Labor's Plan For Strong Borders


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 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.


Labor will triple to 12 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. Former Operation Sovereign Borders Commander, Air Vice-Marshal Stephen Osborne said last year:

‘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.’

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

Peter Dutton and Scott Morrison have further risked Australia’s border security by ordering the Australian Border Force (ABF) Fleet to stop patrols to save money on fuel, cutting frontline ABF staff at Australian airports, and failing to resource the ABF border patrol capability forcing the ADF to pick up the slack at the expense of other operational priorities.

Unlike the Liberals, Labor will not make cuts to border protection. Under a Shorten Labor Government, 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.

The policy has a budget cost of $8.5 million over the forward estimates.

We will pay for these critical border protection measures by making multinationals pay their fair share and closing tax loopholes used by the top end of town.