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Migration program heading for major blowout

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MEDIA STATEMENT Philip Ruddock MP 5 4

Federal M ember for D undas Electorate Parliament House

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

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


The Government has had to invoke S.28 of the Migration Act to suspend processing in the concessional family category of the migration program to avoid a major blowout in numbers.

This decision was not announced publicly but made through special gazettal on December 1 1992.

The fact that the Government had to invoke this section, just five months into the year, is the strongest indication yet that the government still has no control over the immigration program.

The Concessional family category - largely brothers, sisters, nephews and nieces - was reduced to 6,000 earlier this year as part of the Governments overall cuts to the immigration program.

The government also increased the pool entrance mark, adjusted the points test and introduced an English language requirement in an effort to control the numbers eligible to enter through this category.

Clearly they have failed.

Further evidence of the monumental failure to manage the program is evident in the fact that the Government could not wait until the Migration Laws Amendment Bill (1992) was given Royal Assent. This Bill would have enabled the Department to place a "cap" on the program, rather than to suspend processing altogether, and thus provide a far

more effective management tool.

The suspension power has never been used before since it would result in the creation of enormous lag times in the resumption of processing once the power was lifted. The new capping power would still allow applications to be processed and held until the cap was varied or lifted, and it also meant that applications could be rejected.

That this power has 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 outcome; that they have been unable to manage the program; that the program is still, effectively out of control.

10 December 1992


Contact Philip Ruddock (02) 858 1011 or Pager (02) 925 3911 # 25589