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Thursday, 14 February 2013
Page: 1465

Asylum Seekers

Ms GAMBARO (Brisbane) (14:51): My question is to the Treasurer. I refer the Treasurer to the fact that more people have arrived illegally by boat at the start of this year than in any other year. On what basis can the Treasurer credibly present a budget update claiming to have stopped the boats and that expenditure on boat arrivals will fall by almost $2 billion over the forward estimates?

Mr SWAN (LilleyDeputy Prime Minister and Treasurer) (14:52): That is true. The member is referring to the forward estimates and they are very credible forward estimates. They are very credible forward estimates.

The opposition here made this government wait nine months to put in place offshore processing on Nauru—nine months. The consequence of that has been more boats in the short term. But we are putting in place a response, via the Houston review, and that response is working. Of course, over time, as that response is put in place, the number of arrivals comes down. That is the fact of the matter. That is why we have worked so hard to get these arrangements in place and we would certainly appreciate from those opposite more cooperation on the regional arrangements so we can put in place more policies to restrict the flow of refugees to this country.

Mrs Mirabella interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Indi is warned.