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Tuesday, 3 June 2014
Page: 5282

Asylum Seekers


Mr VAN MANEN (Forde) (14:30): My question is to the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection. Will the minister update the House on the impact of Operation Sovereign Borders on people-smuggling ventures to Australia? Will he also advise the House of what it would have cost the budget if the border protection policies of the Australian government had not been changed?


Mr MORRISON (CookMinister for Immigration and Border Protection) (14:31): I thank the member for Forde for his question. I can tell him that the impact of Operation Sovereign Borders has been that, since 19 December, there has been no successful maritime people-smuggling venture to Australia—not one. Not one since 19 December. That is a critical period of time because that is the time when we moved into the second phase, effectively, of Operation Sovereign Borders, where turn-backs were introduced as part of the set of policy measures that were being put in place by the government. So there were no successful ventures.

I am asked about the savings, about what the cost might have been had these policies not been changed. I can inform the House that in the budget there are savings as a result of the success this government is having in stopping the boats. There are savings in the budget of $2.5 billion. It reads like this over this year and the forward estimates: $212 million saved this year; $960 million saved next year; $808 million saved the year after; $337.2 million in the second-last year of the out years; and $192.2 million. Stopping the boats saves this budget, year on year on year on year. Under those opposite, it cost us year on year on year—budget blow-outs of $11.5 billion. And those opposite come in here and lecture this side on economic management—unbelievable!

The truth is, though, that the savings are actually far greater, because as we know the budget is based on the midyear estimates, so these are just the savings off the MYEFO. If I go back to the PEFO—as we know, the PEFO is where the officials tell the truth about what the budget really is from the previous government; that is what it does—

Opposition members interjecting

The SPEAKER: There will be silence on my left!

Mr MORRISON: That is what it does. Officials come together—and let me tell me you what your officials said.

Opposition members interjecting

The SPEAKER: There will be silence on my left!

Mr MORRISON: Let me tell you what they said. They said this year that under the previous government's policy, there would have been—

Opposition members interjecting

The SPEAKER: The minister will resume his seat.

Opposition members interjecting

The SPEAKER: The minister!

Opposition members interjecting

The SPEAKER: We will not have a wall of noise. We will have some silence, and the minister can have the call again.

Mr MORRISON: This year, that is how many people were going to turn up on their government's policy. I can tell you what the estimate is this year, Madam Speaker. It is 7,667, and 85 per cent of those turned up in the first 2½ months, while that mob were in government. So the savings would have been far greater if we compared it to what that mob left us, if the policies had not been not changed. On simple arithmetic, it would have been over $4 billion.