Dire warnings from Turnbull at Liberal campaign launch
MALCOLM Turnbull has warned a room full of party members at the Liberal Party campaign launch that a vote for Labor would be a vote of a puppet government.
The prime minister received a standing ovation as he took the stage, with former prime ministers Tony Abbott, John Howard, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and NSW Premier Mike Baird seated the audience's front row.
"Vote for any of them and you could end up with Bill Shorten as prime minister in a government where the unions, Greens and independents pull the strings," he said.
He said Labor was torn on refugee policy, and would revert to an open-borders stance if a minority Labor government were elected.
"The fact is, 50 Labor candidates, members and senators do not support Mr Shorten's stated policy on boats," he said.
"Whatever he may say today, any policy commitment would be under siege the moment Labor came into office.
"In tandem with the Greens, Labor would overturn the very policies that have kept our borders secure.
"We know this because hope rarely triumphs over experience. They have failed Australia before."
Mr Turnbull's buzz-word for his speech to party faithfuls was "strong", and he spoke tough on both national security and economic security.
He said today marked 700 days without a successful people smuggling venture to Australia.
"National security and economic security go hand in hand," he said.
"There is no higher responsibility in government than protecting our borders and ensuring our nation is well-prepared to deal with threats to our security.
"The historic investment by my government in Australia's defence industries provides our defence forces with the support they need to keep us safe.
"Only a strong Australia can be a safe Australia.
"After six years of abject Labor neglect and indecision, our continuous shipbuilding strategy will ensure Australia retains a sovereign capability to build and sustain naval vessels, securing thousands of advanced manufacturing jobs for decades to come.
"Our border protection depends on three pillars: boat turnbacks, offshore processing and temporary protection visas.
"Labor has already abandoned TPVs.
"So they do not have the same policy as us and who would trust them on the rest?
"We must never forget how Labor in government failed Australia at the border."
Mr Turnbull said Labor's abandonment of John Howard's border protection policy resulted in 50,000 unauthorised arrivals on 800 boats, 1200 known deaths at sea, more than 8000 children put into detention, 17 detention centres opened and a $11 billion border protection budget blow-out.
"In contrast, the Coalition has restored security at the border, integrity to our immigration program and, with it, public trust," he said.
The prime minister announced a $50 million strategy to help seniors improve their digital literacy, as well as $64 million in new funding to crack down on illegal gun trafficking.
The new announcements complemented a pledge earlier today to invest $192 million more in frontline mental health services, including 12 suicide prevention sites, 10 more Headspace centres "and at the same time, using smartphone technologies to make these services accessible".