Thursday, 1 November 2012
Last night Mr Graham Richardson made accusations that I had misrepresented the coalition's policy on the annual refugee and humanitarian intake in our interview the previous week. This is completely false and betrays a lack of understanding of the events and the issues that were the subject of our interview and this debate.
The coalition has not made any response to the Houston panel recommendations regarding the proposal to increase the refugee and humanitarian intake to 20,000 people per year, which was the subject of the question he raised in the interview of the previous week. The statement I made to Mr Richardson regarding the coalition's policy on the refugee and humanitarian intake was totally accurate, as the coalition has made no statement regarding the recommendation of the Houston panel on lifting the permanent intake. The coalition offer to increase the intake, referred to by Mr Richardson, was made in June 2012, before the Houston panel had even been established, and was a once-only offer to the Labor Party, the Greens and the Independents in order to break the legislative deadlock on the floor of the parliament at that time. This offer was rejected by Labor, the Greens and the Independents, and the—
Mr Deputy Speaker, on a point of order: I think that by way of making a personal explanation the member has had ample opportunity to correct the record.
I was just about to finish, and there is another item as well that I need refer to from another interview. As I said, the offer was rejected by Labor, the Greens and the Independents, and the coalition offer was terminated on that day after having been rejected. It is not coalition policy.
Thank you, Mr Deputy Speaker. Last night on Lateline, the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, in an interview with Tony Jones in relation to the government's no advantage policy, when he was asked by Mr Jones, 'Are you saying five years?' responded:
Well I'm not the one who said there's a minimum five-year period in place. That's what Mr Morrison has said.
That is what was said by the minister last night. That is a false claim.