19 October, 2015
Subjects: Medical treatment for refugee on Nauru, NZ Deportations, Fairfax Poll, Senator Abetz’s comments.
E & EO Transcript
JOURNALIST: Minister, can you run us through exactly what medical and mental help this woman received before it was determined that she didn’t want the termination?
PETER DUTTON: Well, I’ve detailed this morning. The first point to make here is that is a very sensitive case.
I don’t like the fact that this lady’s particular personal details are being trawled through the media, but that’s a decision her lawyers have made.
I tried in a press conference that you’ll recall just under two weeks ago to send a message that we would provide what medical assistance was in the best interests of the lady, but that I wasn’t going to comment on individual personal medical cases.
The difficulty in relation to this matter is that people have put out information which is completely and utterly false.
So I want to detail the facts in relation to this case.
The facts in relation to this case are that this lady was airlifted from Nauru to come to Australia because she sought a termination that wasn’t available in Nauru.
There was an allegation of rape, as you’d be aware, and when the lady came to Australia she was seen by a number of nurses, including mental health nurses, a number of GPs and doctors and interpreters where used on many of those occasions in the discussions over a course of days.
The lady at the end of that was asked whether she wanted the termination, she said no that she didn’t.
Did she want an appointment made the next week? No she didn’t.
The advice to me was very clear and it has been detailed to me in quite considerable detail.
The decision was made that the lady should be airlifted back to Nauru on that basis.
Now the Government’s intent was very clear from the start. The fact that we chartered a plane to come from Nauru to Australia to provide medical assistance for the lady demonstrates that we were prepared to see that assistance provided to the lady.
Now, last week on television, and I refer you to Emma Alberici’s interview on Lateline, it became obvious that there were inconsistencies in some of the advocates’ accounts in relation to this matter and they have changed again over the weekend.
So all I would ask you to do is to look at the facts in relation to the matter and make your judgement from there, but the Government’s intent has been very clear from the start. That is to provide support to this lady in a very difficult circumstance. We’ve done that.
The lady has been returned to Nauru, but people are not coming to Australia for a migration outcome.
They will come to Australia if medical assistance is needed that is not able to be provided on Nauru or in PNG and that’s the decision that we’ve made.
We’ve applied it consistently again in this case and it will be applied in the same manner into the future.
JOURNALIST: Minister is it your view that this was their intention all along? Or do you think she was ill-advised once she reached Australia?
PETER DUTTON: I don’t have any judgement to make because I wasn’t there for the conversations.
All I can say is that I’ve heard a number of accounts from people who say that they represent or they understand the case and they’ve been factually incorrect.
The accounts have shifted over the last few days and I think that is very, very unfortunate, because if people say that they have the best interests of this lady at heart then I find it hard to see how that’s being demonstrated at the moment.
I can only say to you, from the Government’s perspective, that we have provided support to this lady, both on Nauru, in chartering a plane to bring the lady from Nauru to Australia.
We have provided medical support and medical advice, the decision was made and the lady was chartered back to Nauru.
That’s the facts as I know them in relation to the case.
The motivation for others is something for them to explain.
I think it is very important that people go back and look at all of the public comments that some of these advocates have made and forensically look at the inconsistencies that have emerged over the last few days and those questions should be asked of those advocates.
JOURNALIST: Has the Nauruan Government offered her counselling? Where there counselling service available to her before she came to Australia and to your knowledge did she take up those services?
PETER DUTTON: I’m advised that counselling was provided to the lady before she departed Nauru and assistance otherwise, no doubt.
Assistance was provided not only on Nauru, but in Australia as well.
I’ve been very clear in detailing the assistance that was provided over a course of days and including the use of an interpreter.
The allegation was made that no interpreter was used. Originally the allegation was that no medial support had been provided.
These inconsistencies need to be examined and good forensic journalists like those of you present now with an interest in this matter need to put these questions to the advocates.
JOURNALIST: Are you going to release your advice where she definitively said no?
PETER DUTTON: I’ve provided that advice to you in terms of the way in which it was relayed to me and I’m providing that advice to you now.
As I say, I mean the Government’s intent was clear from the start. We wouldn’t have chartered a plane from Nauru to come to Australia if we had no intention of providing medical support. I mean it just doesn’t make any sense.
We’ve provided that medical support, the lady made a decision and we’ve sent her back to Nauru.
