Immigration and Border Protection

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January 07, 2019


SUBJECTS: Fraser Anning, Immigration, Emma Husar, Sudanese Community

SHAYNE NEUMANN, SHADOW MINISTER FOR IMMIGRATION AND BORDER PROTECTION: Well thanks for being here. I see the Government has announced some statistics, about 800 non-citizens have been punted from Australia under 501 of the Migration Act. Can I say that Labor supports the character cancellation provisions of 501 of the Migration Act. We supported it when the Government made amendments back in 2014 and we continue to do so today.

If an Immigration Minister believes someone a risk to the Australian community or has reasonable suspicions they failed the character cancellation provisions, then the Minister should punt them out of the country, if they’re a non-citizen.

But what’s really important in this regard, is the fact that there are serious doubts as to whether Minister Peter Dutton is qualified to actually sit in the Australian Parliament. And those 800 decisions, if any of them have been made by him, they are subject to legal doubt and legal challenges as is happening at the moment.
These things are far too important – the community safety, the territorial integrity of this country – to be put at risk in any way by decisions of Mr Dutton. So I’m calling on the Prime Minister Scott Morrison to refer Peter Dutton to the High Court, so that these things can be resolved.

We don’t want any criminals who pose serious threats to the Australia community being put back on the street because Mr Dutton is not constitutionally eligible to sit in the Australian Parliament and be a minister of the crown.

I want to say something about Senator Fraser Anning. Racist, right-wing extremist views have no place in the Australian community, in the contemporary Australia. And Senator Anning had absolutely no excuse for going to that Nazi rally over the weekend.

I agree with Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk that the people of Queensland should punt this bloke out of federal parliament at the next election. Australia is a modern multicultural society. We are a very successful country. Nearly one in two Australians are either born overseas or have at least one parent born overseas. No country in the world matches that.

And our multicultural society and migration has benefited this country. We are smarter, we are richer, we are more diverse, as a result of our migration system. And it’s a non-discriminatory migration system we’ve enjoyed for decades in this country.

I want to say to Senator Anning, if a person talks like a Nazi, salutes like a Nazi, they’re a Nazi. It’s impossible to think he wouldn’t have seen that happening at that rally over the weekend. And it’s impossible that he wouldn’t have seen the Nazi paraphernalia on display at that rally, which we have all seen in the media over the weekend.

He should have the integrity to pay back to the taxpayers of this country the cost that he incurred for going to that rally. What’s a Queensland Senator going to a rally in Victoria on law and order issues got to do with his responsibilities? He’s supposed to represent the people of Queensland. He should be ashamed of himself. The rally was abhorrent. He is a disgrace and I am ashamed that he calls himself a Queenslander.

He should do the right thing. Apologise. Explain to the Australian public his actions. We need contrition and we need sorrow and it’s about time he redeems himself in the eyes of the Australian public by doing the right thing, saying he is sorry and repaying this money and saying he’ll never do it again. Happy to answer any questions.

JOURNALIST: Do you think Australians find it acceptable at all that maybe a few thousand dollars of taxpayer money is going to attend a far-right rally?

NEUMANN: Well he shouldn’t have gone there in the first place. It wouldn’t pass the pub test. If you walked down to Queen Street Mall here in Brisbane, they would think that’s unacceptable. He should have known better and he shouldn’t have done it in the first place.

JOURNALIST: Are you concerned about the rise of neo-fascist protests in Australia, given what we are seeing in Europe and overseas?

NEUMANN: We’re seeing this, this is a phenomenon that’s been going around Europe, the United States and even here is Australia. And people need to call it out, it’s a disgrace, it is disgusting. They have no place in modern multicultural Australia, and Fraser Anning, who is supposed to be a Senator, who is supposed to be representing my home state of Queensland, should know better, he should apologise and he should repay this money.

JOURNALIST: Should travel rules be changed so that events like this in the future politicians can’t charge the taxpayer to attend?

NEUMANN: We’ve got an IPEA, which I support, that process. But Fraser Anning should know better, he should repay this money. He should apologies to the Senate. I mean this is a bloke I might add, whose vote props up the Morrison Government in the Senate. He votes with the Government more than 90 per cent of the time. I mean this is bloke that really should have known much better than he did over the weekend.

JOURNALIST: So it’s fine to leave it on a case-by-case basis? We don’t need to change it so any other rallies like this, that obviously you’re condemning, can’t be charged to the taxpayer at all?

NEUMANN: He should use his judgement and do the right thing and of course the IPEA will look at this, they always do in relation to decisions. We have to be accountable for the use of taxpayer’s money and this particular bloke should have known much better and he should apologise to the public for what he did.

JOURNALIST: In your home state of Queensland, how do you assess the threat level of Sudanese or other African gangs?

NEUMANN: I think the Sudanese community make an important contribution, certainly in the Brisbane and Ipswich area and across Queensland like other migrant communities. I was part of the Joint Standing Committee on Migration which looked at settlement services in this country. I want to say that Fraser Anning should listen to the experts – the Queensland Police, the Victorian Police. They’re the experts in law enforcement. He shouldn’t have done what did over the weekend. I’ll leave it up to them to make comment in relation to this. But I tell you what, the Sudanese community that I know in my electorate make an important contribution to the life of this country and in my electorate as well.

JOURNALIST: What did you make of Emma Husar’s comments today regarding women in the Labor Party? And are the upper echelons of the party dominated by men

NEUMANN: The Labor Party takes very seriously workplace complaints and that’s why there was an independent assessment in relation to those complaints. But I note the comments by Acting Leader, Tanya Plibersek, and I support them. Labor is proud of its record to promote and support women in public life. We see strong women who are making an important contribution, like Tanya Plibersek and Senator Penny Wong – our leader in the Senate. Here in my home state of Queensland the Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk and Deputy Premier, Jackie Trad. The Officials we have in Queensland at the peak level, and in New South Wales are all women. And Labor supports that. Our record in terms of supporting policies that benefit women, our representation in Federal Parliament far exceeds the coalition parties, who have a long way to catch up to Labor.

JOURNALIST: Touching on Mr Anning again quickly, do you think he is just trying to create controversy to help his election chances?

NEUMANN: I’ll leave it up to him to talk about his campaign activities and what he thinks is in the best interests, but I tell you what, Queenslanders are decent, honourable, law abiding people. They understand tolerance and inclusiveness and Fraser Anning’s activities on the weekend do not represent the majority of Queenslanders. He should be ashamed of himself.

JOURNALIST: A Saudi Arabian woman who wanted to claim asylum in Australia has been detained by Saudi authorities in Thailand, should the Government step in and intervene?

NEUMANN: I never comment on individual cases, because if we win the election I may have to make decisions in relation to them. It has been my practice not to comment on individual cases and I’ll continue to do that.

JOURNALIST: Are you hearing anything from your constituents concerned about those Sudanese gangs?

NEUMANN: The Sudanese community make an important contribution, we should leave it up to law enforcement as I have said. They’re the experts in this area – the Victoria Police and the Queensland Police – in relation to these issues. Thanks very much.