Monday, 19 October 2009
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Minister for Home Affairs. Is the minister aware of a report finalised by the Australian Federal Police in March this year entitled Strategic intelligence forecast: transnational criminal trends and threats to Australia? Can the minister confirm that the report said that people-smugglers will market recent changes in Australia’s immigration policy to entice potential illegal immigrants? Will the minister release the report?
I thank the honourable member for her question. It is an important one. Clearly, we are dealing with a very complex global issue. There is no doubt that people-smuggling in our region but also around the world is a challenge for all First World nations. For that reason, can I say to the honourable member that of course we will be concerned about these matters. But I have to say to her that there is no doubt that the clear evidence is that the reason why there is an increased likelihood of people seeking haven in First World countries is as a result of the conflicts around the world.
Opposition members interjecting—
Thank you, Mr Speaker. I rise on a point of order under relevance. The minister was not asked a general question about the issue of people-smuggling. He was asked a specific question about this report and his response to it and whether he would release it.
In relation to this particular matter, it is therefore important that we deal with it properly and we deal with it with our friends within the region. This is a complex issue. It is a delicate one. I have not been provided advice other than the clear view that this is as a result of the conflicts that are occurring in Afghanistan and the very long, bloody civil conflict that occurred in Sri Lanka. For that reason, we will continue to dedicate our resources to prevent, wherever possible, those seeking haven in this country, if it is not done properly. We will continue to dedicate our sources in Indonesia, in Sri Lanka and in other places in the region to ensure that we do not endanger the lives of those people, in many cases desperate people, seeking haven in First World countries.