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Monday, 22 September 2014
Page: 9967


Mr KATTER (Kennedy) (14:44): My question is directed to the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection. The defacing of a mosque in Mareeba was an act of intolerance against people who are second, third and fourth generation proud Australians. The area's four major organisations have been led by people of the Islamic faith from Albania. TheGhan is an Australian icon. In contrast, is the government continuing with the policies of skills and family reunion, restricting migration from the homelands to only 30,000 of the 170,000 intake and one-tenth of them come from countries associated with terrorism. Finally visa overstays and section 457s see 400,000 coming to Australia, whose population grows at only 150,000 and whose employment grows by only 180,000. (Time expired)

Mr MORRISON (CookMinister for Immigration and Border Protection) (14:45): I thank the member for Kennedy for his question. As members in this House would know, Australia is the most successful immigration nation on the planet. The reason we have been successful as an immigration nation where many others have failed is that our immigration program over the generations has focused on bringing people to this country who come to join us and not to change us, first of all, and, secondly, come to make a contribution. That is the experience of migration to this country over decades and over generations. This government is going to continue with the policy of bringing people to this country who come to work, who come here to take part in our economy and to participate in a positive way in our society. But in doing so there are things that need to be achieved when people come to this country, and they are to engage, to involve, to participate and to integrate. The reason for that is essential—that is how they realise the great Australian dream that they came to this country to enjoy. We apply our immigration laws in this country without respect to religion, without respect to ethnicity, without respect to language—

Mr Katter: Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I agree strongly with what the minister is saying but—

The SPEAKER: What is the point of order?

Mr Katter: The point of order is that I am asking him whether the current policies are going to be reviewed, because they have led to divisiveness—

The SPEAKER: The member will resume his seat. As I have said time and again, raising a point of order is not an opportunity to repeat the question.

Mr MORRISON: I am seeking to explain to the member for Kennedy that our policies, that have been focused predominantly on skilled migration to this country, have produced social cohesion in this country and are the reason we have the most integrated set of migration outcomes. We want to see that continue and that is why this government has ensured that we have maintained the level of skilled migration of the total intake at over two-thirds. I remind members of the House that under the Keating government the proportion of the immigration intake was less than 30 per cent skilled. That was changed under the Howard government and was raised to almost 70 per cent. To the credit of those opposite, they continued it at those levels and we had some bipartisanship for a time on skilled migration when the member for McMahon was the minister for immigration.

Members opposite should know that it will be the policy of this government to pursue immigration without discrimination on the grounds of religion or ethnicity or anything of that nature. We are looking for people to come and join this team—people who are going to contribute to this country. That is the success and history of immigration in this country. That is what will produce the cohesion and that is why I join with the member in condemning the sorts of attacks that he has just referred to in his question. They are an abomination to the way of life that we stand for in this country, and the immigration policies that we have crafted over generations will be continued by this government because they are producing economic and social dividends in this country and they are designed to produce unity, not division.

The SPEAKER: I call the honourable member for Hasluck.

Mr Katter: Madam Speaker, on a point of order—

The SPEAKER: The member for Kennedy will resume his seat and cease interjecting.