Wednesday, 22 August 2018
Questions without Notice
Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs
My question as to the Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs. I refer to the principle of cabinet solidarity outlined in the Cabinet Handbook, which applies to all ministers. Does the minister retain enough confidence in the Prime Minister, his government and its policies to remain a minister?
I thank the member for her question. I have given the Prime Minister my assurance that he has my support as leader. I've also given him my assurance that he has my support for keeping our borders secure. In the last few decades, the greatest policy failure that we have seen from any Australian government has been the dismantling of Australia's successful border protection system that the Howard government put in place. We saw 1,200 people drown at sea. We saw thousands of boats arrive. We saw 50,000 unlawful arrivals. We had to put that system back into place, piece by piece, which we successfully did, and we maintain absolutely that commitment to our strong border protection regime. We will resist any efforts from the opposition to return to their previous policies of unwinding those policies.
I've also given the assurance that we will absolutely ensure that we will continue to ensure that we create jobs and prioritise Australians for those jobs. Again, under the previous regime, the Leader of the Opposition, when he was employment services minister, had the world record for the number of 457 visas issued. At the same time, the welfare queues were ballooning out and the number of jobs actually declined. In contrast, since we have been in government, we've halved the number of those types of visas in the country, we've grown jobs by 400,000 and we have the lowest number of people in the welfare queues in 25 years. That's the type of record we have. We have more Australians in jobs and we're taking people from overseas only when they are needed because there aren't those jobs available.
I will ensure that we'll continue to keep our taxes low and work with the Prime Minister and the cabinet to keep taxes low. We do not want taxes, as the opposition does, on investments. We don't want high taxes on small business. We don't want high taxes on property. We don't want higher taxes on retirees. We certainly don't want debt taxes, which is what some of the unions are suggesting. You might keep an eye on that in terms of where the Labor Party goes, because, when the unions start talking about a particular policy, it doesn't take long for the Labor Party to adopt that policy, for Bill to start acting—
Mr McCormack interjecting—
as the Deputy Prime Minister says, and enact that policy. They're the types of policies which I support and they're the types of policies I will continue to support.