Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Australia Running Promotional Campaigns to Try to Attract Migrants

Yesterday I wrote to Prime Minister Julia Gillard expressing concern about a report in The Economic Times,  that Australia intends to ‘target’ Chandigarh, Punjab and other cities in northern India with a promotional campaign in 2012 looking to attract skilled migrants.

I told the Prime Minister I do not want the number of skilled migrants to increase, and do not support Australia running promotional campaigns to try to attract migrants.
I cannot see how running promotional campaigns to attract skilled migrants is consistent with the Prime Minister’s pre-election statements that she does not believe in a ‘Big Australia’ and that ‘we need to stop and take a breath’.  I also think this pre-empts the Sustainable Population Strategy for Australia being developed by Population Minister Tony Burke.

I have three objections to the idea of recruiting our workforce from other countries. First, there is nothing humanitarian whatsoever about it. Workers with real skills in developing countries are more valuable where they are, and we should not try to strip these countries of their best and brightest for our own advantage.  Surely it is more humanitarian for us to have a more compassionate approach to those in refugee camps who are pleading for us to allow them to come here, than to poach and ‘target’ people who otherwise have shown no desire to live in Australia.

Secondly, our high skilled migration program comes at the expense of skilling and training young Australians. Broadmeadows, just to the north of my electorate, has unemployment in excess of 15%.  These people are entitled to our attention.  Our disability pension numbers continue to rise. The Prime Minister said last December that “we’ll need to decide that we seriously want to be a high participation economy….where everyone who has the capacity to work has the opportunity to work.”   “And we’ll need to decide we are seriously prepared to change the policies which stop that happening now.”  She is absolutely right, and a key policy which stops that happening, and which we need to decide we are seriously prepared to change, is the high skilled migration policy.

Third, the extent of the recent floods means we will have our work cut out rebuilding and repairing damaged infrastructure.  This is no time to be trying to be trying to meet the additional infrastructure requirements of a rapidly increasing population.

Numerous studies show that new arrivals come with a big infrastructure requirement – they bring their families with them, and all require houses, roads, schools, hospitals etc., and many require English-language and other forms of assistance.  One academic has found that population growth of 2% in a community doubles the infrastructure task of that community.  In the years ahead the building industry will have its work cut out for it in rebuilding flood hit towns and communities.  Nationally we’ve just had a flood come through the house. This is a time for replacing the carpets and the furniture and getting the power back on, not putting on an extension.
I do not support the increase in the skilled migration program under the Howard Government from 24,000 in the mid-90s to over 100,000 by the time of the change of government.  I believe the program should be returned to around 25,000 per annum.

I have asked the Prime Minister how many ‘promotional campaigns’ the Government is planning to run in 2011 and 2012 in relation to skilled migration, and what their expected cost is.

I have also suggested putting on hold plans for such programs until the Sustainable Population Strategy has been completed.


  1. I agree. Australia is already grossly overpopulated in terms of environmental impact. Australia leads the world in mammal species extinction. Thus CSIRO: "Australia leads the world in mammal extinctions. Over the last two hundred years 22 mammal species have become extinct, and over 100 are now on the threatened and endangered species list". The global species extinction rate is 1000-1,000 time greater than normal (see Dr Phillip S. Levin, Dr Donald A. Levin, "The real biodiversity crisis", 2002).

  2. That should read above: The global species extinction rate is 100-1,000 times greater than normal (see Dr Phillip S. Levin, Dr Donald A. Levin, "The real biodiversity crisis", 2002).

  3. I wonder if part of the Brisbane flooding problem is attributable to insufficient infrastructure for the existing population, let alone stretching existing infrastructure to meet the needs of an expanded population? Perhaps water storage dams are inadequate to both buffer flood events and store the large volumes required to sustain the population over periods of drought?

    Let us not forget the Tillegra Dam debate. Here we have a direct conflict between the concerns of an environmental lobby and the need for responsible politicians to provide water to the population that they have grown...

