PM's $78m promise to keep Australians safe amid local and global threats
Scott Morrison is set to argue that his government can keep Australians safe amid local and global threats, ranging from violence against women and children to tensions between the world's greatest powers.
The speech will come after the latest Newspoll revealed the coalition government is facing defeat at the next election despite a lift in Scott Morrison's personal approval ratings.
Labor's lead over the coalition on a two-party preferred vote was unchanged at 53 to 47 per cent.
The prime minister will make the case in an address at the National Press Club in Canberra on Monday, where he will announce $78 million in fresh funding for families escaping domestic abuse.
He will also showcase coalition policies such as its record defence spending over the coming decade and its border protection systems.
"Our government has demonstrated we have the mettle to make the right calls on our nation's security," he is expected to tell the event.
"We have embraced tough calls rather than seeking to buy weak compromises for cheap political cover or opportunism.
"This is our form. It is why we can be trusted."
Mr Morrison is expected to say that Australia is facing "new and emerging threats", both outside its borders and within them.
Among the local threats is domestic violence, and he'll announce $78 million in funding to support emergency accommodation for women and their children escaping abuse and security upgrades for their homes.
Worldwide threats include regional tensions between major powers, greater global instability, foreign interference, terrorism, organised crime, cybersecurity issues and money laundering.
He'll also highlight stiff headwinds facing the global economy.
"Economic strength and our country's security are interdependent."
Australia's national security is closely linked to the broader safety of the Indo-Pacific region, Mr Morrison is expected to stress how.
"Australia and our partners face diverse security threats - from North Korea's long-range missile and nuclear programs, to state fragility, to Islamist terrorism - that challenge our interests," he'll say.
"We want to see an open, rules-based Indo-Pacific where the rights of all states are respected.
"So my government is strengthening our partnerships in the region and beyond, to protect our security and our sovereignty."
The address comes ahead of federal parliament sitting again for two weeks from Tuesday.
The opposition and the coalition are expected to slug it out over the fortnight on who is tougher on boats and banks.
WAR OF WORDS CONTINUE OVER ASYLUM SEEKERS
Labor Leader Bill Shorten says he's open to finding a "middle ground" with the government on proposed changes to the way sick asylum seekers are transferred to Australia, but they haven't yet.
Under the proposed reforms to medical transfers - which have already passed the Senate with the backing of Labor and crossbenchers - two specially-appointed doctors could request medical transfers for offshore asylum seekers to Australia.
A minister would then be required to review their case in 24 hours, and if they reject it, an independent health advice panel would review it.
But Labor has stressed the panel's advice could still be overruled by a minister on security grounds.
Immigration Minister David Coleman says the government has advice showing all asylum seekers on Manus Island and Nauru would be sent to Australia within weeks if the changes came into effect.
That would cripple the nation's offshore processing system and ultimately lead to its demise, he says.
"The structure of this legislation is designed to undermine offshore processing to such a state that it no longer exists any more," he told Sky News on Sunday.
The minister dodged questions about whether that suggests everyone in the offshore processing centres is unwell.
But Mr Coleman said the current process was effective, with doctors located at offshore processing sites recommending transfers which are then considered by the government's Department of Home Affairs.
Opposition immigration spokesman Shayne Neumann has accused Mr Coleman of being a "shrill liar", saying Labor would never let people smugglers back in business by giving way on offshore processing.
"We will continue strong border protection measures including offshore processing, turnbacks when safe to do so and regional resettlement," he said.
His comments come after Labor suggested it is searching for an agreement with the government on the issue.
"I do think if there's middle ground, we should try and find it," Opposition Leader Bill Shorten told reporters in Sydney.
A vote is expected on the changes in the lower house as early as this week, with the minority coalition government facing the prospect of a loss if both Labor and enough crossbenchers support them.
The opposition also wants the government to add two weeks of sittings in March in order to deal with the recommendations of the banking royal commission.
But the coalition is resisting the calls, saying while some work on the royal commission response can be done quickly, more time is needed to draft legislation and negotiate with the states on court reform.
© AAP 2019