Labor’s claims of a commitment to strong border protection have been undermined by the appointment of Kristina Keneally to the home affairs portfolio in shadow cabinet – forcing her to resile her former opposition to boat turnbacks.
Conservative Party leader Cory Bernardi says he’s not sure Senator Keneally’s appointment is the right one given her chequered political history.
The Australian reports, Keneally, who is Labor’s deputy Senate leader and the biggest winner of Anthony Albanese’s shadow ministry shake-up announced yesterday, stepped back from her previous comments on border security, including that she “instinctively disliked” boat turnbacks, supported onshore processing and wanted a royal commission into Australia’s treatment of asylum-seekers.
Her elevation prompted a stinging attack from her government counterpart, Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton, who declared Mr Albanese had chosen the “least qualified” candidate to fill the shadow portfolio following warnings last week that more illegal boats were headed to Australia .
The Australian revealed last week that a boat carrying 20 Sri Lankans, which set sail for Australia in early May during the federal election campaign, was intercepted by Border Force.
Mr Dutton blamed peoplesmugglers marketing a change of government to asylum-seekers for the boat venture before Scott Morrison’s “miracle” election win.
Senator Bernardi’s told Aaron Wright on Sydney radio station 2CH the Coalition win means our borders are again secure.