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Tuesday, 14 June 2011
Page: 5852


Mr MORRISON (Cook) (15:24): I second the motion. It is important that the Prime Minister come in here and explain herself because she has much to explain in relation to this matter. Australia does not want a people swap with Malaysia. It does not need a people swap with Malaysia. It needs a policy swap back to the proven solutions put in place by the Howard government, and that requires reopening Nauru and reintroducing temporary protection visas. The only people swap the Australian people are interested in is not a people swap with Malaysia but a people swap for the prime ministership of this country—from Julia Gillard to the Leader of the Opposition, Tony Abbott. That is the people swap the Australian people are interested in.

What we have seen time and time again from this government are knee-jerk reactions and ill-thought-through policies, and then the mayhem follows. The mayhem that has followed this government's decision to wind back the Howard government's border protection policies is writ large on our borders and it is writ large in the detention network, which is in a rolling crisis—every other day it seems that something is burning down, someone is assaulting someone or someone is breaking out. These things happen on average more than three times a day in the detention network. There is a critical incident more than three times a day in our immigration detention network.

Australia is tired of the failed and ill-thought-through policy debacles of this government, whether it is in border protection or anywhere else, and it is incumbent on the Prime Minister to come into this House and explain why on earth she would pursue this arrangement in Malaysia when there is a proven, more humane and more cost-effective solution that can be immediately introduced. On the eve of the budget, almost seven weeks ago, the Prime Minister and the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, who is sitting opposite, declared the Malaysian people swap deal. Almost seven weeks later, we still do not have an agreement. Almost seven weeks later, Minister Bowen was unable to tell this House whether he has visited one school, one police officer's precinct or one hospital in Malaysia that would be available to those whom he intends to send to Malaysia. The Prime Minister was unable to explain whether people who turn up in Australia by boat without documentation—and, as Minister Bowen knows, that is about 84 per cent—will be accepted by Malaysia. Will Malaysia use their right of veto to reject people on religious grounds? Will they exercise their right to take people or not take people if they have communicable diseases? The minister knows that last week there was a case of leprosy in our detention network. And there have been cases of tuberculosis. We have had a pilot refuse to take off because people had not got their tuberculosis screening back. Thank goodness the pilot was doing his job that day because this government, clearly, is not doing its job. It wants to cut corners to try and manage its crisis in the detention network.

The coalition's border protection policies are proven. I know the government are in massive denial about this, but there is one thing they just cannot hide from: in 2001 there were 43 boat arrivals and at the end of that year the Howard government introduced the Pacific solution—which was on top of temporary protection visas—and in 2002 there were no boats. In the last six years of the Howard government fewer people turned up by boat than have turned up in the last six weeks—since the Malaysian deal was announced. If their standard of success is how many people arrive, this arrangement has been less successful in six weeks than the Howard government's solution was over the course of six years.

I commend our proposals to this House because our proposals are proven. They are able to be delivered. I visited those facilities on two occasions and I know it can be implemented. Minister Bowen says that he will not touch anything where they have not signed the refugee convention—well, that went out the window the minute he negotiated the five-for-one people swap deal with Malaysia. The Leader of the Opposition has rightly talked about the treatment that those who go to Malaysia will be subject to. Those opposite should hang their heads in shame because what they are supporting under this agreement is something they would have condemned if any other party had put it forward. They should hold themselves accountable because the Australian people will. (Time expired)