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Migration, the boats and Australia’s population.

When a city has no beach why not build one?

When I was at Southbank yesterday I could not help being pleased to see people of many different ethnicities peacefully sharing the park children of all hues played with each other in and amongst the fountains and splashing water of the beach and the water play area. It was a ringing endorsement for the idea that multiculturalism can work. I was delighted to see that my own children were entirely indifferent to the colour of anyone’s skin or to anyone dressed differently, they just saw that people are individuals.

I only mention this because I have encountered bigotry recently and it has of course been the bigotry from those of the Latte sipping persuasion and they all seem to cluster together around that den of leftard inequity that goes by the name of “Pure Poison” not surprisingly one of the  offenders is a chap who sometimes drops in here to have a go at yours truly. He seems to be very keen to insist that anyone who questions the veracity of  the claims for asylum is doing so for racist reasons  but he is not alone in his hatred of anyone with less than an open door policy on accepting  those who want to claim asylum here.  Clearly this is a portent of things to come when the question of how many immigrants this country should welcome becomes part of the political discourse.

Mr Morrison said the current population growth rate of 2.1 per cent put Australia ahead of Canada, Britain and the US

“It even puts us ahead of China and India,” he said. “It’s principally fuelled by net overseas migration. A natural increase in the fertility rate has (increased it) but what has been driving the numbers . . . has been spiralling rates of net overseas migration.”

Mr Morrison said the Coalition would support skilled migrants coming, but was likely to cut other elements of the program, including family reunion.

“It’s about getting your immigration policy under control,” he said. “The migration program should be tight and focused on skills and productivity.”

The Opposition Leader last night backed Mr Morrison’s comment that the prediction of a population of 35.9 million was not sustainable, saying the roads of Sydney and Melbourne were already choked.

But Mr Abbott stopped short of committing the Coalition to a cut in migration, saying decisions on the intake should be taken on a “year by year basis”.

“Immigration has to be in Australia’s national interest,” he said on the ABC’s Q&A program last night.

Mr Morrison said the 35.9 million forecast, which Kevin Rudd has endorsed as appropriate, was being driven by net overseas migration well above what it was under the Howard government.

He said average net overseas immigration under the Coalition had been 126,000 a year, but under Labor it had risen to more than 300,000.

This morning I watched the episode of Q&A in which Tony Abbott went solo  and for once the ABC seemed to achieve some measure of balance in the studio audience as the applause for and against what Tony was saying attested.  he very neatly made the point that we just can not take everyone who wants to come here for a better life and that fleeing a war does not actually meet the criteria to claim asylum here, especially after they have travelled through intermediate countries where they will be free of persecution. He also made the point that we should not lock in any figure   when it comes to the numbers of immigrants that we will accept in coming years.

Getting back to our friend who I mentioned earlier, over on the dark-side I posed a series of questions that he seemed unwilling to answer so I will pose them again here:

  1. Posted April 5, 2010 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    #53 Damian

    Go on, tell us (preferably in less than fifty words) how blaming the victims of war for imposing on a rich country like ours is actually compassionate.

    Who said anything about issues of blame?
    I am making no such value judgment at all.
    In your view do we make the decision to accept any claimant on pure compassion or are we permitted to be at all discerning about the veracity of their claims?
    If we find that their claims do not meet our criteria for entry what then?
    Do you think that any should be sent back?

    Looking forward to you reply

Oh and the post that you refer to is here.

Of course he and his cronies are typically unwilling to consider the question with any honesty, instead vilifying those of us who want to question the mad rush to make the population of Australia bigger. No one can say for sure what the best number  a sustainable population is  for this country  but it is a question that is better asked sooner rather than later quite simply because the sooner that we decide where we want to be the the better placed we will be to plan for that result.
Open doorers like Damian Doyle annoy me because they are all heart and no head on issues like this. We have a duty to the next generation of Australians to think before we increase on our country’s s population or allow unrestricted  right of entry  if we want the social harmony that I saw and admired at Southbank yesterday to continue and to be enhanced.
Cheers Comrades

Haiti earthquake

This images from Lisandro Suero on Twitter show the aftermath of the Haiti quake.

I could not help thinking of my occasional commentator Damian Doyle when I heard about the earthquake in Haiti last night because it seems that he is quite inspired by death and destruction in the poorer parts of the world (it  is the subject of his many tweets) and they don’t come much poorer that Haiti nor is the scale of the disaster  insignificant.

“But so many, so many buildings, so many neighbourhoods totally destroyed, and some neighbourhoods we don’t even see people, so I don’t know where those people are.”

President Rene Preval painted a scene of complete destruction in his impoverished Caribbean nation after the quake struck on Tuesday (Wednesday morning Queensland time).

“Parliament has collapsed. The tax office has collapsed. Schools have collapsed. Hospitals have collapsed,” he told the Miami Herald.

“There are a lot of schools that have a lot of dead people in them,” he said, as experts spoke of the worst quake to hit the disaster-prone nation in more than a century.

