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Tuesday, 22 May 2012
Page: 5005

Asylum Seekers

Mr MORRISON (Cook) (14:40): My question is to the Acting Prime Minister. I remind the Acting Prime Minister of the actions taken by the New Zealand Minister of Immigration, who recently introduced strong measures to deter people smuggling, by making New Zealand are less desirable target, that included a form of temporary protection visa. If the threat of a single boat caused the New Zealand government to introduce temporary protection visas, why hasn't the reality of 18,000 people arriving on 314 illegal boats caused the government to reintroduce the coalition's proven border protection policies, including temporary protection visas?

Mr SWAN (LilleyDeputy Prime Minister and Treasurer) (14:40): Because the coalition's policy was a complete failure. This so-called 'solution' was a complete failure.

Opposition members interjecting

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Ms AE Burke ): Order! The Acting Prime Minister has the call.

Mr SWAN: They might like to pretend that Nauru was a solution; it was not. But there is a solution out there that can be put in place. It is called overseas processing, it is called the Malaysian arrangement, and they are blocking it. And why are they blocking it? Because they know it will work—because they have made the judgment that they will not support overseas processing, which is the only measure which will break the people smugglers' model. They will not support it because they think it is in their political interest to have more boats arriving in Australia. So they get up and ask questions about boats arriving in Australia, but the blame rests fairly and squarely with them and their refusal to support overseas processing.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The Leader of the Opposition on a supplementary?

Mr ABBOTT (WarringahLeader of the Opposition) (14:42): Yes. Can the Acting Prime Minister confirm that under the Howard government there were less than three boats a year and under the current government there are two boats a week? What sort of failure is the Acting Prime Minister talking about?

Mr SWAN (LilleyDeputy Prime Minister and Treasurer) (14:42): I can certainly confirm that virtually all those people they sent to Nauru came to Australia.