Thursday, 21 February 2019
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Minister for Home Affairs: Will the minister please update the House on the importance of strong and consistent border protection measures? Is the minister aware of any alternative approaches that would weaken Australia's borders and put lives at risk?
I thank the honourable member for her question. The Australian public know that the Labor Party is a disaster when it comes to border protection. There is no doubt about that. You should never just look at what a Labor leader says; you should always look at what a Labor leader does. Before the 2007 election, Kevin Rudd—
Mr Hill interjecting—
Before the 2007 election, the then Labor leader promised that there would be no change to the approach to border protection in this country. But we now know that 50,000 people came on 800 boats, 1,200 people drowned at sea and 8,000 children, tragically, were put into detention. We have spent years cleaning this mess up. It has cost $16 billion.
Mr Perrett interjecting—
In their day they opened detention centres. We have closed 19 and we have got all the children out of detention, and we've done it in a way that hasn't recommenced boats. We have done it in a way that hasn't seen children go back into detention.
Yet what we've seen in the last couple of weeks is Labor reverting back to the worst days of the Rudd and Gillard government. The Labor leader wants to tell the Australian public, as he did at the last election, that there would be no difference between our approach to border protection and that which he would provide if he's elected at the next election. But what the Australian public has seen over the last couple of weeks is a very important insight through the window into what a Labor government would look like. Labor, through the bill which is now known as Shorten's law, allows people to come from Manus and Nauru.
Sorry, the Leader of the Opposition's law, Mr Speaker—my apologies. It allows people to come from Manus and Nauru, including the case that we've cited—but many others—of a man who was involved in a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old. Not only does that person have the ability to come to our country, they have the ability—
Mr Perrett interjecting—
They have the ability now to stay. They have the ability under Labor's law to stay here—not to be deported. So what happens at the moment? We've cancelled 4,200 visas of people who have committed criminal offences, including people who have committed rape, sexual offence otherwise, and people that are involved in all sorts of activities that don't bear speaking about in this parliament. They are the worst people. We've deported 4,200 people and we've made our country a safer place.
The Labor Party have demonstrated to the Australian public not only that they can't keep our borders secure but also that they can't keep our country safe either—and they should be condemned for it. The Australian public know that the way in which the Labor Party have unwound our border protection laws in this country over the last couple of weeks should be absolutely condemned. If they are doing this in opposition, imagine what they'd do in government.