03 July 2013
Topics: Reform of Customs and Border Protection Service; asylum seekers; education; defence white paper; ALP leadership
JASON CLARE: Today I announced the reform of Customs and Border Protection. You will remember that just before Christmas, I announced that four people had been arrested, including one Customs officer for seeking to import illegal drugs into the country. I said then that Customs required major and comprehensive reform, and this is it. This is it and it’s broader than just reforms to tackle corruption and integrity issues.
Customs faces some very big challenges. Over the course of the next five years, the amount of cargo moving in and out of Australia is going to increase dramatically. The amount of air cargo will triple in the next five years. The number of passengers coming into and out of Australia will increase by eight million and this creates big challenges for an old organisation, an organisation that was one of the first established after federation, to be ready for the new century, to be ready for the Asian century.
It’s going to require new structures, new training, new recruitment processes, new promotion systems, and new equipment. The blueprint that I’m releasing today includes the establishment of a new strategic border command, the establishment of a new border force, a new national border targeting centre. It also includes the secondment of a commander in the Australian Federal Police to help with the running of criminal investigations and a new strategic relationship between the Federal Police and Customs in the investigation and management of serious offences. It also includes the consideration of establishing a Customs training college.
In the area of passengers at our airports, it also involves big reforms to the way in which passengers come into Australia and leave Australia. If you’ve been to the airport recently, you would have seen those SmartGates. If you’ve got a chip in your passport and you’re over 16, then you can use one of those gates to scan your passport, rather than line up and wait in a queue and have your passport stamped. The next step is expanding the use of that technology to more than just Australian citizens and New Zealand citizens, but expanding it to American citizens, UK citizens, and Chinese citizens as well.
Beyond that, the next step is making the same technology available for Australians when they depart Australia, not just when they come home. And the next step is looking at the next transformation in technology. The next generation of e-gates.
In the area of integrity and corruption reform, you would have seen last year I drove legislation through the parliament to establish integrity testing, drug and alcohol testing, and mandatory reporting. A couple of weeks ago, I announced the next tranche of reforms. That includes banning the use of personal mobile phones in Customs controlled areas at international airports. It also includes tighter controls over existing rosters and tighter controls over access to control rooms.
This report is the next step and it includes the introduction of time limits to certain to working in certain locations. Just like the New South Wales Royal Commission into the Police Force identified problems when people work in the one place for too long, and Kings Cross is the best example of that, we’ve seen evidence of that as well, so we’re going to limit the time people can spend in a certain area to certain periods of time. We’re also going to tighten up on secondary employment rules, tighten up on recruitment rules, to create higher standards there.
Now, all of this is a blueprint. It’s the big brush strokes. We now need to fill in the detail, and that will involve very closely with our staff, more than 5000 worth, as well as unions, importers, exporters, traders, customs brokers, our airports, and our ports. I’ll ask Mike to make the point, if you can, about just how important staff have been in developing this blueprint already. A lot of the great ideas that are imbedded in this blueprint are the ideas of our staff who’ve emailed us and said these are the things that we think we need to make our organisation better and strong. That’s what this is ultimately all about. It’s about people.
Back in December, when I announced those arrests, I got a phone call to my office from a Customs officer, a 20 year veteran, who said that he goes to the same coffee shop every day in his uniform and that day he went to that coffee shop wearing a jacket over his uniform he was that ashamed, that disgusted, that disappointed in what his fellow officers who’d sworn an oath had done. These reforms are about people like him. People who tell me that they bleed blue, who love their organisation, want Customs to be the best that it possibly can be, knows we’ve got big challenges, and these reforms are about helping to make sure that we meet those challenges.
So we’re both very happy to take your questions.
QUESTION: Why has it taken so long to get to this point? It was back in 2005 that we first discovered that baggage handlers were involved in drug smuggling through Sydney Airport. It’s eight years later and this is the first time we’re seeing any reform. Why has it taken so long?
JASON CLARE: It’s not true to say this is the first time we’ve seen reform. This is 18 months in the making. I was briefed on this in my first week in the job back 18 months ago. I knew from my experience working in the New South Wales Government some of the things that needed to be done straight away. So just like James Wood had recommended drug and alcohol testing and integrity testing, summary dismissal powers, and mandatory reporting, I picked up those ideas and implemented them straight away last year.
