PETER DUTTON: I wanted to say a few words in relation to the Labor Party conference.
Clearly Mr Shorten has put together a deal not a policy.
The fact that Mr Shorten has had to cobble together this dodgy policy just to try and get the votes from the Left to try to save some dignity on the floor of the conference demonstrates that Mr Shorten doesn’t have the leadership capacity to lead our country after the next election.
Mr Shorten talks about turn-backs, but the language was been watered down so much from when Mr Shorten made this announcement that it’s barely recognisable.
The fact is that Mr Shorten started out saying the Government had it right when it comes to Operation Sovereign Borders and that they were going to carbon copy our policy of turn-backs, but now of course it’s turned into an option, into a discussion, into some sort of dodgy deal – anything but a policy.
Under Labor 50,000 people arrived on 800 boats and 1200 people tragically drowned at sea, but what Mr Shorten is proposing here is basically a white flag to say that if the Labor Party was re-elected at the next election – if they went into government at the next election – there would be hundreds of thousands of people arriving illegally by boat.
These people smugglers are sophisticated criminal organisers and they are in the thrust now of putting together vessels to come to our country – they have not given up.
They will be looking to the weakness of Mr Shorten now, hoping and praying that he is elected at the next election.
It would be a disaster for border protection policy in this country.
JOURNALIST: You’ve tweeted it’s going to weaken border protection, can you expand on that?
PETER DUTTON: Well Mr Shorten is not putting a proposal of a policy here, he’s putting together a deal and he’s proposing this deal in a cobbled-together fashion because he wants to try and save some face on the floor of the Labor Party conference.
If you blink to these people smugglers they will run right over the top of you.
My judgement is that these people smugglers are hoping for a Bill Shorten-led
Government at the next election, if that happens you can kiss goodbye Operation Sovereign Borders and the success we’ve had in stopping the boats.
Joel Fitzgibbon, the Labor frontbencher, gave the game away yesterday when he said that he’s all supportive of turn-backs unless they had to use the policy.
He thinks somehow that out there Bill Shorten saying that ‘we are going to have turn-backs as an option’, that somehow people smugglers are going to hear that and not send any boats.
It shows how naïve the Labor Party is and that they haven’t learned the lessons from when they were last in Government.
JOURNALIST: And do you think that the changing language.…[inaudible]…. do you think that sort of proves that the Coalition has won the argument on border protection?
PETER DUTTON: I think it demonstrates that this is a more important issue at the next election than ever, ever before.
It demonstrates that the Government has been able to stop the boats.
The 50,000 people who arrived on 800 boats and the 1200 who died at sea when Labor was last in Government – that would be repeated if Bill Shorten is elected at the next election.
It demonstrates a very, very significant difference between what the Coalition will promise at the next election - that is a continuation of the success of Operation Sovereign Borders - or Mr Shorten who has a policy that is driven by dysfunction and division within his own party.
Mr Shorten said only a couple of weeks ago that he was opposed to turn-backs, today he is saying that it’s a deeply held belief that there should be turn-backs as an option.
I mean who is this guy – who is Bill Shorten?
Does anybody really know who Bill Shorten is because he can’t have a deeply held view last week and have the opposite view deeply held this week?
It’s clearly put together to try and get him through the conference, but that is all about doing a deal, it’s not about good policy and that’s why the Australian public should be very worried.