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Friday, 25 November 2011
Page: 9700


Senator HANSON-YOUNG (South Australia) (15:45): I would like to make it very clear for the sake of Hansard, and to anybody listening, that the government have consistently failed to show that there is anything in the current legislation that has acted as a deterrent. This bill is named the Deterring People Smuggling Bill, yet the government cannot provide any evidence that the current act and criminal charges within the Migration Act have deterred anybody, because the figures have not gone down since 2010. In fact they have increased. No-one has been deterred under this legislation because it does not target the right people. The people it targets are the scapegoats for this government's getting tough on people smugglers. It is an absolute farce. The government want the Australian people to believe they are doing something, but they are doing absolutely nothing except punishing vulnerable, impoverished Indonesian fishermen and children. Where is the Labor Party's moral compass on this issue?

The reason the opposition are voting for this legislation is that this is the type of legislation Tony Abbott is proud of. That is why they are voting for it; not because they are doing the right thing and not because they are doing anything that tackles the issue. If Tony Abbott had thought of it, he would have.

I can see that I am not going to get anywhere with getting responses to the genuine questions I have. The whole point of this legislation is not to deliver any substance in relation to the issues being dealt with—and why the court case in Victoria is currently happening; it is all about scuttling the case. It absolutely is a breach of the separation of powers. It will open up the case for further litigation at the cost of Australian taxpayers, and it is all for show and spin. It is so that this government can go home tonight and say, 'Yep, we fought off at least one court case this year.'

I do not have any other questions for the minister because I do not think he has any answers. The government have no idea what they were doing with this bill, except pushing it through so that they do not have to fight their case in the courts. It is an absolute disgrace to be abusing our court system in that way.