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A reality check for Richard Marles

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The Hon Peter Dutton MP Minister for Immigration and Border Protection


12 April 2016


Bill Shorten’s Labor has clearly learned nothing from the six years of chaos and criminality at Australia’s sea borders over its time in Government from 2007 to 2013.

The entire period was a shameful litany of failures presided over by an irresponsible Government and a ministerial master-class of incompetence.

This is the reality Richard Marles seeks to gloss over every time he dares to venture a comment on immigration and border protection matters.

Six years of border chaos

50,000 + illegal arrivals

1200 + dead at sea

800 + illegal boats

This is the pedigree of Mr Marles’ predecessors - Australians should consider where Mr Marles would feature should Labor ever return to Government.

Chris Evans 163 illegal boats 7,418 illegal maritime arrivals

Chris Bowen 398 illegal boats 24,447 illegal maritime arrivals

Brendan O’Connor 183 illegal boats 12,386 illegal maritime arrivals

Tony Burke 68 illegal boats 5,358 illegal maritime arrivals

In stark contrast the Coalition has stopped boats, stopped deaths at sea and closed detention centres.

It is now more than 600 days since there has been a successful people smuggling venture.


At the height of Labor’s border failures there were more than 10,000 people in detention including 2,000 children. More than 8,000 children were placed in detention in the Labor years.

Today there are no Illegal Maritime Arrival (IMA) children in detention and only around 1,800 adults of whom only 570 are IMAs.

The bulk of people in detention today are foreigners who have committed serious crimes in Australia and have had their visas revoked as we remove them from our country.

Mr Marles complains that the average time in detention is rising. The reason is simple - there are no new IMAs flooding in on people smugglers’ boats to bring the average down. Illegal arrivals peaked at 3,000 a month under Labor.

The situation we face is Labor’s mess - Labor’s mess alone. The Coalition Government is cleaning it up.

Unfortunately for Australia it will take years, unfortunately for Australian taxpayers it will have cost billions - that is Labor’s irresponsible legacy in just this one portfolio alone.

Mr Marles also shows today that he clearly is not across his brief - a continuation of incompetence so clearly displayed by his predecessors.

If he were, he would understand that funds earmarked for refugee resettlement in Cambodia are paid to the International Organization for Migration on a fee-for-service basis, only $2 million of $15 million has been expended.

For further information: Minister’s Office - 02 6277 7860