Subjects: Redcliffe People’s Forum – Shorten, IMA children out of detention, returns to Nauru, third country resettlement.
Journalist: Now Bill Shorten tonight as I mentioned was fairly generous in signalling that Labor may be willing to offer more on a number of fronts, whether it’s child care, whether it’s private health insurance concerns people have or indeed helping workers at Arrium steel.
The inevitable response I’m sure is how do you pay for all of this. But hip-pocket concerns are very real in this election.
Peter Dutton: Well if you’re looking at seats like Petrie, like Dickson, like Longman, those outer suburban seats in Queensland they’re very representative of what’s happening right around the country in outer metropolitan areas.
The people are stuck in congestion, they’re worried about issues locally and what we’ve seen tonight though is I think a gross act of irresponsibility of holding out false hope to some people and effectively stuffing their pockets full of cash – borrowed cash – because the Labor Government when they were last in power plunged us into enormous debt and so people would expect to go away happy tonight because Bill Shorten’s told everybody that he spoke to exactly what it is that they wanted to hear.
Journalist: So what should he be saying that we just can’t afford any of this stuff?
Peter Dutton: Well I think he has to be responsible and I think what we’ve seen tonight from Bill Shorten is a man that is prepared to promise anything or say anything to anybody to win the election.
I am very worried about what I’ve seen tonight because Labor put this country into generational debt and I think what we’ve seen tonight is a Prime Minister Rudd in- waiting it would seem from his own perspective because tipping money out the door is always popular, but it’s not responsible for a leader and I think people would be worried about what they’ve seen from Bill Shorten tonight.
Journalist: Does it worry you also that the electorate isn’t so concerned it would seem from the crowd here tonight about where the budget’s at?
They each have their own issue of, you know, pressure that they’re feeling financially and they want it addressed, they want the Government to spend more.
Peter Dutton: But David I think people are smarter than what we give credit sometimes and I think people understand like their own household budget, if there’s a thousand dollars a week coming into your household budget you can’t be spending two thousand dollars.
Bill Shorten has stood up here tonight, he’s promised more recklessly than what Julia Gillard did and I think effectively Bill Shorten is the most dangerous leader of the Labor Party since Gough Whitlam and I think this is a very great concern for our country.
Already he has unpromised funding of $51 billion. He’s added billions – tens of billions of dollars tonight…….
Journalist: Let me just take up on the $51 billion because the Government hammers Bill Shorten on that number. That is made of things like restoring all of the foreign aid spending that the Government’s taken…….…
Peter Dutton: …..and they’ve pledged to do that……
Journalist: ……not all of it necessarily……
Peter Dutton: …..well Tanya Plibersek has pledged to do that. Now Bill Shorten might be alarmed by her words, but she pledged to do that and they’ve pledged many, many other things and you know, there’s nothing worse than an election where you have a leader trying to be responsible wanting to be Prime Minister promising everything to everybody. People will see through that.
But tonight people have walked out of here, as I say, with cash stuffed into their pockets.
The problem is we’re borrowing every dollar and the Government of the day needs to be responsible and I think Bill Shorten has demonstrated tonight that he’s not up to that task.
Journalist: Do you at least give him a tick for doing something Oppositions don’t generally and that is announcing various tax rises to pay for some of this?
Peter Dutton: Well we’ve only seen just a snippet of what Labor’s tax increases will be. So they’ve been honest in saying that taxes will be jacked up under Labor. As a result house prices will go down and rents will go up just because of their crazy policy around negative gearing and we have to wait and see what other taxes will go up.
But clearly taxes will have to go up under Labor to pay for this reckless spending.
Journalist: Let me turn to your portfolio. Now this week of course you’ve been able to announce that all children who came by boat are out of detention.
There are still – because there’s been some reporting around this – some other children who came via different means still in detention.
Peter Dutton: Well there are two cases at the moment David. So where we have people who arrived by air, maybe on false passports or travel documents or they’re out in the community they’ve over stayed their visa, the compliance officers obviously will take those people, that family for instance into custody until we can put them on a plane to depart to their country of origin.
So that of course is the normal course of things.
Our pledge to get kids out of detention that arrive by boat has been met and honoured in spirit and deed and we have been able to reduce the number from 8500 children under Labor in detention now down to zero and the last thing that we want is a weak government led by Bill Shorten that would allow the boats to recommence.
Journalist: What about those 70 I think it is kids, babies included, who are eligible to be returned to Nauru. What happens to them?
Peter Dutton: Well we have to think not only about them, but the children who drowned at sea David. So there were 1200 people, 1200 people, who drowned at sea when Labor lost control of our borders.
There are 14,000-plus people in Indonesia ready to get on the boats now and I don’t want to see more drownings at sea. I don’t want to see what is on the television screens across Europe now. I mean people are drowning; countries have lost control of their borders.
The Australian public demand that the Australian Government has secure borders. That’s what we’ve delivered.
We’ve cleaned up Labor’s mess and we want to get people off Nauru and Manus as quickly as possible, but we’ve got people here who are saying ‘don’t accept the Government’s package to return to your country of origin’ and that makes it tough.
But we will work through these issues.
People said we couldn’t stop the boats, they said we wouldn’t clean up Labor’s mess.
We have stopped the boats and we are cleaning up Labor’s mess and we don’t want Bill Shorten dictated to by the unions and the left of his party which would see boats recommence.
Journalist: What about the long term solution, the third country option for those who are still at Nauru and Manus Island.
There’s been efforts made on a number of fronts, but where are you at in trying to find something more permanent, more concrete?
Peter Dutton: Well we’re working through those discussions with the countries because we do want people off Nauru and Manus and we don’t want new arrivals to fill the vacancies.
The difficulty of course is if you don’t want to create a pull factor. So you don’t want to create a situation where you provide an incentive for people to come from Indonesia or Sri Lanka, Vietnam, India, wherever it might be, to the people smugglers, hop on the boats, come to Australia because they think that well we’ll come to Australia or another destination which is appealing, I don’t want to see people coming from Europe that think borders have been closed there beating a path through Malaysia into Indonesia then hopping onto boats.
That would be a disaster because we would see people drown at sea and we would see new boat arrivals and I’m just not going to allow for that to happen.
Journalist: Peter Dutton, Immigration Minister and nearby local member. Thank you very much for joining us tonight.