The Labor Party has today rejected strong new border protection laws designed to keep the boats stopped and prevent deaths at sea.
At the last election Mr Shorten told Australians that Labor was in “lock step” and on a “unity ticket” with the Coalition Government to defeat the criminal people smuggler syndicates.
That façade – the lie – that Shorten-Labor will be tough on border security has now been exposed.
Mr Shorten has been forced to bow to Labor’s Left which believes in open borders.
The legislation before Parliament is an important measure which sends a clear message to the people smugglers and their clients that should they attempt to come illegally by boat that they will never settle in Australia.
It would prevent any illegal maritime arrival (IMA) taken to a regional processing country since 19 July 2013 from ever coming to Australia and warn the estimated 14,000 people in Indonesia and the thousands more beyond that any illegal boat journey to Australia would be futile.
In opposing the legislation Mr Shorten is showing people smugglers that Labor has wavered and will, if given the opportunity, again dismantle successful border protection measures.
Mr Shorten, sadly, has put factional politics ahead of national security.
Australia remains a people smuggler target – evidenced by the 29 boats that Operation Sovereign Borders has turned back over the last three years.
Australians know what happened when Kevin Rudd dismantled the Howard Government’s border protection policies – more than 800 boats carried 50,000 illegal arrivals to our shores while more than 1200 lives were lost at sea.
The legislation before Parliament was a test of Mr Shorten’s fitness to be a national leader. A test he has failed.
People smugglers will be heartened by Mr Shorten and Labor who should be held accountable for their weakness on border security, particularly if the boats recommence.
If you can’t keep the borders secure, you can’t keep the country safe.