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Wednesday, 24 October 2018
Page: 10950

National Security


Mr RICK WILSON (O'Connor) (14:43): My question is to the Minister for Home Affairs. Will the minister update the House on the importance of strong, consistent and well-developed border protection policies? Is the minister aware of any alternative approaches that would threaten Australia's border integrity?


Mr DUTTON (DicksonMinister for Home Affairs) (14:43): Everybody knows in this country that the government needs to keep control of its borders, and people know that when Mr Howard left office in 2007 there were four people in detention, including no children. We know that when Labor took office they brought 50,000 people in on 800 boats, 1,200 people drowned at sea and 8,000 children went into detention, and it was a disgrace.

We have spent every day since then cleaning up Labor's mess. We have got all of the children out of detention and closed 17 detention centres in Australia. We are working to get the people off Manus and Nauru that Labor put there. We have an arrangement with the United States. We've now had 439 people leave Manus and Nauru to go to the United States. We've reduced to around 52 the number of children on Nauru. People are living in the community and we are getting them off methodically, as we have done.

An honourable member: Bring them here.

Mr DUTTON: I hear an interjection saying, 'Bring them here.' 'Bring them here,' Labor says. Let me say this: if you want to see children in detention, vote for Labor.

Dr Freelander interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Macarthur!

Mr DUTTON: If you want to see deaths at sea again, vote for Labor. If you want to see those 17 detention centres reopen, vote for Labor. The fact is that Labor, when they were in government under Mr Rudd and Ms Gillard, were making exactly the same mistakes as we are seeing now by this Leader of the Opposition. Imagine our surprise when we received a letter this week from the shadow minister for immigration and border protection—no-one knows who he is but he sits on this front bench.

Ms Rowland interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Greenway!

Mr DUTTON: Imagine our surprise when he announced by way of a letter on email late one night—at almost 10 o'clock—earlier this week that Labor had changed its policy on border protection again. It was the second proposal around legislation in two weeks.

Dr Mike Kelly interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Eden-Monaro!

Mr DUTTON: And now we know, from a report in The Sydney Morning Herald

Dr Mike Kelly interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Eden-Monaro is warned!

Mr DUTTON: that it wasn't anything about good policy, it wasn't anything virtuous. It was an attempt to head off a messy discussion in Labor's caucus on Tuesday. That's what it was about; it was about politics. As we know, there is division within the Labor Party on border protection, like we saw in the Rudd and Gillard years. We are cleaning up Labor's mess. We are not going to allow those boats to restart.

Ms Ryan interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Lalor!

Mr DUTTON: We are not going to allow the US deal to be undermined. We are not having people come to our country who would pose national security risks to our country. We will do what is in the best interests of this country. We are not going to take advice from those opposite, who continue to preside over dysfunction in relation to border protection policy.