With hospitals also having crumbled in the fury of the quake, medical services were struggling to cope with the flow of wounded.


UN chief Ban Ki-moon said the capital, with its population of two million people had borne the brunt of the quake which struck at 4.53pm on Tuesday local time (7.53am Queensland time), saying vast areas had been destroyed.

While much of the rest of the impoverished Caribbean nation appeared largely unaffected, Ban gave a grim assessment of the devastation in Port-au-Prince, saying the city’s few basic services had collapsed.

“There is no doubt that we are facing a major humanitarian emergency and that a major relief effort will be required,” he told a press conference in the United Nations, as he prepared to visit Haiti as soon as possible.

The temblor toppled the cupola on the gleaming white presidential palace, a major hotel where 200 tourists were missing and the headquarters of the UN mission in Haiti where up to 250 personnel were unaccounted for.

Five people were confirmed dead in the UN headquarters, and the head of the peacekeeping mission, Tunisian Hedi Annabi, was among the missing.

Jordan reported that three of its peacekeepers were killed and 21 injured. Brazil said 11 of its peacekeepers died, while eight Chinese soldiers were buried in rubble and 10 were missing, state media said.

An Argentine-staffed hospital was the only one left operating in the city and was struggling to cope with huge numbers of injured, its director told Argentine television.

Of course at this remove there is not much anyone here can do apart from sending  money and of course I hope that the death toll is less than many people fear but I can’t help thinking that there is a certain cruel irony that it is always the most solid and substantial buildings that are the most deadly when the earth decides to move.

Anyway lets hope that the rescue effort is swift and substantial while there is still time to extract the trapped from the ruins, the rebuilding will take longer and sadly I think that the buildings that replace the fallen will be no safer than the ones that that have fallen.

Until next time  Comrades


Just fronting up here in a leaky boat does not make someone a “refugee”.

I have argued that the definition and administrative treatment of such claimants is far too simplistic and that if they ultimately succeed in getting residency here after a relatively short period of time it will be like putting up a large neon sign saying that Australia as a destination for people smugglers is THE place to try for.

For my trouble I have been accused of racism, hypocrisy (because I am like so many other Aussies, an immigrant myself) and told that I have no compassion, you name it and the bleeding hearts have trotted out the emotional arguments to try to avoid the truths of the situation.Which is why I found Greg Sheridan’s piece in the Oz such a good read this morning. He has enunciated the reasons why we can legitimately reject such claimants at our gates and why the prospect of long periods of immigration detention serves the greater good.

Greg Sheridan

Greg Sheridan

There are hard truths in this debate. Let me confess my own sins. When the Howard government introduced the Pacific solution, I was virulently opposed to it. I thought it was inhumane and wouldn’t work. In fact, it did work. It also became clear to me the vast majority of people intercepted were not refugees but illegal immigrants.

In saying that, I make no moral criticism of the illegal immigrants. If I were living in Sri Lanka or Afghanistan and I could pay a people-smuggler $15,000 to get me to Australia, to enjoy everything from law and order and good weather to Medicare, Centrelink and good schools, I would make that effort.

But that understandable motivation does not make a person a refugee. I think Sri Lankans generally make excellent migrants to Australia. I have always favoured a larger immigration program and a larger refugee intake, but I want Australia to choose who it takes and to do so in an orderly way.

Just being a Tamil does not make you a refugee. Moreover, if you are fleeing persecution as a Tamil in Sri Lanka, why wouldn’t you go and live in Tamil Nadu, the giant Tamil state of India, just next door to Sri Lanka? India does not persecute people for being Tamils.

The reason you would prefer Australia is because life is much better in Australia. But this is not then a question of fleeing persecution. This is an immigration aspiration that should go through the normal processes Australia applies to everyone who comes lawfully through our big and successful immigration program.

My esteemed colleague Paul Kelly argues in his The March of Patriots that there is a bargain between the Australian people and their governments. The Australian people accept a big, diverse and in many respects generous immigration program, so long as it is orderly and well controlled by the government. In this bargain neither the Australian people nor their governments are racist, bigoted or narrow minded, despite the vain moral posturing of most commentators in the past couple of weeks.

Brother Number One’s Government  has now clearly recognised they are holding a live hand grenade and that they  pulled the pin on it  by softening the measures put in place by the previous government. By moving to make arrangements with Indonesia to hold and process the illegal immigrants they are trying  to replace the pin, to rebuild a viable deterrent to people smuggling and as cruel as it may seem if it means that some poor souls will spend years detained* in Indonesia the greater good will be well served by their sacrifice.

I invite the likes of Jason Wilson and Damian Doyle to address the real issues here and to make amends for their  apologia  of people smuggling, because they seem to be forgetting that sometimes the best love is tough love.

Cheers Comrades


* assuming off course  that detainees are offered free repatriation to their homeland at any time staying in a detention facility is really entirely voluntary.

my bold in the quote above BTW

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