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Thursday, 14 November 2013
Page: 334

Asylum Seekers

Mr MARLES (Corio) (14:36): My question is to the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection. In light of the minister's previous response, how does reporting the successful turning back of boats help people smugglers?

Mr MORRISON (CookMinister for Immigration and Border Protection) (14:37): I can understand why those opposite are unfamiliar with the way these sorts of issues are handled, because they have never engaged in them. When the opposition was in government they just picked people up and invited more to come, which was not just by their operations but by the way they conducted themselves in this place and other places as they constantly defaulted to softer and softer policies. Only as time wore on and the political winds blew hard against them were they dragged kicking and screaming to restore some of the measures of the previous government. But, when you do not believe in those measures, it is not surprising that you do not do them with any conviction or with any success.

The SPEAKER: I ask the minister to resume his seat. I recognise the Deputy Leader of the Opposition.

Ms Plibersek: Thank you, Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. Clearly, once again, the standing order refers to direct relevance. There is no way in which this answer is directly relevant to the question asked.

The SPEAKER: I would ask the minister to be directly relevant to the question as it has been asked.

Mr MORRISON: Thank you, Madam Speaker. Commenting on on-water operational matters at sea would be to telegraph tactics employed by the government as to how these measures were handled. That is why the Joint Agency Task Force, which runs our military led border security operation, has so far led to a 75 per cent reduction in illegal arrivals of boats and people to Australia.

The SPEAKER: The minister will resume his seat. I call the Manager of Opposition Business.

Mr Burke: I rise on a point of order. There were some significant points of order in the previous parliament when you, as the member for Mackellar, suggested—

The SPEAKER: What is your point of order?

Mr Burke: That, if the minister does not know the answer, he should be sat down.

The SPEAKER: That is not a point of order. I call the minister.

Mr MORRISON: Thank you, Madam Speaker. It is for those reasons that the government does not comment on on-water operational matters. It is to protect the measures that we know do stop the boats and have stopped the boats, and under this government the boats are stopping again.