Monday, 9 September 2019
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Minister Representing the Minister for Home Affairs, Senator Cash. Can the minister please advise the Senate on the importance of stability and certainty in our migration policies and how the Morrison government is keeping Australia's borders secure?
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.
Again, thank you to Senator O'Sullivan for the supplementary question. As we have consistently made it clear in these matters, if you blink, if you hesitate for less than a second, you send a very, very clear message to the people smugglers. You basically tell the people smugglers that Australia is reopened for business. It is not enough to just put in place the tough policies, to stop the boats, to stop the deaths at sea, to get the children out of detention, to actually close the detention centres; it is critical—
Mr President, the threat has just articulated itself—and that is, of course, Senator Keneally if ever she were elected to office as the Minister for Home Affairs. Senator Keneally does not understand the importance of securing Australia's borders. (Time expired)
One only has to cast one's mind back to the former Labor government, which, in conjunction with the Australian Greens, dismantled the border protection policies of the former Howard government. What did that result in? It resulted in complete, total and utter chaos on our borders.
Senator Keneally interjecting—
Mr President, in relation to Senator Keneally's interjections, Senator Keneally is just proving time and time again that, in her capacity as the relevant shadow minister, she does not understand the fundamental priority of a Commonwealth government, which is to ensure the security of the nation and, in turn, the security of the Australian people. You cannot blink when it comes to border protection. Senator Keneally, time and time again, shows that she won't just blink; she will actually actively dismantle the policies that this government has put in place.