Wednesday, 9 November 2016
Questions without Notice
Opposition members interjecting—
At this point yesterday, in question time, I made it very clear the level of noise was far too high. It is already too high before the Prime Minister has been able to utter a word in response to the question. It is unsatisfactory. I am not going to issue repeated warnings. I want to make it as clear as I can to members who are interjecting that they will need to be dealt with. The parliament cannot operate with this level of disruption, and it is not what the public have come to see.
Mr Watts interjecting—
The member for Gellibrand will leave under standing order 94(a).
The reaction from the opposition benches is entirely consistent with the complacency their party showed when they were in government in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 when, ignoring all of the evidence and all of the experience, they unpicked John Howard's tough and effective border protection policies. As a result—as a direct consequence—we saw 50,000 unauthorised arrivals, the opening of 17 new detention centres in Australia, an immigration blowout in cost of $11 billion, 8,000 children put into detention, the reopening of regional processing centres on Nauru and Manus and, most tragically of all, 1,200 deaths at sea of which we know.
The Labor Party then, when Kevin Rudd returned, claimed they had learnt their lesson. They said then that they would be on a unity ticket with the coalition. They said and Kevin Rudd said, and honourable members opposite—many of them echoed his words. The member for Isaacs, in fact, did. The member for Watson did. They said, 'Nobody who seeks to come to Australia by boat shall ever be able to settle in Australia.' They said that in 2013, and that has been the position they have taken since then or they claim to have taken since then. The reality is it was the coalition that stopped the boats. It was the coalition government's determination to stop the boats, to ensure that our borders were secure.
We know how serious a threat irregular migration is. The foreign minister spoke yesterday of John Kerry saying it was viewed in Europe as an existential threat. When I was at the United Nations only a few weeks ago, one leader after another from Europe talked to me about the extraordinary threat they face from irregular migration—what it does to promote intolerance, what it does to undermine a civil discourse, and what it does to undermine their union.
Maintaining our border is absolutely essential. When we put in this legislation before the House this week we asked the Labor Party to do no more than prove, again, that they are on that unity ticket and to do no more than send with us the strongest, most unequivocal message to the people smugglers that you will not succeed. And they have failed us. They have failed Australia. They have failed the integrity of our borders.