Tuesday, 13 September 2016
Media release

Auditor exposes Labor dysfunction in government

The ANAO Report into Regional Processing Centres released today is an independent exposé of the absolute chaos and dysfunction at the heart of the Rudd-Gillard Labor Governments in their handling of border security.

Total responsibility for the problems and processes outlined in the report falls upon Labor.

The Auditor's report is critical of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) during the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd years and the process of re-establishing the Regional Processing Centres. It has made recommendations for improvement which the Department has agreed.

The Coalition is working steadfastly to clean up Labor's monumental mess.

However Labor must acknowledge that its incompetent performance placed an impossible burden on the public service which was charged with re-opening Regional Processing Centres in Nauru and Papua New Guinea within a matter of weeks.

The hardworking men and women of the Department and Australian Border Force have been sleighted in this process and at various times by Labor MPs and this report demonstrates Bill Shorten owes the DIBP staff an apology.

Labor's failures are laid bare as it attempted to deal with the consequences of its absolute failure to maintain the integrity and security of Australia's borders.

In the months before Labor made the 2012 decision to reinstate regional processing 6953 Illegal Maritime Arrivals (IMAs) landed in Australia – more than the total number that arrived in 2011 – onshore detention centres were full to overflowing with 7000 other IMAs.

As the numbers of people smuggler boats rose, the numbers of IMAs soared and the deaths at sea became undeniable – there was clear desperation within the then Labor Government to find ways to halt the people trafficking trade.

To this day Labor remains riven with dissent on border security and is destined to repeat its mistakes if ever returned to government.

The Coalition remains committed to its strong and consistent border protection policies, of boat turnbacks, regional processing and Temporary Protection Visas.

The Coalition has stopped the boats, ended deaths at sea, removed children from detention, closed 17 detention centres and returned integrity to Australia's refugee and humanitarian programmes.