In a recession we need to be sensitive to the employment market. But, generally, immigration is good for Australia.
In 1990 there were many reminders that the post-war consensus about immigration to Australia no longer existed. Some spokespeople from all of the major parties were critical about some aspect of the immigration intake. The government decided to reduce the target of 140,000 – set after the Fitzgerald Committee review of Australia’s immigration policies – down to 125,000 for 1990-91.
With a million people from all over the world applying each year to migrate to Australia, it is natural to assume that much of the debate about Australian immigration policy revolves around the limited numbers, out of all those who apply, who are selected.
Recently I had occasion to think very hard about The Sydney Institute due to a contribution made by Sydney personality and political stirrer, Bob Gould, at a conference on privatisation which I was attending. There was a raging debate by various members of the Labor party over the privatisation issue.
There are three issues that need to be addressed in the current debate on immigration policy: how many migrants, what guidelines should apply and where they should be settled.
Throughout the debate on immigration, a debate ignited by Professor Blainey’s views, all sides have claimed to represent the average man.