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Wednesday, 30 May 2018
Page: 5054


Mr DUTTON (DicksonMinister for Home Affairs and Minister for Immigration and Border Protection) (16:23): Thank you very much to all of the members who have contributed. I'd like to address some of the issues that have been raised. The first question put by the honourable member for Blair was in relation to incidents that had taken place in the north of Australia and accidents that had taken place there. These matters were canvassed in Senate estimates, as the honourable member would be aware. I would just refer him to some of the exchange between Senator Carr; the commissioner, Mr Outram; and also the deputy commissioner, Ms Newton. To go specifically to the cost, $3 million was the approximate cost of repairing the ship, as Mr Outram said. The crew have been spoken to. They were tested for alcohol and those sorts of things when they came ashore. I've got no information to suggest that there was any wrongdoing, deliberate or otherwise. There is nothing at the moment that I've been presented with that suggests it is anything other than an accident.

All of our crew, navigators and commanding officers are trained up to standards that obviously satisfy AMSA requirements. There may be lessons to learn out of the report, but at this stage, until I get the report, there is no basis on which to take action against any officers. I just reiterate the words of the honourable member in relation to the outstanding service of those ABF frontline officers who crewed those individual vessels—and who crew vessels right around the area of responsibility—that they protect and defend, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The second question, from the honourable member for Fairfax, was in relation to retirement visas. I really pay tribute to him and to the representations that he made to me on behalf of constituents within his electorate on the Sunshine Coast. I am pleased to inform that, from 2018-19, retirement visa holders in Australia will be eligible to apply onshore for a permanent visa through the parent subclass 103 or the contributory parent subclass 143 visa streams. Retirement visa holders will be exempted from some parent visa requirements that they would typically be unable to meet, such as having family in Australia. The pathway will remain open until all retirement visa holders who wish to transition to permanent residence have done so. This measure is one which I know is wholeheartedly supported by members on both sides of the House. Again, I really do acknowledge the significant work by the member for Fairfax, the member for Fisher and others on the Sunshine Coast that brought those very real concerns to me.

There was a question in relation to the construct of the Home Affairs portfolio. Obviously the idea is for us to find efficiencies where there's duplication in effort, particularly back-office effort, and try to push that money back into frontline roles. We want to make sure that we deal with the very significant terrorism threat that our country faces. We want to make sure that we are dealing as best we can with the other threats in organised and serious crime.

I would welcome very much the opportunity for the member opposite to take up the position of shadow minister for home affairs, because as yet, I regret to say, he hasn't been elevated to that position. I hope that he can win this internal grapple within the Labor Party, because it is embarrassing—

Mr Neumann interjecting

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Mr Howarth ): Order! Member for Blair!

Mr DUTTON: It's embarrassing but not inconvenient. It might well be inconvenient if he were to ask a question in question time, because it would be pointed out that he wasn't the shadow minister for home affairs, but, alas, that is not a concern that confronts him anytime soon.

I want to acknowledge the wonderful work of the honourable member who I want to pay tribute to for his work in the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security. It builds on his work as a uniformed officer, most notably his time in the SAS. He brings a unique skill set to this job, and he is one of the staunchest advocates, particularly in Western Australia, for the continuation of Operation Sovereign Borders so that we can keep the boats stopped, so that we can stop those children and women from drowning at sea and to make sure that we don't put children back into detention from boats. I commend the honourable member for Canning for his considerable efforts.

There was a question in relation to SRSS. I may well—just given that I'm up against the clock—take that on notice. I'm happy to provide additional information to the shadow minister in that regard.