House debates

Monday, 23 November 2009

Questions without Notice

Asylum Seekers

2:32 pm

Photo of Kevin RuddKevin Rudd (Griffith, Australian Labor Party, Prime Minister) Share this | Hansard source

Mr Speaker, the figures are as I have just described them. They are discomforting for those opposite because they actually go to what has happened globally, both in the early 2000s and recently. Of course, the Leader of the Opposition knows that he is engaging in an exercise which, on the facts, is simply unsustainable.

Then we go to the question of policy responses. Here we have the policy responses announced by those opposite in their four-point plan on border protection which came out a week or so ago:

1.We will once again secure our borders.

Look for the detail—‘We will once again secure our borders.’ This is the same policy which in times past saw nearly 250 boats arrive in Australia carrying nearly 15,000 people—and they say, ‘We will once again secure our borders.’

2. All processing offshore.

Someone should remind the member for Murray that that is their policy because on two occasions, one last week and one this week, we have had a bit of a ‘blippo’—haven’t we, Member for Murray?—as she could not quite remember the script.

Then, three—here is one to hold the phone. Listen to this one; it is consistent with what we have heard this morning:

A compassionate and fair refugee and humanitarian program.

Compassionate and fair. Well, hold the phone! That one is really worthy of gaining the newspaper headlines. Then, policy no. 4:

A non-permanent visa for unauthorised arrivals.

The temporary protection visa by another name; that which they have been speaking about for some weeks. This is their recommendation by way of a border protection policy. The temporary protection visa; what is its track record? After they brought it in we saw nearly 10,000 people arrive in this country. Subsequently, we saw 90 per cent of those granted TPVs being provided with permanent residence in Australia. That is the great magic being offered by temporary protection visas.

Our approach is based on mandatory detention. Our approach is based on offshore processing on Christmas Island for vessels that we interdict on the high seas. Our policy is based on stringent ASIO assessment of the security profile of individuals. Our policy is based on stringent health assessment of the health profile of individuals. Our policy is based on those who are not deemed to have bona fide refugee status being sent back home as they have been already, to Sri Lanka and elsewhere. Our processes are also to apply the norms consistent with the UNHCR convention to which we are proud signatories. And we will not put kids behind razor wire.

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