612 ABC Brisbane Drive with Emma Griffiths, 28 August 2017

SUBJECT/S: Asylum Seekers.                                                                        

EMMA GRIFFITHS: Graham Perrett is the Labor Member for the seat of Moreton, just across the way from Andrew Laming.  Graham Perrett, $40 million is a lot of money to be spending to support people who do not have citizenship, have not been granted refugee status.  Isn’t it better if they leave? 

GRAHAM PERRETT, MEMBER FOR MORETON:  It certainly – what, is it one-third of what it costs for the postal survey?  Yeah, it is a significant amount of money, but Andrew is being quite specious to conflate the conditions of pensioners and how these four hundred people are being treated.  Now I haven’t read all four hundred cases as Andrew seems to have done, so I can’t say what every individual circumstance is, but I do know this - we’ve got a government starting its fifth year in office next week, and we’ve got people in a temporary treatment facility that are still in the same spot they were when the Abbott Government took office.  So we’ve got an Immigration Minister, the second one, who is clearly not doing his job and seems to be trotting out this sort of cruelty to cover for his own incompetence.

EMMA GRIFFITHS: What would Labor do if you were in power though Graham Perrett?  Because I’ve seen the Immigration spokesman, Shayne Neumann basically just saying, well they shouldn’t be here if they arrived by boat – they’re not to be in Australia, so the best thing he could think of was to sort out this agreement with the United States and Donald Trump.

GRAHAM PERRETT: Well, that’s obviously the low hanging fruit there.  The only thing standing between the way for legitimate refugees making applications to settle and be settled in the US is Peter Dutton – is the Immigration Minister – the guy in charge of this super-Ministry, who is not doing his job.  We know from the transcript of the phone call released by President Donald Trump, that there is a process there.  He’s not happy with it, but there is a process there.  There are two hundred countries around the world – now not all of them would be ready to take asylum seekers obviously – but there are thirty-seven different countries who do take refugees…

EMMA GRIFFITHS: What about New Zealand?

GRAHAM PERRETT: Well, there’s all sorts of options there.  But we’re in opposition.  Peter Dutton – I mean it’s hard to think of someone who could be more incompetent than Scott Morrison, the guy that spent $50 million to send five or six people to Cambodia – but this bloke, starting his fifth year in office as of next week and still hasn’t moved these people.  It’s become - well I think when the powerful treat the weakest people in this nation cruelly I think that is, if not immoral, it is certainly un-Australian and I can’t believe that they are using this as a distraction at the moment – giving all this information to newspapers as if – setting up these most vulnerable people – who some might have some individual question-marks hanging over their heads  - but as a distraction from some of their other political worries, it’s unforgiveable as far as I can see.

EMMA GRIFFITHS: Ok Graham Perrett, thanks very much for your time. 

ENDS

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