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Thursday, 25 October 2018
Page: 11186

National Security

Mr GOODENOUGH (Moore) (14:49): My question is to the Minister for Home Affairs. Will the minister update the House on the threat to Australia's borders posed by criminal people-smuggling syndicates? How will a reckless approach to border protection put our borders at risk?

Mr DUTTON (DicksonMinister for Home Affairs) (14:50): I thank the honourable member for his question. As all Australians can recall, the fact is that, when Labor were in government for six years, 50,000 people arrived on 800 boats and, tragically, 1,200 drowned at sea. Labor put into detention 8,000 children. They put thousands of people on Manus and Nauru. We have worked every day since to make sure that we've got all of the children out of detention here in Australia. We're doing the same on Nauru. We're very close to getting it to zero. We will achieve what Labor could never have imagined.

If Labor were in government today, it's very clear that the boats would be flowing. They put forward this half-understood policy in relation to New Zealand, saying that everybody should go from Nauru to New Zealand. What they forgot is that, where there is a negative assessment in relation to the security of a particular individual—say, a father within a family unit—they would compel that person to go from Nauru to New Zealand. Is New Zealand going to take that person? Of course they're not. Should Australia take that person if it's assessed by the United States or one of our Five Eyes partners or our intelligence agencies here that that individual is a threat to Australian security? Of course we shouldn't. But the Labor Party have come up with this policy which sends a green light to people smugglers and which would see children unaccompanied on boats coming to our country.

We're seeing reports on people who have gone from Nauru to the United States that it is a bit harder than they thought it would be because they need to find work in the United States and they're saying to people on Nauru now, 'You'd be better to go to New Zealand or Australia because they have better welfare systems.' Are we going to create an environment where people smugglers are put back in charge? That's exactly what they said.

Do you think that the Labor Party has control of the internal machinations on this border protection policy? They don't. Mr Rudd and Ms Gillard lost control of our borders. This Leader of the Opposition, if he is elected at the next election, will be on the same path as Rudd and Gillard. We will see kids back in detention. We will see kids back on Nauru. It's the policy of the Labor Party today that, if a boat arrives including women and children, every single person would go to Nauru. So why would we believe Labor? Why would we trust Labor when it comes to border protection? The Australian people cannot trust Labor. They are reckless on border protection policy. The fact is that New Zealand is a pull factor. The New Zealanders know it. Australians know it. Most importantly, the people smugglers know it.