Former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has called for government action, following the release of Newspoll data suggesting that the majority of Australians oppose current immigration levels. According to the results of the opinion poll — which was conducted over the weekend, 56% of Australians think that our current intake is too high. Abbott’s proclamation comes in the wake of similar comments from Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton, who has publicly drawn attention to the link which exists between Australia’s housing affordability crisis, and the nation’s unsustainable immigration policies.
Abbott has also recently called for government action in relation to the findings of the royal commission into banking that is currently underway, which found evidence of serious negligence and incompetence on the part of Australia’s banking regulator — ASIC (Australian Securities and Investments Commission). These proclamations from Abbott lend even further credibility to the suggestion that leadership speculation is afoot within the Liberal Party, following Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s record breaking string of successive Newspoll defeats.
Abbott’s comments are just the latest from a string of prominent Australians — including businessman Dick Smith and former Labor Foreign Minister Bob Carr, who have spoken publicly over concerns about our current immigration levels. Australia’s current annual immigration intake is approximately 800,000 — however, this figure also takes into account temporary residents such as student, working holiday, and temporary work visas. The amount of immigrants who are granted permanent residency in Australia is somewhere closer to the vicinity of 200,000-300,000 annually — a figure which must be drastically reduced if issues relating to housing affordability, congestion, and also crime in major cities is to be adequately addressed. Newspoll’s findings that the majority of Australians oppose current immigration levels, suggests that the issue no longer sits on the periphery of Australian political discourse, and is instead becoming part of a much needed national conversation. One which is well overdue.