Immigration and Border Protection

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December 17, 2018

A Shorten Labor Government will strengthen Australia’s border security with new measures to disrupt and deter people smugglers from preying on vulnerable people throughout the region.

Labor will triple the number of Australian Federal Police officers overseas dedicated to working cooperatively with partner nations to deter and disrupt people smuggling operations at their source.

These officers are critical in the fight against people smugglers, by preventing risky boat ventures before they start and stopping people drowning at sea.

“The first aim is to deter and disrupt the ventures from taking to the water in the first instance. That's a lot more effective; it has a lot less risk, particularly for the people who want to use the people smugglers, so that's always our preference.”

Outgoing Operation Sovereign Borders Commander, Air Vice-Marshal Stephen Osborne, 21 May 2018

The Liberals’ cuts and chaos mean they have slashed the number of officers to just four dedicated officers covering the entire region. This is putting our border protection framework at risk.

Labor has committed $8.5 million to establish an additional eight dedicated AFP officers throughout the region to support Australia’s regional neighbours and prevent people smuggling journeys.

Peter Dutton and Scott Morrison have risked Australia’s border security by ordering the Australian Border Force Fleet to stop patrols to save money on fuel and have cut frontline ABF staff at Australian airports over the Christmas period.

Labor will keep the people smugglers out of business and maintain Australia’s strong borders, ensuring they are never able to exploit the lives of vulnerable people again.

Labor is committed to strong borders, turnbacks when safe to do so, offshore processing and regional resettlement because we know it saves lives at sea.

Unlike the Liberals, Labor will not make cuts to border protection. Under Labor, Operation Sovereign Borders will be fully resourced, we will maintain Australia’s strong border protection measures and strengthen them even further with these new measures to stop people smugglers in their tracks.