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Thursday, 20 September 2012
Page: 11432


Ms JULIE BISHOP (CurtinDeputy Leader of the Opposition) (14:08): My question is to the Prime Minister. I remind the Prime Minister of her comments last year in response to the riots on Christmas Island where 200 detainees confronted the Australian Federal Police that:

Violence is wrong whether it is happening on Christmas Island or … on the streets of Sydney. … the minister does have a discretion when it comes to giving visas to take into account character questions.

Given a year has passed since the Prime Minister made this statement, can she inform the House how many of these rioters had their visas denied on character grounds as a result of their actions?

Ms GILLARD (LalorPrime Minister) (14:09): To the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, I will have to make some inquiries about the number and, in the appropriate time, will provide the Deputy Leader of the Opposition with the information she seeks. As the Deputy Leader of the Opposition would know, the question of visa cancellations is the subject of legislation and is the subject of the rule of law—that is, it has to be done appropriately and, if it is not done appropriately, then you end up in very difficult circumstances. I would remind the Deputy Leader of the Opposition of the difficulties encountered by the former Howard government in the cancellation of the visa of Mr Haneef. So you have to proceed on the basis of legislation and the rule of law. That is what the government always does.

I say to the Deputy Leader of the Opposition I do not believe that such a matter should be the subject of partisan divisions in this parliament. I would have thought, in line with what I just said about multiculturalism and the events of last night, that we could speak with one voice, that violence is always wrong—it is wrong if it happens on the streets of Sydney, it is wrong if it happens in a family home, it is wrong if it happens on Christmas Island. Violence is always wrong and the violence should be—

Honourable members interjecting

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! Chatter across the chamber—I am not going to have childish finger-pointing. I was going to say that chatter across the chamber like that is highly disrespectful and should desist. The Prime Minister has the call.

Ms GILLARD: Violence is always wrong and perpetrators of violence should be dealt with appropriately according to law.

Ms Julie Bishop: On indulgence, Madam Deputy Speaker: I ask through you whether the Prime Minister could return before the end of question time to provide the House with the information as to the number of rioters whose visas have been denied.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The Deputy Leader of the Opposition will resume her seat. She has placed her question.