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Wednesday, 12 September 2012
Page: 10368

Asylum Seekers


Mr ABBOTT (WarringahLeader of the Opposition) (14:03): My question is to the Acting Prime Minister. I remind him that, when the Howard government advised it would send asylum seekers to Nauru, the number of illegal arrivals dropped by two-thirds in a month. Yet, since this government's backflip on offshore processing, there has been a record 2,219 arrivals. When will the government—

Mr Albanese: Madam Deputy Speaker, on a point of order: the Leader of the Opposition is misleading the House with the term he is using and he should not be allowed to do so.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Ms AE Burke ): The Leader of the House will resume his seat. The Leader of the Opposition will begin his answer again.

Mr ABBOTT: I remind the Acting Prime Minister that, when the Howard government announced it would send asylum seekers to Nauru, the number of illegal arrivals dropped by two-thirds in a month. Yet, since this government's backflip on offshore processing, there has been a record 2,219 arrivals. When will this government face the truth that it must reintroduce temporary protection visas and turn boats around when it is safe to do so if the people smugglers are to be defeated?





Mr SWAN (LilleyDeputy Prime Minister and Treasurer) (14:04): I thank the Leader of the Opposition for his question. He continues to be at war with the facts. He is all about aggression and not about outcomes. He is all about exaggeration and not about responding to this issue in a responsible way. He will not respond to this in a responsible way. He comes in here and claims that tow-backs and temporary protection visas can somehow work when these have been rejected comprehensively by the Houston report. We get this continued hypocrisy. They talk about the refugee convention and then they talk about towing people back to Indonesia, which is not a signatory to the refugee convention. They choose to ignore the danger to our naval personnel, who should not be towing people back to Indonesia because it is a danger to their lives.

Essentially what we have seen here today from the Leader of the Opposition is more questions. But I will tell you this: he most certainly does not like answering questions since he was towelled up by Leigh Sales and Lisa Wilkinson. For two years we have seen the Leader of the Opposition out there every day—out at a factory, out at a shop—

Mr Pyne: Madam Deputy Speaker, on a point of order: none of this could possibly be relevant to the question he was asked, which was about the failure of the government's offshore processing.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The Manager of Opposition Business will resume his seat. The Acting Prime Minister will return to the question before the chair.

Mr SWAN: I certainly will. Every day for the last two years the Leader of the Opposition has been out there in one form or another conducting his horror show—every day he has been out there doing a doorstop. But we have not seen one for the past week because he has had a week-long 'Mark Riley moment'. He slammed the door shut on his press conferences. Why is that? It is because he does not want to answer questions factually.

Honourable members interjecting

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! If people would like to hear the answer then perhaps they might give the courtesy of not screaming during people's answers.

Mr Pyne: Madam Deputy Speaker, on a point of order: how is the opposition expected to sit silently while the Treasurer makes up complete lies—

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The Manager of Opposition Business will resume his seat. The Manager of Opposition Business will withdraw.

Mr Pyne: I withdraw, Madam Deputy Speaker, but I make a serious point.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: As I have noted numerous times before, provocation is not a justification for ignoring the standing orders. The standing orders require people to be silent when people are on their feet.

Mr Pyne interjecting

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The Manager of Opposition Business will resume his seat. We are not going to entertain this during question time.

Mr Pyne interjecting

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: No, the Manager of Opposition Business will resume his seat. The Manager of Opposition Business knows that every other Speaker before has not allowed question time to be used in this manner.

Mr Pyne: Madam Deputy Speaker, under standing order 98 I am entitled to take a point of order. Let me say this: I hear what you say about provocation not being an excuse, but when has the Deputy Prime Minister been called up for not answering the question?

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The Manager of Opposition Business will resume his seat.