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Lies and distortions

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Philip Ruddock MP


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



The ALP has resorted to lies and distortions in an effort to divert attention from the fact that it has absolutely no vision for the future of Australia's immigration program.

Labor claims that the Opposition has not specified which categories it will cut and by how much. We have been perfectly clear about how we would achieve reductions in the program.

Under a Coalition Government reductions in the immigration program would be achieved largely through a more stringent application of current laws and regulations, along with some other proposals to enhance bona-fides testing which the Coalition will introduce in Government. These include:

Enhanced bona-fide testing in all categories, particularly preferential family reunion and employer nomination;

Restriction of welfare benefits in the first two years after entry in the main to all but refugee and humanitarian entrants and in other cases of changed circumstances of a compassionate character;

A clear skills focus with an emphasis upon relevance to Australian labour market requirements.

Maintenance of English language requirement for all points tested categories.

The Coalition has also made a clear commitment not to reduce the Refugee and Humanitarian program and in fact we have suggested that it be completely separate from the overall immigration program numbers.

It should not be forgotten that Labor reduced the Refugee and Humanitarian component of the program last year by 2,000 places - a move which was strongly criticised by the Coalition.

In relation to family reunion it seems to have conveniently slipped the Minister's mind that he slashed the Concessional Family component to a mere 6,000 places which was filled after only five months into the program year. He presides over a program which

is currently out of control and no longer in the interest of all Australians.






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Labor is critical of our proposals to limit access to social security benefits for now arrivals notwithstanding `its introduction of bonds, fee recovery, and medical levy. In principle Labor did not disagree with limiting access to benefits as it had itself imposed an exclusion period albeit for only six months.

Further claims that the Opposition approach to settlement services for new arrivals is one of being left to "sink or swim" is another spurious claim from a desperate Government.

Settlement programs were completely quarantined from expenditure cuts in Fightbackl. A Coalition Government is totally committed to the provision of programs which will assist in the successful settlement of all new arrivals. We will particularly focus on the provision of English language teaching to migrants as the single most

important factor in facilitating successful settlement.

So, it is a bit rich for the Minister to criticise the Opposition's commitment to English as a Second Language program when his policies have created a backlog of over 60,000 Australians of non english speaking background who have been excluded from access to these programs.

Further information contact: Philip Ruddock MP Pager (02) 925 3911 #25589

24 February 1993