I couldn’t tell people why I was doing that at the time, but it was because of the investigation that ACLEI and the AFP were doing. The next step, the reforms that we announced only a fortnight ago were based on work that the Federal Police and ACLEI have done working with some of those officers that have been arrested, that have agreed to share with us, that have rolled over and provided us with information on how they defeated the system. The work that we’ve done there will help us to plug those vulnerability gaps.
These reforms that I’m announcing are based on the advice of Mike Pezzullo, the new chief executive of Customs, his team, all 5000 worth, their good ideas, but importantly also the advice of the Customs Reform Board. I didn’t mention it earlier, but in December I established a Customs Reform Board to provide us with independent oversight of this work. It’s headed up by three people; Ken Moroney, the former police commissioner in New South Wales; James Wood, the former royal commissioner here in New South Wales; and David Mortimer, the former CEO of TNT. Three men with very important skills.
James Wood. No better corruption hunter in the country than James Wood. Ken Moroney, with all of the experience necessary to make sure that we get the right systems and structures in place for a border force, for a force that wears a uniform that has special powers. David Mortimer, with all of those skills and experience in making sure we’ve got an organisation that can facilitate and assist trade as well as the movement of passengers.The advice of those three men, embedded in their report today, has helped to provide us with the next set of reforms.
QUESTION: Minister, how corrupt was Customs?
JASON CLARE: The overwhelming majority, John – the overwhelming majority of Customs officers are good, honest, hard working people. They bleed blue, they love their organisation, and they go to work every day to make Australia a safer place, and there was no one that was more let down by what they saw last year than our Customs officers. In December, I went to the airport and I met with some Customs officers and they said to me ‘go get them’. That was their simple message – ‘go get them’. They want to make sure that if people are acting corruptly, then we get them out of the system and get them out of the organisation and set up a system to make sure that they don’t come back.
So this is serious. Wherever there’s people that are abusing a position of power to import drugs that can end up on the street killing people, it is serious. We’ve had 20 people arrested, including four Customs officers and a DAFF officer, and I make this point as well that there is the potential for more arrests. When you get information like this, you treat it seriously, and I’ve treated it seriously since my first week in the job.
These are big reforms, and I’m determined not just to announce them, but to see them fully implemented.
QUESTION: Just on secondary employment. What kind of second jobs do your Customs officers have at the moment and what will you ban?
JASON CLARE: I might ask Mike Pezzullo just to go into a bit of detail there.
MIKE PEZZULLO: Thanks, Minister.
As in all organisations, there’s a process for achieving approval for secondary employment. Some of that employment can be somewhat related to your work. Just as you have in the police force, you have people working, for instance, in the security industry. That’s of concern to me. I’ve asked for that to be specifically looked at and targeted.
I’m not in any way suggesting that every member of the security industry – the private security industry – is questionable, but it is an area that needs to be looked at. Other people have completely disconnected work. They run businesses within their family, which involve the sort of artisan type work that you find in many small businesses.
There’s two rules that apply here. It’s approved, there’s no conflict of interest,a and if there’s a high level of risk, that authorisation to have that secondary employment will be withdrawn.
QUESTION: What about the restrictions on tenure, how long you stay in a particular position? What will [indistinct] and how long would envisage this being?
MIKE PEZZULLO: The blueprint says that in the vast majority of jobs that are operational in nature, so what you might shorthandedly call our blue collar work, out in the ports, in the wharves, on tarmacs in the airport, we’re looking at a fixed tenure period of approximately three years, which is in keeping with the sort of posting cycle that you would find in military services, police services, and other disciplined services.
Obviously, though, just as in defence or the police or the intelligence services, you’re going to have some occupations where very, very deep subject matter knowledge, technical knowledge, might not really start to mature until the second, third, or, indeed, fourth year. So we’ll go through each of our employment categories and look at where, by exception, longer periods in the job make sense, but generally speaking, in what you would describe as general duties, border patrol or border protection work, it’ll be around three years.
QUESTION: Why? Because of the risk of corruption? Is that…
MIKE PEZZULLO: No. Principally – in part for that reason, but principally, it’s actually a healthy workforce model. You sharpen up your skills. You keep your motivation up. We can actually then capture the value of the all three years and say we’d now like to challenge you and stretch you in terms of leadership. We’d like to step you up to the next level of leadership. Or we’d like to take that three years worth of employment value and put you into a lateral position where you might accrue another speciality.
