Kevin Rudd mislead Australians in 2007, it’s now clear he mislead Australians in 2013 and today, four years after signing an agreement with Papua New Guinea to transfer illegal maritime arrivals (IMAs) to Manus Island, he seeks again to mislead the nation.
Rudd’s social media and assertions on radio today that the PNG arrangement was for “one year only” are patently false.
The agreement with PNG is clear – it was for an “initial 12 month period” and was to be “subject to review on an annual basis”.
At the time Rudd stated the arrangement would “apply for the next 12 month period and be subject to annual review”.
Patently the agreement envisaged an ongoing arrangement.
Only Kevin Rudd could baldly claim that it was an arrangement for just one year, any normal person would read the document and statements as providing for an ongoing situation.
Even Anthony Albanese, Rudd’s Deputy Prime Minister in 2013, acknowledged the “scope for extension” yesterday.
Rudd now claims that illegal maritime arrivals transferred to PNG and Nauru should be resettled in Australia.
In 2013 he said: “From now on, any asylum seeker who arrives in Australia by boat will have no chance of being settled in Australia”.
What was to happen to the 1342 IMAs at Manus and Nauru when Labor was thrown from office?
According to Rudd and the agreement – “persons found to be refugees will be resettled in PNG……persons found not be refugees may be held in detention or returned to their home country or a (third) country…”
In yet again seeking to rewrite history, Rudd only reinforces Labor’s lies and failures.
Rudd told Australians in 2007 that Labor would maintain the Howard Government’s border policies that had stopped the boats, that indeed Labor would “turn the boats back”.
Within months of coming to power the Rudd Government put the lie to that statement by starting to systematically dismantle the previous Coalition’s policies.
The result was disaster, with more than 50,000 IMAs pouring into Australia on over 800 boats, while more than 1200 lives were lost at sea.
Labor failed Australia and by throwing-open our borders to people smugglers it failed those who lost their lives.
Current Labor frontbencher Tony Burke, as then Immigration Minister stood behind Kevin Rudd the day he announced the PNG agreement, does he claim it was for “only one year” and if so why was it to be subject to “annual review”.
It’s incumbent on Mr Burke to be honest with Australians.
Indeed Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and 12 other current Labor frontbenchers were Ministers in the second Rudd Government when the agreement with PNG was sealed.
They must clarify Kevin Rudd’s clearly deceptive statements, although truth in relation to border protection and IMAs is an antithesis to Labor.
There would be no illegal maritime arrivals in Manus or Nauru if Kevin Rudd and Bill Shorten had not broken their 2007 promises to maintain strong border policies.
More than 1200 lives would not have been lost at sea.
More than 8000 children would not have been confined in detention.
Billions of Australian taxpayers’ dollars would not have been spent providing for these illegal arrivals.
Billions more would not be spent as our nation seeks to deal with a remaining 30,000 IMAs in the legacy caseload – those Labor failed to process.