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Government response to opposition immigration policy



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MINISTER FOR IMMIGRATION AND ETHNIC AFFAIRS

7 2 /8 4 1 8 O c to b e r 1984

GOVERNMENT RESPONSE TO OPPOSITION IMMIGRATION POLICY

C om m enting on t h e r e l e a s e o f t h e O p p o s i t i o n ' s I m m ig r a tio n P o l i c y

S t a te m e n t, t h e M i n i s t e r f o r I m m ig r a tio n and E th n ic A f f a i r s , S te w a r t

N e s t, s a i d to d a y t h a t t h e c o a l i t i o n h ad ta k e n n e a r l y a y e a r t o p r o d u c e

a ' n o n - p o l i c y ' .

Mr W est s a i d t h a t t h e l a c k o f s p e c i f i c f i g u r e s o r t a r g e t s f o r t h e

O p p o s i t i o n ' s p r o p o s e d m ig r a t io n p ro g ra m w as an a p p a l l i n g i n d i c t m e n t o f

t h e c o m p e te n c e o f Mr Hodgman.

D e s p i t e t h e g e n e r a l i t y o f t h e s t a t e m e n t , Mr W est s a i d t h a t t h e Hodgman

d o c u m e n ts r a i s e d som e im p o r ta n t q u e s t i o n s .

"There i s a c l e a r i m p l i c a t i o n t h a t 'e c o n o m ic ' m ig r a t io n i s t o b e

s i g n i f i c a n t l y i n c r e a s e d " , Mr W est s a i d .

" T h is w o u ld m ark a r e t u r n t o t h e c o a l i t i o n p o l i c i e s o f 1 9 8 1 /8 2 when

t h e y b o u g h t i n l a r g e nu m bers o f s k i l l e d w o r k e r s w h ich w as a d i s a s t e r

f o r t h e A u s tr a lle u i la b o u r f o r c e and f o r t h e m ig r a n ts t h e m s e l v e s .

"The O p p o s i t i o n , when i n p o w e r r e c o g n is e d t h i s b y s l a s h i n g t h e num ber

o f c a t e g o r i e s on t h e O c c u p a tio n a l Demand S c h e d u le fro m 77 t o 21" Mr

W est s a i d .

" I t w o u ld a p p e a r t h a t Mr Hodgman h a s n o t l e a r n t fro m t h e e x p e r i e n c e s

o f t h e p r e v i o u s c o a l i t i o n G overn m en t" .

Mr W est s a i d t h a t t h e O p p o s i t i o n ' s p o l i c y c o u ld o n l y b e Im p le m e n te d b y

a s i g n i f i c a n t I n c r e a s e i n t h e m ig r a t io n p ro g ra m a s a w h o le o r c u t s i n

t h e f a m i l y r e u n io n p r o g r a m .

Such c u t s w o u ld o n l y c a u s e s u f f e r i n g t o a l l m ig r a n t c o m m u n itie s i n

A u s t r a l i a .

"Mr P e a c o c k and h i s c o l l e a g u e s h a v e an o b l i g a t i o n t o t h e A u s t r a l i a n

com m u n ity t o c l e a r l y s t a t e t h e i r i n t e n t i o n s " , Mr W est s a i d .

"I h a v e c l e a r l y in fo r m e d t h e P a r lia m e n t o f t h e G o v e r n m e n t's p ro g ra m f o r

t h e co m in g y e a r , an d h a v e p r o g r e s s i v e l y in fo r m e d b o th t h e P a r lia m e n t

and t h e A u s t r a l i a n p e o p l e a b o u t t h e G o v e r n m e n t's im m ig r a tio n

p r i n c i p l e s and p r o g r a m s .

"We w elco m e s t a t e m e n t s b y t h e c o a l i t i o n t h a t i t r e j e c t s r a c i a l

d i s c r i m i n a t i o n and 1 3 i n f a v o u r o f a b i p a r t i s a n a p p r o a c h t o

im m ig r a tio n p o l i c y .

" U n f o r tu n a te ly , t h e r e I s n o th in g i n t h e d o c u m e n ts r e l e a s e d to d a y w h ich

g i v e s an y s u b s ta n c e t o t h e s e s t a t e m e n t s .

" T h is ' n o n - p o l i c y ' s t a t e m e n t i s c l e a r l y a sh o d d y c o m p ro m ise b e tw e e n

t h e f o r c e s o f d i r e p u t e i n t h e L i b e r a l P a r t y r e p r e s e n t e d b y Mr Hodgman,

an d t h e f o r c e s o f d e c e n c y r e p r e s e n t e d b y Mr M acPhee.

"Mr P e a c o c k , a s u s u a l , d i s p l a y s h i s t y p i c a l l a c k o f l e a d e r s h i p , o c c u p y in g

em u n e a s y and u n p r i n c i p l e d p o s i t i o n b e tw e e n t h e m ."

