Subject: Manus Regional Processing Centre Closure
E & EO Transcript
Thank you for being here today.
I’m really pleased that people have now moved out of the Regional Processing Centre.
People were given six months notice that the Regional Processing Centre was closing. The very clear message that the Government's had from day one, that I repeat today, is that these people will not becoming to Australia.
The Australian taxpayer has provided millions of dollars for new centres for new arrangements for people to leave the Regional Processing Centre and to move into those centres.
What we want now is for people to accept their offer to go to the United States, to accept the resettlement package and go back to their country of origin, to settle in PNG, to go to Nauru; but under no circumstances are people coming to Australia.
I've been very clear with the advocates here in Australia and I repeat this again today: you are offering out false hope to people who are in a difficult situation, as we've seen with the footage over the last couple of weeks, you have compounded their problems by allowing them some message of false hope that somehow if they stayed in the Regional Processing Centre in those conditions, that it would twist the arm of the Australian Government that we would change our policy and somehow those people would settle in Australia.
That cruel hoax needs to come to an end.
The Labor Party and the Greens and these advocates have been holding out this cruel hoax and providing this false promise to people who are in a very difficult situation and it needs to come to an end today.
I see Mr Newman has put out a press release calling for all sorts of things. He should put out a press release apologising on behalf of the Labor Party for putting these people on Manus Island in the first place.
Now we will work with the PNG authorities, as we have done in the past, to make sure thtat services are provided at the East Lorengau centre, at Hillside Haus and the other centres, provided by way of accommodation, for these people.
But I have been very clear that the intelligence has said to us that if you send people to New Zealand, the boats will restart and New Zealand is not an option that’s on the table for us now and for Labor to be calling for these people to go immediately to New Zealand shows the same emotion that Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard had when they undid the policies that stopped the boats under John Howard.
It's very clear to all Australians that if Bill Shorten was to be the Prime Minister after the next election, then clearly the Left would take the policy over again, the boats would restart, the drownings at sea would recommence and the kids would be back in detention.
Now I’m not going to allow that to happen.
We are not going to have deaths at sea. I'm not going to allow the people smugglers to get back in control of this arrangement.
Operation Sovereign Borders has come together over the last few years. We made announcements about the closure of the Regional Processing Centre as the next stage in Operation Sovereign Borders and we are not going to blink in the face of people smugglers trying to put new people onto boats. That is not going to happen under this Government.
I am pleased that people have moved out of the Regional Processing Centre. I want to thank the PNG authorities for the work that they've done. Both the immigration authorities as well as the police on Manus Island and we will continue to work with these people to see if the offer of a resettlement in one of these other countries can be facilitated because, as I say, under no circumstance will people be coming to Australia.
Mr Dutton have you heard of any reports of injuries from the authorities or the people they were removing this morning?
My understanding of the injuries, and this may have been an injury from yesterday, but talking about three people as I understand. All three are if a minor nature, one is dehydration which, actually again I think was an issue from yesterday. There was an issue with a person who was running from the centre, tripped, and I think has minor grazings I am advised, and I’m advised there is one other person has an ankle issue which I think relates to an insect bite or something. That's the information I have, that I've been advised of.
There are lots of claims here, all I would say to you is, look at the facts as opposed to the emotion. All of the claims that have been made over months and months by advocates here have all been designed not to convey fact to the Australian people or to the media, they have been designed to try and run a propaganda war to try and twist the Government's arm to bring people here.
So there is a lot of emotion in this space. People have been moved from the Regional Processing Centre into the new arrangements and we will provide whatever support we can. As I say whatever support we can to see people resettle elsewhere.
I've said for a long time, I wanted the Regional Processing Centre closed. I don't want people living there. We've provided the new arrangements, but it is a temporary arrangement until people can go back to their country of origin.
Were you concerned at all about any footage that has been released showing police hitting someone?
Well again I would like to see the footage, because there are lots of claims made on social media. There are clips that are taken, but a lot of this doesn't add up to the facts on the ground.
People have complained about the living conditions within the Regional Processing Centre because they trashed the place and we've provided a new $10 million facility for people to move into.
We didn't trash the accommodation. We turned the water and power off with six months notice and asked them to move from that centre into the new centre, and again, all of this is designed by way of trying to twist the Government's arm which is just not going to happen.And offering out this false hope to people is unacceptable.
The fact is the Regional Processing Centre was on the naval base on Manus Island. If people were squatting here in Enoggera or at Holsworthy, wherever it might be on a naval base or an army or defence base around the country, at some point the police would move in to move them out.
These people had been given ample notice to move out of the Regional Processing Centre because we wanted to move them into a better, newer, accommodation facility.
The fact people have tried to twist this into some sort of political outcome, particularly the actions of the Greens and the Labor Party here, have been completely shameless, given that they were the parties in Government when these people tried to arrive in Australia by boat and were sent to Manus Island.
There will be another rally tonight, no doubt, with the election tomorrow. What do you say to those people – is it still going to be false hope?
People can march all they want. I've presided over an an arrangement where I've got every child out of detention. I've closed 17 detention centres. We had the biggest offshore intake of refugees last year since 1983. So we have the ability to control our borders and still have a generous intake of refugees. But I'm not going to allow 1200 people to drown at sea.
All of these do-gooders and advocates and people that are holding out this false hope, and frankly, lying to the people on Manus Island, where were they when 1200 people drowned at sea and 8,000 kids went into detention under Labor?
Where were they?
This is the difficulty – they are full of advice and no doubt some of them have big hearts and are generous, but they are providing false hope.
These people are not coming to Australia.
I've been clear and consistent, we’ve not said one thing and done something else.
The advice is clear, if you allow people to go to New Zealand, and it’s a back doorway into Australia, the boats will restart.
That's Labor's recipe for disaster after we're still in the process of cleaning up their last disaster.
So it seems to me that Bill Shorten and the Labor Party haven't learnt the lessons of Rudd and Gillard and if they were elected at the next election, you would see the same deaths at sea and the same disaster of people arriving on boats.
Just going back to the trashing that you mentioned earlier, do you have any proof of that vandalism?
Well you've seen the footage which is clear for all people to see. Their own footage which they tried to spin into people being led to believe that somehow that was the condition in which they were asked to live.
They were told six months ago that we had a close date of 31st of October. The new facility was arranged. It was built. Its been provided for by the PNG authorities with Australian Government funding. Yet, all of these actions, as I say, are designed to try and get a different political outcome.
Now the Greens might think if people come from Manus, that's a great political win for them. They didn't care when people drowning at sea when they were in Coalition with the Labor Government under Gillard.
But the fact is that we have stopped those drownings, we have got the kids out of detention, I want to get people off Manus Island. I didn't put the people on Manus Island. My responsibility is to get them off and clean up Labor's mess and that's what I'm doing.
The PNG police spokesman says that the future of the men on Manus is Australia’s responsibility, what’s your response to that?
There's been a Regional Processing Centre arrangement that was signed by Mr Rudd and Prime Minister O'Neill, that's the arrangement that we operate under which is the Government to Government agreement and obviously we work very closely with the PNG authorities and, as I said before, I thank very much the efforts of the customs and immigration people within PNG, as well as the PNG defence force, where the base is located, as well as the police within PNG as well.
But the Regional Processing Centre arrangements that we operate under were negotiated by Labor.
They mean that people that have been found to be refugees have the ability to settle in PNG and that's the arrangement we operate under to this very day.