Subjects: Anthony Albanese’s offshore processing gaffe
CHRIS KENNY: Let’s go to the Minister in charge of this area. Karen Andrews joins us live from the Gold Coast. Thanks for joining us. What is wrong with that first formulation from Anthony Albanese? If he could turn back all the boats, sure he wouldn’t need offshore processing.
KAREN ANDREWS: Well the flip flopping from Mr Albanese has been absolutely staggering. I was horrified when I heard him make that statement this morning. It’s clear that he doesn’t understand what border protection policy is all about, stopping the boats – doing turn backs – is a key part of the border protection policy that has kept our borders safe and secure for such a long time now – in fact since Labor was last in Government. So to say that ‘if you turn back boats you don’t need to have regional processing’ – that’s effectively cutting out one of the most significant pillars of the border protection policy that has been so successful. Now the question is, did he make a blunder? Or did he say what he would do if was ever elected and became Prime Minister of this country? I think that whilst he might have scurried back later and had a few things to say and salvage the situation, the obvious question to all Australians is firstly, who is this man? What does he stand for? And is what he stood for yesterday, the same as what it will be today or tomorrow? But our border protection policies are something that you can’t have someone who is incompetent in charge of. It’s just so clear, and when he made the error about economic indicators, he tried to wave it away by saying ‘people didn’t die.” Well – if you get border protection wrong people do die, and people did die under the last Labor government.
KENNY: I think it’s clear he doesn’t understand this area. He doesn’t understand you need the full suite of policies in this area – if you leave an opening, people will exploit it, and it’s impossible to actually turn all boats back, its best when you do but it’s impossible. So he doesn’t understand it, but he’s not the person who would have to make the decision, it’s Kristina Kennelly. In this situation you have to be incredibly tough, you get increasable abuse, you need strong character. You haven’t had to do that in your term as Minister as I understand, actually make that decision to turn boats back or send people into regional processing. Certainly Peter Dutton and Scott Morrison did have to do that. Do you think Kristina Kennelly or Anthony Albanese will have that strength of character to make those really tough decisions?
ANDREWS: Well I don’t think they have the policy commitment from Labor to do it in the first instance. In my case, I have been very clear since day one that I will not have people die on my watch and I absolutely mean that. If that means turning boats around I will do it without hesitation; I have no issues at all with that. But it’s not clear what Mr Albanese’s position is, they flip flop all the time, they flip flop from hour to hour – it’s not just days. He said very clearly he was happy to talk about when he was Deputy Prime Minister in 2013 and try and make claims that he understood what border protection was all about. Well back in those days, 50,000 people arrived illegally on 800 plus boats, 1,200 died at sea, so is he going to own that? Or does he just want the nice parts of when he was DPM?
KENNY: Well also back then they said you physically could turn boats back, it would start conflict with Indonesia. Thanks for clarifying your position there for us, Karen Andrews I appreciate your time.
ANDREWS: Pleasure, thank you.