Immigration has always been a political hot potato in Australia and is set to become even more so due to the recent election failing to result in any party getting a majority to run the country.
It means that the party with the most seats, the Liberals led by Malcolm Turnbull, has to negotiate with smaller and less popular political parties in order to govern and there is concern that they could influence key policies such as immigration.
The issue has already resulted in some tough talking, including from Pauline Hanson, the leader of the One Nation party which wants to ban Muslims from immigrating to Australia.
One Nation wants immigration levels limited to the number of people moving out of the country so that for every person that leaves, one person can come in, and also wants all new citizens to pass an English test and not be granted social security for five years.
Under the Islam policy section of its website, One Nation has called for a halt to Muslims moving to Australia, including refugees. The party also wants temporary protection visas reduced from three years to two years and all refugees to undergo a health check.
On top of this Bob Katter, an independent MP, told a media conference that he believes that immigration should be limited. But he also called for the migration debate to be ‘deracialised’ and instead it should be looked at from a purely economic point of view.
‘The government has been bringing 620,000 people into Australia each year, into an economy that’s only got 200,000 jobs and over 200,000 school leavers,’ he said, adding that he believes that half a million people are forced into unemployment benefit each year as a result of the current immigration policy.
‘The issue is you are bringing in mass numbers that the country can’t possibly absorb. I am saying a reduction of all immigration to Australia to virtually nil, except for those people who are persecuted minority groups. And clearly, they are, and I name them again, the Sikhs, the Jews, and the Christians, Christians in the Middle East,’ he added.
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