House debates

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Questions without Notice

Border Protection

2:20 pm

Photo of Luke SimpkinsLuke Simpkins (Cowan, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection. Will the minister update the House on steps the government is taking to process the remaining 30,000 illegal maritime arrivals left unresolved by the former government?

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

I thank the member for Cowan for his question. He will be pleased to know also that, having just concluded the month of September, it was the eighth month out of nine this year when there have been no illegal arrivals in Australia by boat—eight out of nine months! The member for Watson could not manage eight of nine days, neither could the member for O'Connor. But on this side of the House with the policies we have put in place to stop the boats, the month of September has passed and there has not been a single successful venture during that time. That has now become the common result under this government. It is not the exception, it is the expectation because of the measures that we have put in place.

But that is not the only challenge we have had to deal with. We have to deal with the 30,000 and more people who arrived illegally by boat and who were left behind here in Australia by the previous government. They were allowed to come and more than 22,000 of them were not even processed at all, and that goes back to people who arrived as early as August 2012. The Labor Party's policy was to give them a tick-and-flick assessment process, to give them a pathway to permanent welfare for life through the provision of a permanent protection visa.

That is not our policy. That is not the policy we took to the election. We took to the election a policy we have held for well over a decade, like all of our border protection policies, because on this side of the House we know what we believe when it comes to border protection. We are the ones who have the runs on the board. We are the ones who have a consistent approach to dealing with this problem.

Last week we introduced into this place legislation that would see temporary protection visas back on the visa books of this country. That is what will happen as a result of this legislation hopefully being passed through the Senate. That legislation also does something important through those TPVs. They actually go further than the Howard government measures which ensured that there was no possibility of an application for a permanent protection visa under those arrangements. In addition, under these provisions we have introduced, we are claiming back for Australia how we decide who is a refugee and who is not. In this legislation, we enshrine in law what it is to be refugee, what protection involves and what protection does not involve.

I know those opposite and in other places would like to see those decisions made in Brussels, Geneva or wherever else. But that will not be the case under this government—because, as former Prime Minister John Howard said, we will decide, and we should decide who comes to this country and not allow the interpretations of others outside this place decide what our international obligations are.

Mr Perrett interjecting

Photo of Mrs Bronwyn BishopMrs Bronwyn Bishop (Speaker) Share this | | Hansard source

The member for Moreton is warned!

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

We will decide them; not those who sit in other places, as those opposite would do. We are cleaning up Labor's mess because that is what coalition governments do best.