Tuesday, 12 February 2019
Home Affairs Legislation Amendment (Miscellaneous Measures) Bill 2018; Consideration of Senate Message
Well, here we are again. How many elections, how many times have the people of Australia said, so clearly, that they want their borders secure? How many times have the Labor Party failed them on this issue? How many times do they have to learn the lesson, only to demonstrate they have never learned it? This is a day when the Labor Party have failed the test, and it's not the first time they've failed this test. They repeat the mistake of thinking they can fiddle and change, without consequences, border protection frameworks that are proven to work.
Under our government, 19 detention centres have been closed. Under our government, 8,000 children who were put into detention by the Labor Party have been taken out. Under our government, every single child is off Nauru, with the last four on the way to the United States under the agreement that we put in place. Under our government, the 1,200 deaths at sea stopped. Under our government, the 800 boats and the 50,000 people came to an end because of a border protection framework that not only stopped this vile trade but provided people with care on the ground. We have more doctors and medical treatment people on Nauru per head of population than you will find in any part of this country today. I will not stand here and have it said that that treatment is not provided, because it is. I will not stand here and have this parliament give itself an excuse to weaken the border protection framework that has saved lives, has restored integrity to our immigration system and, in particular, has seen more than 7,000 women come here on our women at risk visa, under our restored Refugee and Humanitarian Program, which is solely the achievement of those who sit on this side of the House, not of those opposite, who, when they were in government, thought they could abolish temporary protection visas and it would have no impact.
August 2008—I remember the date. That was when the vile trade opened and the deaths started. The bodies mounted up, week after week, month after month, and our border protection staff had to pull children out of the water. The Australian people cried out to us in 2013, and they said: 'Please fix it. Please fix it.' We did. We had a plan to fix it and we executed that plan, and it worked. And now the same wreckers who destroyed it last time have come into this place, whispered in the ears of those who sit on the crossbench and convinced them to undermine it all over again. There is no form of this bill that does not weaken our border protection—no form. We on the government side will not allow the parliament to delude itself, or the Labor Party to delude itself, that there is a form of this bill that is safe for border protection. There is not. There is not.
They shake their heads—just as they shook them before, as they trounced around in government and destroyed the border protection framework put in by the Howard government. As they saw the people die and as they saw the detention centres open, they lamented it, and they came into this chamber and they cried and they wept. But they were impotent, and they were impotent because they did not know how to fix the problem. We know. We have. We did. We've implored this House not to undo what is not broken. The Labor Party broke the system, and we have fixed it, and now, even in opposition, they seek to break it again. Imagine what they will do in government if they are elected. Imagine what it means in government. The Labor Party can win as many votes in this House as they care to, but for the Australian people here tonight they are failing the test of mettle. They are failing the test of duty to the Australian people, and they do it trying to kid themselves that this is being done in the name of humanitarianism. Well, I remind them that their supposed humanitarianism last time led to child deaths, it led to the total destruction of our borders and it took the strength again of a coalition government to undo this. The people of Australia will remember this day and know that this is now on your head, Leader of the Opposition.