Monday, 18 February 2019
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Minister for Home Affairs. Will the minister update the House on the benefits of strong and consistent border protection policies? Is the minister aware of any alternative approaches that could put our borders and Australian families at risk?
I thank the honourable member for his question. It's obviously a very serious issue, given the law that Labor passed does weaken our borders in this country. There's a lot that our sailors, our border protection staff, have been doing for a long period of time to clean up Labor's mess from when they were last in government. Twelve hundred people drowning at sea is not something that should be discussed lightly. The reality is, as was pointed out by the Deputy Prime Minister earlier, that four people were in detention when Mr Howard left office in 2007. Because of policy changes, 1,200 people drowned at sea—women and children included—and we had 8,000 children going into detention. Yet the Labor Party is now going to the Australian people, promising to repeat it all again. That's the reality of what Labor promised last week.
Worse than that, they go further. They go further because they have weakened the provisions within the Migration Act that would normally provide the minister for immigration with the ability to deny entry into our country to people of bad character. Under the Migration Act, section 501 has 12 subsections. The Labor Party has discounted 11 of those and included only one, which means we could stop somebody hopping on a plane in Singapore today who had been accused of molesting a child, offload that person from that plane and deny them access to our borders. But we can't do that with people coming from Manus and Nauru, under Labor law. The reality is, as we've seen—
Opposition members interjecting—
They say, 'It's not true.' It is true! If you had taken the advice of the security agencies, you'd know it was true. The trouble is: you acted against the advice of the security agencies, and you are now paying the price.
I can say to the House that, under Labor's law, we have no power to prevent the transfer of a man charged with the rape of a minor. We have no power under Labor's law to prevent the transfer of a man charged with an indecent act in relation to a child under 16 years of age. Under Labor's law, we have no power to prevent those people and others coming to our country. If they don't understand the laws they've introduced, no wonder the mistakes of the past will be recommitted. It's obvious that this man who wants to be Prime Minister is weaker than Gillard and Rudd put together. He couldn't stare down the Left of his party, which is exactly a repeat of what happened with Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd. If the Leader of the Opposition was ever to have control of this public policy, it would be a humanitarian disaster yet again. (Time expired)