Interview with Carrie Bickmore, Steve Price, Charlie Pickering and Dave Hughes – Channel 10 The Project – 20 May 2013



20 May 2013


CARRIE BICKMORE: Some more news now, and the Australian Crime Commission has released its report into the Australian drug trade for last financial year. A record 23.8 tonnes of drugs were seized worth a total of $5 billion. Included was nearly 800 kilos of cocaine, the most for ten years. A total of 93,000 people were arrested for drug offences.

JOHN LAWLER: Illicit drugs are a disease in this society, inflicting untold harm on communities, on families, on individuals.

CARRIE BICKMORE: Jason Clare is the Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Justice. Those figures are astounding Jason, does it worry you just how many drugs are coming in to this country?

JASON CLARE: Well Carrie it’s my job to worry about it, and to take action. Our police are doing a good job, but we can’t be naive about this. Most of the crime, most of the violence on our streets is drug related.

STEVE PRICE: Minister, when you look at the figures and see what you have managed to seize, is it a fair question to pose, how much is actually getting in?

JASON CLARE: Well, what we’re seeing in this report is that our police are seizing more than ever before, but one thing that we can do that we’re not doing yet, is introduce national unexplained wealth laws, so that we can seize the cars, the assets, the homes, the cash of criminals. Most of these big-time drug dealers are more afraid of losing their cash than they are of going to jail, and we need to work together across the country to introduce those laws. That’ll make an even bigger dent on these figures.

CHARLIE PICKERING: Minister do you think that high drug prices here have made this a very lucrative market, and we’ve become a specific target of overseas drug cartels?

JASON CLARE: Yeah we are targeted. A kilo of cocaine is worth around about $2,000 in Mexico; it’s worth about $20,000 in California and it’s worth more than $200,000 here in Australia. So, that’s why criminals are targeting Australia, because we’re a rich country and there’s a lot of money to be made in illegal drugs.

DAVE HUGHES: Now Minister, I want to give a shout-out to the drug detection sniffer dogs that do a great job, but I do have an issue with one of their names. Just listen very carefully here.

[Plays excerpt]

The dog’s name is Hooch. I mean is there other sniffer dogs called Smack and LSD? I mean what’s going on there Minister?

JASON CLARE: Well I’ve spoken to the head of Customs this afternoon, and we’re going to change his name from Hooch to Hughesy.


DAVE HUGHES: That would be an honour.

CHARLIE PICKERING: You change it to Hughesy and then all he does is goes on about how he used to be into drugs but he’s not any more.

JASON CLARE: And sit around and do nothing.

CARRIE BICKMORE: Well Minister it’s always a pleasure, thanks so much for your time.

JASON CLARE: Thanks guys.