  4. Great effort Kelvin, one can only wonder why you alone appear to tbe the only politician in Canberra (or the States) prepared to tell the truth on the immigration fraud - masquerading as ' skilled immigration'. The immigration department has exploded by 300% in recent years - feeding itself. It shoul dbe shut down - permanently - we don't need immigraiton - of any sort.

    This 'skilled migration' sham was set up by the Howard government, and disgraefully continued under Rudd, Evans and the ALP - despite its obviously fraudulent nature.

    The immigration department has been running these enormously expensive trade shows to pilfer so-called 'skilled workers' from the 3rd world for many years - and yet you are the only one who has even mentioned the scam - now.

    There is a feeding frenzy as government certified 3rd party agnecies feed on this orgy of business

    The Australian government is an international parasite and disgrace. And all those from either side of politics who have silently supported these polices are despicable.

    As you point out there are plenty of underemployed Ausitralians - Howard wanted to import the 3rd world on zero wages, to completely render these people not only underemployed - but unemployed utterly disempowered.

    Keep up the good work

  5. All power to you, Kelvin. Unfortunately I live in Bronwyn Bishop's electorate, so have no hope of enjoying the kind of far-sighted, intelligent representation your constituents enjoy. Keep up the fight... maybe some day your fellow politicians will understand the simple arithmetic that tells us that infinite growth cannot be sustained on a finite planet.

    I feel your frustration and admire your enthusiasm for staying "on message". I just wish more were hearing it!

  6. Thankyou Kelvin Thomson for continuing to raise this very important issue with PM Gilllard.

    It is immoral that Australia steal skills from developing countries whilst continuing to deny opportunities to its local citizens.

    Business is failing to train locals in preference for the easy and cheaper option of importing skills.

    Survey after survery has shown that the vast majority of Australians do not want significant population growth. Instead the voice of this majority is drowned out by a powerful minority with a vested interest in popultion growth continuing.

    I hope that PM Gillard regains some dignity this year by addressing this issue.

    Keep up the fight. I am behind you along with many others.

  7. Would the skilled migrant workers affect population increase enough to warrant such worries? Also wouldn't they help us to build the infrastructure we need here and now, with minimum delay?

  8. Keep up the good work. I wonder the cost to the taxpayer are these immigration policies costing us.

  9. I mourn for a country with such shortsighted leadership as this.

    Australia is a vastly underpopulated continent, particularly in the northern regions, but also other parts such as Tasmania. Rainfall in these areas is plentiful, and the trend is for the north that it will increase as it has over the last century. We export vast amounts of food. Our population is not a problem.

    Skilled migrants are not a drain on the nation but an economic boon. They pay for their own housing costs and provide us with taxes to solve issues such as the queensland floods, and a portion of the increased income they earn in first world countries inevitablt returns home given to improve family members. It is a profitable trade for both sides as most voluntary trades are.

    We get skilled migrants, fully educated and productive. The world is not all about infrastructure costs Kevin. I am fearful that your chain of logic will inevitably lead to a conclusion such as China's one child policy on the basis of the some twenty years of infrastructure costs a child imposes on the country at a time we can ill afford it.

    We have virutally full employment, indeed a skill shortage, and here you are trying to keep out the very people who could assist.

  10. Kelvin Thomson is right. Globalization is economic treachery. Why bypass our own youth who can't find opportunities to gain skills, mainly due to globalization, and who are faced with massive loan schemes.

  11. "Surely it is more humanitarian for us to have a more compassionate approach to those in refugee camps who are pleading for us to allow them to come here, than to poach and ‘target’ people"...

    I totally agree.
    Keep up the good work, don't let up on this incredibly important issue.

  12. The skilled migration and skills shortages is a conspiracy, a scam. Universities are deliberately starved of funds, and then we use them to lure students here who mostly want to stay. Domestic students face massive loan style fees, and there are few opportunities for trade apprenticeship due to off-shore manufacturing. It's a manufactured skills shortage being used as the path of least resistance to ongoing immigration. We don't want more people from overpopulated India or we could end up with the same fate!