C o n ta c t: Ms K e r r y -A n n e W alsh

( 0 6 2 ) 733 446

The t o t a l o f 6 2 ,3 5 0 m ig r a n ts and r e f u g e e s v i s a e d i n 1 9 8 3 /8 4 w as w i t h i n

t h e e x p e c t e d r a n g e o f 6 2 ,1 0 0 - 6 4 ,1 0 0 a n n o u n ced b y t h e M i n i s t e r on 30

May 1 9 8 4 .

The a c t u a l num ber o f s e t t l e r a r r i v a l s r e d u c e d t o 6 9 ,8 0 5 i n L a b o r ’s

f i r s t y e a r o f o f f i c e , ( 1 9 8 3 /8 4 ) fro m 1 1 8 ,7 0 0 tw o y e a r s a g o .

S k i l l e d la b o u r , b u s i n e s s m ig r a t io n an d in d e p e n d e n t c a t e g o r i e s h a v e

b e e n r e d u c e d fro m 7 5 ,0 0 0 tw o y e a r s a g o t o 4 9 ,1 7 1 i n 1 9 8 2 /8 3 a n d t o

2 1 ,0 7 9 i n 1 9 8 3 /8 4 . A s i g n i f i c a n t num ber o f t h o s e a r r i v i n g i n 1 9 8 3 /8 4

w e r e v i s a e d i n 1 9 8 2 /8 3 .

F a m ily r e u n io n v i s a s i s s u e d d o u b le d fro m 1 8 ,0 0 0 i n 1 9 8 2 /8 3 t o 3 6 ,7 3 9

i n 1 9 8 3 /8 4 .

A s ia n s e t t l e r a r r i v a l s h a v e r a n g e d fro m 2 3 ,1 8 3 i n 1 9 7 9 /8 0 , t o 2 6 ,5 2 8

i n 1 9 8 1 /8 2 t o 2 5 ,3 2 4 i n 1 9 8 3 /8 4 .

B r i t i s h and E u ropean s e t t l e r a r r i v a l s i n c r e a s e d fro m 2 2 ,6 4 5 i n 1 9 7 8 /7 9

t o 5 3 ,8 4 4 i n 1 9 8 1 /8 2 and th e n t o 2 4 ,4 7 0 i n 1 9 8 3 /8 4 .

The 1 9 8 1 /8 2 B r ltis h - E u r o p e a n p e a k r e f l e c t e d t h e 7 5 ,0 0 0 s k i l l e d ,

b u s i n e s s and in d e p e n d e n t m ig r a n ts a r r i v i n g i n 1 9 8 1 /8 2 , w h ic h

s u b s e q u e n t l y r e d u c e d t o 2 1 ,0 7 9 i n 1 9 8 3 /8 4 .

T o t a l A s ia n n um bers h a v e n o t s u b s t a n t i a l l y I n c r e a s e d ; I n d e e d , t h e r e

h a s b e e n a r e d u c t i o n s i n c e 1 9 8 1 /8 2 .

B r i t i s h and E uropean num bers s u r g e d , an d th e n f e l l t o 1 9 7 8 /7 9 l e v e l s

a s a r e s u l t o f c u t s i n in d e p e n d e n t s k i l l e d m ig r a t io n com m enced b y t h e

f o r m e r G overnm en t and c o n tin u e d b y t h e L a b o r G o vern m en t.

The p e r c e n t a g e o f A s ia n s h a v e th u s i n c r e a s e d , b u t n o t t h e a c t u a l

n u m b ers.

The 1 9 8 4 /8 5 i n t a k e h a s b e e n s e t a t 7 4 ,0 0 0 v i s a e d m ig r a n t s i n c l u d i n g a

2 ,0 0 0 r e f u g e e and s p e c i a l h u m a n ita r ia n r e s e r v e .

O v e r 75% o f t h e c u r r e n t p ro g ra m w i l l c o m p r is e f a m i l y m i g r a n t s ,

r e f u g e e s and p e r s o n s e n t e r i n g u n d e r s p e c i a l h u m a n ita r ia n p r o g r a m s .

The L a b o r G overnm ent h a s s i g n i f i c a n t l y e x p a n d e d s e t t l e m e n t s e r v i c e s

f o r m ig r a n ts and r e f u g e e s s

- r e c o r d fu n d in g f o r t h e A d u lt M ig r a n t E d u c a tio n P rogram

- i n c r e a s e i n G r a n t s - i n - A i d b y o v e r 50%

- e x p a n s io n o f t h e M ig ra n t R e s o u r c e C e n tr e n e tw o r k

- i n c r e a s e d f u n d in g f o r t r a n s l a t o r and i n t e r p r e t e r s e r v i c e s