Question Time: National Security

Wednesday, 20 October 2021

Mrs McINTOSH (Lindsay) (15:05): My question is to the Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs. Will the minister outline to the House how the Morrison government is keeping Australians safe by strengthening laws to cancel the visas of foreign nationals who have been convicted of serious offences? Is the minister aware of any threats to this approach?

Mr HAWKE (Mitchell—Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs) (15:06): I thank the member for Lindsay for that important question, and I want to commend her for her work on community safety and her advocacy for victims of family and domestic violence in the electorate of Lindsay. She is a great advocate for them.

For the Morrison government, community safety is our highest priority. You can see that in all the actions that the government has taken since we've been elected from securing our borders, investing in national security, and building and rebuilding our defence forces. Security and community safety is the top priority of a coalition government when we come to office. That's why, under this government, there are almost 10,000 noncitizens whose visas have been cancelled or refused under the character test. That means there are 10,000 serious criminals who have committed very serious crimes against Australians who either have been deported, have had their visas cancelled or have been prevented from ever coming here. For the benefit of this House, I want to record that that includes 216 murderers, 1,700 serious drug offenders, over 1,300 sex offenders, 320 outlaw motorcycle gang members, 37 kidnappers and thousands of other violent offenders. To those thinking that this is obvious, I say that this is the first Australian government to take this question so seriously and to get the laws in place to be able to cancel these visas.

What we've done in the last three years is asked the parliament for more laws to enable us to take community safety even more seriously, and we've been prevented by the Australian Labor Party from getting those powers to ensure that the Australian community can be even safer. The question has to be asked: why does the Australian Labor Party oppose the government getting more power to deport foreign criminals and prevent criminals from ever coming here? These are straightforward laws, I say to this House, that have been proposed for many years. They say that, if you are a serious criminal or offender who has been convicted—for two years—of a sexually based offence or a serious crime, then we can refuse you permission to ever come here. It's a simple matter. These are laws that say that, if you commit a serious offence here, you will be deported from Australia. Labor has again today voted these laws down. Why? We know that there is only one group of people in Australia who are happy about this today, and that is the Australian Greens. So I say to the Leader of the Opposition and to the Labor Party: why do you oppose these laws? Support the coalition. This bill will come back here, and we want you to support these laws.