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What is the ALP's immigration policy?



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February 7 1993

COMMONWEALTH PAR LIAMENTARY LIBRARY M ICAH

Philip Ruddock MP / f

Federal Member for Dundas Electorate Parliament House

Shadow Minister for Immigration Tel: (02) 858 1011 Tel: (06) 277 4343

and Ethnic Affairs Fax: (02) 804 6739 Fax: (06) 277 2062

11/93

WHAT IS THE ALP'S IMMIGRATION POLICY?

The ALP seems to have lost the plot on questions of policy relating to immigration and ethnic affairs with the departure of the incumbent Minister.

There is also the serious question as to who will replace him in the unlikely event that the ALP is returned.

The Coalition is keen to debate the Government on the future of immigration policy in Australia, but is at a loss as to who to offer the challenge to.

Many different views have been publicly expressed by various members of the ALP and it is of concern that many of those views are diametrically opposed to those of the present Minister.

For example, Dr Theophanous, chairman of the Caucus immigration committee, has proposed that the current non-discriminatory principles be abandoned in favour of a policy which would have a regional quota system as its central plank. Also abandoned would be an English language requirement for extended family members and business and skilled migration.

Dr Theophanous proposes to more than double the present intake and allow the 45,000 Chinese students, and their spouses and dependent children, to remain in Australia permanently without processing applications against current qualifying criteria.

Despite recommendations of the Joint Standing Committee on Migration Regulations to adopt the Coalition's policy in this regard and assess each claim for permanent residency on a case-by-case basis, the Government has yet to make any response. Running away from the issue only creates enormous discord in the community.

Senator Jim McKiernan provided full support for the Committee's recommendations and has been active on the Migration Regulations Committee. He could be a likely contender.

Other candidates could include Mr Graham Campbell who has claimed the Prime Minister's ear and provided a colourful and impassioned input to the immigration and multicultural debate.

Or the Prime Minister could elevate one of his mates to the Ministry whose views on immigration and ethnic affairs are unknown.

Immigration is an area of real national interest and it is crucial that the Australian community is informed about the ALP's future policy.

If we could get a volunteer for interim spokesperson on the ALP's future immigration and ethnic affairs policy to put up his or her hand, we would be happy to issue a more personal invitation for a national debate.