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Tuesday, 24 February 2015
Page: 1096

Asylum Seekers

Dr HENDY (Eden-Monaro) (14:28): My question is to the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection. Will the minister advise the House of the importance of strong and consistent policies on border protection? What effect do strong and consistent policies have on the budget?

An opposition member interjecting

The SPEAKER: Before I call the minister, there will be silence on my left so that we can hear the answer. And I would advise that the members for Scullion, Newcastle, Griffith, Lalor and Chisholm, none of whom are sitting in their own seats, are not entitled to speak unless they return to those seats. That includes interjections, and if they persist they will be asked to leave.

Mr DUTTON (DicksonMinister for Immigration and Border Protection) (14:29): I thank the member for his question. The Australian public knows that the coalition government, the Liberal and National parties, have been absolutely consistent since the Howard years in relation to border protection. We have stood up on this issue on many occasions when the Labor Party has flip-flopped all over the place.

Mr Champion interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Wakefield will leave under standing order 94(a).

The member for Wakefield then left the chamber.

Mr DUTTON: They flip-flop all over the place when it comes to border protection. The evidence is certainly in the numbers that I want to refer to in this answer. We know that in 2013, under Labor, 302 boats arrived in a single year.

Mr Perrett interjecting

The SPEAKER: And if the member for Moreton wants to join him, keep it up.

Mr DUTTON: As the Prime Minister mentioned earlier, over the course of Labor's government from 2007 to 2013, 50,000 people on 800 boats arrived into our country including 8,000 children. At the peak, under Labor, almost 2,000 children were in held detention onshore and it was a disgrace but it was reflective of the flip-flop policies of Labor when it came to border protection. We know that when the Leader of the Opposition was in the cabinet in the Rudd-Gillard years, over that period Labor did not have a single consistency when it came to border protection. As I said, under the Howard years and under the Abbott years we have been consistent, strong and tough on this policy and necessarily so.

When the Leader of the Opposition was a cabinet minister in the Labor government, we know that they did not have just one position when it came to border protection; they did not have just two positions. How many do you think they had when they were in government? Was it four or five? It was 11 positions, 11 different policies when it came to border protection. It was a disgraceful failure presided over by this man opposite who seeks to be the Prime Minister of this country. I can tell you that nothing has changed during their time in opposition. This Labor opposition continues to flip-flop when it comes to border protection.

This government has presided over securing our borders. If you lose control of your borders, you have failed the Australian people. Labor has failed the Australian people consistently for many years. There is an enormous economic dividend by securing our borders. Not only have we stopped the boats but we have returned significant savings to the budget as a result of stopping those boats. But more importantly, we have stopped 1,200 people drowning at sea, which is what Labor presided over. There is also a humanitarian dividend on top of the economic dividend and that means that we can have more people into our country under the humanitarian program. Labor flip-flops when it comes to border protection.

Let me tell you, Bill Shorten is no better than Julia Gillard or Kevin Rudd.