House debates

Thursday, 27 February 2020

Questions without Notice

Asylum Seekers

2:39 pm

Photo of Angie BellAngie Bell (Moncrieff, Liberal National Party) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Minister for Home Affairs. Will the minister outline to the House how the government has achieved its target of stopping the boats through its plan to strengthen border protection, and how is the Morrison government's plan continuing to work to achieve this target? Is the minister aware of any alternative approaches?

Photo of Peter DuttonPeter Dutton (Dickson, Liberal Party, Minister for Home Affairs) Share this | | Hansard source

I thank the member for Moncrieff for her question and for her very strong support of our successful border protection policies. This government took a very clear plan to the last election—in fact, to the last several elections—where we wanted to clean up Labor's mess. We wanted to make sure that we didn't have children drowning at sea. We wanted to make sure that we didn't hand back control of our borders to people-smuggling networks. And we've been successful with that plan. There's no sense in putting forward a plan if you have no detail and no possible way in which you can achieve success in that plan.

Now when Labor went to the election, they promised that there would be no boats and that there would be no children in detention. That was their promise, and that was their hope and that was their plan. What happened? Their plan resulted in 50,000 people arriving on 800 boats. But it got much worse than that. There were 1,200 people, at least, who drowned at sea. That is their record. So when they talk about having a plan, the Labor Party will always have these airy-fairy ideals. They'll always pretend to the Australian public that, somehow, they've got the detail worked out. Well, their detail of their plan resulted in 8,000 children going into detention. That is the legacy of the Labor Party. Now, have they learnt anything at all? No, they have not. Today they still hold the same plan—the same plan for failure—that they've taken to the last several elections. If there was an election tomorrow, their plan would be: no boats, no kids in detention, nobody drowning at sea. If they were elected, Mr Speaker, I promise you there would be people on boats within weeks. That's the reality. And the Australian public should be very, very wary. They're promising plans in other areas of public policy. This one, off in 2050. Anyone who believes this Leader of the Opposition only needs to look at his track record. He has had so many different positions when it comes to border protection. He's been in favour of strong border protection policies. He's been against those policies. He has an each-way bet on every single public-policy position. The problem is that the Australian public suffer, both financially and in terms of our international reputation. We've now got 702 people off Manus and Nauru to the United States. The Labor Party did not have a plan to get one person off Manus or Nauru. We'll continue—

Mr Albanese interjecting

Photo of Tony SmithTony Smith (Speaker) Share this | | Hansard source

Is this a point of order? The Leader of the Opposition will resume his seat. The minister has the call.

Photo of Peter DuttonPeter Dutton (Dickson, Liberal Party, Minister for Home Affairs) Share this | | Hansard source

The reality is that they had no plan to get even a single person off Manus or Nauru.

Opposition members interjecting

Photo of Mark DreyfusMark Dreyfus (Isaacs, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Attorney General) Share this | | Hansard source


Photo of Tony SmithTony Smith (Speaker) Share this | | Hansard source

I just say to those, like the member for Isaacs, yelling out 'time'—I am well aware of the time, and the reason I gave the minister another seven seconds was because he was interrupted in breach of the standing orders. So I want to make it clear: I did it quite deliberately, and I'll do it again if it happens again. Although, I suspect, the way we're going, you won't be here to see it. The Leader of the Opposition has the call.