House debates

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Questions without Notice

Asylum Seekers

2:55 pm

Photo of Scott MorrisonScott Morrison (Cook, Liberal Party, Shadow Minister for Immigration and Citizenship) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Prime Minister. I refer the Prime Minister to his pre-election promise to take ‘a very hard line on the question of people smuggling, a very tough line on people smuggling’. How does this reconcile with the extraordinary fact that the government has transferred to Australia four Tamil refugees who were on board the Oceanic Viking as a result of the government’s special deal, despite receiving adverse security assessments from ASIO?

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

I thank the member for his question. Firstly, on the responsibilities of ASIO in security assessments, that is independently undertaken by that agency. Secondly, the honourable member will be referring to discussions which have occurred in Senate estimates concerning the way in which ASIO screenings have been undertaken in relation to those individuals, including those who obtained adverse security assessments. We are advised by ASIO that, during the period July to December 2009, ASIO processed security assessments for all irregular maritime arrivals in an average of 35 days. We are also advised that the average time taken to process security assessments for those on the Oceanic Viking was consistent with the average of that period. That is what occurred in this case and that is the advice we have received from ASIO.