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Thursday, 19 June 2014
Page: 6724

Asylum Seekers


Mr RANDALL ( Canning ) ( 14:10 ): My question is to the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection. Can the minister confirm that it has now been six months since the last successful people-smuggling venture arrived in Australia, thanks to Operation Sovereign Borders. How does this compare with alternative approaches?


Mr MORRISON (CookMinister for Immigration and Border Protection) (14:11): I thank the member for Canning for his question. There is no greater supporter on the government benches of this government's border protection policies than the member for Canning. He has been instrumental in particular in our relationship with Sri Lanka and in the partnership we have had with Sri Lanka. I know the Minister for Foreign Affairs would concur with that.

Mr Conroy interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Charlton is warned!

Mr MORRISON: I can confirm, as the Prime Minister already has, that it has been six months since the last successful people-smuggling venture to Australia. Frankly, under Operation Sovereign Borders, that is just another day at the office. It is another day at the office for the men and women who comprise the Operation Sovereign Borders team, whether they are in our Navy, our Customs and Border Protection Service, the Department of Immigration or our Federal Police. All of those agencies are working together to achieve the results we have achieved to date. Together with the Prime Minister, I thank them for their service. This House should also thank them for their service and what they have been able to achieve.

There are alternative approaches and there have been other approaches in the past. The previous government engaged in a reckless, conceited and dangerous experiment from 2007 onwards. The purpose of that experiment was to try and prove that John Howard had it wrong on border protection. They abolished every brick in the wall of border protection that John Howard and his government had built up over the term of that government. What was the result? More than 50,000 people turning up on more than 800 boats; almost 1,200 people dying at sea; 15,000 people denied permanent visas under our Refugee and Humanitarian Program; and detention centres being built every other day and then burning down under the same government that built them. It was chaos, it was cost and it was tragic. That was the result of the alternative approaches and the experiment.

Mr Marles: On a point of—

Mr MORRISON: Who is this fellow? I have not seen him in more than 100 days.

Mr Marles: On a point of order, Madam Speaker—

The SPEAKER: If the member for Corio attempts to flout the standing orders again, he will leave under standing order 94(a). What is your point of order?

Mr Marles: It goes to relevance, Madam Speaker. Since Malaysia, 680 people have perished at sea—and that is the relevant answer to that question.

The SPEAKER: The member will remove himself under standing order 94(a).

Mr MORRISON: The deputy shadow minister for immigration, with the real minister being Senator Hanson-Young, has saved himself from having to ask a question here today.

The SPEAKER: The member for Corio will remove himself.

The member for Corio then left the chamber.

Mr MORRISON: Everything they did when they were in government was—

Honourable members interjecting

The SPEAKER: I am aware that it is Thursday and that some people like to have an early mark to get an early plane. Some of you may be able to be assisted.

Mr MORRISON: The experiment, thank goodness, is over and the results are in. The results are that John Howard had it right and this government had it right, because we have not had a successful people-smuggling venture to this country in six months. My advice to those opposite is: get over it. Understand that you got it wrong and it is time to look this way when it comes to border protection policies that work. Get on board with the things that are saving lives and putting the integrity back into our immigration program that was lost on the conga line of failures who now sit on the opposition bench who used to sit on this side. They should look this way for success.