'People smuggler' spoke of NZ route: court

Rick Goodman

An accused people smuggler was taped talking to an associate about a "route to New Zealand" and finding a smooth talker who could extract money from scared people, a Victorian court has heard.

Mildura man Abbas Allami is accused of working for an international people-smuggling syndicate operating between Iraq and Australia in 2013.

Allami, who has pleaded not guilty to aggravated people smuggling, allegedly tried to help a family of six from Iraq enter Australia by boat from Indonesia.

Iraqi refugee Kadhim Al Shareeda has previously spoken at the trial, saying his family was promised a ship "like the Titanic" and that they would be welcomed in Australia.

On Friday, a Victorian County Court jury heard transcripts of telephone calls that were intercepted by federal police in 2014 after Allami's home phone was tapped.

In some of the calls, Allami spoke to a man named Abu Kamal, who prosecutors allege was also part of the smuggling syndicate.

"I have got their route to New Zealand. I have shown them the boat," Allami said in the call, according to a transcript read out by Crown prosecutor Kevin Armstrong.

Allami also spoke about the need to find a "smooth talker" who could persuade scared people to hand over money.

"I want someone courageous and a bit decent to collect money from the people," he said.

"The people are scared. The people haven't arrived yet and they have fear.

"We need someone who is a smooth talker."

Mr Al Shareeda, who fled Iraq to seek safety for his family, said he arranged to pay a smuggling group $US30,000 to get his family from Malaysia to Australia, via Indonesia.

But after months in Indonesia, he realised the original syndicate was untrustworthy and struck a deal with different people smugglers.

The boat carrying Mr Al Shareeda's family was intercepted by the navy near Christmas Island in December 2013. They have recently been released into community detention in South Australia.

The trial will continue before Judge Jeanette Morrish on Monday.