House debates

Wednesday, 4 December 2019

Questions without Notice

Asylum Seekers

2:42 pm

Photo of Richard MarlesRichard Marles (Corio, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Minister for Defence) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Prime Minister. I refer to Senator Lambie's statement to the Senate that she cut a deal with the government to repeal the medevac legislation—a deal Senator Cormann has denied. Has the government finally agreed to resettle people from Manus and Nauru to New Zealand? If not, what is the deal?

Photo of Scott MorrisonScott Morrison (Cook, Liberal Party, Prime Minister) Share this | | Hansard source

I'm not aware of what the member is referring to. I have before me what Senator Lambie's comments were in the Senate on this bill and it makes no mention or reference to that. I can assure you that Senator Lambie today is fully aware of the government's policies and is pleased with those policies, and today she has supported the government's policies by supporting the repeal of the medevac bill, which was supported by the Labor Party a year ago—about this time—and the Labor Party did that because they don't believe in stronger border protection.

One of the biggest myths that exists out there is that the Labor Party has the same policy as the Liberals and the Nationals when it comes to border protection. That is simply untrue. On every test, on every occasion, this Leader of the Opposition and the last Leader of the Opposition have proven themselves to be weak on border protection, and the Australian people know it. They know Labor can't be trusted on border protection, because they know they were the architects the last time and the time before that when we saw these things occur in the way they did—seeking to frustrate the policies of the government on this occasion and on previous occasions, when we have sought to remedy the problems that have been faced on our borders. Labor are weak on border protection. The Australian people know it. This leader of the Labor Party in particular is weak on border protection, and he confirmed that today with his reaction to the repeal of the medevac bill.

Our government policies were supporting people who required medical attention and they were brought to Australia for that medical attention. It was our government that got every single child off Nauru. That was done under my Prime Ministership. We ensured that we delivered that. This mob on that side—this Labor Party—were the Labor Party that sent children to Manus Island. How do I know that? I went there as a shadow immigration minister and I sat with the mothers and children that they sent to Manus Island.

So I will not take lectures from a Labor Party that showed themselves to be involved in the most outrageous treatment of women and children in sending them to Manus Island and then did nothing while we sought to stop the deaths at sea and we got every single child off Manus and off Nauru. The Labor Party's record on this issue is beyond a disgrace and, if this leader of the Labor Party ever got the opportunity to be in charge of border protection, he would set a new low.