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Thursday, 16 August 2012
Page: 5542

Senator BOYCE (Queensland) (13:00): I am indebted to the Australian for a report in the last few days on a mad snake virus which is affecting pythons in the US. It is causing them to tie themselves in knots and 'stargaze'. This mad snake virus is thought to be caused by rats and is being considered to be a mysterious new virus. I would like to suggest that in fact it has been a well-known virus affecting the Labor and Green parties of Australia for a long time and that it is only in the last few days that the Labor Party has finally worked out how to stop tying itself in knots and stop stargazing by accepting the sensible coalition suggestion of adopting what has in the past been a proven policy. Unfortunately, I do not think that we now have an antidote for mad snake virus. We have some concerns that going forward we have yet more problems to overcome with this policy that the government has finally seen fit to adopt.

It is concerning to see that the way they have gone about this has caused yet another deluge of people attempting to get to Australia by boat. It is concerning to see that people will initially be housed in tents. Certainly, if the government had accepted the coalition's view on using Nauru and Manus Island when they were first suggested two or three years ago, this would not have happened. We have had a very difficult period for everyone whilst the government was too proud, too affected, too virally unwell to see sense on migration. I am going to keep my remarks very brief because we are interested in getting this legislation passed and getting on with the job even though we apparently already have a mad-snake-type implementation of the legislation happening from this government.

I would also like to very briefly acknowledge another good point in the legislation other than the fact that it will re-establish offshore processing, and that is the significant improvement that the government will make to our humanitarian migrant intake. I think this is one of the most important ways of demonstrating to refugees and others seeking better lives for their families that this is the route to take to seek to come to Australia.

So I would like very much to support the legislation. We intend to move amendments to it, but the coalition supports the legislation and wants to support its rapid passage so that we can get past what has been a shameful stargazing effort from the government, manipulated by the Greens over the last 12 months.