MOTIONS -- Instrument of Designation of the Republic of Nauru as a Regional Processing Country


Senator IAN MACDONALD (Queensland) (18:40): I rise to speak in this debate and to support the motion, particularly the amendments moved by Senator Cash on behalf of the coalition. I would urge the Senate to support the amended motion before the chamber. We have had another contribution from the Greens political party, full of half-truths and misstatements. Senator Ludlam, the previous speaker, indicated that boats could not be turned around and then gave a list of cases in which boats were turned around. I refer Senator Ludlam to the evidence given by the current Chief of Navy, Admiral Griggs, who when asked at estimates whether boats could be turned around gave an example of when he was a patrol boat captain and actually did turn boats around. In fairness, I mention he also indicated that there were other times when he was unable to turn the boats around. Senator Ludlam clearly mentioned in his contribution that when it becomes dangerous in turning boats around is when illegal immigrants and that is what they are; they come to our country illegally take the law into their own hands

Senator Ludlam: They are not illegal.

Senator IAN MACDONALD: Entry into Australia without a permit is illegal.

Senator Ludlam interjecting

Senator IAN MACDONALD: If you are a refugee; that is correct. These people are not designated refugees, as you well know. But there are 10 million refugees who have been determined by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to be genuine refugees and genuinely in fear for their lives sitting in squalid camps around the world, and yet the Greens will give preference to those who would illegally enter Australia in preference to those who have been waiting their turn in squalid camps right around the world. These people waiting their turn in these squalid camps around the world have been determined by the UNHCR to be genuine refugees. There is no suggestion with those people about whether they are just economic refugees or whether there are other reasons why they might be trying to come into our country, and that has to be gone through before people are determined to be genuine refugees. But that does not matter to the Greens political party. They let in these people who are not yet determined as refugees while those 10 million people who have already been determined as genuine refugees wait in their squalid camps around the world. Thank you, Greens political party! About the only thing that Senator Ludlam said that bore any semblance of truthfulness and accuracy was the fact that the Labor Party is remarkably absent from this debate. I can well understand that. Poor old Senator Evans, the Leader of the Government in the Senate. The Labor Party is just renowned for their back flips but poor Senator Evans, when he was Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, said: Labor committed to abolishing the Pacific Solution and this was one the first things the Rudd Labor Government did on taking office. It was also one of my greatest pleasures in politics. Neither humane nor fair, the Pacific Solution was also ineffective and wasteful. Poor old Senator Evans! Having gone on the record saying that and he said a lot of other things at the time and here he is today leading a party in this chamber that is introducing the Pacific solution that he said was neither humane nor fair, was ineffective and wasteful. Well, Senator Evans, if, as immigration minister, you thought it was neither humane nor fair and you thought it was ineffective and wasteful, tell me why your government is now introducing the Pacific solution well, one element of the Pacific solution It just shows how completely dysfunctional this government is. It also shows quite clearly that I, like most Australians these days, have simply come to the realisation that nothing the current leader of the Labor Partythat is, Ms Gillard says anymore does anyone take any notice of. Similar to Senator Wong in question time, as I said to her by way of interjection: 'Say what you like in non-answer to your questions, nobody these days anywhere in Australia takes any notice of what Ms Gillard says.' And, of course, why would they, when she promised on the eve of the last election never to introduce a carbon tax Immediately she got into power, thanks to the Greens and a couple of Independents, she broke that solemn promise to the Australian public. Had she said before the last election, 'I'm going to introduce a carbon tax,' there is no way in the world she would ever have been elected. So she duped the Australian public. They know that and, regardless of their views on the carbon tax or otherwise, they will remember that Ms Gillard broke a solemn promise and duped them. Similarly, with Senator Evans on: what do the Labor Party believe Do they believe in the Pacific solution The Leader of the Government in the Senate said just a couple of years ago that is was neither humane nor fair, was ineffective and wasteful. Does the Labor Party believe Senator Evans when he said that a couple of years ago or do they believe him today when he says that this is going to solve our problems, that this is going to be the solution You can understand, Madam Acting Deputy President, that these days nobody in Australia takes any notice of or believes anything that this Prime Minister, the former Prime Minister, the Leader of the Government in the Senate or in fact any Labor minister says. You can well appreciate why no-one believes that anymore. In fact, nobody even listens to them anymore. This motion today is to re-establish Nauru as a regional processing centre and a place where would-be illegal immigrants into Australia are taken to be properly assessed and then dealt with in accordance with the UNHCR rules that is, wait their turn. If they are determined to be genuine refugees then they will wait their turn and be processed in accordance with the UNHCR rules. Although the Labor Party were dragged kicking and screaming to this result that we are taking part in today in this debate, they have not gone the whole hog, so it is not going to work. I can guarantee that the boats will not stop coming because, unfortunately, the Labor Party

Senator Di Natale: Why are you voting for it

Senator IAN MACDONALD: Why am I voting for it Because it is a step in the right direction. It is one of three elements. I can assure senators here that if the Labor Party do not introduce the other two elements the temporary protection visas and turning the boats around then the coalition will when next we are in government. That is why I think we could save the Labor Party indeed, everyone a lot of problems by the Labor Party adopting the full Howard government solution this time and not just one element of it. Whilst I will be supporting the amendment I will certainly be urging people to support the amendment if the amendment is not carried

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT ( Senator Pratt ): Order! It being 6.50 pm, I am required to interrupt the debate to move on to consideration of government documents. Senator Macdonald, you are welcome to use the remainder of your time once we return to this order of the day.

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