House debates

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Questions without Notice

National Security

2:48 pm

Photo of Craig KellyCraig Kelly (Hughes, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Minister for Home Affairs. Will the minister update the House on how the government is keeping Australians safe through a robust national security agenda? What are the risks and what is at stake for our national security from a different approach?

Photo of Peter DuttonPeter Dutton (Dickson, Liberal Party, Minister for Home Affairs) Share this | | Hansard source

I thank the honourable member for Hughes for his question. Well, to update the House, I can advise that 90 people now have been charged as a result of 40 counterterrorism-related operations around Australia. That is since 12 September 2014, when the national terrorism threat level was raised. We know that around 230 people in Australia are currently being investigated for providing support to individuals and groups in the Syria-Iraq conflict, and we also know that there are many other threats, not only in terms of national security, but in terms of our border security as well.

We know that the threat of terrorism has not gone away and it will not go away for our lifetimes. We need to make sure that we deal adequately with it. What people know of the government is that we will put the resources behind our national security agencies and we will have the capacity to make the decisions that are necessary to keep our country safe. We demonstrated it when we were in government in the Howard years, when the boats were stopped, and yet changes were made to border security by Labor when they were in power. We saw 50,000 people arrive on 800 boats. Twelve hundred people tragically drowned at sea. Thousands of children ended up in detention. What we saw under Labor was a complete disaster, because not only did they lose control of our borders but they ripped money out of our national security agencies, including the Australian Federal Police.

Why can't people trust the Leader of the Opposition? Why do they have a doubt in their mind when they hear him speak? Because they know he is not sincere when he says that he is will stand up for the national security and border security of this country. Labor always play a big game in opposition, but whenever they get into government they fail on these key tests. The fact is that these threats will not go away. If Labor were in government after the next election, we know they would again mismanage the economy and they would rip money out of national security. We know, even in relation to the listing of pharmaceuticals, that they ran out of money and stopped listing pharmaceuticals. No wonder they ripped money out of the Australian Federal Police, out of customs, out of AUSTRAC. They took billions of dollars and put it into trying to patch up the disaster that was their border protection policy. The reality is that if they are elected at the next election they will do it all over again.

They default to us when we are in government—they hide behind the decisions that we make on national security and border security—but when they move into government they have no idea what they are doing. There are many people on the front bench of the Labor Party that have their heads hanging low right now because they know that they were a disaster on border protection and national security. The Australian public should never ever trust this Leader of the Opposition or a Labor government. (Time expired)