So you might have been a border protection officer on the waterfront, but then we say you’re actually a pretty good analyst. How would you like to try your hand at being an intelligence analyst for three years. So it’s really about managing someone’s career in partnership with them. But yes, as you move people around, what you do in relation to the problems that were discovered, for instance, in the New South Wales police force by Justice Wood, is you break up those little cliques where the local corrupt leaders indoctrinate the new people who come in and then they manage their careers, if you like, as part of their criminal enterprise. And, as in New South Wales and as in our service, we need to break up those cliques.
JASON CLARE: Just adding to that, sorry, John. One of the things we’ve found is that a lot of people have felt that they were stuck. Stuck in working in airports and there’s only ever one job. You work in the airport or stuck at the ports and you only work at the ports. Part of the logic behind creating a border force, a national border force, is that we’re going to skill up these officers so that they could work in all of the different areas. One day, they could be at the airport, a couple of years later, they could be working at the ports or in the maritime space, giving them all of the different skills to work in all of those different areas, that also helps to tackle the risk of people acting corruptly because you don’t feel stuck in a rut where there’s no chance for advancement. You get all the skills to continually move into all of the different areas that Customs works in.
QUESTION: The Minister said the corruption was serious. In your view, having had [indistinct], how deep was it? And since you got the powers to terminate people, have you?
MIKE PEZZULLO: In terms of the first part of your question, I’m briefed as a consequence of being the chief executive on all of the targets that both the Federal Police and the Integrity Commissioner are after. I can say advisedly, without getting into the numbers, that the vast majority of our workers, of our staff, are hard working, decent, honest Australians who just want to do the right thing by their country and protect our borders.
In some cases, Some of them have done the wrong thing and have actually organised criminal enterprises. They’re being dealt with. A number of officers have been charged. One’s already gone to jail. More will follow under the processes of law. There are other targets that we’re looking at jointly with the Police and the Integrity Commissioner. They will soon feel the full force of the law. They will be dealt with under law.
Being briefed, as I am though, on all the operations and all the targets, I am very, very comfortable in assuring the public through this press conference, that the vast majority of our people do the right thing, want to do the right thing, and indeed in some cases when given the opportunity to do the wrong thing, don’t take that opportunity.
QUESTION: What guarantees can you give the Australian public that the corruption has been cleaned up since those arrests?
I’m not in any way contending that the corruption’s been cleaned up. I’ve just said that there are some active operations on foot. Some people will soon feel the full force of those operations. They’ll feel the sting of justice. And I can’t even say, after that wave occurs, that we’re completely clean. Can any police commissioner in this country, hand on heart say, that there’s not a small group, a clique, or a coupe of people hiding in the shadows exploiting their position. You can never have a perfect system. You can’t have it in the media. You can’t have it in politics. You can’t have it in any sphere of society. So when you say clean up, I hope the intention is not that we have absolute zero outcomes, we’re going to have zero tolerance.
JASON CLARE: Can I just add to that as well – a couple of things. One, we’re working off advice from the best corruption hunter in the business, James Wood. The work that we’ve done in closing those vulnerability gaps has been done by the Federal Police and ACLEI with the assistance of advice from some of these officers who have rolled over. The key here is not just filling those gaps now but continuing to pressure test those vulnerabilities, year after year as people try and find new ways to break the system. We can’t be naïve. There will always be weak people. There will always be people that have the potential to try and do the wrong thing to make a quick buck. That will always be the case.
But the message here that we’re sending out, loud and strong, is that this is not acceptable in any police force in the country, and it’s not acceptable in Customs, and we’re going to implement all of the reforms necessary to weed it out and make sure it doesn’t come back.
QUESTION: Minister, you would have seen reports today about gun running from overseas and the bikie gangs in Victoria. How concerned are you about this issue of direct [indistinct]. How concerned are you about the…[indistinct]?
JASON CLARE: Ian, concerned enough that last year I established a firearms intelligence targeting team. With Mike Pezzullo and Michael Carmody, early last year we established a firearms intelligence targeting team made up of Customs officers to target people that are trying to import guns into the country. One of those officers is embedded inside the New South Wales Police Force.
My expectation is in the future we need to embed Customs officers in the organised crime squads of Police right across the country. The work that team has done is already delivering results. It has helped, working with the New South Wales Police, the Federal Police as well as the DEA and the FBI, to crack open a gun running syndicate in Nashville late last year. So it’s doing good work.
To put this in perspective, there’s around about a quarter of a million illegal guns on the streets of Australia right now, and most of those weapons are guns that weren’t handed in after the Port Arthur Massacre or are stolen from legitimate owners. There are a lot of firearms out there if criminals want to get their hands on them. But it is right that they do try to import, and you need intelligence, criminal intelligence, to target those people and stop them from importing them.
