Morrison government's plan to strengthen Australia's criminal deportation laws
Mr LEESER (Berowra) (15:10): My question is to the Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs. Will the Minister update the House on the Morrison government's plan to strengthen Australia's criminal deportation laws? Is the Minister aware of any contrary approaches or views on this reform?
Mr HAWKE (Mitchell—Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs) (15:10): I thank the member for Berowra for his question. I know he has experience in the law and in understanding the law and how it operates in relation to the deportation of foreign criminals.
It's true to say that for over 1,200 days now the Morrison government has pursued improvements to the Migration Act to increase our ability to deport foreign criminals. Indeed, we've sought this before every election, and we've asked the parliament for the ability to do it for so long now that every member of this House has had the opportunity to understand what is before the parliament—what it does and doesn't do and how it operates.
That's why it's disturbing to hear consistently that people still claim a lack of understanding about what the government intends in relation to the Migration Act. In fact, in 2019—I'm happy tell the House that 2019 was an election year—before that election, in relation to this bill, the Leader of the Opposition told 6PR that this bill was a 'good idea'. That was before the election on the radio. After the election, Labor and the Greens voted twice against it in the parliament.
Now we are in 2022. Today we've been advised—1,200 days in—that Labor now supports this bill again. That's what we've been told today. That's an unconfirmed report so far, but the government does intend to put this bill into the House today, and the test for the Leader of the Opposition is to abandon his Greens allies finally and come into this parliament and vote on it. If you've voted twice against it, will you now come into this chamber and vote for it? That's what the people of Australia want to know: will you take public safety seriously? It isn't good enough to hide in your office and put it through on the voices and send it to the Senate, when you know we've run out of time, potentially, to pass this bill. It's important, if you are going to change your position at the last minute with the impending election this year, that you come into this chamber, put your money where your mouth is with your members, side with public safety and vote in favour of this public safety bill.
The SPEAKER: The Leader of the Opposition, on a point of order?
Mr Albanese: I am worried about you, Mr Speaker, because the member opposite has denigrated you about thirty times during this contribution. I'm worried about the standing—
The SPEAKER: The Leader of the Opposition will resume his seat. The minister is reminded that any reflections on you are reflections to the chair.
Mr HAWKE: The Leader of the Opposition knows full well he has a responsibility to Australia. The question becomes, after 1,200 days—for 1,170 he has been in a coalition with the member for Melbourne; now we are to believe he has dropped that coalition in the last 30 days with an election impending—will he break with the policy direction from the Australian Greens and support the government's sensible laws to protect the safety of Australians? Will he put his money where his mouth is to protect women and children and to make sure that we have the capacity to stop foreign criminals coming in in the first place and to deport them when they do commit crimes? We will find out, I suggest, today when he has consulted with his 'non-coalition' partner—his ally, his friend or whatever the relationship status may be—the member for Melbourne. We will see if he joins us on this side of the chamber today.