Our Plan

Issue 10

Securing Australia’s Borders


When John Howard left government in 2007, there were only four illegal maritime arrivals in detention – none were children.

Labor proceeded to unwind the Coalition’s strong policies. The results were a disaster.

Under Labor:

  • Over 50,000 people arrived on over 800 boats.
  • 1,200 deaths at sea (that we know of).
  • Over 8,000 children were detained while Labor was in government.
  • At the height of Labor’s failure, in July 2013, there were 10,201 people in detention, including 1,992 children.
  • 17 detention centres needed to open to deal with the influx of illegal arrivals.
  • Border protection failure led to a budget blowout of $11 billion.


Under Operation Sovereign Borders, we have turned around Labor’s failure and taken back control of our borders from the people smugglers.

The Coalition Government has ended Labor’s border chaos and restored policies including:

  • Turn-backs where it is safe to do so;
  • Offshore processing; and
  • Temporary Protection Visas.

This has acted as a significant deterrent to people smugglers, denying them a product to sell. Our strong border protection policies have meant:

  • It has been over three years without a boat arrival;
  • We have stopped deaths at sea;
  • We have closed 17 detention centres;
  • We have removed all children from detention;
  • Stopping the boats and closing detention centres have saved the Budget billions.

Having restored integrity to our immigration system, we are in a position to increase Australia’s generous humanitarian program – rising from 13,750 refugees in 2013-14 to 18,750 by 2018-19.

Australia has also provided a generous humanitarian response to the Syrian crisis, through the additional intake of 12,000 Syrian refugees.


The Coalition Government amended the Migration Act to increase the Minister’s power to cancel visas for non-citizens who are convicted of a crime with a sentence of 12 months or more, or who have been convicted of a sexual offence against a child.

This has resulted in a 12-fold increase in visa cancellations.

Since December 2014, the Coalition Government has cancelled the visas of over 3,000 dangerous criminals, including 61 murderers, 135 rapists, 260 child sex offenders and 170 criminal motorcycle gang members.

We have cancelled five times more visas of non-citizen criminals in the past two years than Labor did in their entire six years in Government.


We are keeping Australians safe from dual nationals who support terrorist activities, including foreign fighters who seek to return to Australia.

In 2015, we passed legislation to revoke citizenship of any dual-national who: engages in a terrorist act or other specified terrorism-related conduct; engages in hostile activity with a terrorist organisation overseas; or is convicted of a terrorist act or other terrorism-related offence.


We are improving our ability to stop drugs at their source. For example, since we established Taskforce Blaze – the first ever task force of its kind between agencies in Australia and China – Australian and Chinese authorities have intercepted more than 13 tonnes of illegal drugs destined for our streets – including more than 6 tonnes of Ice.

Since the Coalition Government amended the Migration Act to enable cancellation of visas of non-citizens who are convicted of a crime with a sentence of 12 months or more, we have cancelled the visas of around 500 drug dealers.

Information current as at March 2018