It’s always the topic feverishly talked about by everyone, especially in the parliament. In the recent incident that shed light on ‘absurd’ comments by our ex-Prime Minister Tony Abbott, four senior figures in the Turnbull government have rejected his calls to cut immigration to ease pressure on infrastructure and wages, increase housing affordability and reduce ethnic crime. The persona that stands out, acting Prime Minister Mathias Cormann, Trade Minister Steve Ciobo and Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton could not have been more disagreeable with their former leader.
Mr Cormann, particularly has delivered a stinging yet honest message when he acknowledged that it’s a shame that people often see immigration and, in particular, immigrants having the finger of blame pointed at them on issues like escalating house prices or depressed wages growth. That’s a stark reflection on his part and his comments ‘I think that that’s lazy, I think it’s highly inaccurate’ to the ABC radio has further emphasized his message in a clear-cut way. Senator Cormann – who was born in Belgium, could not speak English until he was in his 20s, and migrated to Australia in the 1990s – takes the reins as acting prime minister with Malcolm Turnbull visiting the United States. The Finance Minister’s surprise elevation as only the fourth senator to be acting prime minister in Australian history is a result of Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce taking leave as he weathers the storm over his relationship with his former staff Vikki Campion. Senator Cormann has used the moment to celebrate migration, responding to a hostile social media comment on his background by saying “what a great migrant nation we are”. The acting Prime Minister, whose political success in Australia has been applauded in Belgium, tweeted proudly that he still enjoys eating chips with mayonnaise and drinking Kriek, a Belgian beer made with cherries.
Well there are a lot of unverified allegations that circles around the issue of immigration including the false accusations of immigrants playing a role in pushing up house prices, which did not find common footing with Mr Ciobo who pointed to the fact that Sydney house prices were not representative of the national market, with prices much more affordable and even falling in other parts of the country. Such situations was further complicated by the speech of Mr Abbott who mentioned the annual planned migration intake should be quickly managed down from the current cap of 190,000 to 110,000 until the economy and community have “caught up”.
The former prime minister qualified his remarks by saying immigration was fundamental to the Australian story, had been “overwhelmingly and unquestionably good” for the country and that “making immigrants feel unwelcome in their own country is the last thing we need”. In spite of his seemingly persuasive statement, he also linked the current migration levels to African youth gangs in Melbourne and concerns about broader integration of recent migrants, saying there was high dependence on welfare and too many who were not proficient in English.
Mr Dutton, on the other hand, emphasized skilled migration where selected immigrants will have the capability to work and pay taxes accordingly as well as contributed to the society. This, in turn, will yield economic and social benefits to the country in the long run. In the meantime, Treasurer Scott Morrison comprehensively rejected Mr Abbott’s push, painting it as illogical and unrealistic. Whoever is having an opinion or two about the immigration reform will have something on his mind and before any suggestion would be subjected to a parliamentary debate, it is wise to hear the voices of different industries, different sectors and different people in the country to stamp a conclusive justification on the case itself. What about your opinion?