Thursday, 13 February 2020
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Attorney-General and Minister for Industrial Relations. Will the minister outline for the House the importance of the Morrison government's complete consistency in terms of its approach to national security and to criminal justice, which has enabled it to pass a series of critical reforms designed to keep Australians safe? Is the Attorney aware of any alternative approaches?
I thank the member for his question and for his past contribution to our nation's defence. As the member is aware, since 2013 the government has passed 19 tranches of national security legislation and a number of other reforms in criminal law. There's been a complete rewrite of all Australia's laws dealing with espionage, sabotage and foreign interference. We have removed abhorrent violent material after the shocking video footage of the Christchurch events was left online. There have been reforms to deal with the sabotage of agricultural products, trespassing advocates and counter-encryption.
Through all of that, whether it has been about gun trafficking or counter-encryption or boat turn-backs, as the Minister for Home Affairs mentioned earlier, the government's position has always been completely clear and consistent and completely supported by every single member on this side of the House.
I'm asked about alternative policy approaches. Consistency has not been a feature of the alternative approaches in this area demonstrated by the opposition. The Leader of the Opposition was opposed to boat turn-backs; now he supports boat turn-backs. In another example, Labor supports mandatory sentencing for people smuggling, but they don't support mandatory sentencing for smuggling weapons, even though that's an enormous danger to the health and safety of the Australian public. I think the Labor policy alternative approach was summarised perfectly by a short statement made by the Leader of the Opposition on Tuesday. Ironically, this statement was made just hours before 20 members of the Labor Party went into the Otis restaurant to discuss alternatives to the policy of the Leader of the Opposition. His great statement on unity was this: 'On our side, we are united. We're committed to doing something to change the country.'
'We are committed to do something.' It's soaring rhetoric—decisive, inspiring stuff.
'We are committed to doing something.' The only problem is that they don't know what the something is. But we are lucky that we have an alternative policy group meeting at the Otis restaurant, sorting out what the something is.
And so what is the 'something' on boat turnbacks? What is the 'something' on gun trafficking? Well, at the Otis restaurant they'll be back to discuss it. How do we know that they'll be back? Well, you can look online at the restaurant reviews.