On December 6 Labor voted for laws in the Senate that would effectively end offshore processing and resettlement.
Today, Shadow Minister for Defence Richard Marles told Sky News that under Labor's laws the Minister always has the final say on transfers from Manus Island and Nauru to Australia on medical grounds. But this is not the case: the Minister does not have the final say, except in some very limited circumstances based on the ASIO Act.
Here's what Marles said:
"It must be the Minister who makes the decision."
"No-one is about to contract out these decisions to doctors."
"The Minister should have the final say."
But the Minister's role is outsourced to doctors under Labor's laws. A medical panel would make the final decision on medical transfers – not the Minister.
Marles – Labor's Shadow Defence Minister – is wrong. As the person entrusted with defending Australia's national security if Labor is elected to office, this is a very serious mistake.
Marles must explain whether he deliberately misled interviewer David Speers, or if he simply did not understand the radical changes involved in Labor's law.
Labor's laws will:
- End offshore processing and resettlement as we know it.
- Send a message to the people smugglers that Australia, under a Labor government, is weak on border security.
This will restart the people smuggling trade, and restart the boats. The last time this occurred 50,000 people arrived on 800 boats, 8,000 children were placed in detention, and tragically 1,200 people drowned at sea.
Labor has now voted to unwind the successful Coalition policies that have stopped the boats and saved lives. And Labor's Shadow Defence Minister doesn't even know what they have voted for.