Senate debates

Monday, 9 September 2019

Questions without Notice

Migration

2:57 pm

Photo of Michaelia CashMichaelia Cash (WA, Liberal Party, Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business) Share this | Hansard source

I thank Senator O'Sullivan for what is a very important question because, Mr President, as you well know, on this side of the chamber we understand the fundamental importance of protecting Australia's borders. We understand that the first priority of the Commonwealth government must be to ensure the security of the nation and, as such, the security of the people. It is a fact that, if you cannot control your borders, you cannot govern the country.

Since 2013, since we were elected to office, we have progressively cleaned up Labor's border protection disaster. We have progressively put in place policies that have had the following effect: we have stopped the boats, we have removed the children from detention, we have stopped the deaths at sea and we have closed the detention centres.

What we also understand on this side of the chamber is that ensuring the integrity of Australia's borders is not easy. It involves tough decisions. It involves decisions that are necessary. Those decisions are necessary to ensure that we prevent those deaths at sea—1,200 deaths at sea that we know of under the previous government. Those tough decisions are necessary to ensure that we don't have to put children into detention.

What we have seen over the last two weeks in particular is that—led by the shadow minister for home affairs, Senator Keneally, and backed up by the Leader of the Opposition, Mr Albanese—Labor have clearly marked their territory. They will backtrack when it comes to protecting Australia's borders.

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