Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Labor plays follow the leader on border protection policy.

Download PDFDownload PDF



16 October

Labor has spent the last 5 years doing nothing but obstruct the government on the issue of unauthorised arrivals.

The measure of their interest is in the fact that in 5 and a half years, only 6 questions were asked by the Opposition in Parliament on this matter.

Now they are playing follow the leader because they have no idea what else to do.

"Beazley has no ideas, he’s been part of the problem and not part of the solution. It was Beazley’s team that opposed judicial review reform for four years. If that legislation had been passed, we would never have had in place the court-determined, wider acceptance of refugee applicants in Australia which became the signal to the smugglers to target Australia. And for four years we were delayed the passage of legislation that would have enabled us to deal with those expectations," Mr Ruddock, Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs said today.

The fact is that the Labor Party’s policy does not propose anything that the Coalition has not already done or is currently doing, except create new bureaucracies and more bureaucrats. Let’s have a look at Mr Beazley’s list:

Enhanced Intelligence Operations against people smuggling DONE

Strengthened Immigration Security Checking DONE

Enhanced Police Cooperation against people smuggling DONE

Support UNHCR in Indonesia DONE

Build a framework for regional cooperation DONE

Strengthened Diplomatic Presence in Mid East and Asia DONE

International Legal Cooperation against people smuggling IN HAND

Border Protection Legislation DONE

Regional Summit on People Smuggling DONE 1999, 2001

Regional Cooperation Agreement with Indonesia DONE

Anti-people smuggling unit DONE

The only thing we haven’t proposed is another costly bureaucratic structure in the form of a Coastguard and a Diplomat.








Mr Beazley has made a commitment not to change the Border Protection Bill as passed.

But Mr Beazley still hasn’t told us if he will keep the other six related bills.

Does this mean that he plans to unwind the off-shore processing arrangements in Nauru and Papua New Guinea. If so, does this also mean that unauthorised arrivals will be allowed to come to mainland Australia when his agreement with Indonesia doesn’t eventuate?

Does this mean that there will continue to be endless appeals to the courts at taxpayer expense and to the further detriment of the refugee convention?

Will Christmas Island, Cocos and Keeling Islands and Ashmore Islands once again be beacons signalling to people smugglers that Australia is again open for business?

Labor doesn’t know how to handle the complexity of the issues involved and hopes that bold assertion will get them off the hook.

The truth is, Labor still doesn’t have a clue.



Contact Steve Ingram: 0419 278 715