Oct 16, 2015

Transcript of television interview – Today Show

Subjects: Parramatta shooting; control orders; national security; ISIS; Australians fighting overseas;

LISA WILKINSON: We’re joined now by Industry and Innovation Minister Christopher Minister Pyne and Shadow Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese. Good morning to you, gentlemen.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good to be with you.

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning Lisa.

WILKINSON: Christopher, I will start with you. A teenager in court this morning, a 12 year old on the terror watch list. Control orders for children. That is an indication of the scale of the problem facing authorities.

PYNE: It is, and we’ve obviously got a lot of work to do. I was listening yesterday to some of the Police Commissioners who met with Malcolm Turnbull and Michael Keenan and George Brandis and they weren’t saying there weren’t enough resources, but they were saying they need to use their resources very wisely, that they are not losing the battle, but they are realising it is very deep and engaging with the community is one of our number one priorities.

Getting the community on side to work with the government, with the police forces, is a vital priority for us. There is a lot to do and we’re pleased to have the support of the Labor Party in these measures.

WILKINSON: Do you support this proposed doubling of the amount of time that a 12 year old can be held if they are suspected of terror related activities?

PYNE: I think that’s a proposal from the NSW police. I think we will look at it. We will look at all of these measures. Our proposal at the moment is to reduce the age for control orders. That’s the legislation we will be bringing into the Parliament. We will look at other measures, but I don’t think we’re proposing that one at this particular time.

WILKINSON: What do you think about it, Anthony? Should a 12 year old be held accountable for their actions?

ALBANESE: What we will do is take expert advice. It is important that these issues are above politics. The murder of Mr Cheng, going about his work was just a real wake up call, I think, about how dangerous this threat is, the fact that it was a young man who committed this murder. It really makes you shake your head about how that can occur, but it’s real and we need to respond to it in a real way.

WILKINSON: The Prime Minister brought together key parties for the Terror Summit yesterday. He says combatting the power of the internet to influence young people is one of the biggest challenges, but how on earth do you do that?

ALBANESE: You need to get in and work with the community and that’s what the Prime Minister and other leaders are doing and the police certainly have an enormous challenge.

We’ve got to think at a time like this as well about the police, it must be of a real concern that this occurred outside Parramatta police station. The NSW command is there. The fact that it can occur there means we need to think about those people who put their lives on the line every day making the rest of us safe.

PYNE: We are being helped at the moment by a better relationship, I think, with Google and Facebook and Twitter, with governments around the world who are now assisting in removing offensive websites and Twitter feeds and threads. I think that’s a big change.

WILKINSON: Yet for all that Farhad Jabar, he wasn’t even on anyone’s watch list.

PYNE: No. That’s why we have a lot of work to do. We wouldn’t want to underestimate how important it is to ensure that the youth of Australia are not radicalised in schools.

That’s why proposed when I was Education Minister at the last COAG meeting of Education Ministers that we have a deradicalisation program in schools. They didn’t embrace it. I think we talked about it on the show that day, but I hope they will embrace it under the new minister.

WILKINSON: 120 people have left to fight in Syria so far. Do we really want them back?

PYNE: Well, if they’ve got dual citizenship, we don’t have to have them back and in fact we’ve moved to deny them Australian citizenship if they have dual citizenship. Unfortunately, if they don’t have dual citizenship, they are citizens of Australia. They are our responsibility. We probably do want to get them back and put them in prison. We can’t just wash our hands of Australian citizens.

WILKINSON: What about those who are heading overseas, Anthony? What do we do with them? If we stop them at the border, what do we do with them?

ALBANESE: Well, it’s a challenge for authorities to try and determine whether they are a threat or not. If they’re a threat to Australians, then appropriate action should be taken to protect the country from them. But, you know, we can’t just wish it away.

This is a real challenge. The numbers of people going over to fight for these lunatics in Islamic State is quite scary. But it’s real and that’s why we need to have a response from all levels of government, but importantly here from the community as well.

This isn’t something that politicians can control by themselves or law enforcement authorities. It’s got to be a whole of community response and that’s why it’s been good this week that the Prime Minister and NSW Premier Mike Baird and Luke Foley met with Islamic community leaders to make there sure that there is cooperation, because they’re just as concerned about it as other loyal Australians are.

WILKINSON: It’s an indication that’s that the game has changed. I think that’s the first issue we’ve ever had our pollies in on a Friday where you’ve both agreed.

ALBANESE: Well, it’s is important that we do.

WILKINSON: It certainly is. Anthony Albanese and Christopher Pyne, thanks very much.