MATTERS OF PUBLIC IMPORTANCE - Asylum Seekers


Senator SESELJA (Australian Capital Territory): I thank senators, particularly Senator McGrath, Senator Reynolds and Senator Back, for their contributions to this important discussion. It is extraordinary to me that the Greens and the Labor Party have the gall to come into this place and raise this matter of public importance on asylum seekers. It is extraordinary that they do not just hang their heads in shame at what they oversaw over six years prior to the coalition coming to government. Senator Hanson- Young comes into this place and waxes lyrical and moralises to the coalition about asylum seeker policy when the policy she supported and the policy the Labor Party implemented and oversaw was a disaster. It is difficult to compare the policy disaster that we saw in relation to asylum seekers over the six years of the Labor-Greens government with any other area of policy failure. I cannot think of another policy failure that has led to at least 1,100 deaths at sea. I cannot think of another policy failure that has led to human tragedy on such a scale.

 

 

For the Greens through Senator Hanson-Young and Senator Milne, and the Labor Party through the likes of Senator Urquhart, to lecture the coalition and to lecture the Senate on this issue is breathtaking. I imagine it will be breathtaking to the Australian people when they reflect on the record of those opposite when they were in office. It will be breathtaking when they consider the numbers of people, the sheer human tragedy—

 

Senator Hanson-Young interjecting—

 

Senator SESELJA: Senator Hanson-Young continues to carp away; she continues to interject—part of her must be a little bit embarrassed about what she is saying and about what she has overseen. She comes in here and moralises and lectures to a government that has got control of the issue to the extent that we no longer see the boats coming—we have seen one boat over the last nine months or so; one boat compared to the 20,000 people in the same period last year under the former government.

 

Senator Hanson-Young interjecting—

 

Senator SESELJA: We know why she keeps interjecting—she must be embarrassed.

 

Senator Hanson-Young: I'm not embarrassed—I'm embarrassed for you.

 

Senator SESELJA: She says she is not embarrassed

—she is absolutely shameless. She is so shameless that when the policies she supported led to thousands of people getting on boats and more than 1,100 people drowning, what did she say? She was so ashamed that she said, 'Well tragedies happen. Accidents happen.' Unfortunately tragedies do happen, but sometimes they happen as a result of a failure of policy. In this case that is exactly what happened. Policies have consequences. Poor border protection policies have consequences— they draw people onto leaky boats and many of them do not get here. That is one of the consequences of bad policy, and that is a policy she continues to advocate. I think this attitude should be called out for what it is— it is a disgrace. It is morally bankrupt to not care about the consequences of your policy decisions.

 

What is perhaps just as extraordinary is that the Labor Party continues to back this up. We expect the extremism from the Greens. We might be somewhat shocked by it, we might think it is disgraceful, but we do expect it. The alternative government of this nation should be better than that. The alternative Labor Party government should be better than the Greens but unfortunately they are not. Unfortunately they are no different. They continue to back the Greens view of the world, and the Greens-Labor view of the world is that we should have no effective policy, effectively an open borders policy. You have tried that and it did not work. It had tragic consequences. I think the Greens and the Labor Party should be condemned and their moralising and lecturing should be seen exactly for what it is.

 

 

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Whish-Wilson): The time allotted for the discussion has expired.