Interview with Melissa Doyle – Channel 7 Sunrise – 11 April 2013


Interview with Melissa Doyle

Sunrise – Channel Seven

11 April 2013

E + OE

Topics: Drugs in sport; asylum seekers.

MELISSA DOYLE: Well, that James Hird story is a big one. Jason Clare is the Minister for Home Affairs and one of the ministers overseeing the investigation into drugs in sport and he joins me now. Good morning to you.

JASON CLARE: Morning, Mel.

MELISSA DOYLE: How concerned are you about these latest allegations surrounding Essendon?

JASON CLARE: Well, they are serious allegations. There are a lot of serious allegations that have arisen out of the work that the Crime Commission has done and these allegations, like all the others, will now form part of the investigation that the Anti-Doping Authority is doing. They have got to interview over a hundred people, that is a lot of work to do, in New South Wales and Victoria. That work’s going to take some time.

MELISSA DOYLE: Can I just ask when you first came out and had the media conference, everyone – the story was massive. Then there was claims that it was a bit overinflated and it wasn’t as big as everybody alleged. Now it is seems to be getting bigger again. Are we just living in fantasy land?

JASON CLARE: We love our sport. You know, sport is one of the most important things in Australia. No one wants drugs in sport. The prospect of people using drugs to enhance their performance is one that shocks and worries us. I had no option. We have got a serious report, after 12 months of investigation.

MELISSA DOYLE: So, you didn’t beat it up?

JASON CLARE: Well, when you get a report from the Crime Commission that says links between organised crime providing drugs for players and for sport scientists to inject players, I had no option but to release the report. The investigation now goes on and it’s going to take some time, but the change in behaviour – closing down clinics, players providing information, players asking questions now about what’s being injected into them – that sort of change in behaviour has been immediate.

MELISSA DOYLE: I’d like to ask about the asylum seekers who arrived this week as we know over in Geraldton. Sri Lanka’s now saying that these guys are going to encourage more to make the trip and they want them all sent back. Will you send them home?

JASON CLARE: If they are not refugees they go back to Sri Lanka. One of the most successful things we’ve done in the last few months is fly people back to Sri Lanka. We’ve flown about a thousand people back. Where they don’t meet the requirements of the Refugee Convention we can fly them back to Sri Lanka and that’s seen a dramatic drop in the number of people coming from Sri Lanka. The message is very clear. If you’re coming from Sri Lanka and you’re not a refugee you get flown back home.

MELISSA DOYLE: So, to have Sri Lankan authorities I guess back up what you’re doing may make a stronger message.

JASON CLARE: We work very closely with Sri Lankan authorities. The Government there as well as the Navy work very well together. And that’s important because the prospect of drowning hasn’t put people off, but the risk of being flown home in a couple of days has stopped people from travelling to Australia.

MELISSA DOYLE: Just briefly, this boat has come so far. It came all the way to Geraldton. There is an investigation promised into how it got so far.

JASON CLARE: That’s right.

MELISSA DOYLE: How long will that take? When will we see an answer?

JASON CLARE: I spoke to Border Protection again this morning. They’ve started now to interview the people on the boat and the initial advice indicates that they were trying to get to New Zealand, not to Australia. So that helps to explain the route that the people took from Sri Lanka to Geraldton. Ninety-nine point nine per cent of the boats travel to Cocos Island, Christmas Island, or the Ashmore Island. Why this boat went to Geraldton is what everybody’s asking. The questions that we’ve asked the people on the boat yesterday and now we’ll ask over the next few days seem to indicate that they weren’t trying to get to the Australian mainland, they were trying to get to the New Zealand mainland.

MELISSA DOYLE: Jason Clare, thank you for your time.

JASON CLARE: Thanks, Mel.