Question Time – Migration

16 Feb | '2022


Ms BELL (Moncrieff) (14:03): My question is to the Prime Minister. Will the Prime Minister please outline to
the House the importance of the Morrison government’s actions to strengthen the character test so that we can
quickly deport noncitizens who commit violent or sexual offences? Is the Prime Minister aware of any alternative

Mr MORRISON (Cook—Prime Minister) (14:04): I thank the member for Moncrieff for her question. In
Australia today, there are foreign citizens who have been convicted of very serious crimes against Australians
who have been jailed. As a result of the law as it stands today, despite our efforts as a government, we are unable
to deport them. Since we came to government, we have deported some 10,000 people who have acted against the
Australian people by committing crimes. As our first Minister for Immigration and Border Protection I began the
process. One in particular was one Mr Alex Vella, the head of the Rebels motorcycle gang. I took the initiative
to see that his visa was cancelled, while those who preceded me from the Labor Party sat silently and did nothing
and allowed him to be here and lead that outlawed motorcycle gang here in Australia.
So, from the very outset, our government have been taking action on these issues. As immigration minister, I
began the process of strengthening our laws to ensure—
Dr Freelander interjecting—

The SPEAKER: The member for Macarthur is warned.

Mr MORRISON: that we continue to take these actions. That was followed up by the now Minister for Defence
when he was Minister for Home Affairs and of course the Minister for Home Affairs today.
There are still changes that need to be made to strengthen these provisions for people convicted of serious crimes.
It’s not a low-level crime to be involved in an armed robbery, serious violent crime, assaulting police or domestic
violence. There is a loophole where if a judge hands down a lighter sentence of two years then they can get off
having their visa cancelled and being deported. Those opposite—the Labor Party and Labor leader, together with
the Greens—have been denying us this change for the last 1,200 days. The reason for that is the weakness of the
leader of the Labor Party. He will not stand up on these issues. The leader of the Labor Party—

The SPEAKER: The Manager of Opposition Business on a point of order?
Mr Burke: It’s on standing order 90, and I refer to your previous rulings on character attacks.

The SPEAKER: I will ask the Prime Minister just to reflect on the words he’s using. The Prime Minister has
the call.

Mr MORRISON: In whatever portfolio I have been in, particularly in immigration or as Prime Minister, the
leader of the Labor Party has opposed the measures that I have sought to take forward to keep Australians secure,
including this one now. He was opposed to offshore processing. He was opposed to temporary protection visas.
He was opposed to boat turn-backs.

He was opposed to mandatory detention.

The SPEAKER: The Manager of Opposition Business on a point of order?

Mr Burke: It’s on direct relevance. He’s now going well beyond the remit of the question. Some of the things
on his list are things that Labor introduced.

The SPEAKER: The Leader of the House?

Mr Dutton: The Prime Minister was asked in the question about alternative approaches. It’s entirely appropriate
for him to go to alternative approaches. Reference was made to standing order 90, which says:
… all imputations of improper motives to a Member and all personal reflections on other Members are considered
to be highly disorderly.
There can be no suggestion whatsoever that the Prime Minister, in laying out the factual track record of the
Leader of the Opposition, is being disorderly. It cannot be disorderly.

The SPEAKER: The most recent point of order raised by the Manager of Opposition Business is in relation
to alternative approaches. If I can paraphrase, the concern is that ‘alternative approaches’ doesn’t give a right
to address any alternative approaches. The Prime Minister was, in my view, broadly on point in relation to the
question. The request to comment as to whether there are any alternative approaches does give the Prime Minister
the opportunity to address other approaches. The Prime Minister has the call.

Mr MORRISON: All of the matters that I have referred to go to the integrity of our immigration system. If
they are not prepared to do what is necessary, whether it’s to stop the boats or to put in place the policies that
are needed to deter the undermining of our immigration system, which they—including the leader of the Labor
Party, with the Greens—know are stronger laws—

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