The Daily Telegraph
September 25 2015.
REFUGEES in Nauru believe Malcolm Turnbull is their ticket to freedom as it emerged the PM’s comments suggesting border protection policy was open to change were sent around global people-smuggling networks.
Multiple sources have told The Daily Telegraph the mood inside Nauru’s detention centre was now “buoyant” after Mr Turnbull ousted the hardline Tony Abbott.
Officials in Nauru said there was a perception Mr Turnbull’s elevation would give the occupants a greater chance for freedom.
“Chatter” among people smugglers has intensified in the last week with a perception, right or wrong, that Mr Turnbull will soften border protection policy.
Border Protection agencies are on high alert for people — smuggling ventures after Indonesian authorities intercepted a vessel trying to reach Christmas Island.
Mr Turnbull said in an interview on Wednesday morning that he had “concerns” about the situation on Nauru and Manus Island and conceded “all policies change”.
He came out that afternoon to toughen his language and declare “we cannot take a backward step on this issue” and that nobody who arrived illegally would ever be settled in Australia.
Immigration Minister Peter Dutton yesterday insisted there would be no change.
“The Prime Minister has made it very clear that people who try to come to our country illegally by boat will never be settled here,’’ he said.
“I want the people-smugglers in Indonesia and Sri Lanka and elsewhere to get that very clear message.”
Mr Dutton conceded comments made by all ministers about border protection were quickly sent around people smuggling networks.
“They’ve got Facebook pages, they send out text messages and they will manipulate anything. When I took over from Scott Morrison we had intelligence (people-smugglers were) saying a softer minister has replaced the harder minister. They found that not to be the case,’’ he said.
“And they will do the same in relation to the change in Prime Minister. We have to make sure we stare that down.”
Nauru’s Justice Minister David Adeang welcomed Mr Dutton’s continued service: “He understands the progress our government has made, and is always available.”