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Christmas won't hide it

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Philip Ruddock MP its

Federal Member for Dundas Shadow Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs

Electorate Parliament House

Tel: (06) 277 4343 Fax: (06) 277 2062

Tel: (02) 858 1011 Fax: (02) 804 6739


The announcement by the Department of Immigration, Local Government and Ethnic Affairs that suspension of the processing of Concessional Family applicants has been lifted and is to be replaced by a numerical ceiling or cap of 5,500 visa grants is a sorry tale of incompetence.

No doubt it is anticipated that in the festive season these decisions will escape scrutiny.

The decision of 1 December 1992 to suspend processing was not the subject of any Departmental or Ministerial announcement. To discover it, comprehensive reading of the Government's Gazette was required. At least this Christmas Eve announcement has been subject of a Departmental statement.

It is regrettable that the Minister does not shoulder responsibility for these decisions, after all the 1992/93 program of 80,000 places and 6,000 Concessional Family category visas was a Government decision announced by the Minister.

It says little for Government success in planning its program that the 6,000 visa-ed places have, in the main, been used after only five months. The proposal for an additional 500 places, from amongst the many thousands who under the points system must achieve a pass mark, requires a clear statement from the Minister as to how these limited number of places will be allocated.

The fact that the Government could not wait until 16 December for the Migration Laws Amendment Bill (1992) to be given Royal Assent is concrete evidence of the monumental failure of the Government to manage its own program.

The suspension power has never been used before since it results in enormous lag times in the resumption of processing once the power has been lifted. That this power had to be invoked before the new legislation was in force is a major embarrassment for the Government.

It corroborates what the Coalition has been saying all along. That the Government has been unable to put in place effective criteria to produce a proper putcome; that they have been unable to manage the program; that the program is still effectively out of control.

24 December 1992

Contact: Philip Ruddock (02) 630 4575 ah or pager (02) 925 3911 #25589