Thursday, 13 February 2020
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Minister for Home Affairs. Will the minister outline to the House how the Morrison government's consistent beliefs and policies on border protection and national security are keeping Australians safe, and is the minister aware of the consequences of any alternative approaches?
Opposition members interjecting—
I have got a lot of friends over there, Mr Speaker! They're always excited when I come up. It's nice to be back. I want to say thank you very much to the member for Moncrieff for her question on a very important topic. Like all members on this side of the parliament, we are absolutely consistent and strong when it comes to border protection management as well as in relation to national security.
A lot has been said about this Leader of the Opposition—whether he is better or worse than the previous Leader of the Opposition, the member for Maribyrnong. Is he consistent? He's not consistent on different matters. What we know is that when it comes to border protection there has never been a weaker Leader of the Opposition. We know that on the Alan Jones program the Leader of the Opposition said: 'We wouldn't be changing any of the government's policies. I strongly support the measures the government has in place.' But when he left the 2GB studio, he went, on that occasion, to speak to Barrie Cassidy on Insiders. It was at the time of the ALP national conference. This is what the Leader of the Opposition had to say—and it is a very interesting quote: 'I don't believe the boats will come.' Boats? What boats? He was sitting around the cabinet table when 50,000 people came on 800 boats. I mean, what boats could we be talking about? Having just told Alan Jones that he's completely committed to our policies, he goes on to say, 'If people were in a boat, including families and children, I myself—'
The opposition has had so many policy positions in relation to boats and national security that it's hard to keep up. But I was interested to know that a new policy group has formed. I was watching Channel 10 news last night, and imagine my surprise when I saw a report about a group of 20 Labor members attending Otis Dining Hall. There was a sense of deja vu because it automatically took me back to Muriel's Wedding. Do you remember the scene from Muriel's Wedding, where Bill had to go into the restaurant and ran into Deidre Chambers. Imagine his surprise! I watched Senator Farrell—it wasn't the scene inside the restaurant; it was the one outside—where Don Farrell was made up perfectly, make-up on, he runs into PVO, 'Imagine seeing you here, PVO—but I've got 15 minutes worth of comment to provide to you.' And then Senator Kitching gets caught up in the Senate. I can see PVO in the background winding her up, saying 'You've spoken for 10 minutes—the package only went for a minute and a half.' They are all at sea when it comes to policy. (Time expired)