is safe for the staff to enter into and whether or not the appropriate course of action is to retreat and contain the situation until reinforcements can arrive.
Those professional judgements are made by the officers on the ground.
I've got great faith in the Federal Police and Australian Border Force staff to contain the situation along with the Serco guards on the ground.
If people have committed damage, if they have damaged Commonwealth property, then they will face the full force of the law.
I think that's what the Australian taxpayer would expect.
JOURNALIST: And you’re obviously going to strengthen the manning, up on Christmas Island now obviously so it doesn't happen again?
PETER DUTTON: Yeah look Kochie out of all these incidents there will be a report and we will look at what went wrong and if reinforcements are required.
If additional resources are needed to make sure this can't happen again then that's what we will do and we will respond appropriately.
We are not going to tolerate this sort of behaviour.
These people have been involved in serious crimes in the first place.
It's a difficult situation for guards to keep control of a detention centre like this, but we will provide additional support if that's what is deemed to be appropriate.
JOURNALIST: Ok, military? Are you going to send up the military?
PETER DUTTON: No, not the military, but Australian Border Force has its own capacity and the Australian Federal Police will provide additional support as well.
JOURNALIST: Ok Minister, thank you for joining us.
PETER DUTTON: Thank you, Kochie.