Appropriation Bill

I am surprised to hear those comments, Minister, given what I saw when I was elected to this place in 2007. We see a very different position taken by the opposition at this time, given their celebration around the dismantling of what was a very successful border protection policy at that time. We even heard a particular Labor member at the time describe a detention facility as, I remember, a white elephant. Unfortunately this was prior to their changing very successful border protection policies, which led not only to 50,000 arrivals but also to 2,000 children in detention—where there had, I think, been none and only a handful of people. We have seen hundreds of boats and at least 1,200 deaths at sea.

I take very seriously—as you did, Minister—what you referred to as a whispering campaign and a reflection on the defence forces. I take that seriously, particularly given the huge workload that they had to absorb during those dreadful last six years of Labor. I saw it firsthand, because I made it my business to go and see what they actually had to deal with. As a daughter of a war widow, I take the responsibility of what we as a parliament ask them to do extremely seriously. I saw the workload that was visited upon them because Labor basically reinvigorated the people smugglers’ business model. Not only did we see millions of dollars go into the pockets of those people but also we saw very tragic deaths at sea of people taking extraordinary risks on leaky boats, encouraged by those very policies. Minister, Operation Sovereign Borders has stopped the boats, ended the deaths at sea and regained control of Australia’s borders. How does this budget build on this very successful policy and the efforts of this government?