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Wednesday, 26 March 2014
Page: 3222

Asylum Seekers


Mr NIKOLIC (Bass) (15:00): My question is to the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection. Will the minister update the House on the number of days that have elapsed since the last successful people-smuggling venture to Australia?

Mr Bowen: Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. The Minister for Communications still had time left for his answer. I do not believe he had concluded it and the member for Bass rose, presumably, to take a point of order and has now asked a question.

The SPEAKER: Had the minister completed his answer? The minister had completed his answer and the member for Bass was on his feet.

Mr Bowen: No. Madam Speaker, on a point of order. The member for Bass rose while the member for Watson was still on his feet making a point of order. If he was standing to raise a question then he was out of order at the time. In accordance with precedent, Madam Speaker, you should have called a member of the opposition to ask a question.

The SPEAKER: The fact of the matter was that the member for Bass was on his feet when there was no member from the opposition standing to ask a question. The member for Watson had already resumed his seat when I called the member for Bass.

Mr Burke: Madam Speaker, on a point of order. The minister was interrupted during his answer for a point of order. You ruled on the point of order and at that point the minister has the call again. You did not call the minister, but after ruling he was entitled to the call. You simply moved on with no notice to the House. We are entitled to know whether the minister has concluded. Normally, the moment the Prime Minister concludes, we stand up! We had no reason to believe the member for Wentworth, the Minister for Communications, had concluded.

The SPEAKER: I am sorry that the Manager of Opposition Business seems to think that there is a need for clairvoyance to understand when a minister has finished his question. Quite clearly, he has indicated that he knows when the Prime Minister has finished but he does not know when the Minister for Communications has finished. The fact is the member for Bass has the call.

Mr NIKOLIC: My question is to the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection. Will the minister update the House on the number of days that have elapsed since the last successful people-smuggling venture to Australia? What level of support exists for the government's strong border protection policies?









Mr MORRISON (CookMinister for Immigration and Border Protection) (15:03): I thank the member for Bass for his question. In answering it, I would like to refer to a speech today by the Leader of the Opposition at the Press Club. I want to quote from a section that was 7½ minutes in. You may have already switched off by then and you may not have picked it up. Maybe the member for Lilley had switched over to MasterChef. They were doing reruns on ONE HD. This is what the Leader of the Opposition had to say:

I do not look at policy through the prism of left-wing or right-wing ideology - I’m interested in what works …

I am pleased to let the Leader of the Opposition know that Operation Sovereign Borders is working. I can back that up by referring to the comparative performances of those who sat in the role of ministers for immigration under the previous government, and I referred the House to this last week. Under the previous government, the largest number of cumulative days achieved by previous ministers for immigration where there was no successful venture to Australia was 61 for Senator Evans, for the member for McMahon it was 23 days, for the member for Gorton it was just six days—he could not get through a week—and the now Manager of Opposition Business could only get six days as well.

What is interesting about that is if you lay all of that failure end to end, from one end of failure to the other end of failure, it is 96 days. If you add all of their cumulative efforts together, it is 96 days. I fear that the only honour those on that side of the House who served in that role would qualify for is services to people smuggling. Compare their record of 96 days cumulative to this side of the House. We have 97 days and—guess what?—we did it with one minister, one Prime Minister and just six months in office. For those on the other side, it was 96 days. They had three prime ministers, they were in there for 5½ years after their failures and they had four ministers, three of them in just six months.

I am asked about the support for these policies. The support for the coalition's consistent approach over the years has principally been from those who came to Australia the right way. Those who came to this country the right way were offended and remain offended by the failure of the previous government's policies that rewarded those who came to Australia the wrong way and continued to penalise those who sought to come the right way. People who came to this country where everything was offered and who had to ask for nothing were all the beneficiaries. Those opposite gave the green light to illegal entry to this country for six years and they should be ashamed of themselves.