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Thursday, 20 June 2002
Page: 4043

Mrs DE-ANNE KELLY (12:17 PM) —I rise to speak on the Migration Legislation Amendment (Further Border Protection Measures) Bill 2002. This bill seeks to expand the definition of `excised offshore place' to include the Coral Sea islands territory and certain islands that form part of Western Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory, just slightly north of my electorate.

Before I get to the substance of the bill I would like to talk about those who come to our shores. They are specifically divided into two groups: those who come legally, through the proper channels, and those who come illegally, through improper channels. Of those who come illegally there are two very clear classes. The first class is composed of genuine refugees, for whom Australia has great compassion—in fact, we take up to 26,000 in our quota of refugees every year. Australia is compassionate towards genuine refugees. However, the other group are those who are not refugees, who are determined under the rules—and under more stringent rules than those of the UNHCR—to be illegal immigrants brought here by people smugglers. On average, they pay $26,000 for the very hazardous trip to Australia. In fact, the international people-smuggling racket, which is sophisticated and well-organised and a criminal conspiracy, is worth in excess of $7 billion annually. It is going to be aided and abetted by the unhelpful approach of the Australian Labor Party.

Mr Hardgrave —All around Australia.

Mrs DE-ANNE KELLY —All around Australia. If we are a compassionate country and we want to make sure there are places for genuine refugees—and we do—then we want to make sure that those places are not taken by illegal immigrants, by those who have sought to queue jump, those who have the money to pay for a passage and those who are coming here illegally, trying to take advantage of the generosity of the Australian people.

The best way to make sure there are places for genuine refugees is by not enabling the people smugglers to win. You do not leave your front door open. If you leave your front door open, what happens? You encourage people to come through that front door illegally. What is the Labor Party doing? They are leaving the front door to Australia open. They are soft on border protection; they want the front door open. They want all of our islands to remain part of the migration zone so any boat that lands on it has access to visa requests and the legal system, rather than what the government is trying to do, which is to excise those islands for migration purposes—not to reduce the sovereignty or rights of Australian citizens on those islands or in those territories. They are fully Australian citizens. Whether they are Indigenous Australians or others, they enjoy the full rights, as they should, that every Australian enjoys. So this is not a question of sovereignty; this is a question of a soft approach to border protection by the Australian Labor Party.

I want now to consider the constituencies of the opposition members who have spoken in this debate. I notice that from our side we have the member for Herbert, which is part of the zone to be excised. We also have the member from Western Australia—

Mr Hardgrave —Kalgoorlie.

Mrs DE-ANNE KELLY —From the seat of Kalgoorlie, which is another area affected. And there is of course my own area, just under part of the zone to be excised.

Mr Hardgrave —You know what's going on.

Mrs DE-ANNE KELLY —I do know what is going on. But who have we got speaking on the other side? We have the member for Hotham, from Melbourne; the member for Lalor, from Melbourne and the member for Jagajaga, from Melbourne. I believe the shadow Attorney-General comes from Sydney, and we also have the member for Griffith, from Brisbane, and the member for Rankin, also from Brisbane. The only person who is going to speak from the other side who might be presumed to have some knowledge of this is the member for Lingiari. The rest of them are going to run the country from Melbourne.

What are they going to do? Let us have a little look at some of the suggestions. They are going to reassure the Australian people with a trifecta. This is the sort of thing that will go over well in the north when they are in the pubs worried about what is happening about border protection. What are we going to have? An OTHR, a PC3 Orion and an AEWC.

Mr Hardgrave —Thank heavens!

Mrs DE-ANNE KELLY —They are going to say, `Thank heavens for that! The Labor Party is right on it with their trifecta. Gosh, I feel safe. I feel secure. Border protection is in good hands.' No, they are not. And before the election you could not find a cigarette paper between the Labor Party and the coalition on border protection. Do you know why? Because they were going to lose a swag of those seats; in fact, they did lose some. I remember in one of these debates debating with a member who is no longer here, Mr Horne. His seat has now been taken by our good colleague up here, who is doing an excellent job. They were terrified that they were going to lose more seats. Then, of course, pragmatism reigned. Now, they are back and they are soft on border protection. What does that mean? Let me read a few comments about the Labor Party and what they are doing:

The ALP `seems to have lost its way' and is incapable of setting a national vision.

Who said this? The shadow minister for employment and workplace relations? Perhaps the Prime Minister? No:

The broadside comes from Barry Jones ...

Mr Hardgrave —Good man.


... the genial, grey-bearded face of Labor for more than eight years, who was dumped as president.

He gives us today on the front page of the Australian an insight into what rules and drives the Labor Party now. He describes it as a:

... democratic centralism ...

well, we know it is Melbourne—and:

... factional warlords.

They are not concerned for the Australian people or for their just concern about border protection.

Mr Hardgrave —It is about the factional fight in Victoria.

Mrs DE-ANNE KELLY —It is about the factional warlords. But what does Mr Jones go on to say?

He calls for Labor to pursue values, stick to principles and do more on policy development.

I wonder actually if the OTHRs, PC3 Orions and the AEWCs would classify as pursuing values. That is not going to be reassuring. It is going to be a hard message for the Labor Party to sell when what we are saying is we will not support people smugglers. We will properly take away the inducement for them to load desperate people on unseaworthy vessels and bring them right around the top of Australia to the islands of the Torres Strait and Northern Queensland. That encourages desperate people to take unseaworthy voyages. It encourages people smugglers to exploit these folk and it leaves our northern borders unprotected.

A trifecta from the factional warlords in Melbourne is not going to reassure the people in my seat, I can tell you. But I am going to love at the next election quoting the member for Griffith and quoting the opposition again on how soft they are on border protection. As we said, it is not just us. Look at the front page of the Australian:

Labor has lost its way.

Mr Hardgrave —The truth is out there.

Mrs DE-ANNE KELLY —The truth is out:

Barry Jones says the party is doomed without reforms.

They have gone back to the failed policies they had before the last election: they are soft on border protection.

Let me say to the opposition that this is an easy issue for every Australian to understand. From my young son to the senior members in the pubs in Dawson, everybody understands border protection. They know sovereignty comes first and they understand that Labor's fancy trifecta is not going to do the job. It is the government—the National and Liberal parties—that is putting in place sensible measures to deter people from coming illegally to our shores and to stop the people smugglers. And, in fact, we have done that reasonably successfully. The boats have stopped. But there are more coming and the Labor Party know that and they will not allow this sensible bill to go through the Senate. They are soft on border protection. Labor has lost its way according to Barry Jones and isn't he right?