Senate debates

Tuesday, 28 November 2023

Questions without Notice: Take Note of Answers

Answers to Questions

3:17 pm

Photo of Deborah O'NeillDeborah O'Neill (NSW, Australian Labor Party) Share this | Hansard source

I note that people in this chamber today, like those across Australia, will be remembering the permanent panic—the constant fear and alarm—that was the characteristic of the previous government. Everyday Australians would wake up and there would be another crisis, another disaster or another problem. They had everyone absolutely revved to the max with anxiety. And they think that's going to work for them again. That's why we heard that ridiculous defence from my colleague on the other side of the chamber there, who said that we're obsessed with Mr Dutton. That side might be obsessed with Mr Dutton, but we are obsessed with making sure that we govern with responsibility, with care and with dignity, and always mindful that we serve the Australian people. That is why they want to talk about their leadership—which is a joke, by the way.

I want to put on the record the words of my colleague, the Minister for Home Affairs in the other place, Clare O'Neil, because this is what's really going on here. She said about the Albanese Labor government:

We have only one priority and that is protecting the safety of the community within the limits of the law.

Today we were asked a question by Senator Paterson about individuals being released from detention. Let me tell you that, instead of all the fear and alarm, when the High Court decided to overturn 20 years of precedent and law, and delivered its judgement, the Labor Party, in government under Mr Albanese, respected that law because that is what we have to do. We are in here making law and we cannot break the law. That law meant that people who were in immigration detention had to be released because of the law of the land.

We got to work; we were already preparing. We immediately brought legislation to this parliament to make sure that we put the safety of Australians first. That's what we did. And those opposite voted against bringing in protections, but not just protections under law and bringing in immediate legislation. We put $255 million into the job, and we put $88 million into the AFP. We put $150 million into the Australian Border Force and $17 million into the Department of Public Prosecutions because that's what responsible governments do. They accept the law. They create good law in response to changing situations. You fund what has to be done. Instead we had Mr Dutton. Let's look at his record. We had years and years of him telling Australians that he closed the back door to Australia, but now we find out that he left the front gate wide open and swinging in the breeze. He searched for political division. His priority wasn't the safety or the mental health and wellbeing of Australians. His priority was to sow seeds of division—one Australian against another.


No comments