JOURNALIST: If this lady decides in the future that she does want to ahead with a termination will you fly her back to Australia so that she can undertake it?
PETER DUTTON: Well, again, the consistency of us in relation to these matters is evident.
And that is that we’ll make a decision that we believe is in the best interests of the patient, but I’ve been very clear – we are not going to allow all people to come to Australia to seek a migration outcome.
Lawyers can rush off to court to seek injunctions, they can play tricks and be clever.
In the end I want to do what’s in the best interests of the patient.
I was very clear in the press conference about that last week and that will be the test that we apply.
As I say, I regret the fact that this lady’s personal details have been trawled through the media by those who say they’re acting in her best interests.
That needs to be examined by people including yourselves and I hope that it takes placed today.
JOURNALIST: Mr Dutton, on the Fairfax poll out today. Does that vindicate replacing [inaudible]?
PETER DUTTON: Sorry, just repeat the question.
JOURNALIST: On the Fairfax poll out today. Does that vindicate putting Malcolm Turnbull into the Prime Ministership?
PETER DUTTON: Look, I think the poll today demonstrates a couple of things.
One is that the Australian public has made a real connection with Malcolm Turnbull and I think that is a great thing.
I think it also demonstrates the fact that Labor’s, sorry, I’ll start that again.
I think the fact that the public has made a great connection with Malcolm Turnbull is a very, very good thing.
I think the fact that Labor launched this shabby attack on Malcolm Turnbull’s wealth last week has backfired.
I think it’s very instructive that Anthony Albanese, who is Labor’s attack dog, wasn’t wheeled out to launch this attack. It was actually Mark Dreyfus and Tony Burke.
I think the public don’t like the fact that Bill Shorten didn’t have the guts to get up himself to try and attack Malcolm Turnbull and sent out a couple of B-graders and Anthony Albanese was smart enough to keep his powder dry.
So I think the question now is what’s going to happen with the Leadership in the Labor Party.
I think it also is very important to note that in the Liberal Party building up and supporting Malcolm Turnbull we’ve sought no outcome and no desire in tearing Tony Abbott down.
I think Malcolm Turnbull’s grace in relation to Tony Abbott has been important and that’ll continue no doubt.
The work for us now is to demonstrate to the public that we have a raft of policies that are going to be in the best interests of the country and Malcolm Turnbull has the capacity to do that and we’ll demonstrate that over the coming months.
JOURNALIST: Just on the New Zealand deportees. I just wanted to ask. I was speaking with one of the criminals in there yesterday and he was saying that the security conditions have increased since he was moved to Christmas Island.
Is that correct? Since a number of New Zealand deportees are now on Christmas Island have you reconsidered the way that they’re held there?
PETER DUTTON: I went to this the other day in the press conference at some length.
The judgements that we make around where people will be accommodated and the security setting is based on the risk that person poses.
We have some people off boats, for argument’s sake, who pose a significant threat either because of their criminal history or because of their actions in detention or, in fact, out in the community and they’ve been brought back into detention.
We also have a number of outlaw motorcycle gang members and other people who have committed serious crimes that have had their visas cancelled and will be deported to New Zealand, to the UK, to countries around the world.
We make a determination on risk and if people are deemed to be high risk then they will be placed into a more secure facility.
It is true that there have been upgrades at the Christmas Island facility, because as we go through with the Australian Crime Commission with the Australian Federal Police, with the state police authorities otherwise, we will cancel visas of people that do pose significant threats to the Australian public, as well as people otherwise that have had their visas cancelled because of terms of imprisonment, because they’ve had sex offences against children and other things within Section 501 of the Act.
People will be placed into an arrangement that reflects the risk that they pose.
That’s the judgement made by the professionals within my Department.
JOURNALIST: Minister, do you share Eric Abetz’s view that the Canberra Press Gallery is biased towards the Godless left and unfair towards the Christian conservatives?
PETER DUTTON: Look, I haven’t seen Senator Abetz’s comments.
The only thing that I would say is that people in the Press Gallery, people in the media are human beings like those of us in politics.
Some of them will have leanings to the left or right and they’ll reflect that from time to time in their writing.
I think that’s the reality of modern day reporting where people are filing quickly online – they’re providing editorial comment which has moved away from traditional just reporting of facts and so I think people’s own beliefs or non-beliefs will be reflected in their own words.
That’s the modern politic, but I haven’t seen Senator Abetz’s comments.
Alright, thank you.