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Monday, 2 March 2015
Page: 1635

Asylum Seekers

National Security

Ms GAMBARO (Brisbane) (14:48): My question is to the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection. Will the minister update the House on the action the government has taken to address the threat at our nation's borders?

Mr DUTTON (DicksonMinister for Immigration and Border Protection) (14:48): I thank the member for Brisbane very much for her question and also for her ongoing interest in relation to these very important matters, including getting kids out of detention. She is a great champion for many of those within her local community and across the country.

All Australians know that you cannot trust a government that cannot control its borders, and we know of Labor that they lose control of their borders every time they come to government. In 2007, there were four people in detention, including no children—no children in detention in 2007. Yet, at the peak of Labor's power, there were 1,992, almost 2,000, children in detention, 8,000 people having come by boat. They had completely lost control of the borders, and all Australians know that you cannot trust a government that cannot control its borders.

What has happened since the Abbott government were elected? We have re-secured our borders. We have done it in a number of ways. We have stopped the boats. We know that, in 12 months under Labor, before they were tossed out, there were 302 boats. Indeed, over Labor's time in power, 50,000 people came on 800 boats. It was a national—in fact, an international—disgrace, because not only did it result in an $11 billion blow-out in the budget in this area but it also resulted in 1,200 people drowning at sea. Labor should hang their heads in shame. So the Australian public knows that you cannot trust a government that loses control of its borders, and the now Leader of the Opposition sat in cabinet during all that period, presiding over 11 different policy changes that resulted in people—

Ms Ryan interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Lalor will desist!

Mr DUTTON: drowning at sea and resulted in kids in detention. Today, under this government, over the last 12 months, there has been one boat, compared to 302 over 12 months under Labor. As of today, 114 children are held in detention in Australia, the number reducing every day, compared to 1,992 children in detention under Labor. Australians know that you cannot trust a government that loses control of its borders; and, if Labor were to be re-elected at the next election, that is exactly what would happen.

Now, what else have we done in this area? We have also put $630 million into a counter-terrorism response package, which includes $150 million for standing up 80 officer counter-terrorism units at airports across the country, $35 million for outward advance passenger processing, $50 million for outward departure gates and almost $14 million to expand our global airline liaison officer network.

We are serious about making sure that we keep the boats stopped. We are certain, absolutely certain, that we will keep the Australian people safe. You cannot trust Labor when it comes to border protection.