On 20 March 2020, in the face of a global pandemic, the Australian Government took the decision to close its border to non-citizens and non-residents.
This decision, combined with the effective health and economic response, has been an integral part of saving lives and livelihoods from COVID.
In comparison to Australia, on a per capita basis, countries like the UK and USA have had around 50 times the number of COVID-19 deaths.
The quarantine system, put together by states and territories with the Australian Government, has facilitated around 470,000 passengers (predominantly returning Australians), with a 99.9% effectiveness rate in stopping the transmission of the virus.
The Liberal and Nationals Government will continue to ensure strong protection of Australia’s borders.
Labor has a record of failure when it comes to border protection. After the last Labor Government dismantled Australia’s border security policies:
- Over 50,000 people arrived on over 800 boats.
- There were 1,200 deaths at sea (that we know of).
- Over 8,000 children were in detention.
- 17 detention centres needed to open.
The cost of Labor losing control of our borders is $17 billion and counting.
Our effective policies, first enacted by Scott Morrison as Immigration Minister, include:
- Regional processing;
- Temporary Protection Visas (which deny people smugglers a product to sell);
- boat turn-backs when it is safe to do so.
Each of these policies is necessary, to protect our borders and deny people smugglers a product to sell.
Stopping the boats has enabled the Government to close 19 detention centres and remove all children from detention.
The Government is now spending a billion dollars less, every year, on onshore detention arrangements than when we came into office.
We repealed Labor’s reckless ‘Medevac’ laws, which undermined our strong border protection regime.
CANCELLING VISAS OF CRIMINALS
We have increased the Minister’s power to cancel visas for non-citizens convicted of a serious crime. This has resulted in a 12-fold increase in visa cancellations.
Between December 2014 and August 2021, the Government cancelled or refused the visas of over 9,800 dangerous criminals.
This includes: 216 for murder; 462 for rape or sexual assault; 769 child sex offenders; 496 for armed robbery; and 1,762 for drug offenses.
The Liberal and Nationals Government has put forward legislation to toughen the character test to allow visa cancellations where a non-citizen has been convicted of violent offences, weapons offences, breaching of an apprehended violence order (or similar) or non-consensual sexual acts, even when the sentence is less than 12 months.
This would help keep the community safe from foreign criminals who have been convicted of violent and sexual crimes.
CANCELLING CITIZENSHIP FOR TERRORIST CONDUCT (DUAL NATIONALS)
The Liberal and Nationals Government has passed legislation to revoke the citizenship of any dual-national who engages in terrorism. This includes foreign fighters who seek to return here.
To date, under the Coalition’s citizenship cancellation laws, 21 dual nationals have ceased to hold Australian citizenship as a result of their engagement in terrorist conduct.
STOPPING DRUGS AT THE BORDER
The Government is working to stop drugs at their source.
Between 1 July 2020 and 30 June 2021, the Australian Federal Police stopped 38 tonnes of illegal drugs from reaching Australian streets. This includes: over 5 tonnes of methamphetamine; over 5 tonnes of cocaine; and nearly one tonne of heroin.
The Liberal and Nationals Government has sent drug offenders packing. Between December 2014 and August 2021, we have cancelled or refused the visas of 1,762 people for drug offences.
Information current as at September 2021