Thursday, 17 October 2019
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Minister for Home Affairs. Will the minister outline to the House the importance of the Morrison government providing a stable and certain approach to border protection and to domestic national security, and is the minister aware of any alternative policy approaches?
Why don't I start with the alternative policies? If you want an example of panic and mayhem, look no further than the Labor Party in government or in opposition. When it comes to national security and border protection, the Labor Party tear themselves apart week in, week out. At the moment, we're seeing a civil war play out on the Labor Party front benches. We know that Senator Keneally is making unilateral decisions which are completely at odds with the leadership of the Labor Party. But it was the same when they were in government. They lost control of our borders, they panicked, and we saw the resulting consequences.
We know that when Labor lost control of our borders, 50,000 people came and they came on 800 boats but, tragically, 1,200 people drowned at sea. But, worse than that, the Labor Party today still has not learnt the lessons from those failed days. We know that, in addition to that cost, there was a $16 billion cost hitting the bottom line and it meant that there were consequences elsewhere. If Labor were spending $16 billion on border protection failures and on all of the mayhem, the panic and the chaos that was taking place during those days, where do you think they went to cut? They went to the national security portfolio, as you'd expect from Labor. They cut $128 million from the AFP. They cut $30 million from the Australian Crime Commission. They cut $27 million from AUSTRAC. They cut $735 million and 700 staff from the then Customs service. They cut $125 million from ASIO. This year, we on this side will provide more funding to ASIO than in any other year in the 70-year history of ASIO. We will do that because we can balance the budget.
We in the coalition make responsible decisions, which means that we can pay for the essential services. It's apparent to all Australians today that the Labor Party still preside over a policy on border protection where they are split and divided, and it is not improving. This is the irony of Labor's leader. This Leader of the Opposition has stood up at conference after conference of the Labor Party and demanded that our Operation Sovereign Borders policy be dismantled. That's what he's promised, and he's now in the process of delivering on that promise. The Labor Party policy goes from bad to worse under this weak leader.