House debates

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Questions without Notice

Border Protection

2:41 pm

Photo of Rick WilsonRick Wilson (O'Connor, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Prime Minister. How will the government's Migration Legislation Amendment (Regional Processing Cohort) Bill 2016 protect our borders? Are there any alternative views?

Photo of Malcolm TurnbullMalcolm Turnbull (Wentworth, Liberal Party, Prime Minister) Share this | | Hansard source

I thank the honourable member for his question. The government and our nation are engaged in a battle of will with the people smugglers. They are a determined, agile criminal group with enormous resources. They use modern social media as adeptly as anybody. Honourable members may scoff—they think people drowning at sea is funny. Is that right? Do they think national security is funny? It is no surprise that honourable members opposite trivialise this issue. Only this morning, the Leader of the Opposition demonstrated Labor had learnt so little from its past mistakes when he equated people smuggling with tourism. He talked about not being on a unity ticket to stop the tourists. So it is tourism now, is it? Is that how the Labor Party regards people smuggling? Is that how they regard the lives of thousands of people put at risk by some of the most evil criminals in the world? Is that how they regard the sanctity and security of our borders—'It's tourism'? Trivialising it; joking about it.

We know that Labor cannot be trusted. Kevin Rudd demonstrated he could not be trusted. In 2007 he said he would turn the boats back—he would be a mirror image of John Howard's policy. Then, despite our pleas to him not to do so, Kevin Rudd—filled with complacency, rejoicing in the fact that John Howard had stopped the people smugglers, delighting in the fact that the detention centres were empty and thrilled there were no children in detention—decided he could unpick that policy, and we know what happened. And if Labor has its way, it will do it again. We know the Leader of the Opposition is giving in again to the left of his party just as Kevin Rudd did in 2008 and 2009. He talks about a unity ticket, he talks about being tough on borders. The fact is, he trivialises it—talking about people smuggling as tourism. If the honourable member does not have respect for the people of Australia and the security of their borders, he should at least have respect for the people that drowned when he was last a minister of the Crown.