Dutton’s harsh words for Abbott

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Dutton insists refugees began Manus violence4:17

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton insists asylum seekers started a Manus incident that sparked a shooting.

Peter Dutton is not happy with Tony Abbott’s continued sniping at the Liberal Party leadership. Picture Kym Smith

Staff writers, AAPNews Corp Australia Network

PETER Dutton has warned Tony Abbott over his continued sniping at the Liberal Party leadership, at the same time praising the former PM over his pointed comments.

Immigration Minister Dutton says both sides of politics have a great deal of respect for their former leaders and prime ministers — even Labor for Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd.

“It is a two-way process, though, where former leaders also need to show respect to the current leader and the current party,” he told ABC TV on Sunday.

“I don’t support criticisms where they’re not constructive.”

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Peter Dutton (r), pictured with Malcolm Turnbull, is not happy with Tony Abbott’s continued sniping at the Liberal Party leadership. Picture Kym Smith

Peter Dutton (r), pictured with Malcolm Turnbull, is not happy with Tony Abbott’s continued sniping at the Liberal Party leadership. Picture Kym SmithSource:News Corp Australia

Mr Abbott, who remains on the government’s backbench, has been increasingly vocal about what he believes should be the coalition and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s direction.

Asked whether he thought the former prime minister was showing adequate respect for Mr Turnbull’s leadership, Mr Dutton said: “If he’s saying that Bill Shorten would be a disastrous prime minister for this country, I do applaud him.”

Asylum seekers sparked Manus incident: Dutton3:05

Peter Dutton says a Manus Island incident was allegedly sparked by asylum seekers’ contact with a local boy.

The immigration minister has been touted as a possible replacement leader in some recent media reports, but he insists his intention is only to be “a good part and a constructive part and a positive part” of the Turnbull prime ministership, “which I hope goes for a long time”.

Tony Abbott continues to have plenty to say about the Liberal leadership. Picture: News Corp

Tony Abbott continues to have plenty to say about the Liberal leadership. Picture: News CorpSource:News Corp Australia

“There are 150 members in the lower house of parliament … one that’s prime minister and there’s 149 that want to be,” he said.

“I’m just one of a humble 149.”

Nevertheless, he says his approach has always been “rock solid loyal” to the leader.

VERY GRATEFUL TO VICE-PRESIDENT PENCE

Mr Dutton also said he was “very grateful’ to US Vice-President Mike Pence for honouring Australia’s refugee resettlement deal.

The move came despite the Trump’s administration’s displeasure with the deal, that was put together by Barack Obama.

“I was very grateful to Vice-President Pence, I met him yesterday. He’s echoed the words of President Trump. It was a deal that they inherited from the Obama administration, and they weren’t happy about the detail of the deal, but given the nature of the relationship, they honour the deal and we’re very grateful for it,” Mr Dutton told the ABC’s Insiders program.

“It is the Australian government that makes the decision about who comes here and the United States, like any sovereign nation, is no different.

“So they want to be assured of the individuals that they’re going to give permanent residency and ultimately citizenship to. They’re not going to have people into their country who haven’t been properly vetted.”

DUTTON STICKS TO MANUS ISLAND STORY

Australia’s immigration minister is sticking to his version of events surrounding a young boy entering the Manus Island asylum seeker centre despite differing information from local police.

Mr Dutton says he has information that isn’t public and he still believes the incident sparked a shooting at the Papua New Guinea immigration detention centre on Good Friday.

The minister last week said PNG defence personnel may have opened fire because three asylum seekers were spotted leading a five-year-old boy towards the immigration centre.

On Sunday, he said his briefing on the matter had been “particularly succinct and clear”.

“I have senior people on the island. We also have a significant contact with the governor and people of Manus,” Mr Dutton told ABC TV.

“I think that there are facts that I have that you don’t so why don’t we let the police investigation run its course.”

Bullet holes on the Manus Island detention centre, reportedly from a fight between Manus Island locals, security staff and immigration detainees. Picture: AAP

Bullet holes on the Manus Island detention centre, reportedly from a fight between Manus Island locals, security staff and immigration detainees. Picture: AAPSource:Twitter

However, Manus province police commander David Yapu has told media the boy in question was 10 and he was taken to a tent where asylum seekers were packing food, given some fruit and sent away again — all about a week before the shooting.

This version is reportedly backed up by CCTV footage, which Mr Dutton said may be released after a police investigation.

Mr Yapu blamed the shooting and brawl — which injured at least one asylum seeker — on “drunken” soldiers, while the PNG Defence Force says it was sparked by an altercation on a nearby football field when asylum seekers refused to leave the ground at their curfew time.

Mr Dutton said he raised the incident with the boy in response to questions about the “elevated mood” on the ground that may have led to the shooting

Manus Island detention centre: Picture: News Corp

Manus Island detention centre: Picture: News CorpSource:News Corp Australia

That mood was also ramped up by the recent charging of two asylum seekers with sexual assault, the minister said — although they deny the charges and have yet to face court.

“If you’re asking me about why there was an elevation of the angst between those that are living — including on the naval base — on Manus, this was part of it,” Mr Dutton said.

“These two incidents fed directly into that. That is indisputable.” He acknowledged the dispute at the soccer game was also “part of the facts of the whole lead-up to the unfortunate incident”.

Asylum seekers sparked Manus incident: Dutton2:59

Peter Dutton says a Manus Island incident was allegedly sparked by asylum seekers’ contact with a local boy.

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