Interview on The Project – Channel 10 – 14 August 2012

CHARLIE PICKERING: Minister for Home Affairs, Jason Clare, is in Canberra.

Jason, you’ve just come out of Parliament, is the political point scoring going on and who’s winning?

JASON CLARE: The good news is there’s less political point scoring, and you’ve got politicians working together for the first time in a long time.

We’ve been fighting about this for over ten years. Next week is the eleventh anniversary of the Tampa, people are sick of us fighting. And the good news is the politicians have stopped fighting and we’re going to vote on legislation over the course of the next few days.

ANDREW ROCHFORD: Jason is it slightly embarrassing that it took an expert panel of just three people to come up to this point where you have finally stopped fighting, and not the politicians that we all voted for to deal with these exact situations?

JASON CLARE: That’s a good point. I think people are sick of politicians fighting about this. People have been screaming at their TV sets and saying just fix this, and the good news is we’ve got a breakthrough, we’re going to be able to pass legislation this week.

CHARLIE PICKERING: Now Tony Abbott has claimed that the recommendations in the report are a victory for him.

They’re certainly very different to the policies that Labor started with in this whole debate. How soon do you think that these can be put into practice?

JASON CLARE: Well we should be able to implement it very quickly; we’re talking weeks rather than months. We’ll send a Defence team to Nauru and to Manus on Friday to do a reconnaissance trip. And the Prime Minister has said today that she wants people processed at Nauru within a month.

CARRIE BICKMORE: The Greens don’t like it, refugee advocates don’t like it, even Clive Palmer today said that this policy is cruel. Do you think it’s humane?

JASON CLARE: I think it is humane. This is about stopping people from dying; this is designed to stop people drowning at sea. It also means, Carrie, that we’re going to double the number of refugees that Australia takes. So it means an extra seven thousand people a year will be able to call Australia home. That’s the most humane thing we can do.

CARRIE BICKMORE: When you say it’s to stop people dying at sea, it’s to deter people, the people smugglers, people from getting on the boats. But we spoke to a former refugee today and she disagrees, have a listen.

NAJEEBA WAZEFDEST: The only option to seek refuge and to get out of that desperate situation and circumstance is to get on a boat.

CARRIE BICKMORE: She believes people will still get on those boats.

JASON CLARE: Well the advice of Angus Houston and the team is that this is the best way to get people to go through the UN processes, rather than pay a people smuggler ten thousand dollars and get on a boat. I understand that people are in terrible situations all around the world, we want to help as many people as we can. That’s why we want to double the number of refugees we take every year as part of this. What we don’t want is people drowning.

DAVE HUGHES: We’re going to want to hope that this deterrent works very quickly mate, because I’ve done some maths two billion dollars to house, or to detain, two thousand refugees. We’ve has almost eight thousand turn up this year already. I mean it’s going to get very full very quick, isn’t it?

JASON CLARE: Well that’s why this needs to be implemented as a package of measures. You’re right; I think people smugglers are going to try this on Dave, they’ll tell people just keep coming.

It’s important that we implement this as quickly as we possibly can and that’s why the Prime Minister said that the first people will be processed in Nauru within a month.

CHARLIE PICKERING: Well Jason we appreciate your time and appreciate your candour.

JASON CLARE: Thanks guys, cheers.

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