Morrison Refuses To Commit To Nauru Kids Christmas Deadline
A reported plan to get all refugee kids off Nauru by Christmas hasn't been backed by Scott Morrison, as he appeared on Studio 10 on Monday.
News Corp papers reported recently that the government planned to bring all refugee children on Nauru to Australia by the end of the year. The number of kids on the island has steadily been decreasing, as a large public campaign calling for the evacuation of vulnerable asylum seekers and refugees gains momentum.
The government has not publicly committed to the reported plan however, and PM Morrison again refused to confirm that all refugee children would be off Nauru by year's end.
"I haven't said that," Morrison said in response to a question about the reported plan.
"I'm the Prime Minister, let me tell you what the authority is. The government will continue to manage the challenges on Nauru with children both through the policy we have with the United States and dealing with the existing policy we have with medical treatment."
"The number of children on Nauru has obviously been reducing as we've pursued those policies. I haven't changed any policies, I haven't compromised any border protection settings... we'll keep reporting from time to time on where those numbers are at but what is clear is they have been falling and I imagine continue to fall as we pursue that relationship with the United States."
Morrison said claims Nauru was a 'hellhole' was "offensive to Nauruans."
Elsewhere in the wide-ranging interview on Studio 10, where Morrison joined the panel for 20 minutes, he spoke of the government's latest shocker Newspoll result, which showed government is facing down the barrel of an election landslide defeat -- with the latest numbers showing the government down 45-55 to Labor.
Morrison, who took over from the dumped Malcolm Turnbull when the Coalition were at only a slight 49-51 deficit in the Newspoll, has watched as his government's fortunes have continued to slide.
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"The public want to see from us coming together, showing a very clear direction, and that's going to take some time to establish that after the events of several months ago," Morrison said.
"Australians want to see stability in the government... that will take time, I have no illusions about that. I knew when stepping up into this role there would be a big mountain to climb, there's a very steep one, but I've climbed those mountains before."
The latest numbers come the week after Morrison's much-hyped Queensland bus tour, which was hoped to help reverse the drop-off in support, and Turnbull's appearance on Q&A where he gave his first extended public comments since his dumping.
Morrison had hoped his Queensland tour, spending several days away from the 'Canberra bubble', would boost his lagging fortunes. But even a light-hearted Spotify playlist turned into a negative for the PM, with people bagging him for including no Aussie artists.
Morrison claimed the QLD trip had "resonated" with locals.
The PM also spoke of the Bourke Street terror attack, saying Australians should not make "excuses" around mental health for the man behind the incident, and repeated comments that the Muslim community should do more to stamp out radicalism.
"Leaders within the community, particularly religious leaders, have a duty of care to be pastorally looking at what's going in their own community," Morrison said.
"My pastor, in my church, would know if there was a local bible study group leader who was teaching things in our church that were completely against what we thought was ok... that person would have no role in our local church."
"We can't provide excuses for people to look the other way. Many don't and there are many great imams and I've met many of them who do what is necessary. But there's a difference between not propogating this stuff and sitting there while someone in your community is."
Morrison also touched on his oft-derided penchant for wearing baseball caps.
"I wear caps. That's what I wear. If you find me at home, I'll be wearing a cap... who cares. I'm just going to be myself. If you don't like it, too bad," he said.
"You've got to be yourself in this business."