Wednesday, 19 June 2013
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Prime Minister. I remind her of the statement she made on the night she became Prime Minister: 'A good government had lost its way. We needed to make sure that we addressed these problems and I was the best person to take charge of that to get it fixed.' Given that since then more than 580 boats carrying 37,900 illegal arrivals have entered Australia unannounced, does the Prime Minister believe she has honoured her promise to Australian families?
Yet again, with an important issue, here we see the cheapest of politics being played. The member who asked the question came into this parliament and voted for more boats—that is what she did. She voted to deny this government the powers the Howard government had to address refugee and asylum-seeker issues. And, yes, she should be ashamed of that. The Leader of the Opposition should be ashamed of that. Every member of the opposition should be ashamed of the way they decided to go for the politics rather than Australia's national interest. Indeed, they should be listening to people like the former minister for immigration—
I thank the member for proving my point: that if there is ever a choice between national security or the playing of the cheapest and ugliest politics, they are there with the cheapest and ugliest of politics. But there was one member of the opposition who has had experience in this matter and whose words should be listened to, and that is the former minister for immigration, Mr Philip Ruddock, who actually has talked during the life of this parliament about the complexity of this issue. He said:
You're going to have to use all of the measures that we used—
a reference to the Howard government policies—
then you'd be looking around to see what more you could do.
His words. And when this government came into this parliament with a proposal to do more, with a proposal to do something differently, with a proposal to work with Malaysia, the Leader of the Opposition said, 'No, I don't want to see a difference made to the number of people arriving in Australia by boat, I want to vote for more boats.' That is what the Leader of the Opposition said.
Having voted for more boats, is the Leader of the Opposition the custodian of the solution? Well, did he put a solution to President Yudhoyono? No, he did not. Is he saying to the Australian people now that he will 'stop the boats'? No, he is not. He is saying: 'Sometime in the future, if I am ever Prime Minister, I might seek to make a difference by the final year of the first term.' He does not say any longer that you can rely on him to 'stop the boats'. And that is because the Leader of the Opposition—who turns his back because he does not want to face up to all of the ridiculous claims he has made in this area—knows he does not have anything that resembles a policy. He does not even have a slogan anymore.
Indonesia has repudiated him and the Deputy Leader of the Opposition. They have no policy. They have no plan. Defence Force experts have repudiated him and the things that he has claimed. They have no policy. They have no plan. This is a fraud—that's all it is.