Australian Customs and Border Protection Service Report 2009-10

Senator IAN MACDONALD (Queensland) (19:03): I move:

That the Senate take note of the document.

In so doing, could I just refer the Senate to sections A and B, which perhaps should be called through at a later date. I did want to note the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service Report for 2009-10, as I am Deputy Chairman of the Joint Committee on the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity. We visited Customs operations in both Darwin and Sydney and I have to say by way of congratulations to the Customs and Border Protection people that they are doing a magnificent job in those two ports of entry, both seaports and airports. I am sure they are doing the same in other ports as well. In fact, having recently come through the Brisbane border protection area, I can confirm that they do equally as well in Brisbane. I am sure they do a magnificent job everywhere.

One of the very difficult things for the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service is that, beyond their normal airport and seaport operations, they are tasked with the job of intercepting all the boat people coming into our country illegally. I might take this opportunity to note that, since the announcement of what is called the 'Malaysian solution'the solution for processing people who have come to our country by illegal meansboats have continued to arrive. You will recall, Madam Acting President, that I mentioned in a previous speech how you really cannot believe the current Leader of the Labor Party, who happens to be for the moment the Prime Minister of this country, on carbon taxes. You will remember that just one year ago today she made the solemn promise that there would be no carbon tax 'under a government I lead'. We know that she has, with impunity, broken that promise. But you might also recall that she made a promise that she would never send illegal immigrants for processing in a country that was not a signatory to the United Nations refugee convention. Yet it is clearly recorded that Malaysia is not a signatory to that convention. How can the Leader of the Labor Party, who is currently the Prime Minister, on one hand before an election say that she will not send immigrants arriving by illegal means to countries outside of Australia for processing if those countries are not signatories to the United Nations convention on refugees and, with impunity, simply break that promise after the election

This Labor Party-Greens government is developing a real history of making solemn promises before an election and simply discarding them after the election. In relation to border protection, in fact in relation to any other promise that the current Prime Minister might ever make in relation to anything, it makes one wonder how we can possibly believe her. In relation to the carbon tax she is saying that we are going to compensate everybody. How different is that from the promise in which she said, 'I won't introduce a carbon tax' It has transpired in the border protection

Senator McLucas: I want to go to the question of relevance. I note that in Senator Macdonald's previous contribution he did try to join in the countries with whom a treaty had been made, but I think that in this contribution he is actually straying a long way from the report that he is taking note of.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT ( Senator Pratt ): Thank you, Senator McLucas. I remind Senator Macdonald that he has taken to his feet to speak to the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service Report 2009-10 and that he should speak to that according to the standing orders.

Senator IAN MACDONALD: Thank you, Madam Deputy President. I have been speaking about the border protection and customs service and what a great job they do but I am saying that, unfortunately, more and more their resources are being diverted to collecting people arriving illegally in our country, using their patrol boats and all their resources to become policemen, almost, in stopping illegal boat people from coming in. I am simply demonstrating that, in relation to border protection that the Customs and Border Protection Service is required to enforce or anything else, you simply cannot believe our Prime Minister, the Leader of the Labor Party. In that area you cannot believe her on anything she might say about anything. I seek leave to continue my remarks.

Leave granted; debate adjourned.

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