  13. From the Department of Immigration and Citizenship's program of events, we can advise no such skilled migration expos have been approved by the government for 2011-2012. Further, the only skills expo the department staged (and will stage) in 2010-2011 was in London in September (2010). It cost about $150 000, and from it one state government has recruited 59 medical professionals, and a large resources company has made offers to more than 100 skilled engineers and others. (There are other employers signing up skilled migrants from this single event.) On these two success stories alone, that works out at about $1000 per skilled migrant, most (or all) likely to come out to Australia on the very successful 457 visa. These are the facts; I'll keep away from the politics. NatCommsMngr, DIAC

  14. Kelvin Thomson is right and Vivienne is right as well - but don't expect that to have any effect. Heather Ridout supports the move I am sure and I am beginning to think she and her cohort are actually the ones who run the government.

  15. Sorry that should read VivKay is right

  16. The developed nations, particularly the US, Canada, the UK and Australia have become dependant on skilled immigration as a means to overcome perceived skilled shortages****. Yet this is an unsustainable process, rich nations cannot continue to rely on other, poorer, nations to do their training yet almost 40% of our doctors are overseas trained and many are from developing nations who are desperately short of medical staff to cater for exploding medical emergencies from disease and conflicts.

    We get many of our medical practitioners from the UK, but they in turn take staff from South Africa, a nation which loses almost 50% of its qualified doctors to immigration. To make up the short fall S.A. seeks staff from its neighbors to the north with the result that in the past decade Ghana lost 50% of its nurses and now has more doctors working outside Ghana than inside. Zambia’s public system retained only 50 of the 600 physicians it trained over a decade. There are more doctors from Benin working in France than in Benin; more Ethiopian doctors in Washington DC than in Ethiopia .

    The reason for this poaching of skilled personal is obvious; the high cost of medical training means that on average the recipient country saves $184,000. World wide the number skilled people from developing nations lured to the west is 3 million, equating to a staggering amount in training costs that far outweighs the amount we give in aid. But it is more than just money, developing nations cannot get out of poverty without a skilled workforce and a viable health service. By taking their skilled people we deny them the chance to develop advanced economies that would provide the standard of living we take for granted. There is also a local impact, providing business groups with a source of instant skilled labor from immigration and the 457 program removes their need to train local people, a feature that explains the high level of youth unemployment in rural and the outer suburbs of our cities. The Housing Institute of Australia chief has stated that the industry suffered from a skills shortage because only a tiny fraction of immigrants had training in residential construction with only about 800 of the net figure of 250,000 arrivals had the necessary skills.

  17. Sensible article by Kelvin and the standard issue ratbag commenters came out of their holes as usual.The magic word "racism" even got a run.

    Not much hope for Australia,really.Most of the shepherds haven't got a clue and most of the sheep are down the bottom of the paddock with the fairies.

  18. I could not agree more. This has nothing to do with racism. Why is it that the majority of politicians seem hellbent on turning Australia into an overpopulated mess, destroying our unique environment and wildlife in the process?

    Oh that's right..."THE ECONOMY'. What a crock.

    Not ONE person I've spoken to about this issue wants a big Australia. Not a single one. Even recent immigrants to this country can see the trouble we're heading into.

    Keep up the good work, Kelvin!

  19. Unfortunately, big business is dictating our immigration policies. We need more politicians like Kelvin who are prepared to stand up and fight for the best interests of the Australian people. Overpopulation is destroying our environment and our quality of life.

  20. To Terry DIAC Nat Comms Mgr

    Thanks for that update - clearly your department's view of success is denying Australians the opportunity to be trained in the medical professions, and denying decent wages to Australian engineers, thanks to third world invaders.

    Your department is a disgrace, and treacherous - and completely un-Australian. Your agenda is very clear - the genocide of this of once proud nation - sacrificed on the altar of multicultural lies. And to think that you people are collecting huge salaires for your treasonous behaviour is just beyond belief.

