Thursday, 6 December 2018
Questions without Notice
I thank the member for La Trobe for his question and his service to Australia in the cause of national security, not just as a member of this place but as a policeman in Victoria who worked in the area of counterterrorism. He knows what he's talking about. That's why he's been so pleased to be part of a government that is absolutely committed to keeping Australians safe and doing what is necessary in terms of legislative powers that support police, ASIO and other security agencies to ensure that terrorists, organised criminals, paedophiles and others are not able to exploit the weaknesses in our laws to get on with their evil business.
We have brought legislation into this place to ensure that those agencies can get access to the encrypted communications of terrorists, paedophiles and organised criminals. We've been on this for months and months. It has gone through a committee process and, in this place today, the Labor Party are frustrating the passage of that bill through this place for one simple reason: to play political games in an effort to embarrass the government and undermine border protection laws in this country.
Don't tell us that the Labor Party are in lock step with the government when it comes to national security. We're not in step; we're not even on the same page. The Labor Party, when it comes to national security, are very unwilling travellers. Our government will continue to focus on delivering the laws and the powers that will keep Australians safe, but, for the sake of a headline, for the sake of a vote in this place, to play tricky politics and for a TV grab, they are prepared to sell out national security. That is the character and the mettle of the leader of the Labor Party. He has been tested over the last 24 hours and he has been found wanting.
I'm advised that 30 years ago was the last time that the opposition sought to go through a bill clause by clause. It's an old trick, but it's just as ugly, particularly when it's being used to delay important national security legislation which the Labor Party have had to be dragged to. They have had to be dragged to it when it has come, slowing down the divestment legislation as a political tactic to ensure that these other measures cannot be addressed. This is very disappointing. It is incredibly disappointing, but the Australian people know who they can trust when it comes to keeping them safe. It's the Liberal-National Party. The form of the Labor Party is too well known.