4BC Drive with Scott Emerson - 15 June 2021

SUBJECTS: Biloela Family, Four Corners

SCOTT EMERSON, HOST:   Now Milton Dick is down in Federal Parliament,  I think he's about to go into a vote in the House, so we thought we could talk to him a little bit earlier than we normally do, how are you Milton?

MILTON DICK, FEDERAL MEMBER FOR OXLEY:  G'day Scott not bad for Tuesday,

EMERSON:   Not too bad for a Tuesday in cold Canberra, hopefully it's cold because we had a bit of a storm here but it's nice this afternoon. But the Biloela family now, Alex Hawke the Immigration Minister, made the announcement today reuniting the family in Perth, but not sending them to Biloela. Now what do you think about that decision today?

DICK:  I think it's a good start. There's obviously been a lot of talk in Canberra but also right through the media about this family that is much loved from Biloela, and I was listening carefully to what my colleagues have been saying, I probably agree with Barnaby Joyce.

I don't normally agree with Barnaby Joyce on those things, but he said yesterday that if they had different names perhaps like Jane and Sally, and they were playing in the local netball side, we'd probably think twice about sending them back to another country they are not from. So, I'm glad that the government has stepped in and there was a lot of pressure coming from the federal member for the Biloela area, Ken O'Dowd, he's been standing his ground, and a number of senior National Party members, and also break outs from the Liberal MPs across Australia who were pressuring the government. I think they have given some way.

Ultimately, Scott, this is a family that we want to see returned home to a much loved community that have been looking after them, and they've been valuable contributors to that community through community organizations and working locally. I really hope that those little girls get to go and see their friends. They've been born in Australia and I think most thinking Australians would want them looked after, but I'm glad that the government's made some moves. They've said they can be moved to Perth, but ultimately I think we want to see them move home to their hometown,

EMERSON:   If they are brought back to Biloela, and say a visa or a permanent residency is granted - now I'm not saying Alex Hawke is going to do that at all - but if that was allowed, wouldn't there still be concerns that that sends out the wrong message and we start seeing again, illegal refugees coming through on boats back into Australia?

DICK:  Yeah well look nobody wants to see that, but I think returning a young family of four to a community where they're much loved and respected won't start that trade, and look we'll wait and see what the government is actually going to do about permanent resettlement.

They haven't really announced what the long term plan is, obviously the youngest daughter is very ill and was rushed to hospital in Perth, I'm glad that the family has been reunited, but the government does need to clarify, I reckon, as soon as possible, what the arrangements are and, you know, let's face it, this has been dragging on for years and years now, and we just want to see this, I guess, resolved so the government stops dragging their feet, and make sure that we get some permanent arrangements put in place for this family.

EMERSON:   Now talking to Milton Dick to the Federal Labor member for Oxley. Milton, the Four Corners report last night about the Prime Minister's connection with a QAnon supporter - was there much in it?

DICK:  Look, I did watch the show, if I'm really honest with your listeners Scott, I probably found that a bit creepy, the whole thing. People who follow QAnon, I think, just aren't really all there, they seem to be following all these bizarre conspiracies, and I'm not questioning who, you know, Scott Morrison can hang out with whoever he wants or the political persuasions, it's not about that, I guess. Those issues raised by the family members on Four Corners; questioning the relationship, about that individual with the Prime Minister, pushing some of those conspiracy theories, but probably wait till the PM gets back.

I was shocked by, I guess some of the communications that we saw between these characters, and all the alleged communications with them and the Prime Minister. But, I think when he returns to Australia, and I don't want to criticize the Prime Minister while he's overseas representing Australia, I think there'll be some serious questions.

EMERSON:   Really, I mean you've been down in Parliament, you know Scott Morrison, just watching him down there at the very least, do you really think that somehow he's connected with QAnon?

DICK:  Well look I don't know, and, you know, as I said, let him answer those questions. I mean that family that I saw on television last night were gravely concerned about their son and brother.

They're raising these concerns, and I'll wait to see when he gets back, we have been raising these questions in the Senate, and wanting some answers about the links, if there are any links I should say, but there's just been very evasive answers, so how about when the Prime Minister gets back, he deals with this issue, answers the questions once and for all and we can all move on.

And those people who are following QAnon or whatever they're up to, hopefully won't interfere with anyone else and they can just live in their dark corners of the world, believing what they want.

But most Australians, I think, would have no track with any of that nonsense, and I certainly want to see our Government focused on bread and butter issues and real issues not these weird conspiracies that were seeing crop up from time to time.

EMERSON:   All right, Milton Dick we'll talk again next week.

DICK:  Look forward to it.