By Colin Walker
Immigration – what’s in it for Australia 2015 , and beyond ?The answer to that will (or should) decide the direction of our future immigration policies and programs.
No-one can dispute the historical fact that Australia was founded on forced immigration over 200 years ago and largely built on it in following generations.
Britain’s original prison rejects were followed by generations of settlers from around the world and their contributions to our development and growth, lifestyle, culture, national identity ,and economy are undeniable.
But times have changed ; we no longer trundle along comfortably “on the sheep’s back” or on the crest of cosy mining and resources booms which lifted our incomes and lifestyles to match our reputation as “the lucky country”.
Economic realities have kicked in, however. We now find ourselves hard pressed to compete on increasingly tight international markets against competitors benefiting from lower wages and costs, very supportive government subsidies and tariff protections…..while we cling to the concept of the almost – mythical “level playing field” on which we are playing almost alone!
We’re struggling to meet public expectations and demands in the development of adequate road and transport systems, health services, education, and employment.
We haven’t yet come to terms with recurring national crises in conserving and harnessing enough water for our growing rural, industrial, commercial and urban water needs. We are, as many warn, in danger of creating worsening lifestyle and environmental problems if we don’t solve our water problems, alone.
We seek desperately for ways of reining in burgeoning social welfare costs from a population which has become accustomed to government electoral “feather-bedding” to win votes and retain power.
At the same time we urge workers and long-time taxpayer retirees over 50 to work harder, work longer, accept lower wages, benefits and “entitlements”……. and “pull in their belts” to take up the slack. It is an unrealistic and inequitable expectation.
And while all this is going on, immigration advocates still call for increased migrant intakes – to add further to Government dilemmas in balancing the books and keeping us solvent… and limiting our threatening lifestyle and environmental damage. What a crazy world we now live in!
So where does our immigration policy fit into all this? Well, we aren’t going to solve many of these problems (if any) if we don’t adjust our immigration policies to answer the question…”what’s in it for Australia ?”
Australians’ nature is such that there will always be a place in our hearts, our homes and in our country for those genuinely in need, and in need of help. We have demonstrated that repeatedly…….but Australians have to come FIRST in our “one Australia for all”, in all respects and in ALL Government policies and initiatives.
We have to unashamedly base our immigration (and other policies) on that.
What can be justified and sustained, so that the lifestyle and environmental attractions and benefits of living here can be sustained, too? That’s a yardstick by which many (if not most) of our policies of extravagance now must be judged, trimmed, and decided, in any “hatchet jobs” by Government razor gangs.
Cutting the guts out of end-of-life incomes and other considerations for pensioners (or other retirees) won’t resolve ANY of these issues. Initiatives to provide more income-producing growth and development for the nation will ….maybe, if they’re handled correctly.
In the case of immigration, it must come down to “what does Australia NEED” to sustain what we have – or would like to have, in future?
That doesn’t mean (as some pro-immigration advocates suggest) continuing an open-door, all-in immigration intake which, in recent times, has brought us more problems than solutions…..more costs than benefits…..more conflict than harmony.
There is a very strong argument for limiting our immigration intake to what gives AUSTRALIANS what they want and need FIRST ….and meets immigrants’ needs second.
MAP’S immigration policy is a considered, balanced approach to this problem. We suggest you read it.