Wednesday, 9 November 2016
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Prime Minister. Will the Prime Minister advise the House on the dangers of trivialising border security, and of the ongoing need to send clear signals to people smugglers that their trade will never be tolerated?
Mr Hill interjecting—
I thank the honourable member for his question. As the honourable member understands very well, our nation, the most successful multicultural nation in the world, is built on a foundation of mutual respect, on a foundation where Australians understand that it is their government which determines who comes to Australia, it is their government which determines which refugees come to Australia and it is their government which determines the integrity of their borders.
In the world today we face a scourge of people smuggling. These are multibillion-dollar criminal organisations. They are operating globally, they are a threat to democracies, they are a threat to the political integrity of many countries and they are a threat to our multicultural harmony.
We understand that the people smugglers need the clearest possible message. They need a message which says unequivocally: you will not be able to get your passengers to Australia, full stop. You will not succeed. That is what enables us to have one of the most generous humanitarian programs in the world. That is what has enabled us to take 12,000 refugees from the conflict zone in addition to our annual quota.
But what have we heard from the Labor Party this week? They have scoffed and trivialised border security. The Leader of the Opposition yesterday said:
… we're not on a unity ticket to stop tourists.
Are the people smugglers tourist operators? Is that what the Labor Party believes? Are they just tourists? Is this the way in which the Labor Party treats national security? We have seen this complacency before. This is precisely the scoffing, sneering, patronising complacency of the Labor Party that was in evidence some years ago under Kevin Rudd, when he mocked members of the Liberal Party and members of the National Party when we challenged him for his neglect of our border security. The consequence was the tragedy that followed: 50,000 unauthorised arrivals, 1,200 deaths at sea of which we know, more misery, and people put into Nauru and Manus that we have been endeavouring to resettle, with no thanks to and no help from the Labor Party that put them there. It is time the Labor Party took border security seriously. It is time they owned up to their responsibilities as an alternative government, and stood up for Australia and the integrity of our borders.