Joint doorstop interview

  • Transcript, E&OE
09 February 2017

Journalist: OPCAThaving been ratified now, how does that change the way things like Don Dalewill have happened, if you can sort of give me an example? So if it wasdiscovered after the ratification later this year?

Attorney-General:OPCAT is primarilyabout prevention and it's about oversight so it creates mechanisms where byproblems can be anticipated before they arise and if they emerge they can bedealt with more swiftly. Had the OPCAT been operational at the time the eventsof the Don Dale Youth Detention Centre in Northern Territory emerged, then itmay well be, that either they wouldn't have happened at all or they would havebeen arrested at a much earlier time. I don't want to say too much about DonDale, because that's not what this is about and there is, as you know, a RoyalCommission underway at the moment, but it is a concerning example of the factthat even Australia, which is a human rights respecting nation, is not perfectand problems of this kind can arise. So we want mechanisms – legal mechanisms,oversight mechanisms – in place to prevent such situations arising or to arrestthem if they do.Journalist: And in the case offoreign detention that we outsource to contractors, would the Government thenbe oversighting that, or would the contractors be part of that oversight themselves?

Attorney-General:As you know, in relation to Nauruand Manus Island those facilities are conducted by the Governments respectivelyof Nauru and New Guinea.

Journalist:This puts on a slightly differenttrack to President Trump who has talked recently about using borders toreinstitute some kind of torture and black sites and we're now pushing away ina different direction. Is there, sort of, I don't know the right way to saythis but, is America not going down a track that Australia wants to follow withhuman rights?

Foreign Minister:Australia makes its own decisionsand determines its own destiny when it comes to international treaties and wehave made a decision to accept the recommendations that were made during the UniversalPeriodic Review on the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture andwe will continue to make decisions that we believe promote and protect humanrights both at home and abroad.

Journalist: ForeignMinister, what did you think of the Prime Minister's comments about BillShorten in the House yesterday?

Foreign Minister:I thought the Prime Ministerexquisitely defined the characteristics of the Leader of the Opposition andBill Shorten has been so hypocritical in claiming to be a champion of theworkers when we know that he's much more comfortable hanging out withbillionaires and the Prime Minister exposed a very real hypocrisy behind BillShorten's approach to policies, his opposition for opposition's sake, and wehave many examples where Bill Shorten has betrayed working people,working families, particularly with his opposition to some of ourpolicies.

Attorney-General:Every now and again you know,there are moments of blinding light in politics, where the truth is revealedfor all to see and I think what Mr Turnbull did yesterday was expose BillShorten for what he is, to expose the truth about the real character, or lackof character, of the man who wants to be the Prime Minister of Australia. Thankyou.

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