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Wednesday, 23 May 2018
Page: 4341


Ms O'NEIL (Hotham) (14:25): My question is to the Prime Minister. Federal Police Commissioner Andrew Colvin told Senate estimates today that this year's budget will see $205 million cut from the Australian Federal Police. The commissioner said this cut may hit the Australian Federal Police's work combating illicit drugs and firearms. How can the government justify cutting the resources of the Australian Federal Police, who work hard to keep drugs and guns off our streets?

Mr TAYLOR (HumeMinister for Law Enforcement and Cyber Security) (14:26): Of course we know on this side of the House that the first priority of any good government is the safety and security of all Australians. We also know that the government has not reduced funding or resourcing to the Australian Federal Police. Our national security and law enforcement agencies are amongst the very best in the world. We have a proven track record of giving our agencies the powers and the resources they need to keep Australians safe. This year we have committed $1.485 billion—almost $1.5 billion—of funding to the Federal Police, higher than last year and a record, the highest level of spending ever.

Since we got into government we have invested $1.5 billion to combat national security threats, including terrorism.

Ms O'Neil: You're cutting $200 million. That's wrong. That's completely wrong.

The SPEAKER: The member for Hotham will cease interjecting. The member for Hotham is now warned.

Mr TAYLOR: We've put $116 million into gang-related-crime evasion. And just a week ago the Prime Minister, the Minister for Home Affairs and I announced $300 million for a comprehensive aviation security package. That includes in it 190 new positions for Australian Federal Police personnel.

When Labor is in opposition, they talk a big game on national security, but the real test is what they do when they're in government. In 2010 Labor cut $20 million from the Federal Police's funding. The next year, they cut an additional $10 million in Australian Federal Police funding. To break the record, in 2012 they ripped a further $65 million out of Federal Police funding. That's a total of $95 million of funding ripped away from the Federal Police. We know that was at a time when they were spending like drunken sailors. The one place where they were able to show budgetary restraint was national security.

The signs of Labor's weakness on national security in opposition are already evident. They have refused to support mandatory sentencing on illegal trafficking of firearms. They have refused to support mandatory sentencing on child predators. We also know that the majority of Labor's caucus are itching to open up the borders.

You can trust a coalition government on safety and security, but can you trust Labor?