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Senate votes to kill off debate on immigration



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MEDIA RELEASE

August 20th 2018

Senate votes to kill off debate on immigration

Today, Labor, the Greens and a number of Senate crossbenchers, teamed up to prevent debate of Senator Hanson’s Plebiscite (Future Migration Level) Bill 2018.

“The Australian people desperately want a debate on immigration, sadly Labor and the Greens are equally desperate to run from this debate,” Senator Hanson said.

“What we have seen today is Labor, the Greens and their accomplices, resorting to grubby tactics to deny me the right to speak and deny the people a say on the level of immigration into Australia.”

“It is interesting to note Katter’s Australia Party Senator Fraser Anning was more than happy to do the Labor party’s dirty work and act as the deciding vote to kill off debate on my immigration plebiscite bill.”

“The people of Australia have had enough of opportunistic and weak willed politicians who stifle debate on controversial issues.”

“I hope the people of Australia take note of those Senators who voted to stifle this debate on immigration, because now we know which parties are serious about giving the people a say and which parties are only interested in playing petty politics.”

The Senate voted as follows:

AYES, 31

Senators— Abetz Fawcett Leyonhjelm Ryan

Birmingham Fierravanti-Wells Macdonald Scullion

Brockman Fifield Martin Seselja

Burston Georgiou McKenzie Smith, Dean*

Bushby Gichuhi Molan Stoker

Canavan Hanson O’Sullivan Storer

Colbeck Hinch Payne Williams

Duniam Hume Ruston

NOES, 32

Senators— Anning Di Natale Ketter* Siewert

Bartlett Dodson McAllister Singh

Bilyk Farrell McCarthy Smith, David

Brown Faruqi McKim Steele-John

Cameron Gallacher O’Neill Sterle

Carr Griff Patrick Urquhart

Chisholm Hanson-Young Polley Watt

Collins Keneally Rice Whish-Wilson

Below is a copy of Senator Hanon’s prepared speech:

Australia's population increased by 3.5 million people in the decade 2006 to 2016.

Around 60% of that population increase came from immigration.

There is no doubt that immigration is the cause of Australia's exceptional

population growth.

If we continue to allow annual immigration targets to determine the size of our

population, then the Australian Bureau of Statistics expects that Australia's

population increase will double from 25 million to 50 million in just 30 years.

Melbourne and Sydney will become megacities of over ten million people, but there

is no evidence that we can plan and pay for this growth.

Governments, both Liberal and Labor, argue immigration is good for the economy,

but economist Judith Sloan says immigration benefits special interest groups. She

says the economics of immigration are very clear. In the short term immigration

reduces per capita income and in the long term per capita income gains are very

modest, but these calculations ignore the congestion costs, house prices and the

loss of amenity.

Our immigration policy is like a horse that has lost its rider. It is dangerous. What

we need is a rider, a population policy to safely guide the immigration horse.

Each year the government of the day sets an immigration target, but there is no

plan to take into account the cumulative long term consequences of those yearly

decisions. In fact it is the States and Territories that are left to manage the ever

increasing population. State Governments are now carrying very high levels of debt

and have little prospect of ever paying these loans.

If high levels of legal immigration are such a good idea, why is Australia the only

OECD country with a population greater than ten million that is increasing its

population at the rate of over 1.7% a year?

In 2011 the percentage of overseas born was just over 25% but today it is over

28%. In certain regions of our major cities those percentages are much higher due to

concentration of settlement by certain groups.

No other comparable country has such a high proportion of overseas born. We

have double the percentage of overseas born when we compare ourselves to the

United States, the United Kingdom or New Zealand.

It is time to put the interests of citizens first and to stop pandering to special

interest groups, including business, higher education and property developers who

benefit from excessive immigration.

The Lowy Institute Survey reported a 'sharp spike in anti-immigration sentiment' in

2018, causing their annual sentiment measure to change from positive to negative.

The 2017 Scanlon Survey reported 37% of respondents see the current

immigration intake as too high, but when respondents remained anonymous 74%

said that Australia did not need any more people.

In the same year the Australian Population Research Institute found 54% of

respondents, who were Australian voters, wanted the number of immigrants

reduced.

The government and the opposition must be aware of these findings, but they

have not changed their positions. Jointly the major political parties want a bigger and

bigger population for Australia.

Is it that these political parties do not believe the results of these surveys?

Inevitably the sample sizes in these surveys are small when compared to the total

population. Perhaps the major parties will be persuaded of the electorates view if a

plebiscite on immigration is held at the next general election, because that is what is

proposed in the Plebiscite (Future Migration Level) Bill 2018.

My Bill proposes to ask voters "Do you think the immigration rate is too high?"

My view is that an overwhelming majority of Australians will say that the

immigration rate is too high, when they are told 62% of the population increase in the

decade to 2016 was the result of immigration.

It is clear to see that the benefits of a high level of legal immigration are

outweighed by problems, but political parties depend for much of their support from

the special interest groups which benefit from high immigration.

The Liberals and Labor have two choices. Either they accept there is no political

support for high levels of legal immigration or they can argue there is no problem

with legal mass immigration.

There is plenty of evidence the government and the opposition will use statistics to

mislead the electorate on the real cause of Australia's population explosion.

There are three recent examples worth noting.

The first one took place on the day after the Budget in May this year when the

Treasurer said that permanent immigration only accounted for around 20% of

Australia's population growth.

Treasurer Morrison made that statement knowing that many permanent visas can

only be issued after residency requirements in Australia are met. Once these

pathway visas are taken into account, permanent immigration accounts for around

60% of Australia's population growth and not the 20% claimed by the Treasurer.

The second example involved the publication of figures which showed that in

2017-18 the number of permanent migrants had dropped from 190,000 to 163,000,

but the government failed to say that a further 40,000 people were on bridging visas

awaiting the outcome of their applications for permanent residence. In other words,

the government can manipulate the figures by reducing staffing resources.

Labor is just as deceptive, because like the government they will not accept there

is a problem with permanent immigration.

Labor says the immigration problem is one of temporary migration because we

have two million temporary migrants in Australia, including up to half a million foreign

students. Temporary migrants, however, are just temporary and unless they are on a

pathway visa they leave Australia.

Political parties must be stupid to deny there is a problem with permanent

migration, because families do notice demountable classrooms at the school,

crowded train platforms, buses that don't stop because they are already full, ever

increasing travelling times between familiar destinations and long wait times to see

specialist doctors etc.

I have often been called a 'populist', but all I do is listen to people wherever I go.

Unlike most of the political class I talk with people, who are doing their best to get

by, and they tell me that politicians are out of step with them on the issue of

migration.

I take the view that I am here to represent the views of most Australians or a

significant majority of Australians.

One Nation believes that our immigration should be reduced to 70,000 a year or

whatever number is necessary to maintain the current population size and a

sustainable population profile.

Australia is a dry continent and our vast land fragile. We need to consider the

carrying capacity of the country.

At the end of World War II Australia's population was over seven million people

and 90% of those people were born in Australia. In 1945 we were short of labor and

the war had created a feeling that a bigger population would be necessary if we were

to defend ourselves in the future. After the horror of the war in Europe many people

wanted to leave and start a new life in Australia.

I acknowledge the hard work and the contribution made by so many overseas born

Australians and their families, but that does not mean that we should continue to

have the highest levels of legal immigration in the world.

I do not believe in a bigger and bigger population, but more importantly I believe

Australian Citizens need to be given a say and that governments should not act on

this issue without a mandate from the people of Australia which is why I am putting

this Bill before the Senate for debate. -END-