Morrison turns up heat on ALP’s border policy
Scott Morrison has hit back at Labor’s claim there would be no change to Operation Sovereign Borders under a Shorten government, saying his opponent would kill the scheme he introduced.
The political debate over border protection intensified yesterday after Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton used the disruption of a people-smuggling venture in Malaysia to insist the boats would restart and children would be back in detention if Labor won the election.
Mr Dutton also accused Labor of “completely abandoning” Operation Sovereign Borders.
But opposition immigration and border protection spokesman Shayne Neumann rejected the claim. Labor sources told The Australian it would not change in name or operation.
“Under Labor, there will be no change to Operation Sovereign Borders. Operation Sovereign Borders will be fully resourced, we will maintain Australia’s strong border protection measures and strengthen them even further with these new measures to stop people-smugglers in their tracks,” Mr Neumann said.
“Labor will triple the number of Australian Federal Police officers overseas dedicated to deterring and disrupting peoplesmuggling ventures, something the Liberals have failed to do.”
The Prime Minister, immigration minister when the scheme was created in 2013, said Labor had already promised to destroy two of the three key pillars it stood on: temporary protection visas and offshore processing.
Labor softened its asylumseeker policy at its national conference last month by formally endorsing doctor-ordered medical evacuations off Manus Island and Nauru, but it remains committed to boat turnbacks when safe to do so, offshore processing and regional resettlement.
“They will abolish temporary protections visas and last year voted to end offshore processing as we know it in the parliament. And they had no clue what they had done,’’ Mr Morrison said.
“If you really think Labor will turn boats back with Tanya Plibersek sitting on their national security committee, you’ve got to be kidding.
“Labor are just not up to it on border protection and the people smugglers know it. Every time they are tested they fail. I should know, I had to clean up their mess.”
Bill Shorten said it was “complete rubbish” to suggest Labor would abandon the operation and suggested the government’s language was encouraging people smugglers to “try their hand against the Australian system”.
“We do support strong borders. We will do everything we can to stop the people smugglers getting back into business,” the Labor leader said.
“The government’s just saying this stuff to encourage the people smugglers and to basically try and get some cheap political point of difference.”
There are seven children still on Nauru, with four of them earmarked to go to the US under the resettlement deal.
Zara Kay has shown great courage in speaking about the effect of Islam’s sharia law on women and those who no longer believe (“Women pay heavy price for ditching Islam”, 14/1). Islam is often called a “religion of peace” — but the word Islam does not mean peace, it means “submission”.
As Kay explains, Islamic theology teaches that a woman’s testimony in court is worth half that of a man and that the punishment for renouncing Islam can include imprisonment, flogging or death.
Kay is not safe from extremists, even in Australia — just as Saudi Arabian teenager Rahaf Mohammed alQunun will not be fully safe in her new home, Canada.
Most disturbing is the news that over a quarter of Kay’s Tanzanian childhood friends believe she should be killed because she has left Islam. If such beliefs are typical of other moderate Muslims, our immigration policies need a rethink. Roslyn Phillips, Tea Tree Gully, SA Congratulations to Caroline Overington for her excellent report and for your editorial (“Saudis must scrap guardianship”, 14/1). Having spent time in the Muslim provinces of India that later became Pakistan, I know how oppressive Islam is towards women. They rank as third-class citizens. The courage of women who renounce Islam is commendable for they face threats, including murder.
All Saudi women should queue up to obtain visas for any country that will accept them, and leave the kingdom to the men so they can expend their energies bullying each other. It is apparent that the Saudi regime is unreformable, and only the exodus of women might bring a hint of reform. Babette Francis, Toorak, Vic In a previous life, I made what I thought was an unremarkable speech in the House of Representatives: “It is appropriate that we have sanctions, including sporting sanctions, against South Africa because of ... apartheid. Equally because of their discrimination against women we should have sanctions against Arab countries like Saudi Arabia that will not treat women as equal.”
I soon received a phone call from a senior Olympic official taking issue with my speech and asking me not to rock the boat because we might need Arab votes for future Olympic bids. When I said it seemed the Australian Olympic movement regarded women as second-class citizens, I was advised that I just didn’t understand the way these things worked.
In fact I did. The reach of countries such as Saudi Arabia into democracies is significant, as demonstrated recently in this latest asylum case. Ron Edwards, Trigg, WA Caroline Overington highlights just how incompatible Islam is with our way of life. It also raises the question to what extent Islamic practices are being followed here and what action governments are taking to ensure women are not being subjected to what most would regard as unacceptable, if not unlawful, treatment?
The article should once again cause us to question the wearing of the burka. Is this garment worn voluntarily or is it forced on women who are afraid not only to reject it but to speak against it? To most of us, wearing such a garment voluntarily in a country subject to high temperatures and where people enjoy the freedom of dressing down, doesn’t make sense. By banning the burka we just might be taking a critical step in freeing Muslim women from oppression; from what is, by our standards, a form of domestic abuse. John George, Terrigal, NSW The story of the Saudi teenager’s flight to safety and freedom from stifling and lethal male-dominated religious constraints — with the help of a dedicated group of women who themselves have made the same dangerous journey — is sobering and heart warming. The plight of women in the “most feminist of all religions” is a million miles away from self-indulgent Western feminists grandstanding about micro-aggressions. Ian Mastin, Woodgate Beach, Qld Caroline Overington confirms my experience when interviewing ex-Muslim women for my novel Dishonour. They were living in fear in Sydney. Death threats, dead animals and rubbish thrown into their yards forced them to move frequently, and they were well aware of the death penalty for leaving Islam. One woman’s mother tried to poison her before she left for Australia. Gabrielle Lord, Randwick, NSW