Subjects: Federal Election; Labor divided on boats; Operation Sovereign Borders; Black Power bikie gang; Tony Windsor; Rob Oakeshott; Labor’s Mediscare.
Minister Dutton joins me on the programme every Thursday and he is online right now for the last time before the election. Minister, good morning.
Good morning Ray.
Long campaign, how are you feeling?
Good. We’re in the last 48 hours, but the most important 48 hours. So all of us are out there talking to people at pre-poll stations, talking about issues which are important to Australians.
I think people are really focused now on what’s best for our country, how they can provide a stable government, help the economy grow and I don’t think people want to see a chaotic Shorten-Greens-Independent alliance government. People don’t want a return to those Rudd-Gillard-Rudd years.
I know that the former Prime Minister was talking on Sky News, I think with Paul Murray from what I’ve seen this morning, and was surprised that bigger hasn’t been made of your portfolio and your success and before you Scott Morrison and Tony Abbott’s success at turning back the boats. It does appear to be, you know, being raised in the last couple of days, but it hasn’t been what he has considered a major issue and a major talking point for you as a point of difference between your party and the alternate government.
I think people get, and it’s been spoken about a lot through the campaign, people get that Labor is still divided.
Even the ABC, believe it or not, had a go at Bill Shorten this morning about boats and the fact that 50 of them are still divided and the people smugglers are preparing people to get onto boats now if there is a change of government.
I think people have heard that message and in the opening weeks of the campaign we were pretty quickly out of the blocks talking with people. And there is nowhere that I can move around the country where people don’t stop me and say good work on the boats, good work on getting kids out of detention and stopping the drownings at sea.
People understand, and this is why Bill Shorten doesn’t want to talk about border protection, but people understand that Labor as they did when Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard were in government with the Greens and the Independents last time, they just don’t have the ability to stop boats and to stop the drownings at sea.
We have got photos in the Australian today of four new wooden turnback boats they call them at Christmas Island. These are the boats that would be used to send new arrivals back to their point of departure. Is it true that more of these boats are being delivered to other Australian ports?
Ray I don’t want to publicly comment, I have seen the report, but I don’t want to publicly comment on it because, as I say, with operational matters we just don’t comment.
It was one on Labor’s huge mistakes signalling to people smugglers what they’re doing or what the next move would be and people smugglers were always one step ahead of Labor and they would be if Mr Shorten is elected Prime Minister again.
But we do take prudent steps, we do act on intelligence and we do turn boats back. As you know we have turned 28 back and if those 28 had of got through then there would have been hundreds more that would have followed because people smugglers look for snippets of success to turn into a message to their people that are waiting in camps in Indonesia or India, Sri Lanka or Vietnam – wherever it might be.
This issue hasn’t gone away and as people see on their screens, people drowning still on the Mediterranean, people still wanting to get to our country by boat and this is one of the key election issues people need to contemplate. Do we want the boats to re-start? Of course we don’t.
Apart from the human side there was an $11 billion blow out when Labor was last in government. Not only can they not manage our borders, but we know that they can’t manage the economy either.
Given the smugglers are ready to press the go button if Labor win on Saturday, do you think they might test your mettle as well by testing the waters by, you know, duping people into believing that it mightn’t have been a change of government, but they aren’t as strong as they were?
Well Ray, even just the talk of the dysfunction within Labor and the division within Labor that’s all that people smugglers need. As I said on your programme many times, they watch every word that I say, they watch every word that the Prime Minister says and Mr Shorten and Mr Marles say on the topic and they look for points of weakness.
In Labor it’s manna from heaven because the Greens have already said, and they have repeated it again today, that if Mr Shorten goes into government with them after the election – and really that’s the only way Bill Shorten now can become Prime Minister, is if he enters an agreement with the Greens and the Independents – the Greens have said today that the top priority for them will be to unwind, to dismantle, the successful policies we’ve had in stopping the boats. So that is an absolute guarantee that if Mr Shorten gets in, he governs with Richard Di Natale the boats will recommence.
Look they can, the people smugglers, as I say, through social media and through messaging otherwise send these positive messages out and they report the week’s statements from Labor members and Labor Premiers and ultimately Bill Shorten and the dysfunction that he presides over really presents an opportunity for people smugglers.
The Courier Mail has got a story today about the Black Power crime gang. Apparently the New Zealand crime gang has infiltrated south eastern Queensland, but hasn’t been listed as a declared organisation under the much talked about VLAD laws.
You have now deported up to nine members. They are either in immigration detention or in jail. Have any of them gone back?
