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Thursday, 9 February 2017
Page: 543

National Security


Mr COULTON (ParkesDeputy Speaker) (14:52): My question is to the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection. Will the minister inform the House of the importance of strong and consistent immigration and border protection policies? What are the benefits of having a strong and consistent border protection agenda?


Mr DUTTON (DicksonMinister for Immigration and Border Protection) (14:52): I thank the honourable member for his question and his interest in making sure, like all of us on this side of the parliament, that we can keep the people smugglers out of business. I am pleased to say that today marks the 928th day since we had a successful people smuggling venture to this country. That is something that those opposite could never preside over, because they dismantled the Howard government policies. They saw 50,000 people arriving and 1,200 people drowned at sea; they opened 17 detention centres; and they completely lost control of our borders.

Australians watch their television sets of a night-time and see the dramas unfolding across the world in terms of people moving across borders and the difficulties where that manifests itself in terrorist attacks, and people are unnerved in this country and around the world. They want to know that their government—the Prime Minister and the responsible leadership team in the country—have the wherewithal to deal with that threat. They know that in this government we have the runs on the board. You cannot look at what people say without looking at what they do. The Labor Party had the rhetoric in opposition that they would not change policies, that they would not dismantle policies, that they would implement policies that would secure the borders of this nation—and they failed. They failed dismally.

This government have got every child out of detention. We have closed those 17 detention centres, we have stopped those boats, and we are dealing with the threats, as they are posed, at our borders. And we will not be deterred by people like the member for Melbourne and the others within the Greens coalition when they were in government with the Labor Party, because we know that theirs is a failed plan.

We know, when we look at this Leader of the Opposition, not to look at what he says but to look at what he did when he was a minister. He promised the Australian public he was going to take care of Australian workers. He ripped off Australian workers in the Clean Event episode when he was a union leader and money was diverted into the union. That is a fact! That is exactly what happened when he was a union leader. What happened when he was part of a government that looked the Australian people in the eye and said that they would stop the drownings at sea and stop the people smuggling business? He failed. And this Labor Party failed the Australian people.

At every turn—it does not matter what aspect of the Leader of the Opposition's character you go to—he fails the test. The Australian public instinctively know, when they look at this Leader of the Opposition, there is something that is not right. They have a hesitation about the Leader of the Opposition because they know that he says one thing to one part of the country and something very different to another part of the country: one thing when he is in inner-city seats talking to Greens voters and something different when he is talking to those people who are living out in the suburbs around the country. We have only just started on this Leader of the Opposition. (Time expired)