The Coalition is concerned about the increased risk to Australia’s border security by Labor’s deliberate and calculated dismantling of Operation Sovereign Borders (OSB) as the government confirms it will provide the legacy illegal boat arrival caseload with permanent visas.
The Coalition has consistently warned that Labor’s plan to abolish Temporary Protection Visas (TPVs) will fulfil the people smugglers’ promise and reward those who came here illegally with permanent residency.
This is no way to protect Australia’s borders and ensure we don’t return to the nightmare scenario that occurred last time Labor abolished TPVs.
Between 2008 and 2013, more than 50,000 people arrived in Australia illegally on more than 820 boats, and tragically at least 1,200 died at sea – the Coalition’s OSB policy sent a significant message of deterrence to people smugglers looking to sell illegal boat voyages to Australia.
Key OSB pillars include turning back boats where safe to do so, regional processing, and denying people smugglers a product to sell through the use of TPVs.
We know that the people smugglers watch government policy very closely. If TPVs are abolished, it will send a clear message that Australia’s resolve has wavered – and the boats will start again.
Labor has to urgently answer questions on how their new system will operate, including;
- what will happen to the thousands of people found not to be a refugee and not owed protection by Australia?
- what will happen to those refused visas on the basis of security or character concerns?
- what will happen to those who have had their application rejected or are appealing the result?
TPVs are the backbone of the Coalition’s successful and strong border policy – Labor will no longer be able to say ‘if you come by boat, you will not settle here’.
If you don’t support TPVs, you don’t support Operation Sovereign Borders.
After Labor abolished TPVs at the end of 2008, 60 boats arrived in 2009 – and they averaged over 195 per year under Labor between 2010-2013.