Page 2710 - Week 09 - Thursday, 8 August 2013
It is not my intent to go particularly to the substance of the issue. I will not be supporting the motion; nor will I be supporting the amendment. But let me be very clear about the hypocrisy of this motion. The human tragedy that we see on our borders today, the 1,100 deaths that have occurred on our borders, the 6,000 children who have taken that dangerous trip since 2007, the 14,500 desperate people, refugees from elsewhere across the world who have been denied a place since 2007 because of the disaster on the borders, is a direct result of the change in policy in 2007.
There were some very difficult years under the previous Howard government, the coalition government, that had got us to a point where the number of boats arriving under the coalition was minimal. From two people a month under the coalition, the previous government—two people a month—it is now more than 3,000 a month.
With respect to Mr Rattenbury coming into this place here, along with the pious comments from Mr Corbell, let us remember that under the previous coalition government this human tragedy had been stopped on our borders. Two people a month were coming. Now it is 3,000 a month. So the $10.3 billion that has been spent is money that now cannot be spent on supporting refugees, supporting people that have come from elsewhere in the world, desperate people waiting in refugee camps who have been acknowledged as refugees. It cannot be spent on them.
For Mr Rattenbury to come in here and take the moral high ground and try and lecture members of this Assembly on a federal issue that is entirely the creation of policies supported by the Labor Party and by the Greens is an exercise in extraordinary hypocrisy. So we will not be supporting this motion; we will not be supporting the amendment. But I condemn Mr Rattenbury for bringing that into this place today to try and raise concerns in the community about an issue that he thinks will win him votes. This is not about boats; this is an issue about votes. Mr Rattenbury has shown in earlier debates today how prepared he is to just run agendas that suit him.
We will not be supporting this, and I condemn Mr Rattenbury for the callous political stunt that he is pulling today.
MADAM DEPUTY SPEAKER: Do you want to close the debate and speak to the amendment, Mr Rattenbury?
MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (11.55): Thank you, I will do all of that in one go, Madam Deputy Speaker.
That was an extraordinary spray. You know you have not got much ground to go on when you go to that sort of personal attack. That is probably the best one I have had since I got to this chamber, but I am sure it is not the last that is going to come from Mr Hanson.