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Monday, 3 March 2014
Page: 1330

Asylum Seekers

Mr HOGAN (Page) (14:59): My question is to the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection. Will the minister update the House on the number of illegal boat arrivals reaching Australia and the impact of Operation Sovereign Borders on people smugglers?

Mr MORRISON (CookMinister for Immigration and Border Protection) (14:59): I thank the member for Page for the question. The Leader of the Opposition may be very interested to know the answer to this question that the member for Page has asked because last year, back in November, he said:

There's no doubt in my mind that the coalition's boat person policy is absolutely not working.

That is what the Leader of the Opposition said last November. He may like to know that for the last 74 days there has not been a single successful people-smuggling venture make it to Australia. He may also be interested to know that over that same 74 days, when those opposite were running border protection, there were 33 vessels and 1,756 arrivals over that same period of time.

This may be news to those opposite, that that is what success looks like, but those opposite did not get to know what success looked like because, year after year, their policy failures led to boat after boat arriving. We have been able to achieve the success we have achieved so far—and there is further to go—because of a number of policies. But the one that has been most effective over the last 74 days has been what we are doing at sea. It is interesting to note that the shadow minister said of our policy in relation to turn backs:

Turning back the boats was always a furphy.

The former minister, the now shadow Treasurer, and the member for McMahon said Tony Abbott's policy of turning back the boats will not work. That is what he said: he said it will not work. He said:

I look forward to an explanation today or alternatively, them facing a dose of reality for a change and dropping this policy.

Here is the dose of reality: 74 days with not a single successful people-smuggling venture because of our policy to turn the boats back, because of our policy to intercept vessels that are coming illegally into our waters and remove them from our waters. The former Prime Minister said:

Mr Abbott is peddling a myth to the Australian people. … he's trying not to be exposed as telling the Australian people something that can’t and won’t work.

Well, it is working. The only myth was what was peddled by those opposite when they sat on these benches and when they said the boats could not be stopped.

Finally, there is of course the Manager of Opposition Business, who, when he came to the job, said 'By the time we came to government we recognised it was not able to be done.' You know what? Where there is a will, there is a way. This government has the will and we have the way.