Some of them have gone back and others will contest matters in the courts which is fine, that’s their right to do. But as I have said on many occasions Ray, I want to do all I can as Immigration Minister, as Border Protection Minister, not only to keep our borders safe, but to keep the community safe.
And if we find these gang members who aren’t employed, many of them are on welfare, many of them are involved in criminal activities, in robberies, in all sorts of sexual or violence against women, they’re involved in extortion, standing over small business people – we just don’t want them here.
I have worked very hard with all of the police forces around the country as well as the Federal Police and the Australian Crime Commission to identify those top targets and people who we believe are committing offences against Australian citizens.
I have cancelled a record number of visas and I want to continue to do that if we are elected on Saturday. That is the sort of stable government and the policy that I think people want from a strong, stable, secure government and that’s what the Turnbull Government promises if we are re-elected.
I want to talk to you about these two Independents Windsor and Oakeshott.
It’s been a disgraceful fortnight for Windsor. First, a terrible treatment of a former friend Kerry Schofield who was outed as suffering PTSD from his military service. Allegations in The Australian that he physically abused younger students while at school and finally this sexist slur which he’s dismissed this morning against Peta Credlin.
I can’t believe the people of Cowper or the New England are even contemplating the possibility of these two buffoons re-entering Federal Parliament.
Someone saying, that maybe, Oakeshott might get the figures that Palmer got in Fairfax last time and on preferences might be able to unseat Luke Hartsuyker, but I just can’t believe that the responsible people of Cowper and New England would have either of these two galoots in Parliament.
No Ray, it’s a good point.
Tony Windsor I think is showing his true character and he’s a person that’s driven by hate. He hates Barnaby Joyce and he hates the fact that Labor’s not in power and the fact that he sided with Julia Gillard, and Rob Oakeshott did the same, shows their true character and I think people who are contemplating voting for Rob Oakeshott or Tony Windsor need please to go back and just have a look at some of the stories that they were involved in when Rudd and Gillard were in power. We can’t return to those days of dysfunction.
It doesn’t matter where people are around the country a vote for the Greens, for Labor, for any independent candidate is a vote for chaos. We want a stable government. We’re seeing what’s happening in the UK, seeing what’s happening in China and elsewhere in Istanbul, other countries right around the world; we want our economy, we want our security to be stable, we want to provide for families, we want to grow jobs and Rob Oakeshott who I’m told has got a good chance of unseating Luke Hartsuyker, this man as much as Julia Gillard or Kevin Rudd or Tony Windsor was responsible for people drowning at sea, was responsible for boats re-commencing, responsible for kids going into detention and please do not vote for these Independents.
It doesn’t matter which independent you’re talking about they will be populist, they won’t support the reforms that the government has to make the country secure and the economy strong.
I would just ask people, please, to research more to make sure you that vote first for your Liberal or National Party candidate and don’t allow people like Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott back into the Parliament because they were a disaster last time and they would be at the heart of a Shorten-Greens Government and that would just be an absolutely chaotic period for our country. We can’t afford that at this time.
Just one final thing before you go. You go to the poll on Saturday and people need to be aware, my listeners have made me aware, of one party in particular, and as a former Minister for the portfolio you’d be concerned, they’ve somehow go to call themselves the Health Australia Party and in New South Wales they’ve managed to draw the coveted first column on the Senate ballot paper which means a bit like David Leyonhjelm previously they’ll get a donkey vote.
Now these are the people that focus on anti-fluoride and no jab, no vaccinations, I mean how they could call themselves the Health Australia Party is a misnomer to start with, the people of Australia need to be alerted to that fact.
Well Ray, this is a very good point and it’s not just this party it’s the other Independents.
The CFMEU are backing many of the independent candidates including Glenn Lazarus and these people will not be good for our country.
If they’re voted in in the Lower House or the Senate it just adds up to chaos and dysfunction and our government needs to be stable, that’s what Malcolm Turnbull offers at this election, Bill Shorten is still leading a divided team and frankly he’s unfit to be Prime Minister of this country.
Whether its GetUp lying about hospital funding, whether its Bill Shorten running a scare campaign on Medicare, there are elderly women ringing my office in the morning crying about the abuse that they’d received from phone calls from union thugs telling them they wouldn’t their Medicare card; all of this proves that Bill Shorten is unfit to be Australia’s Prime Minister and these independent candidates, regardless of who they are, they are not going to act in the best interests of our country.
That’s why I say to all Australians, please, put your Liberal or National Party candidate first that’s how we’ll get stable government, that’s how we’ll grow the economy and jobs and take care of those we need to take care of in this great country and it’s the only recipe for keeping our borders secure, our community safe and our economy very strong.
OK thanks for talking to us every Thursday through the course of this last election period and we’ll talk again in a fortnight.