Interviewer: Good afternoon, today we have a Liberal Party spokesperson, Noah Dear, because none of the Parliamentary party were prepared to be interviewed…
Mr Dear: Excuse me, but that’s not correct, they were all prepared to be interviewed, it was just considered that it would be best if they weren’t available.
Interviewer: And why weren’t they available?
Mr Dear: They were all involved in an “operational matter”. I can’t say any more, but these are dangerous times, as I’m sure you’ll appreciate.
Interviewer: What’s so dangerous about them?
Mr Dear: Well, everywhere you have people taking things that government members have said and twisting them so that the context is lost.
Interviewer: Which brings me to my first question, is it true that we are paying people smugglers to return asylum seekers to Indonesia?
Mr Dear: I’m sorry, but that’s not right.
Interviewer: So we’re not paying people smugglers?
Mr Dear: No, that wasn’t your first question, you’ve already several.
Interviewer: Notwithstanding the number of questions I’ve asked, is it true?
Mr Dear: Look it’s been a long-standing policy of this government that we don’t comment on things like that.
Interviewer: You mean operational matters?
Mr Dear: No, I mean anything that the Opposition can use to make us look ridiculous.
Interviewer: Such as anything Joe Hockey says, or most photos of Christopher Pyne?
Mr Dear: Let’s just say that I don’t want to confirm or deny the story. You can put me down as a definite: “No comment”!
Interviewer: But if we’re paying people smugglers doesn’t that seem a little contradictory to the government’s policy.
Mr Dear: Look, Mr Abbott has made it clear that he’s prepared to do whatever it takes to stop the vile trade of people smugglers…
Interviewer: Including paying the very people that we’re meant to be at war with?
Mr Dear: What do you mean “at war”?
Interviewer: In 2014, Mr Abbott himself said: “We are in a fierce contest with these people smugglers, And if we were at war, we wouldn’t be giving out information that is of use to the enemy just because we might have an idle curiosity about it ourselves.”
Mr Dear: So?
Interviewer: Well, if we’re at war with these people smugglers, doesn’t it seem a little odd to be giving them money?
Mr Dear: Look, if we were at war with people smugglers – and I’m not confirming that one way or the other, because it’s an operational matter and it’s our government’s policy not to comment on operational matters – then we’d be using whatever means we could to break their business model.
Interviewer: Including improving it by enabling them to be paid by both the asylum seekers and the government? Paying them twice doesn’t seem like a good way to break their resolve.
Mr Dear: That assumes that we’re paying them.
Interviewer: Well, are we?
Mr Dear: Maybe. But possibly not. However, if we are, then it would be a good idea. And, if we’re not, that’s because we don’t think it’s likely to work.
Interviewer: If I could just move on to another matter…
Mr Dear: Look, Mr Hockey is simply stating the truth, what bank is going to lend…
Interviewer: I was going to ask about the government’s determination to get rid of red tape and needless delays.
Mr Dear: Oh excellent, we’re doing all we can to remove red tape so that business doesn’t face unnecessary delays…
Interviewer: Yes, I understand. My question was: Given your dislike of regulation, why are certain Liberals like Chris Back and Matthew Canavan calling for increased regulation and restrictions on wind farms, and suggesting that there needs to be an inquiry.
Mr Dear: Well, obviously there are potential adverse health effects from living near a wind farm.
Interviewer: Do you have any scientific evidence to back this up?
Mr Dear: There have been a number of studies that people living near a wind farm may be subject ot all sorts of things because of the noise so I think that jury is still out on wind farms and while the jury is out, we shouldn’t be trying to judge.
Interviewer: But isn’t that the PM did the other day when he said that there might be adverse health effects?
Mr Dear: MIGHT BE! He only said there might be.
Interviewer: Like we “might be” paying those vile people smugglers…
Mr Dear: Exactly but until we know one way or another we should give the government the benefit of the doubt.
Interviewer: So when exactly will we know. One way or the other?
Mr Dear: About the people smugglers or the wind farms?
Interviewer: About either. About anything.
Mr Dear: When the minister decideds it’s appropriate for you to know. We are at war you know.
Interviewer: With whom? The people smugglers or the wind farms.
Mr Dear: I’m sorry but that’s an operational matter.
Interviewer: Unfortunately, you’re out of time.
Mr Dear: Not yet, it’s still months till Abbott calls the surprise election.
Interviewer: I meant for the interview.
Mr Dear: Oh. Well, I’ll just say good-night then.
Interviewer: But it’s still the afternoon.
Mr Dear: I’m sorry but I can’t confirm that.
Interviewer: It wasn’t a question. Until next time.
Mr Dear: It’s been a pleasure.