Scott Morrison Vows to Stop the Sugar
Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey once argued the case for “growing the pie,” but today Minister for Stopping Immigration Scott Morrison has vowed to “stop the sugar” (whatever that is).
In an interview with Chris Uhlmann this morning Minister Morrison mentioned “taking the sugar off the table” no less than four times in four minutes.
We asked Mr Morrison what exactly it all meant, and we’re still waiting on an answer, meanwhile Chris Ulhmann remains equally perplexed.
CHRIS UHLMANN: Scott Morrison is the Immigration Minister. Good morning.
SCOTT MORRISON: Good morning, Chris.
CHRIS UHLMANN: Scott Morrison, can you tell us what you’re doing and why?
SCOTT MORRISON: We’re taking the sugar off the table, that’s what we’re doing. We’re trying to stop people thinking that it’s okay to come into Indonesia and use that as a waiting ground to get to Australia.
I mean, Indonesia is not a refugee generating country. It’s a transit country and it’s used by smugglers. And we’ve had great success in stopping people coming to Australia by boat and for most of that time over the past year that has seen a significant reduction of people moving into Indonesia.
Now in recent months we’ve seen a change to that and that’s because people think they can transit and sit in Indonesia and use that as a place to gain access to Australia.
Now this is designed to stop people flowing into Indonesia and to support Indonesia and for them not to become a destination country where people will wait just to get a visa to Australia. So it’s taking the sugar off the table.
CHRIS UHLMANN: But to be clear, it does apply to people who have been processed by the UN and found to be refugees?
SCOTT MORRISON: It, what it does is it says that if you arrived in Indonesia before July 1, then if you’re being processed in Indonesia then we’re still taking 450 people a year. It was 600 so it’s a reduction of 150 places and they’re the cases that we will take.
But if you came to Indonesia thinking you’d get a visa in Australia, well the answer is no.
CHRIS UHLMANN: Are there any exceptions post July 1?
SCOTT MORRISON: No.
CHRIS UHLMANN: Now, does it apply to other transit countries like Malaysia?
SCOTT MORRISON: Well no. And in Malaysia in particular, what we do in Malaysia – and we take well over 1000, I think around 1500 people out of Malaysia – and they are predominantly refugees from Myanmar. And so they are people that have largely gone to countries of first asylum.
Now the refugee convention wasn’t set up so people can go forum shopping. It was to provide support and protection to people and that’s what our program does. Now we’re not going to do it through smugglers, whether it’s in Indonesia or anywhere else.
CHRIS UHLMANN: You’ve mentioned the refugee convention a number of times in conversations we’ve had before. You clearly have little time for it. Why doesn’t Australia pull out of it?
SCOTT MORRISON: Well no, that’s not my view at all and I’ve never said that. We do support the convention. But what we don’t support is how that convention is abused by smugglers who try and leverage people into Australia through whatever means they can – and what we know now is people are smuggling people into Indonesia for the purpose of trying to get resettlement in Australia by this other method.
Now that’s not good and supportive of our friend and neighbour Indonesia. And as former president Yudhoyono said, in advice to Australia, you’ve got to take the sugar off the table, and that’s what we’re doing.