Subjects: Counter Terrorism, Pauline Hanson's Plebiscite on Migration Levels.
KARL STEFANOVIC: The army is set to play an even greater role in the battle against terror. As part of a major security overhaul this morning the Government will introduce a new bill into Parliament to ramp up counter-terrorism measures - and Attorney-General Christian Porter joins me now. Christian, good morning to you. Explain exactly what the army's role in a terrorist situation could be if the bill passes?
ATTORNEY-GENERAL: Well, the present situation is that ADF assets wouldn't be deployed to protect Australian lives in a terrorist situation unless a very high threshold would be reached which is that the state ability to deal with the terrorist threat was completely overwhelmed. Now, as you could imagine that's an incredibly high barrier to cross and you wouldn't even be able to make that determination until well into a terrorist event. So, the Turnbull Government has considered that and we're changing the legislation, we've done that cooperatively with all the states and territories. The standard will now be a judgement as to whether or not the ADF has assets or personnel or skills that could be brought to bear to enhance the response and protect Australian lives.
KARL STEFANOVIC: Okay, so how will that work from a practical and logistical point of view? Because there needs to be a clear delineation in responsibilities when one takes over and sometimes that's going to be pretty grey and it's going to be on the hop.
ATTORNEY-GENERAL: Well, so the command and control structure would be that the ADF assets or personnel would be under the command of the ADF but they would act on instructions from the state command authority. And this approval would only occur with prime ministerial sign-off or the two relevant ministers after consultation with the states. But the types of situations, Karl, we're looking at are perhaps long siege situations or if something terrible like the Paris attacks happened in Australia where you've got multiple geographic and coordinated violence, these are the types of situations, or, you know, in the terrible situation of a chemical or biological attack the ADF has very particular skills that could be brought to bear.
KARL STEFANOVIC: Yep, they do. Meantime, One Nation leader Pauline Hanson is pushing for a plebiscite on whether migration levels should be scaled back. Would you support a plebiscite on that?
ATTORNEY-GENERAL: I don't think that's an appropriate thing for a plebiscite and we as a parliament have a very considered immigration program focused on skills, focused on growing our economy. I don't think that would be a very helpful move.
KARL STEFANOVIC: Lowy Institute poll says 54 per cent of Aussies think it's too high our intake, maybe she's right.
ATTORNEY-GENERAL: Well, I mean polls say different things at different times, but as a Government as I say, we have a very considered sensible immigration policy that focus on skilled migrants and it focuses on bringing the best of the best from around the world to Australia to help our economy grow.
KARL STEFANOVIC: What if she says allow me a plebiscite at the next election and I'll let your company tax reforms through?
ATTORNEY-GENERAL: Well, I mean I very much hope that Pauline comes on board with the company tax reforms because that's about having companies left with more of their own money to invest in their businesses, to grow their businesses and grow jobs. And the first tranche of those reforms, Karl, as you know has created hundreds of thousands of jobs in Australia…..
KARL STEFANOVIC: No, no, Christian, what if she says give me a plebiscite at the next election and I'll support your company tax reforms?
ATTORNEY-GENERAL: Well I think that would be an unlikely concession that would be made and she hasn't said it, so it's a hypothetical and a hypothetical, mate, you won't be surprised to hear me say I won't be answering it.
KARL STEFANOVIC: What do you think about her flip-flopping?
ATTORNEY-GENERAL: Well I hope she gets it right in the end and I'm sure she will because I think Pauline Hanson at her heart wants to see our kids with jobs and that's what you get when you let businesses grow.
KARL STEFANOVIC: So you don't mind her flip-flopping?
ATTORNEY-GENERAL: Well, people change their minds from time to time. I just hope that the last flip is the appropriate one.
KARL STEFANOVIC: A flop?
ATTORNEY-GENERAL: A flip.
KARL STEFANOVIC: This has got real interesting. Thanks Christian. Good to see you this morning.
ATTORNEY-GENERAL: Pleasure Karl