PM’s fear for daughters amid bikie threat
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has revealed his security fears for his family and two young daughters following his decision to expel a key gang leader from Australia.
In an exclusive interview on Sky on Wednesday night, Mr Morrison told Graeme "Richo" Richardson that he had to increase security at his family home after he banned the Rebels bikie gang boss Alex Vella from the country.
As Immigration Minister in 2014, Mr Morrison cancelled Vella's visa three days after the feared bikie boss, known as "the Maltese Falcon", left Australia for overseas,
Mr Morrison revealed the security threat during an interview with his wife Jenny at their Sydney residence, Kirribilli House.
Asked by Mr Richardson if the couple ever stayed down in the Sutherland Shire, where they lived before he became PM, Mr Morrison said he didn't.
"The whole security bandwagon is, well, it's quite inconvenient to my neighbours," he said.
Unprompted, the PM then went on to disclose what had happened when he moved on the Rebels outlaw gang leader five years ago.
"When I was Immigration Minister we had, sadly, had to have full time security there for a quite long period of time...there was some amendment and changes made to the house at that time," Mr Morrison said.
"That was when we kicked out Vella, the head of the bikie gang.
"And for some time we had, and even the kids on that occasion.
"Now thankfully nothing came of that, but when you are dealing with outlaw motorcycle gang bosses, you don't take chances."
Mr Morrison did not say any individual had made any threats against him.
At the time, his daughters were aged around four and six years old.
As Immigration Minister, Mr Morrison banned the Rebel gang boss Alex Vella in a meticulously-planned move in early June 2014.
This was after Strike Force Attero - a joint federal and state operation targeting the Rebels - had laid more than 4200 charges and arrested up to 3000 people between 2012 and Vella's departure overseas.
Despite having lived in Australia for decades and having a wife and children living in Sydney, Maltese-born Vella had never become a citizen.
Now, his original plans for a two-week holiday have become a seemingly permanent exile.
Though threatening a legal challenge to Mr Morrison's ban, Vella remains stranded in Malta.
In the months after the ban, as Vella's family and Rebels bikie gang members tried to raise money and campaign for his return, Mr Morrison remained steadfast.
This was as targeted state and federal police operations decimated the Rebels, once Australia's largest bikie gang with thousands of members.
Mr Morrison said at the time: "I stand by my decision to cancel his visa and I stand by the decision not to review that decision.
"He is in Malta and according to our government's policy, that's where he will stay.
"They can pursue this through the courts and they will do that no doubt.
"It is not the government's plan or policy or demeanour to give this character a visa.
"We cancelled the visa that Labor renewed when it came to Mr Vella and I stand by that 100 per cent."
On the Sky TV interview with Mr Richardson on Wednesday night, the PM had a lighthearted discussion about wearing shorts and bare feet around Kirribilli House, about watching footy in pubs and how he enjoys people yelling "ScoMo" out to him.
Mrs Morrison revealed she tried to stay home with her daughters if possible, but when travelling overseas with her husband has, on one occasion, swum in the ocean "with" UK PM Boris Johnson.
It was at the G7 summit in Biarritz, France in August, and Mrs Morrison said Johnson was swimming out further than her with a security entourage around him.