Transcript

Tony Abbott transcript - Doorstop Interview, Parliament House, Canberra

Subjects: Federal election; the Government’s failed border protection policies; State of Origin.

 

EO&E...........................................................................................................................................

 

TONY ABBOTT:

Well, 100 days to go, 100 days until the election, 100 days until the Australian people finally have the choice between a government which is incompetent and untrustworthy and an Opposition which is offering new hope to the Australian people. We will stop the boats, we will repeal the carbon tax and we will get the Budget back under control. That’s what we offer the Australian people: our Real Solutions plan, and that is the change that I think Australia needs right now.

 

QUESTION:

The Government says that you’re using national security as a political plaything. What’s your response to that over this asylum seeker at Inverbrackie?

 

TONY ABBOTT:

Well, plainly there has been a serious breach of national security and obviously the Prime Minister would not have been dragged kicking and screaming to an inquiry if there wasn’t a problem.

 

QUESTION:

And what, though, of the claims that it’s all just politics?

 

TONY ABBOTT:

What it is, is a situation where a convicted jihadist terrorist was kept for almost 12 months behind a pool fence including almost eight months after the authorities knew exactly who he was and what he had done. Now, it was an extraordinary spectacle in the Parliament yesterday where Minister after Minister stood up and said, sure, the authorities might have known but we were kept in the dark. Now, this is completely unacceptable.

QUESTION:

There’s new evidence this morning on the 457 visa scheme being exploited with exorbitant deposits being demanded of people and no guarantee of any permanent work. Do you concede that there are problems in the system?

 

TONY ABBOTT:

There is almost nothing which is absolutely perfect and there is almost nothing which is absolutely

fool-proof but the Minister claimed that there were some 10,000 examples of rorts and he wasn’t able to produce any evidence at all. Now we have a media report that there may have been up to 200 examples of maltreatment of people on 457 visas. Well, let the authorities look into this and let them deal with it but the fact is people coming to this country on 457 visas are making a valuable contribution; they’re coming here legally, they’re working, they’re paying taxes from day one and it’s really contemptible that a government which has lost control of our borders, that has surrendered in the face of illegal migration, is now trying to whip up fury against legal migration and as Simon Crean said just the other day, look, this is simply

dog-whistling from a bad government.

 

QUESTION:

Labor MPs have started packing up their offices today. Is that a concession that they’re going to lose the election to you?

 

TONY ABBOTT:

Well, it's another sign that it’s 100 days to go until the election, 100 days until the Australian people finally get their say on a bad government, 100 days until the Australian people finally get to pass judgment on this government and it's a very clear choice between a government which is incompetent and untrustworthy and the Coalition which has a Real Solutions plan for the Australian people.

 

QUESTION:

You say you’ll stop the boats. Will that happen in a first term?

 

TONY ABBOTT:

The short answer is yes. We will make a difference from day one. We've done it before. We will do it again. The elements of our plan are very clear: we will have temporary protection visas to deny the people smugglers a product to sell; rigorous offshore processing at Nauru and Manus; we will always maintain the option of turning boats around where it's safe to do so; and we will work much more constructively and closely with Indonesia because the vast majority of the illegal arrivals transit through that country.

 

QUESTION:

You've offered timeframes in the past. Why not today?

 

TONY ABBOTT:

We will make a difference from day one.

 

QUESTION:

Why do you need a parliamentary inquiry into this Egyptian man when the top watchdog on security intelligence is already examining the case?

 

TONY ABBOTT:

We think the best thing would be a fully independent inquiry. We know there's the option of a parliamentary inquiry on the table and what we want is a full, wide-ranging inquiry into the national security implications of this particular failure and into the national security implications of people arriving illegally by boat.

 

QUESTION:

So, what's your concern about the independence of the inquiry that the Prime Minister has announced?

 

TONY ABBOTT:

I have no issues with the Inspector-General of Security, I think Vivienne Thom is a person of repute, but given the scale of misinformation, given the fact that so many ministers were apparently in the dark even though ASIO knew in August of last year, the AFP knew in November of last year, the Minister's office was apparently advised some time last year but there was no follow up with the Minister's office when the brief didn’t come back – this reveals monumental incompetence. It also seems to reveal a culture where people didn't ask and weren't told. That's why we need an independent, wide-ranging inquiry into the national security implications of the Government's border protection failures.

 

QUESTION:

What are your thoughts on State of Origin, by the way?

 

TONY ABBOTT:

Well, you see I’m wearing a blue tie and finally my blue tie choice has been vindicated!

Thank you.