Mr HAWKE (Mitchell—Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs) (14:56): I thank the member for Leichhardt for his question. He's a longstanding and long-serving member of this House, and he knows and has always taken seriously his responsibility to protect community safety, to protect Australians and to protect his electorate and people from serious criminal and national security threats.
I want to say that we have had a problem in the Senate with the passage of the government's plan to protect Australians from people who commit serious crimes against them. Yesterday the Labor Party joined the Australian Greens in voting down the government's latest laws to protect Australians from foreign criminals. Twenty-six Labor senators and nine Greens combined to defeat this government's plans to protect people from the most serious offences and the most serious crimes committed by non-citizens, by people who are guests of our country—or to prevent them from ever coming here in the first place. It is hard to understand.
I want to take the House through some examples and situations of why the government feel this is important, why we're going to progress this plan absolutely, and why we're going to continue to pursue this, as we have for the past three years. This is a very serious matter. Let's look at one example. A permanent visa holder in Melbourne a few years ago, after 2 am, was driving around and saw a car being driven by a 22-year-old young female Australian woman. He followed her to her destination, climbed into her car and held a knife to her throat. He whispered, 'Be quiet, or I will cut you.' Thankfully, this Australian was able to grab the knife and stop the perpetrator from assaulting her, and her boyfriend was able to turn up and save her as well. The perpetrator was initially charged with serious offences. As part of the plea deal, of course, that perpetrator under our system was able to get eight months under the 12-month current threshold for cancellation. But this government pursued the character test and said we would cancel that perpetrator's visa. When the government tried to cancel this perpetrator's visa, it was overturned on appeal. That's why this government has put forward legislation for the last three years to deal with women's safety across our country from people who are not Australian citizens; they are guests in our country. If it was up to this government, this perpetrator would have already been gone from Australia.
Opposition members interjecting—
The SPEAKER: Members on my left!
Mr HAWKE: Again, this is not an isolated example. This is not one example. There are dozens of examples. There are hundreds of examples.
The SPEAKER: The member for Lalor will cease interjecting.
Mr HAWKE: We need to act. The Australian parliament needs to act. The Labor Party needs to join us. Leave the Greens behind. Join the government and support these laws to protect Australians from these sorts of crimes.