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Tuesday, 24 October 2017
Page: 11738

Australian Federal Police

Mr SHORTEN (MaribyrnongLeader of the Opposition) (14:01): My question is to the Prime Minister. The Commissioner of the Australian Federal Police today revealed at Senate estimates that the government has cut over $184 million from the AFP, with 117 officers cut this year. Is the commissioner correct when he says: 'These cuts will mostly apply to our discretionary funding. So they are areas that fund a large portion of our antinarcotics, our organised crime work, our general operation work and our fraud and anticorruption'?

Mr KEENAN (StirlingMinister for Justice and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Counter-Terrorism) (14:02): I'm not sure whether the Labor opposition is determined to wilfully mislead this House—because they have asked questions like this before—or whether they are actually clueless about the way the budgetary cycle works! I've offered briefings to the shadow minister for justice before about the budgetary cycle. She hasn't taken them up, but I'm very happy to run through how it works.

Now, budgets work over a four-year cycle, so we make commitments over a four-year cycle. For example, if we make an announcement about extra funding for the National Anti-Gang Squad, that exists in the budget for four years and then it terminates at the end of those four years. The logic that the ALP, the logic that the opposition, are bringing to this argument is that if I were stand up tomorrow and say, 'We're adding an extra $100 million worth of funding to the AFP, the Labor opposition would get up and say that we're cutting the AFP's funding of $100 million in four years' time. That is the logic they are bringing to this argument!

The facts are very clear: we have made record investments in the capacity of the Australian Federal Police—record investments! I was very pleased, prior to last year's budget, to stand up with the Prime Minister and announce that, on top of the record investments we've already made, we added an extra $321 million to the capability of the Australian Federal Police. This is the largest investment in the Australian Federal Police's domestic capability in a decade—in a decade! This is in stark contrast to the record of the Labor Party when they were in government. They used our law enforcement community as a never-ending reservoir to make up for their inability to balance the budget. They cut funding to the Australian Federal Police. They absolutely gutted the Australian Crime Commission at the time.

Mr Perrett interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Moreton!

Mr KEENAN: They completely gutted Customs—

Mr Perrett interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Moreton is warned!

Mr KEENAN: They destroyed the ability of Customs to screen cargo as it crossed our threshold, resulting in guns coming in at the post office at Sylvania Waters.

Ms Butler interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Griffith!

Mr KEENAN: Since we arrived in office in 2013, the most important job I've had is to undo the damage done by the Labor Party when they were in office. The Australian Federal Police has never been better supported than they are at the moment. Constantly and wilfully making the same false representations in this House does not change these basic facts.

Honourable members interjecting

The SPEAKER: Just before I call the member for Chisholm: members on both sides will cease interjecting. The member for Moreton has been warned. The member for Ballarat will also cease interjecting. The member for Chisholm has the call.