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Monday, 25 June 2018
Page: 6168

National Security


Mr HARTSUYKER (Cowper) (14:49): My question is to the Minister for Home Affairs. Would the minister advise the House of the importance of strong and consistent measures to secure our maritime boundaries? Is the minister aware of any ideas that could destabilise our strong border protection system?


Mr DUTTON (DicksonMinister for Home Affairs and Minister for Immigration and Border Protection) (14:50): I thank the honourable member for his question. It has now been 1,429 days since we have seen a successful boat arrival to this country. That's a significant achievement. We've turned back over 30 boats. The reality is that the people smugglers have not gone away. Many of them are lying dormant, I suspect, waiting for the outcome of the next election to see whether or not Mr Shorten, the Leader of the Opposition, is elected Prime Minister, then they will be back into it like there is no tomorrow. I suppose they're asking themselves whether or not the member for Grayndler will be the leader of the Labor Party by the time of the next election. This gratuitous advice being offered in relation to border protection policy and other matters at the moment by the member for Grayndler to the member for Maribyrnong—I think I've seen this movie before. I seem to recall Mr Rudd, as Leader of the Opposition and leader in government, putting forward a policy which ended up seeing tens of thousands of people arrive. Remember he tweaked the policy settings from John Howard when he was in government and a flood of boats came through. Tragically, 1,200 people drowned at sea. You'll remember that Julia Gillard came riding in on the white horse, saying: 'My way is better. I have an alternative plan. I'll put in place a policy which the Labor Party will be able to put its stock behind.'

The problem is that the member for Grayndler is softer on border protection than even this Leader of the Opposition. It is hard to believe, but he would be a bigger disaster than even Julia Gillard, Kevin Rudd—

Mr Shorten interjecting

Mr DUTTON: The Leader of the Opposition chimes in that that's the kindest thing I've ever said about him. It won't be for the last if the member for Grayndler keeps it up. All I can say is that Graham Richardson had a lot to say about both Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd. I notice he's back in the press again today. In his article in The Australian he says in part, 'With Albo, what you see is what you get.' To decode that, that means, 'What you see with the Leader of the Opposition is not actually what you get.' Mr Richardson went on to say about Albo, 'He is not devious and his word is his bond.' Could that be a coded message about this Leader of the Opposition? I think it is.

We've all sat through the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd years. Watching it from this side, it's all about to be replayed. It's game on again within Labor. The tragedy is that, under either this leader or the prospective leader, the boats will restart again. (Time expired)