As the Coalition presents border security as a significant election battlefield, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has continued to assault Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese on the issue.
In a speech to a Liberal Party campaign event on the New South Wales Central Coast on Saturday, Mr Morrison accused Mr Albanese of “trying to recreate a little of history.”
“I was thinking about you the other night in the debate, Jim, when Anthony Albanese was trying to fabricate a bit of history about what was going on with border protection back before the 2013 election,” Mr Morrison said.
“Prior to the 2013 election, I turned to Jim as the then-shadow immigration minister because we were experiencing the worst border security failures this country had ever seen at the time.
“So I met Jim a few years ago, and Jim and I collaborated to build Operation Sovereign Borders, which is now renowned not only in Australia but across the world. Now, when we got into government, we implemented that, and it worked.”
Mr Morrison and Mr Albanese had sparred over border security at the People’s Forum, with the Prime Minister pressing the Labor leader over boat arrivals in Australia while he was deputy prime minister in 2013.
Mr Albanese mentioned his government’s decision to create offshore detention centers, but Mr Morrison interrupted him off and demanded, “Why didn’t you support turnbacks when you were deputy prime minister?”
“You weren’t proposing back then, you weren’t back then,” the Labor leader retorted, yelling at the Prime Minister.
“I’m sorry; it was our policy before to the 2013 election; turnbacks were our policy. I devised the policy as the shadow immigration minister “Mr. Morrison explained.
On Saturday, the Prime Minister used his rally address to give Mr Albanese his own advise on boat turnbacks.
“If you’re paying attention, Anthony, there are three components to stopping the boats. One, don’t get rid of temporary protection visas; two, make sure you have functional offshore processing; and three, you know how to turn back the boats “Mr. Morrison explained.
“Prior to that election (in 2013), we worked hard on our national security plans, as well as our border security measures.
“We knew what to do, and when people inquired about our plans before the election, I was able to explain them to them, and I could tell you everything about our policies from A to Z.
“I could explain the preparations that I was in charge of, as could our colleagues, since we went to that election and won, and we were able to stop the boats.”
During a tense press conference this week, Mr Albanese refused to answer questions about how many boats he turned back while in office.
On Thursday, however, he declared that every member of his team supports boat turnbacks, and that if Labor gains power, the legislation will be implemented.
“Our position is supported by everyone. The Labor Party’s attitude on boat turnbacks is crystal clear: we support them “Mr. Albanese explained.
“The truth is that boat turnbacks have shown to be effective. The truth is that the Labor Party has stated unequivocally that boat turnbacks are supported. It has my support. My entire crew is in favor of it. We’ll put it into action.”