Senate debates

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Questions without Notice

National Security

2:36 pm

Photo of Michaelia CashMichaelia Cash (WA, Liberal Party, Minister for Women) Share this | Hansard source

I thank Senator Smith for the question, and, yes, I can. Those of us on this side of the chamber understand that the first priority of government is to ensure the security of the nation and its people. The Leader of the Opposition has again this week given the clearest indication that Labor fail to understand this principle, and anyone who fails to understand this principle is unfit to lead this country. In stating their opposition to the government's plan to legislate to prevent asylum seekers taken to Nauru or Manus Island from being granted a visa to come to Australia, Mr Shorten and Labor have yet again shown that they have not learnt from their past policy failures. This government understands that it is critical to send a very clear and concise message to the people smugglers. Under this government Australia is closed for their illegal business.

Unfortunately, as we know, those on the other side, in alliance with the Australian Greens, were very proud to tear down the Howard government's former strong border protection policies. In fact they continue to have their heads in the sand when it comes to the actual reality. Let's remind ourselves why we on this side of the chamber continue to send the policy messages that we do.

In excess of 50,000 people arrived here illegally by boat. Over 8,000 children were put into detention. Where are the howls coming from the Australian Greens now? Over 1,200 people lost their lives at sea because of the policies that were put in place by the other side. Then, of course, we had the cost to the Australian taxpayer—a budget blow-out of in excess of $11 billion. This government put an end to that misery, and we intend to keep it that way. (Time expired)


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