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Thursday, 25 September 2014
Page: 10618

Temporary Protection Visas

Mr HUTCHINSON (Lyons) (14:23): My question is to the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection. Will the minister update the House on how the government is fulfilling our election commitment to introduce temporary protection visas?

Mr MORRISON (CookMinister for Immigration and Border Protection) (14:24): I thank the member for Lyons for his question and his keen interest in the measures that have been announced today and their application to his part of this wonderful country. People smugglers know that the way to Australia illegally by boat has been closed. They also know who closed it; it was the Abbott government. It was by restoring the measures that work under the Howard government, which have been so successful in this first year of Operation Sovereign Borders. No-one seeking to come by boat will get here, because either they will be turned back where it is safe to do so or they will be transferred offshore where they will be processed on either Nauru or Manus Island and resettled outside of Australia.

In addition to that, people remember and know that there was a third element that existed under the Howard government's policies. That was to deny permanent protection visas through temporary protection visas. Today, I have introduced into this parliament the legislation to restore temporary protection visas to their rightful place in the visa book of this country. That is because there are 30,000 people who were left behind by the Labor Party, who they did not process and who turned up on Labor's watch during their years of border failure.

It is our plan that they do not get a permanent protection visa and that they be offered a temporary visa, where there is no opportunity to apply for a permanent protection visa. That is a change, because under the Howard government you could apply for a permanent protection visa when you are a TPV. These measures actually go further and do not provide for a permanent protection visa to be applied for by someone on a temporary protection visa.

The alternative being offered by those opposite is that they get a permanent protection visa straightaway. It is a hotline to welfare. There are no conditions. They want to just give them a protection visa straightaway, because they happened to turn up illegally by boat on their watch. But that will not be the policy of this government and that legislation has been introduced into the parliament today. We have also strengthened the maritime enforcement powers through this bill that we have introduced today, as well as introducing a more efficient process to deal with the legacy caseload of over 30,000 cases.

Mr Albanese: How will that help?

The SPEAKER: The member for Grayndler will desist.

Mr MORRISON: We know they oppose temporary protection visas and we know they want to give them permanent visas, but we also know that they oppose turn-backs. I saw the other day that the shadow minister for immigration and border protection said:

The policy of turn backs obviously has had an effect.

Really, Sherlock? Did you work that out! Even still, there has been just one vessel this year and they still cannot support turn-backs. You get an absolute cricket noise every time we talk about turn-backs.

We know that Kevin Rudd said before the 2007 election, 'I will turn boats back.' That lasted about a week! We know that if those opposite were to occupy these benches, the boats would come back. That is because the weak policies of those who sit opposite would come back with them.