Parties are coming to a head toward the immigration issue as it becomes a contentious topic in the upcoming elections in Australia on July 28. The Coalition party has declared their approach to immigration a success by virtue of lower permanent migration numbers.
While campaigning at Braddon in the hotly-contested state of Tasmania, Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton proudly trumpeted the success to “the extra application of common sense”. He also revealed that Labor would soon allow asylum boats to restart.
Early in February, Dutton shared his opinion that Australia should reduce its acceptance rate of migrants to a point “where we believe it’s in our national interest.”
Dutton disclosed that in the year 2016 to 2017, Australia accepted 183,608 migrants. However, from 2017 to 2018, the number is much lower at 162,417. It is likewise well under the established cap of 190,000.
Meanwhile, Labor leader Bill Shorten tried to put a damper on Dutton’s proclamations of lower permanent migration numbers:
“The government wants a pat on the back for the decrease in permanent numbers when the number of people coming here temporarily with visas that give them work rights in Australia has blown out to 1.6 million people.”
Immigration became a hot topic after former Prime Minister Tony Abbott recommended that the government reduce the number of migrants accepted into the program by 80,000.
Abbott said while the government has made progress, more work still needs to get done:
“The intake of permanent migrants was still at a record level, so we’ve got to bring it down pretty sharply if we are going to start getting the downward pressure off wages, if we’re going to take the upward pressure off housing prices, if we’re going to unclog our infrastructure.
“Our public transport is full, our roads are blocked, and if we’re going to take some of the pressure off integration, particularly in places like Melbourne.”
Reports have been circulating that federal officials are considering options to implement policies that will encourage migrants to locate in regional areas instead of populated cities of Sydney and Melbourne.