I am privileged to be appointed Labor’s Shadow Minister for Home Affairs and Shadow Minister for Immigration and Citizenship.
As an immigrant to this country myself, I feel particularly honoured to step into this role and look forward to making a positive contribution to building a safer, stronger and more cohesive Australia.
I am increasingly concerned by Peter Dutton’s mismanagement of his portfolio responsibilities and the Department of Home Affairs.
Mr Dutton has lost control of our borders, lost control of our visa system, and has lost control of his own Department.
This is evidenced by the explosion in ‘airplane people’ arriving into Australia, the blow-out in the number of people on bridging visas, multi-year waiting lists for partner visas and citizenship application backlogs, and audit report after audit report identifying failings and mismanagement within the Department.
After almost five years at the helm of immigration and board protection, Mr Dutton has no excuse for his poor track record.
I will be focussed on exposing his incompetence, which is impacting the lives of many Australians and their loved ones, future Australian citizens, vulnerable people both overseas and in Australia, and visitors to our great country.
I also want to be clear that there is no difference between Labor and the Government when it comes to our border protection regime. We support offshore processing, turnbacks where it is safe to do so, and regional resettlement.
I do believe Australia can be tough on borders without being inhumane. Offshore processing is necessary, but it should not be unnecessarily indefinite or cruel.
Labor is committed to keeping the people smugglers out of business and maintaining our strong borders. We will never allow people smugglers to exploit vulnerable people again.
I will also call out the dog-whistling that occurs in parts of the Government. The words and actions of parliamentarians are powerful, and I would invite the Minister for Home Affairs and the Prime Minister to reflect carefully on what they say and how they say it.
Their words cast a long dark shadow over migrants, multicultural communities and minority groups, and I for one don’t believe this demonising reflects Australian values, nor does anything for improving community cohesion or to keep Australia safe.
By establishing a Shadow Home Affairs portfolio, Labor’s focus will be to ensure the Government continues to keep Australians safe through the functions of Australia's federal law enforcement, national and transport security, criminal justice, emergency management, multicultural affairs and immigration and border protection.
I look forward to working with stakeholders and the wider Australian community to listen and understand how Peter Dutton’s management of his portfolio has let them down, and what Labor can do to help build a safer, stronger and more cohesive Australia.
MONDAY, 3 JUNE 2019
MEDIA CONTACT: CHRIS OWENS – 0409 945 476