Eighty-five per cent of the guns that we seize and the drugs we seize at the border are from criminal intelligence we get from Police or from other sources before they even get shipped to Australia. So the more Intel you’ve got the more guns, the more drugs that you seize, and that’s why we’re establishing a national border targeting centre. It’s going to be critical in harvesting all the information from organisations like the Federal Police, Customs, ASIO, DFAT, DAFF, other organisations that collect intelligence, fuse it all together to target the right criminals and target the drugs and stop them getting into the country.
QUESTION: Can you just explain the thinking behind expanding SmartGate, because doesn’t that put people under less scrutiny than seeing an actual Customs officer?
JASON CLARE: I’ll ask Mike to expand on that, but this is technology that makes the journey for the passenger off the plane and into their car quicker and easier. It means that you don’t have to line up for as long, or wait for your passport to be stamped. There are other steps in the process that Customs use to pre-screen people, sometimes a couple of days before they get on the plane. So all of that work is done before somebody even arrives in Australia.
SmartGate is a technology which is used in New Zealand and other countries as well. We think expanding it is a good idea. It’s going to help to speed that process up, but we’re also wise to the fact that it won’t be long before it’s old technology. At the moment you stop at a kiosk and then your face gets scanned and you walk through. The technology of the future might be a one stop process. Beyond that the technology might involve actually having all of that done as you walk from the plane to get your bag. Sort of scanning people on the move. Now that’s technology that we’ll see in the coming decades. But I might ask Mike to just expand.
I think there’s a mythology that sometimes is perpetuated by the representation of border clearance in both popular media and in movies and sometimes even on TV shows. If I had to rely on real time assessments made in a very few seconds of interaction between the arriving passenger and the officer who’s got to both make some judgements as well as keep that queue moving, Australia would have very thin defences.
Particularly with the rise of intelligence-led capability, and I must here pay very, very strong homage to the former ambassador in Brussels, Brendan Nelson, who negotiated a landmark treaty, as our ambassador, for access to what’s know as passenger name record information, which is a huge data store of passenger name records, basically your ticketing information. We secure it. Your privacy is respected. There are strong data protection protocols around it. With PNR as it’s called, to use the technical jargon, our aim ultimately is to triage and risk assess every flight before it even takes off.
I want to be able to know the three or four or five people I want off that plane before they even board at the other side. What I then want to do, either through an expansion of SmartGate or ultimately moving down the path of facial biometric recognition people move through from the airline door opening through those areas where the duty free shops are and all the rest of it, right down to baggage, I want to monitor behaviour. I want to do it in a lawful way. I want to do it in a way that protects civil liberties, and the best real time assessments I’m going to get from passengers moving through that process is not someone standing at a line, and if they’re ready to do the wrong thing, being prepared to spoof or deflect the officer, but I want to get them in their moments of vulnerability. I want to get the criminals when they’re least expecting it. And that’s what things like PNR data, facial recognition, CCTV and pre-crime intelligence does for you.
QUESTION: Can you give a clearer picture of the actual number of people who are currently being investigated for corrupt activity within the Customs , and how many of those people have gone on to be arrested and/or charged?
MICHAEL PEZZULLO: No, I can’t give the numbers, either of the operations or the number of targets in each operation, other than to say that the vast majority of our people do the right thing, are not under scrutiny and in some cases have actually, at some personal risk to themselves, alerted us to malpractice or misconduct.
QUESTION: In terms of corruption that you say still does exist within the Customs workforce, how extensive do you think that is?
MICHAEL PEZZULLO: I’m briefed in all the operations. We have a number of special inquires underway. Some led by the Integrity Commissioner, some led internally, but with reference back to the Integrity Commissioner. Knowing both the number of operations, the number of targets, the number of targets both within our agency and their criminal associates outside, we’ve got a workforce of 5000. I can say to the vast majority of our people are doing the right thing and are in fact helping us to harden the service. That’s all I’m prepared to say.
QUESTION: How disappointed are you at being dumped from the Rudd Cabinet and were you offered another portfolio?
JASON CLARE: No. Let me be really clear about this. I asked for this portfolio. I asked the Prime Minister to stay in Home Affairs and Justice, and this is the reason I did it. I’ve been working on this for 18 months. I’ve been working on this for over a year and we’ve now developed these reforms, and I not only want to see them developed and announced, I want to see them implemented. I want to see them fully implemented. So I asked the Prime Minister for permission to stay in this portfolio and he agreed, and I’m very grateful for that.
