Hectoria: This week on the Paradigm Shift we are covering new developments in Australia’s refugee debate where the Supreme Court of PNG has found the asylum seeker detention centre on Manus Island is illegal. I spoke with the Immigration Minister, Peter Dutton, earlier today.
Could you please introduce yourself?
Minister: My name is Peter Dutton, I’m a Liberal member of the Australian House of Representatives representing the Division of Dickson, Queensland, since November 2001. I am currently serving as Minister for Immigration and Border Protection since 2014.
Hectoria: Why is Manus illegal and yet Nauru is not?
Minister: That is a matter for the PNG and Nauruan governments.
Hectoria: But the High Court of Australia said that the cruel detention of refugee M68 and her baby on Nauru is lawful?
Minister: And rightly so …
Hectoria: But the Australian government has given the President of Nauru $27,893,633 to detain refugees on regional processing visas?
Minister: We are trying to protect lives of boat people at sea and to stop merciless exploitation by people smugglers.
Hectoria: But the Australian government took Reza Barati from the sea and placed him on Manus where he was murdered. A security guard and a Salvation Army worker at Manus detention centre were later charged with his murder.
Minister: We need to allow justice to take its proper course.
Hectoria: But the Australian government transported a 23 year old Iranian man to his murder at the hands of thugs on Manus?
Minister: That is a matter for PNG police and their courts not ours.
Hectoria: But Mr Justice Keane of the Australian High Court said in his judgement about Nauru held that the immediate purpose of the legislation is the facilitation of the removal of unauthorised maritime arrivals from Australia. That is not licence to murder refugees in a third country.
Minister: I don’t know all the facts of case M68.
Hectoria: Isn’t that just code for the facts are what you say and if refugees beg to differ your response is, prove it.
I am asking you who killed Reza Barati, why did he die and who is guilty?
Minister: That was a previous government, a different minister.
Hectoria: That’s no excuse, G4S and the Australian government killed Reza Barati …
Minister: I am keeping the world safe for you. It is what I was appointed to do. The refugees that have to flee are not my responsibility. Don’t point your finger at me. Barati was in prison to keep you free.
Hectoria: I think we should terminate the interview here.