January 30, 2017








SUBJECT/S: US immigration ban


JOURNALIST: Anne, what’s your reaction to Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration, first of all?

DR ANNE ALY MP: Well I think it’s rather perplexing, actually, and quite nonsensical. I mean, if it’s an Executive Order that has a purpose of national security as he claims and strong borders, then it’s completely ineffective because it certainly doesn’t target the countries that have the largest exporters of foreign fighters to ISIS or foreign fighters in the violent jihadist cause. So, you know, from a national security perspective it’s completely ineffective.

JOURNALIST: So, would you expect more countries to be added to that list if security is the main reason for the ban?

ALY: I don’t think that security is the main reason for the ban at all and I doubt that more countries will be added to that list. I think what the ban is is a measure taken by President Trump to, in some way give, the impression that he’s following out on the election commitments that he’s made. But of course in a very ineffective way and less than effective, if I might add, the chaos that we’re seeing in the US administratively. It's causing a huge bureaucratic and administrative headache for airports and across the United States. So it’s even less than effective, if anything it’s counter-productive.

JOURNALIST: Some commentators have described the move as a gift to IS, that the United States will be in more danger of a terrorist attack from before as a result of this.

ALY: It may well be that it feeds in to Daesh or IS propaganda about the Western World and particularly about the United States being against Muslims and against Islam and the enemy of Islam; and certainly that’s how Donald Trump, and I must also say the response to it, this idea that it is a Muslim ban, that certainly also feeds in to it.

JOURNALIST: Have you heard from any of your constituents or do you know anyone that’s personally affected by this?

ALY: No, not yet. Not from Australia. We shall see though as things progress and whether this ban is only temporary, whether it lasts for as long as it is going to last. This has become the nature of US politics I think is that it is very unpredictable. And we just sit back and wait and watch things unfold.

JOURNALIST: What position would you like the Australian Government to take towards this Executive Order?

ALY: Well I think both Labor and Liberal governments have had a very bipartisan approach to a non-discriminatory immigration process, non-discriminatory immigration from many many years ago, many decades ago, so I would like to think that we will continue to have a bipartisan approach to immigration and ensure that our policies are not discriminatory.

JOURNALIST: There are any number of legal challenges going on right now to this order, do you have any sense of optimism that it will be halted in the courts?

ALY: Ros, I’ve given up of having optimism or pessimism when it comes to US politics. I think that wherever there has been optimism, that’s kind of been let down in many ways. So I’m just prepared for shock and awe. And just prepared to wait and see, because that’s one of the biggest messages as well out of this: is that every time we try and predict, every time we try and expect something, something completely different comes up it’s always a surprise and perhaps we need to stop being surprised.

JOURNALIST: Do you have any plans to take action to protest against the Order?

ALY: No. This is US politics, in as far as it effects Australia and should it affect Australia in any way then I will have something to say about it here in Australia. But, you know, this is US politics and this is for the American people.

JOURNALIST: Dr Anne Aly thanks so much for talking to us.