QUESTION: Why have there been no charges laid over the drugs in sport scandal and do you…[indistinct]?
JASON CLARE: First correction is I never said that. Another person said that. I never said that. I said this was serious that it involved a number of sports and multiple individuals. I made the point on a number of occasions. I’ll repeat it here now, that this investigation is going to take time. We’ve given ASADA extra resources and extra funding to do this work. Their work will take time but he change in behaviour that’s happened since that announcement has been significant, and it’s been immediate.
One of the anti-aging clinics that we’ve been very concerned about has now closed, and hasn’t reopened. The NRL has established an integrity unit. The AFL has stopped or banned the injection of players. We’ve had players come forward providing us with extra information, and there’s no sportsperson in the country now who doesn’t second guess the information they’re given about supplements or peptides or things to enhance their performance.
Remember this, this is not just about winning or losing at sport. It’s about the safety of young men and women. One of the drugs that a person, or a couple of people were banned for two years for using in Queensland recently, contributed to the death of a marathon runner in the London Marathon last year. So this is something that we’re very concerned about. The Australian Crime Commissioner said it earlier this year – I’d rather justify releasing this report with all the bad news it has in it than explain to a coroner why I didn’t. I think that says it all.
QUESTION: Are you disappointed that you’re out of Cabinet?
JASON CLARE: No. I think I’ve answered that question. I wanted to be Home Affairs Minister, and this is the reason why. These are big reforms that need to be fully implemented. This week the national anti-gang task force, that I’ve established, starts work. We’ve got an intelligence team set up in Canberra, but in addition to that we’ve got people set up in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane to kick off the work of setting up those strike teams that will start in January.
I’ve expanded Taskforce Polaris, which has been so successful in our ports, to Melbourne and to Brisbane. Taskforce Jericho – the Queensland version of that starts this Monday. Next week I’ll officially open the new Anti-Dumping Commission, The Australian Anti-Dumping Commission, that I’ve driven through the Australian Parliament over the course of the last few months. It starts work and that work is really, really important.
In two weeks time I will head to the United States for the first meeting of the Five-Eyes Homeland Security Group. This is something I’ve established with Janet Napolitano, the Homeland Security Secretary in the United States. We met last year and I said, look, we really need Homeland Security ministers from the US, the UK, Canada, New Zealand and Australia to meet on an annual basis. It hadn’t happened before. I said, look, we need to get this done. What’s happened in Boston and in London over the last few months reminds us how important a group like this is. I want to make sure that that delivers results, and there’s a lot on the agenda at that meeting as well.
I’ve also got a bit more unfinished business, and that’s national unexplained wealth laws. Ask any law enforcement officer, and they’ll say the key to driving down crime is seizing the cash and the assets from criminals. I’ve been fighting for this now for over a year. Every police commissioner in the country wants this. The police unions want it. It’s the politicians that are standing in the way and I’m determined to drive the implementation of national unexplained wealth laws.
So there’s a lot going on. A lot of unfinished business, and I want to get that done, and I’m very grateful to the Prime Minister for allowing me to continue in that job.
QUESTION: Just on the new measures announced today, where’s the money – has the money for that been announced already? Is that in the forward estimates or is there extra money going towards…
JASON CLARE: Good question. Some of these reforms don’t cost money. Others do. We’ve allocated about $120 million over the forward estimates for this reform program. That includes the $30 million for the national border targeting centre, as well as around about $90 million from the capital budget re-allocated to fund some of these projects in the forward estimates.
Now, beyond that, if there’s a need for more funding, what I’ve asked Customs to do is to develop a two pass business case to present to government as part of the 14-15 budget process.
QUESTION: [indistinct]… what, if any changes to our current [indistinct] protection policies can we expect in this first meeting between the PM and Indonesia?
JASON CLARE: As much as you encourage me, I’m not going to pre-empt what the Prime Minister will discuss with his counterpart in Indonesia, other than to say it’s a very important meeting, not just for the issues that you’ve raised about border protection and asylum seekers, but more broadly for our relationship with Indonesia. It has to be, by any account, one of Australia’s most important relationships. Indonesia is our next-door neighbour, a population of 250 million people. Our 12th largest trading partner and it has to be, and it is, one of Australia’s most important relationships, and that’s why I’m so glad that the Prime Minister is visiting Indonesia as part of his first week back in the job.
