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Wednesday, 15 August 2012
Page: 8699


Mr MORRISON (Cook) (13:16): As I referred to yesterday, the amendments moved by the government have been brought together as a result of the minister and I working together on this. I thank him for that and for the acceptance of the proposals put forward by the coalition.

These amendments imply and create a very significant responsibility on this House and on the other place. It is now this parliament that is the arbiter of protections for people who are processed offshore. That is the consequence of these amendments, which are being put through with the agreeĀ­ment of the coalition. These amendments, together with the bill more broadly, will re-enable offshore processing at Nauru. To have offshore processing take place at Nauru has always been intended by the coalition. There is no change to the arrangements that will be undertaken on Nauru, as we see them and understand them. They are those we have always advocated and we therefore welcome, absolutely, the restoration of the way that matters will be handled on Nauru, where there will be no advantage, as there was certainly no advantage previously.

I also note that as a result of these amendments and this bill, if adopted, there now will be an opportunity for the government to put Nauru in place. I urge the government today to take heed of the advice the coalition has been providing on how that can be best done on Nauru. We have done significant work on the construction, planning and development arrangements on Nauru and that work will be available to the government at any time. We have offered it before and it is available to them now. I am in the process of writing to the minister today to outline that. Having spoken within the last 24 hours to the International Organisation for Migration, I can confirm to the House that they are prepared to work with the government, as they always have been up until now, to re-establish and manage this facility on Nauru. Also, the contractors who previously worked with the IOM, and who I can confirm today are prepared to be a part of this, will be available to work with the government to achieve this.

These amendments, together with this bill, will ensure that at least one of the measures the Howard government had in place will be restored. But as I have said—and those on this side of the House have reminded this chamber and those outside this chamber—the history on this matter is important because when a government gets it this wrong they should face the music for doing so. That is what has been taking place over the last 24 hours. Now, we can proceed with this. But if we want the Howard government's result of a 99 per cent reduction in boat arrivals, you need to put in place all of the Howard government measures.