  21. Now I will vote for you, mate. Well done.

  22. Totally right Kelvin - yet another of your rational commentaries on the subject. The book "Overloading Australia" by O'Connor & Lines clearly details the over population negatives. So why does Gillard one day talk sustainability and the next ignore it ? Certainly we must acknowledge the success of big business lobbying in establishing as a fundamental objective of all major political parties the maintainance of economic growth. And what better way to achieve that than by continuous population growth ?
    But we all know economic growth cannot continue indefinitely, so why isn't someone in politics presenting longer term alternatives - Gillard and Burke hinted at such before the last election but have said nothing since - why ?
    Simple - to reduce population growth significantly (by reducing immigration) must impact on economic growth and affect demand for goods and services, and result in an economic downturn, something no political party in a 3 or 4 year election cycle will risk.
    I fear until our economic system falls over and the pollies have no other options, short term policies, designed for just a few years, will prevail over long term.

  23. It is most undignified and counterproductive for rich countries to pilfer the most skilled people from poor countries --- it is especially reprehensible to be stealing away their doctors! On the other hand, professional exchange programs can be beneficial for all concerned.

  24. This so-called skills crisis is a situation manufactured by employers, who rather than working with the present population to get people with the skills they need, want to import cheaper, more grateful people from third world countries. It's been with us for decades, when I worked in the CES we were constantly fielding immigration requests by employers who clearly wanted to import foreigners and had no intention of taking people locally. It's got to stop. If we don't have skills we need locally, and if we can't train people in those skills, then our country is in big trouble, isn't it?

  25. "But we all know economic growth cannot continue indefinitely"

    No we don't. We use far less resources for each GDP, as technology increases. Energy use per point of GDP has basically halved over the last 20 years globaly with similar trends in basically every country. There is no reason to think this won't continue.

    GDP growth is primarily about technology and innovation and efficiency not resource use and there is no reason to think this won't continue.

  26. "But we all know economic growth cannot continue indefinitely"

    Obviously, if technologies improve and necessary raw resources remain available then total wealth can be increased. But what matters to people is the wealth per person. In the mid-20'th century wealth technologies improved greatly and even though populations increased the wealth per person also increased. Technologies saturate. Per capita food production has been falling since the early 1980's.

    Of course, some resources are fixed, like the area of usable land. So as population goes up the cost of land goes up far faster than commodities produced using improved technologies... Unsurprisingly, we see more and more disasters, world wide, as people are forced onto more marginal land because of overpopulation.

    The world is way past its optimal population, if the objective is to optimize quality of life. If the objective is merely to maximize the number of people then keep populating until by far the bulk of people are in abject poverty with a very small number of rich pigs lording over them, eg Haiti. Many religions (and their puppet politicians) either explicitly or implicitly optimize for the maximum number which results mostly in many miserably poor people. Of course, religions can justify their position with a promise of pie in the sky...

  27. Perihelion does not understand global warming and climate change. Nor does he understand logic. He states “Rainfall in [the northern regions and in Tasmania] is plentiful, and the trend is for the north that it will increase as it has over the last century.

    Even if it were true that there has been a trend for increase in rainfall in the north over the last century, it is not logical to extrapolate this trend. Past history is not relevant when we introduce the new factor of enormous increase in carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere in the last century.

    But Perihelion is not interested in logic, or the real world. He believes what he wants to believe with passion.

  28. My logic isn’t perfect either. Climate is a very complex field. However the facts of global warming are simple: there is more energy in our planetary system, therefore climate events must necessarily get more extreme. The energy has to go somewhere.

    Many climate scientists are predicting an increase in the desert regions of the world. It is still true to say that Perihelion’s supposed wetting trend in the north will not necessarily continue.

  29. Thanks Kevin, for having the courage, common sense and compassion to address the most serious threat to life as we know it. Overpopulation.

