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Wednesday, 11 May 2011
Page: 3658


Mr ROBERT (Fadden) (18:58): Cognisant of the time and cognisant of the day, we seek to stand here to discuss the Migration Amendment (Complementary Protection) Bill 2011—another change and another piecemeal approach to what is now universally derided as a debacle in protecting our borders. When Labor came to power in November 2007, there was a handful of people in detention. It is, of course, a great euphemism meaning a small number of people but I mean literally a handful. In fact, there were four—just four—in detention. I am led to believe that at the time, given a bill of something like $100 million or less, the department—what is now DIAC—was saying that this was a large amount of money in expenditure. Well, we found yesterday in the budget that the expenditure that the Labor government is now facing is $1.7 billion. It is an interesting aside that Australian families, some earning as little as $45,000 a year, will have the family tax benefit supplement frozen for two years with no indexation, therefore reducing it in real terms. Families will suffer to the tune of $2 million in Australia whilst we spend $1.7 billion in dealing with a boat person crisis caused by, started by, enacted by and maintained by an inept Labor government and the changes they made in August 2008. It is quite clear to the Australian people that the unwinding of the Howard government framework that commenced in 2008 has become a massive pull factor, a magnet that has drawn people smugglers to this country.

Debate interrupted.