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Tuesday, 19 February 2019
Page: 13900

National Security


Mrs PRENTICE (Ryan) (14:23): My question is to the Minister for Home Affairs. Will the minister please update the House on the importance of strong and consistent border protection policies? And is the minister aware of any challenges to the integrity of Australia's borders?


Mr DUTTON (DicksonMinister for Home Affairs) (14:24): I thank the honourable member for Ryan for her question. Every Australian knows the disaster of border protection policy under the Labor Party. We've seen in the last fortnight attempts by Labor to introduce a new Labor border protection policy, which has been a complete disaster. What does it do? It allows people of bad character to come to our country and for the minister to be compelled to allow those people to come to Australia. It allows for people smugglers to get back into business, and it has the effect of closing offshore detention centres, which would completely undermine the border protection policies that any government has in place.

You have to ask yourself: who possibly could be the architect of such a bad policy? Would you learn from the lessons of the past or would you go back to the architects of the previous disaster? In the Labor Party's case it seems that, to come up with their latest policy on border protection, they've gone back to the architects under the Rudd-Gillard years. Not many Australians will realise this, but the person who aspires to be Treasurer in a Shorten government was the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship—this is the member for McMahon—when 398 boats arrived and 25,000 people were put into detention. Under his watch, 4,000 children were put into detention. And he opened six detention centres to cope with that dysfunction. He is a key architect of the current iteration of Labor's border protection policy. No wonder it's a disaster!

But he is not alone. One of the other masterminds of Labor's latest policy on border protection is also sitting on the frontbench. He aspires to be a minister in a Labor government in the future as well. That's the member for Watson. He was a relative underachiever compared to the member for McMahon, but, nonetheless, under his watch, 83 boats arrived, 6,600 people arrived and, to his eternal shame, 1,100 children went into detention. He only opened one detention centre as part of the 17 that Labor opened.

What this says to the Australian people is that the Labor Party have not learnt the lessons of the past. What they're proposing now is even worse than what was proposed in the Rudd-Gillard years. Allowing people to come to our country who have been refused entry or consideration by the Americans demonstrates to the Australian public that the Labor Party have not learnt one thing over the last six years.