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Peta Credlin admits $423m Manus Island contract ‘doesn’t look 100% great’

Peta Credlin has questioned the government’s decision to award a security contract worth almost half a billion dollars to a company with a beach shack for a headquarters.

Little-known company Paladin won the $423-million deal to help oversee security and other services on Manus Island.

But it’s since been revealed the tiny security firm’s Australian head office, until recently, was run out of a beach shack on Kangaroo Island and had no listed phone number.

The limited tender process has also drawn criticism, with the Home Affairs department admitting they contacted Paladin for a quote.

Tony Abbott’s former chief of staff, Peta Credlin, tells Ben Fordham, “$400 million is an obscene amount of money… but when you say we know that it cost $16 billion since Rudd let the boats come back to our shore… this is what the money means – it has a brutal cost”.

Ms Credlin admits the whole tender process “doesn’t look 100% great… but this is the cost of border protection”.

Former Labor Senator Graham Richardson says he’s “appalled” at the tender process but concedes that’s what it costs to stop people smugglers.

“Everyone has to understand that if you want to stop the boats, and you’ve got all these people on Nauru, they are going to cost you a fortune.”

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The debate over asylum seekers and border protection may be behind the sharp drop in support for Labor in the latest Ipsos poll.

“Labor’s on dangerous ground here and whenever Scott Morrison gets into the ground of boats he’s on his strongest ground,” Richo tells Ben.

“He made his first really good speech as prime minister…he was fired up, he showed passion, he showed fight.”

Ms Credlin says “the government has got to have hope, it’s got to have effort, and it’s got to have fight.”

“It had all three of those last week and this poll cements that feeling.”