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“I heard you the first time”: Steve Price and Waleed Aly exchange words on The Project.

There were some tense moments on The Project this evening as the panel took Steve Price to task over his claim that there is a link between Australia’s refugee intake and local terrorism.

The radio host and Project regular was responding to ASIO boss Duncan Lewis’ refusal to back down from claims made during a Senate hearing last week that no such connection exists.

Lewis’ statement sparked backlash from conservative MPs, including One Nation’s Pauline Hanson and Malcolm Roberts, and prompted the top spy to clarify his statement today.

Speaking to the ABC, Lewis noted that tens of thousands of refugees have come to Australia “and a very few of them have become subjects of interest for ASIO and have been involved in terrorist planning”.

This statement didn’t sit well with Price.

Steve Price and Waleed Aly went head-to-head on The Project. Image: Channel 10.
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"I think there's a fair difference between 'none' and 'very few' and I think it's right that he clarifies it because most Australians were surprised at the original answer," he said on The Project this evening.

Price used the examples of Lindt cafe siege gunman Man Monis and Abdul Numan Haider who stabbed two counter-terrorism officers in Melbourne in 2014.

"I mean, you can't say that there hasn't been," he said. "Man Monis was here and left here as a refugee, went into the Lindt cafe and murdered two people."

But program host Waleed Aly accused Price of "over-egging it", telling Price: "I heard you the first time."

LISTEN: Why some people doubt 9/11 was a terrorist attack.

"There are some refugees who are engaged in terrorism, that's fine," he said. "That's not the same thing as saying that there is a connection between being a refugee and being a terrorist. There's no causal connection. That's the point that [Lewis] was making. There's nothing controversial really about that at all coming from someone who should know more about that than anyone else in the country, surely?"

But Price pushed on, arguing that "If the people hadn't come here as refugees, the people they killed wouldn't be dead.

"... You're taking the argument to an absurd position. Refugees have come to this country and committed acts of terrorism and for the ASIO boss to say that that hadn't happened is not correct and he was right to clarify his position," he said.

Applying that same logic, Aly hit back.

"So if the person who commits a crime wasn't born, then that crime wouldn't be committed, therefore there's a connection between birth and crime. That's the application of [your] logic."

With no end to the fiery exchange in sight, Carrie Bickmore intervened.

"I don't think that we're going to solve this now so we will say thank you so much Steve for joining us and we'll see you again on Monday," she said.

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