13 February 2019

Labor and Richard Marles vote to weaken our border protection framework

The Labor Party including Bill Shorten and Corio MP Richard Marles have voted for political opportunism, rather than the national interest.

By supporting the Home Affairs Legislation Amendment (Miscellaneous Measures) Bill 2018, it is now clear that the Labor Party does not have the mettle and does not understand what is necessary to ensure that Australia’s border protection framework and broader national security interests can be managed.

There are three key pillars to the Coalition’s Operation Sovereign Borders – boat turn-backs where it’s safe to do so, regional processing and Temporary Protection Visas. Labor has already committed to remove TPVs. Labor’s support for this Bill dismantles regional processing.

Under the Labor/Greens, people can go doctor shopping via Skype to get a transfer to Australia and those doctors don’t even need to find someone is ill – they just have to say they should come to Australia for assessment (‘medical treatment or assessment’).

Bill Shorten and Richard Marles have weakened our borders and passed legislation which will allow people charged with, or convicted of, very serious offences including murder and sexual assault to be brought to Australia.  The Immigration Minister will have no power to stop these transfers.

This is very dangerous legislation. The advice from our intelligence agencies is clear—any weakening of our current border protection policies will re-open the people-smuggler trade.

Only the Liberals will ensure Australia has strong borders.

Our Government has systematically cleaned up the mess left by Labor relating to border protection.  We’ve been able to stop the boats and work through the backlog of cases Labor left when 50,000 people illegally entered Australia on 800 boats on their watch.

When we came to office, there were 2,000 children who had been forcibly placed in detention by the former Labor Government.  On our watch, we have closed 19 detention centres and removed all children from detention.  There are no children remaining on Nauru.

I am proud that our Government has got the balance right. We have secured our borders to stop the boats and the tragic drownings at sea whilst ensuring a compassionate response to asylum seekers, providing one of the most generous humanitarian immigration programs in the world.  However we can only do it by maintaining strong borders and on insisting people come the right way.

The Prime Minister announced today that, regrettably, the Government will now need to re-open the Christmas Island detention centre to ensure our borders remain safe.

We have had to clean up this mess twice. The Labor Party, when they have the opportunity, only break what has been fixed.  Once again, they have demonstrated that Labor can’t be trusted on border protection.


13 February 2019