Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton on his weekly radio segment with 2GB’s Ray Hadley has hinted at possible cuts to Australia’s annual immigration intake. Dutton was eager to promote that the Coalition had cut migration numbers by 100,000 since Labor was in government and said if required they would cut even further.
He however did not talk about integration and crime problems instead focusing on the straining of infrastructure and services increased migration brings and the need for increases in population to be spread out across the nation.
Peter Dutton is not the first Coalition figure to talk about immigration cuts with new Liberal Senator Jim Molan only yesterday stating in his maiden speech that the levels of legal migration to Australia ” is in excess of the capacity for our cities to absorb, both culturally or in terms of infrastructure. We are approaching limits on this”.
Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott has also stated the Coalition should propose cutting immigration along with a raft of other policy measures if it wants to win the next election.
However Dutton is not only the most high profile Coalition MP to propose looking at the issue but has direct responsibility over immigration policy as Home Affairs Minister.
The Turnbull Government in the past year has reflected some of the integration concerns from the Australian public about current immigration policy by increasing citizenship requirements which include an English language test, Australian values test and the wait on permanent residents being eligible for citizenship extended from one to four years. They have also abolished the controversial 457 visa foreign worker program.
However a lot needs to change for the government to show it is serious about limiting and improving Australia’s immigration program as we only learned this week that 2017 was a record year for refugee arrivals in Australia with 24,162 settling here.
We will have to wait and see if these comments from Dutton turn into a meaningful government policy.