Thursday, 14 February 2019
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Prime Minister. I refer him to requests for an emergency meeting of the National Party to discuss his decision to dump his latest signature energy policy. Why didn't the Prime Minister tell his deputy he was dumping his so-called big stick legislation before the Treasurer briefed it out? Given this government is so chaotic that one half doesn't know what the other half is doing, is this what the Prime Minister meant when he described his own government as the muppet—
My question is to the Prime Minister, and I refer him to requests for an emergency meeting of the National Party to discuss the decision of the government to dump its latest signature energy policy. Why didn't the Prime Minister tell his deputy he was dumping his so-called big stick legislation, before the Treasurer briefed it out? Given that this government is so chaotic that one half doesn't know what the other half is doing, is this what the Prime Minister meant when he described his own government as the muppet show?
Before I call the Prime Minister, I don't want it thought that I'm being soft on the Deputy Prime Minister, but, having had the opportunity to hear it again without interjection, I can very clearly say the first part of that question was absolutely out of order. The Prime Minister can address himself to the final part of the question.
Thank you, Mr Speaker. Again, another Labor member just comes up here talking absolute rubbish—it's just complete rubbish. That's the answer to your question: you're talking absolute rubbish. But I'll pick you up on one point. You used the word 'chaotic'. When I was the shadow minister for immigration, I remember the chaos that engulfed the former Labor government because of their failure on borders. Because of their absolute manifest failure, that government fell apart. Yes, they had internal division—that was true. Yes, they had the now Leader of the Opposition back then undermining leader after leader—that's all true. But the reason their government fell apart was their manifest failure on a key issue of policy, which was to protect Australia's borders. As a result, the costs kept mounting up. Up to $16 billion was ripped out of the budget, predominantly as a result of the incompetence and failure to act from the shadow Treasurer, then the worst immigration minister Australia has ever seen, who now wants to be the Treasurer of the country. That chaos cost $16 billion.
This leader of the Labor Party has said for the last 5½ years, 'Oh, there's no difference between Labor and Liberal and National when it comes to border protection.' That is untrue. It's never been true. It is a falsehood he's tried to put on the Australian people for so long. As the Minister for Home Affairs has said, first, they are going to abolish temporary protection visas, the very thing Kevin Rudd did back in August 2008, which set the boats running in the first place. What that means is that Labor will provide permanent residence to people who illegally enter Australia. That's what they are going to do if they're elected. The second point: they have abolished offshore processing as we know it. They have abolished it. It will not be the tool that we have put in the kit that we have built that has been an effective part of our border protection framework. On the third point, turning back boats where it is safe to do so: the only thing that the Labor Party will turn back is the successful border protection policies that this government has put in place.
The reason they will do all of those things is that, when it comes to border protection, they don't believe in it. There is no steel in this Leader of the Opposition when it comes to border protection and national security, and that's why, under this leader of the Labor Party, what we will see is the weakness that is inside him work its way out into the national security policies of this country, and that is why he is unfit to hold the office of Prime Minister.