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Tuesday, 28 October 2014
Page: 12251

Asylum Seekers


Mr NIKOLIC (Bass) (14:35): My question is to the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection. Will the minister explain to the House how the government is successfully ending the people-smuggling trade. Are there any alternatives? What is the government's response?


Mr MORRISON (CookMinister for Immigration and Border Protection) (14:35): I thank the member for Bass for his question. I have no doubt about his interest because he would have been concerned today to read in TheExaminer about the chorus of Labor senators from Tasmania and their tirade on turn-backs. But it would seem they were not alone in their tirade on turn-backs.

In answer to the member's question, the first thing you have to do if you are going to be serious about stopping the people-smuggling trade is you have to have some passing semblance of a grip on reality. So I was surprised to see today that after the Sherlock Holmes of Australian public policy, the member for Corio, pronounced to the nation on the weekend that he realised that turn-backs actually work. Today the Leader of the Opposition was asked the question: So you do not think boat turn-backs have had any impact on stopping deaths at sea? Answer from Shorten: No, we do not. He said the argument has not been made nor has the evidence been made about turn-backs. I am going to help the Leader of the Opposition. After the introduction of the regional resettlement arrangement and the five months that passed after that, there were 75 boats that turned up. For five months after the introduction of turn-backs, do you know how many boats there were? None. Absolutely none. Do you know how many boats turned up in the five months after that? One.

The Leader of the Opposition likes to talk a lot about 'Team Idiot'. On border protection, he is the captain of Team Idiot. You also need to have a unified team, from your Prime Minister to every single member of the government, when it comes to having resolve on border protection. Those opposite know that, and the member for McMahon will remember it well. He will remember the day that Prime Minister Gillard marooned him on Nauru in the cabinet. He will remember that.

And now we have this Leader of the Opposition taking the member for Corio, the shadow minister for immigration, and making him walk the plank on turn-backs. That is what he did to him yesterday. Leaders and shadow ministers on the Labor side can never stay together when it comes to border protection. I will give you a tip, though: on this side of the House we are as close as you can get on border protection. That is why we have been effective.

It also requires some leadership, and the Leader of the Opposition has shown—in his back-down on turn-backs, on his absolute turn-around on turn-backs—in denouncing his shadow minister, that he cannot even stand up to the member for Sydney, the Deputy Leader of the Opposition. That is who is running border protection policy now: the Greens and the member for Sydney. We have 'Bill Shorten Young' over here running border protection policy. What we need is someone who has leadership in this area. That is what this government has demonstrated. I ask one thing: can you keep the shadow minister for immigration for me? He is doing a great job for the government.