Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton is speaking to ABC’s 730 program.
«I do believe we will see boats under the bill that Shorten has passed” he says. “People smugglers will see the policy in Australia has changed. Bill Shorten has this on his shoulders.”
Labor rejects this argument. They argue that by restricting the transfers to those already on Nauru or Manus Island people smugglers will have little incentive to restart their boats.
“People weren’t buying the national security argument. There were safeguards within the Phelps bill,” Banks says. “With the amendments today — we worked on it all morning — it’s good to get it done.”
Ms Banks has a mind towards her re-election: “The overwhelming feedback, not just from my electorate of Chisholm but from [the new seat of] Flinders, has been extraordinary.”
It was the one vote the government could not afford to lose. Independent Cathy McGowan was the last hold-out to Labor and The Greens securing the passage of the legislation.
She reportedly told the government this afternoon that she would be voting for the legislation.
The decision triggered the sudden tabling of advice from the Solicitor-General, warning the vote could be unconstitutional and triggering questions of confidence and supply in the government.
Max Koslowski has been roaming the halls of Parliament looking for wandering crossbenchers.
Ducking out of her office after enjoying a glass of Aldi bubbly with fellow crossbenchers Julia Banks and Rebekha Sharkie, Kerryn Phelps is cheery but says the job isn’t done:
“This has to get through the Senate. We’ll be watching that space in the next day or two,” she says. “I know how much the people who are sick on Manus Island and Nauru are suffering.”
“Parliament is saying ‘enough is enough’. The ALP and the crossbench felt strongly enough about this to take action.”
Morrison hoses down speculation that he would not allow the legislation to gain royal ascent.
«The bill will follow its normal process,» he says.
In order to become law it needs to be signed off by the Governor General, the royal representative in Australia.
Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton and Immigration Minister David Coleman are currently meeting with Border Force.
The government has been working on a contingency plan in case the bill passed.
The PM says the election timetable remains. Voters will go back to the polls in May.
The PM is giving a press conference to reporters in Parliament’s blue room.
«Votes will come and they will go, but they will not trouble me,» he says. «My job has been to seek to prevent those bills passing. My job now is to work with border and security agencies to mitigate the risks of these bills.»
Labor has also indicated that its vote was not a vote of no confidence in the government.
But it has not ruled out taking such a vote in future.
Tony Burke says Labor dealt with this «legislation on its merits» and it was up to the PM to decide whether he saw it as a vote of no confidence.
«When a legislation defeat has been treated a as a vote of no confidence, previous PMs haven’t waited,» he says. «They have gone to the Governor General.»
Labor has warned the government against preventing the legislation from going to the Governor-General to become law.
«It would be extraordinary and without precedent for the government to decide legislation that has gone through the Parliament go to the Governor General,» said Labor’s manager of opposition business Tony Burke.
The Australian Financial Review reported it was an option being considered by the government.
«If that happens we will be in a different position to what we are in today.»
Labor is likely to face an onslaught over its support for this bill. While viewed positively by many on the left, it has also opened itself up to attack from more conservative voters and given the Coalition a window to attack its record on border protection all the way up until the election.
Former prime minister Tony Abbott was among the first out of the gates this evening.
«People smugglers and their customers are the only winners from Labor’s weakening of our border protection policies because ample medical treatment offshore and onshore was already available,» he said.
«Under Labor, it’s get on a boat, get to Nauru, get sick and get to Australia.»