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Thursday, 20 June 2013
Page: 6527


Mr ROBB (Goldstein) (15:06): My question is to the Treasurer. I remind the Treasurer that the government's budget for asylum seekers who arrive illegally by boat next year is a record $2.9 billion based on 1,000 arrivals per month. Given that illegal boat arrivals are now occurring at a rate of more than 3,000 per month, will the Treasurer admit that these estimates are incorrect and undertake to revise the estimates and report to the House before the parliament rises on the true cost to the budget next year of illegal boat arrivals?

Mr SWAN (LilleyDeputy Prime Minister and Treasurer) (15:06): We stand by all of our budget estimates and they will be updated in the normal way. But really what's all this about? The embarrassment of the Leader of the Opposition, who is the best friend the people smugglers ever had because he came into this House and voted against a solution—

Mr Pyne: Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I would remind the Treasurer, through you, that people smugglers are responsible for the deaths of hundreds and hundreds of people, and to refer to the leader as the best friend that people smugglers ever had is deeply offensive. I would ask him to withdraw it.

The SPEAKER: The Manager of Opposition Business will resume his seat! For the good of the parliament I ask the Treasurer to withdraw. The Treasurer has the call.

Mr SWAN: I withdraw. The truth is that the Houston committee prepared a range of recommendations. We brought one of them to this House—the Malaysian arrangement—which would have had a fundamental impact on boat arrivals. The consequence of their refusal to come on board for that important reform has led to more boats, and he should be ashamed of it.