House debates

Thursday, 20 September 2018


Minister for Home Affairs

11:51 am

Photo of Christopher PyneChristopher Pyne (Sturt, Liberal Party, Leader of the House) Share this | Hansard source

Listen, Abraham, you're not on television now. It's all right—you can give your 'close-in look to camera' speech later on this afternoon!

It is important to introduce these bills into this parliament so that they can be passed in the spring session and the business of government can be gotten on with. A suspension of standing orders has been moved. When that happens, the business of government stops and a new item of business is dealt with. So the speech that should have been given by the member for Melbourne should have been about why the suspension of standing orders should be supported in order to allow him to move his motion, but I didn't interrupt him on that basis once we'd discovered what he was doing.

We want to get on with the business of government. We have significant legislation to introduce into the parliament and then to debate and pass. We don't agree that the standing orders should be suspended in order to allow a motion of no confidence in the Minister for Home Affairs. We have absolute confidence in the Minister for Home Affairs—absolute confidence in the Minister for Home Affairs. This Minister for Home Affairs has stopped the boats, following on from the good work of the now Prime Minister. He's protected our borders. This government, led first by the now Prime Minister, along with the Minister for Home Affairs, has put national security as one of our very first priorities alongside growing the economy—national security, economic security. He's not running the loosey-goosey approach to the borders that the Labor Party ran when they were in office for six years, when we had 50,000 unauthorised arrivals on 800 boats and at least 1,000 deaths at sea that we know about and thousands of children in detention. We fixed it. We got on and we fixed it.

On this occasion, the Minister for Home Affairs has been the fixer. He fixed it, along with the now Prime Minister. It is a very significant part of government policy because not only is it important to protect our borders and to stop deaths at sea; it also saves the Australian taxpayer billions and billions of dollars. When you open 17 new immigration detention centres and processing centres, as Labor did, it costs an extraordinary amount of money. So, on every single level, the work of the Minister for Home Affairs in protecting our borders has been absolutely outstanding. And that has been not only in protecting our borders. As the Minister for Home Affairs, he has also ensured we have a rigorous visa-processing system. He is not allowing bikie gang leaders, drug runners or sexual offenders to simply stay in the country, as Labor allowed to happen for six years. He has cancelled over 3,000 visas of criminals in the time that he has been the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection and the Minister for Home Affairs. He has been acting and getting on with the job, which is what this House wants to do. My sense, hearing from my colleagues, is that they want to get on with the business of the House, because that's what good governments do.

Not only has the Minister for Home Affairs protected Australians and protected our borders; he's also ensured that we have an absolute world-class approach to stopping terrorism in Australia. He's protecting Australia and putting the safety of Australians first. He has protected them from terrorism, extremism and radicalism in the approach that he has taken as the Minister for Home Affairs and before that as the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection. That is one of the most important things, if not the most important thing, any government can do.

Yet the Labor Party and, unfortunately, some of my friends on the crossbench—certainly the member for Melbourne and the member for Denison—want us to stop having our focus on the safety of the Australian public. They want us to take our focus off the safety of the Australian public. They want us to focus instead on these political games. The Australian public are thoroughly sick of it. We had a Senate committee report handed down last night. The committee had a majority of Labor and Greens members on it. Amazingly, it found against the Minister for Home Affairs—shock, horror! Who would have thought? There wasn't one Labor or Greens member who chose to back the government. It's never happened and it's not going to happen—surprise, surprise! There has not been one shred of evidence presented by the Labor Party—or the Greens, for that matter—as to why this motion of no confidence should be carried on the Minister for Home Affairs. That is why the government will not support a suspension of standing orders to facilitate this motion.

A motion of no confidence in a minister—or a government, for that matter—is one of the most serious things that a parliament can consider. So serious is it that, from memory, we didn't move a motion of no confidence in the Gillard government in the entire 43rd Parliament. We moved a few suspensions of standing orders, but we never moved a motion of no confidence in the government, because the most serious thing a parliament can do is consider such a motion.


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