Stopping the boats is the “most compassionate and decent” thing the government could have done, Prime Minister Tony Abbott says.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott has described stopping the boats as the “most compassionate” thing his government could have done.
Mr Abbott was trumpeting the success of Operation Sovereign Borders at the Liberal National Party state conference in Brisbane on Saturday when he made the comment, adding that secure borders were a sign of a sovereign nation.
Stopping the boats meant an end to budget blowouts, saving billions in unnecessary future spending and ending deaths, the prime minister said.
“That’s why the most decent and most compassionate thing this government has done is to ensure that for more than six months now there has been no successful people-smuggling venture to our country,” Mr Abbott told the conference.
“I am not declaring victory but, my friends, we are stopping those boats.”
Mr Abbott also admitted it had been an “interesting week” in the Senate, after the Palmer United Party’s last minute antics put the kibosh on the government’s plans to repeal the carbon tax by Thursday.
But instead on focusing on PUP leader Clive Palmer’s involvement, he pointed to Labor’s reluctance to rid Australia of the tax.
“Sure Mr Palmer has three senators, but Mr Shorten has 25,” Mr Abbott said.
“And we know that Mr Palmer will change his mind by Monday, but Bill Shorten will still be there come Monday, come Tuesday, come next week, come next month, come next year, supporting putting your power prices up. Smiling every time your power bill increases.”
Dozens of people gathered outside the conference to protest against Operation Sovereign Borders started yelling, “Shame, Bishop, shame” when they heard Foreign Minister Julie Bishop had arrived.
But Ms Bishop said they should be supporting the government’s humanitarian efforts.
“There is nothing humanitarian about encouraging criminal people to pay criminal syndicates to get on unseaworthy boats and take a dangerous journey to Australia,” Ms Bishop said.
“They should have been protesting when 1200 people died at sea under the previous government’s policies.
“That was a disaster and we don’t intend to have that happen under our watch.”