QUESTION: And do you think the Government is backing away from its education reforms?
JASON CLARE: No, I don’t. No, I don’t, and if there’s one reform, and it’s very hard just to name one, that’s more important than any other that this government is doing, it’s the work we do in education. Providing opportunities for kids like me that grew in Cabramatta in a working class community to get one day to go to university and become the first person in my family to finish school. First person in my family to go to university.
I got that chance because of our education system. The jobs of the future that are going to be created, most of those jobs are going to be jobs that are going to require people to have finished school, gone to university, or gone to TAFE. So we need to increase the number of young people who finish school, make sure they’ve got the resources to get a great education, and encourage more people to go to TAFE and university. That’s what these reforms are all about and that’s why they’re so very, very important.
QUESTION: Minister, do you agree with your former boss, Bob Carr, that all refugees coming on boats these days are 100 per cent economic refugees?
JASON CLARE: Ian, I think Bob was talking about Iran, just to clarify that point there. I’d make the more general point that we’ve seen in Sri Lanka a lot of people coming to Australia seeking a better life, but not seeking asylum from persecution. A lot of Sinhalese come to Australia looking for a job and what we’ve done is fly those people home. More than 1000 people were flown home.
I’ve made the same point Bob has in the parliament that a lot of people coming to Australia are economic refugees. The difference between Sri Lanka and Iran is if someone comes here from Iran looking for a job and they’re not entitled to asylum from persecution, then you can’t just fly them back to Iran because Iran refuses to take people who don’t want to go. That’s why I’ve made the point that if you can’t fly them back to Iran, fly them halfway back to Malaysia.
The fear of death has not stopped people getting on to leaky boats. The fear of going to Nauru or to Manus Island has not stopped people getting onto boats. But I tell you what has, the fear of being flown home in a week. That’s what works. It’s dramatically reduced the number of people coming to Australia from Sri Lanka. So we fly people back to Sri Lanka who are coming here as economic refugees. We need to fly other economic refugees back as well. If we can’t fly them all the way back to Iran, we should fly them halfway back to Malaysia, and we’re being stopped from doing that by the Liberal Party and the Greens who refuse to pass those laws through the Australian parliament.
QUESTION: Isn’t it the case that Bob Carr can’t really back up that claim because [indistinct] thousand people are yet to be processed? The processing system is in stress. So how can you back up those claims when the processing system’s been halted?
JASON CLARE: Ninety per cent of people that seek asylum in Australia at the moment, once they go through the refugee review tribunal system, are found to be refugees. If you compare that to the rate of successful applications in any other comparable country, you’ll see it’s much lower. That tells me, that tells the Government, that there is at least a need to review the way that that process works. That’s what Bob is talking about, that’s what the Government is doing, and that’s what needs to be done in my view.
QUESTION: Being an MP from Western Sydney, do you think that Labor stocks have risen out there since Rudd came to the leadership?
JASON CLARE: That’s the feedback I got at Yagoona Railway Station on Friday morning. It’s the feedback I got at the shops at the weekend. A lot of positive feedback from people. People will say look, we’ve been disappointed in the past, but we don’t want Tony Abbott. We’re afraid of what an Abbott Government would mean. In my neck of the woods, the cuts to education would have a bigger effect than almost anywhere else in the country. The sorts of things Tony Abbott is talking about doing would hurt the people of my electorate.
So they want a competition. The polls tightening mean that there is a competition. I said to former Prime Minister Gillard, in my conversation with her last week, that I feared that we were headed for a flogging in the polls and we owed it to the people of Australia to make sure that there was a competition. People want a choice, they want a competition, and I think that we now have one.
COMPERE: Last question.
QUESTION: What’s the Government planning to do about monitoring the coast line for asylum seeker boats [indistinct]?
JASON CLARE: I’ll point you to the Defence white paper that was released earlier this year by my colleague, Stephen Smith. In that white paper, as well as in the previous white paper, there were references to not only replacing our existing P3 Orions with P8s, but also unmanned aircraft and that is in that document. It doesn’t identify what specific type of unmanned aircraft we might use, but that due diligence is being done by Defence and that will involved working with Customs and Border Protection.
QUESTION: [Inaudible question]
JASON CLARE: I wouldn’t and I don’t think anyone is selecting one particular type of UAV. That’s something that needs to go through the sort of first pass and second pass business analysis that I talked about Customs doing. Defence will need to do that work, too, in concert with Customs and present that to Government in due course.
Okay. Thanks very much.