  30. This is not about "racism". In fact, it is reverse racism! Our own youth, and those with skills and potential skills, are being discriminated against in their own country. Already privatisation has denied us many skills training that used to come from the SEC, the Board of Works and the Railways. Globalization has mean much of our manufacturing and production has gone too. This expo is about inviting the already educated to come to Australia and save our government the costs of university and tafe. We used to have the Colombo plan where we helped the developing nations gain skills by training them here, and now we are stealing them!

  31. Surely what is happening in Australia must make some people stop and think. We are building in places we should never be building in. Wetlands and riparian areas. Increasing our population will only make things worse. Blind Freddy can see that.

    I am reading a book at present "Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight" written by Thom Hartmann.
    As I am reading it the events it describes are happening. It talks about reliance on non renewable resources such as oil and coal, the destruction of our forrests and degradation of our soils and loss of control by people of their lifestyle and culture. China's stockpiling of our resources so it does not have to spend it's own "start up capital". He states that a Chinese official told him that
    China will be the only country left that retains its own resources. That is how it will dominate the rest of the world. Hartmann calls a nations natural resources its "start up capital". No business will survive if it squanders that.

    How come, we, the ones some politicians love to call the common folk can see what is happening
    but the ones that we put in place to protect our interests cannot see the downward path their
    blinkered thinking is taking us.

  32. Unskilled..

    In the rarefied air of the Tattersalls Club
    the captains of industry spoke
    of the shortage of skills faced by businesses, which
    would surely be sending them broke.

    One old exec rumbled, "now, these local yobs
    have no bloody skills that we need,
    they're all ignorant pills, insufferable dills"
    ..the others completely agreed

    The Chambers of Commerce were of the same mind,
    industry was doomed to sure failure
    "The problem is clear, there's just no talent here
    there’s no drive, brains or go in Australia"

    Then someone opined, "I know just what we'll do;
    "We'll call in a Government favour,
    We'll rethink immigration; migrants our salvation
    We'll import what we need in skilled labour.

    So with great jubilation the papers announced
    "Skills shortages soon to be eased"
    And in corporate boardrooms from Sydney to Perth
    The globalist crowd was well pleased

    For to train up Australians in relevant trades
    Would take far too long and cost heaps
    Much quicker and easier to get what you need
    From somewhere else where labour's cheap

    Young Khaija runs home through the ruins of Kabul,
    At each checkpoint silently cursing
    Bursting with great news, she'll be leaving there soon
    For Australia where she'll practice nursing

    Her family's elated, they've got a new life
    Away from the war's stress and care
    Afghanistan's happy for her, but in truth
    God knows they could use her skills there

    While out at St Mary's, Caitlyn lives in fear,
    her son Will's forever in strife
    hangs out with the hoons, left school at fifteen
    hasn't had a day's work in his life

    He used to try hard, looked for work every day
    but now he's caved in to dejection
    ten knock-backs a week and he's doing the speed
    erasing the pain of rejection

    In the Batlow hotel on a bleak Tuesday night
    John Smith sits alone and depressed
    He's in his mid 50's, the cannery's closed
    He's lost his job like all the rest

    They're looking for welders at the new Visy mill
    And he wants that job more than he'll mention
    but he won't get it, no; he's not formally trained
    So he fakes a bad back for a pension

    While Sydney keeps growing through mass immigration
    a cancer of bricks tiles and mortar
    not much thought's committed to shortages of
    our species and topsoil and water

    And a culture addicted to tax cuts soon blows
    the funds to retrain our lost folk
    the National Interest's a thing of the past
    A faded and outdated joke

    In the rarefied air of the Tattersalls Club
    the captains of industry spoke
    of the high cost of welfare, which without a doubt
    would shortly be driving them broke.

    Some young mogul said, "Look, my tax bill's too high,
    bank-rolling this great bludging herd,
    Aussies are too lazy, supporting them's crazy"
    the others all fully concurred..