FIXING LABOR’S BORDER FAILURE
When John Howard left government in 2007, there were only four illegal maritime arrivals in detention. None were children.
Labor proceeded to unwind the Liberal and Nationals Government’s strong policies. The results were a disaster:
- Over 50,000 people arrived on over 800 boats.
- There were 1,200 deaths at sea (that we know of).
- Over 8,000 children were detained while Labor was in government.
- 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 $16 billion.
STOPPING THE BOATS
We have taken back control of our borders from the people smugglers.
The Liberal and Nationals Government has ended Labor’s border chaos and restored strong border protection policies, including:
- Turn-backs where it is safe to do so.
- Offshore processing.
- Temporary Protection Visas.
This has deterred people smugglers, denying them a product to sell. Our strong border protection policies mean we have:
- Stopped deaths at sea.
- Closed 19 detention centres.
- Removed all children from detention.
Having restored integrity to our immigration system, we are in a position to increase Australia’s generous humanitarian program. This has increased from 13,750 refugees in 2013-14 to 18,750 in 2018-19.
Australia has also provided a generous humanitarian response to the Syrian crisis, through the additional intake of 12,000 refugees fleeing the conflict in Syria and Iraq.
In 2016-17 around 20,200 offshore humanitarian visas were granted. This represents Australia’s largest offshore intake in over 30 years.
In addition, the government is working with the United States to resettle people off Manus and Nauru. Already 439 people have been resettled in the United States.
While we have halted the criminal people smuggling syndicates, the threat still remains.
Since this Government was elected, 33 boats have been intercepted. The most recent was in June 2018.
CANCELLING VISAS OF CRIMINALS
We have increased the Minister’s power to cancel visas for non-citizens convicted of a crime and sentenced to 12 months or more imprisonment, 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 Government has cancelled the visas of 4,150 dangerous criminals.
Last year alone, over 800 criminals had their visas cancelled, including: 13 for murder; 7 for manslaughter; 34 rapists and sex offenders; 53 for domestic violence; 56 for armed robbery; 100 child sex offenders; and 125 for assault.
We have cancelled more visas in the last year than Labor cancelled in six years in Government.
We have introduced further legislation to strengthen the Minister’s power to cancel visas.
If this legislation is passed, the Minister will be able to cancel visas of people convicted of a crime punishable by a maximum sentence of two or more years in prison, which involves violence, sexual assault, domestic abuse and the use or possession of weapons.
This will capture people convicted of crimes that strike at the heart of the Australian community, regardless of whether they have been given a jail sentence.
CANCELLING CITIZENSHIP FOR TERRORIST CONDUCT (DUAL NATIONALS)
This Government believes dual nationals who support terrorist activities forfeit their right to be an Australian.
We are keeping Australians safe from dual nationals that support terrorist activities, including foreign fighters who seek to return to Australia.
In 2015, the Government passed legislation to revoke citizenship of any dual-national who engages in terrorism.
This includes anyone 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.
In accordance with Australia's international law obligations, no-one can lose citizenship under this legislation unless they are a national of another country.
STOPPING DRUGS AT THE BORDER
We are improving our ability to stop drugs at their source.
For example, we established Taskforce Blaze – the first ever task force of its kind between agencies in Australia and China.
Taskforce Blaze with the Chinese National Narcotics Control Commission has seized in excess of 20 tonnes of drugs and precursors destined for Australia, including 7.8 tonnes of methamphetamine.
Since the Government amended the Migration Act, we have cancelled 682 visas for drug offences.
RESETTLING PEOPLE ON MANUS AND NAURU
The Government has consistently said that people subject to regional processing arrangements will not be resettled in Australia.
This will not change. We cannot allow the people smuggling trade to start again.
Having stopped the boats, we’ve been able to close 19 detention centres and get children out of detention.
At its peak under Labor (July 2013) there were 10,201 people in detention, including 1,992 children.
There are no children on Manus Island, only single men (at least 130 of whom have been found not to be refugees).
On Nauru, there are family groups, single adult men and women. Since 2015, no-one at Nauru has been in detention – they live freely like Nauruans do.
However, we are working to get all children off Nauru and are committed to third country resettlement options for people found to be refugees.
Currently, refugees in Nauru can apply to resettle in Cambodia and the United States.
Already 439 people have been resettled in the United States.
Refugees in Papua New Guinea can apply to resettle in the United States or in PNG.
If asylum seekers, refugees and non-refugees on Nauru or in PNG decide to return home voluntarily, assistance is available to help, including booking and paying for travel.
The Australian Government has provided over $1 billion dollars in support for health, welfare and infrastructure projects in PNG and Nauru.
Where medically necessary, people have been brought to Australia for treatment.
Information current as at January 2019