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Thursday, 10 May 2018
Page: 3696


Mr WATTS (Gellibrand) (13:29): I rise to recognise the National Compact on Permanent Migration that was recently signed by a wide range of Australian trade unions, businesses and civil society groups. The diverse signatories to this compact recognise:

… that Australia's permanent migration program is essential to Australian society and our economy and do not support any reduction to the scheme. … Our permanent migration program has been central to Australia's economic and social development and will be critical to Australia's future as a productive and globally integrated economy and society.

It then offers 10 sensible principles for maintaining Australia's immigration program. I agree with the signatories. Australia is an immigrant nation. Indeed, if you are not an Indigenous Australian, there is nothing more Australian than being a migrant. We have seen in this week's budget that we live in an era of ideological cleavage. I am proud of the stand Labor is taking on fighting inequality and standing up for inclusion in this ideological debate. But it is important too that there are some areas that are so fundamental to our national identity and our national interests that all sides of politics are able to unite and speak with one voice.

Congratulations to the Migration Council, the ACTU, United Voice, the Australian Industry Group, ACOSS, the Federation of Ethnic Communities Councils of Australia and the Settlement Council of Australia. Well done on taking a stand. This compact is even more important in light of media reports today that Senator Hanson is demanding cuts to our immigration program in exchange for her support for the Turnbull government's budget. It is important that mainstream Australia unites to reject the extremists that seek to attack the foundation of Australian identity and seek to use immigration to divide us. (Time expired)