Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Migration intake fuels Asylum Seeker conflict

Wednesday 21st December 2011/mt

Migration intake fuels Asylum Seeker conflict

Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show that, with the exception of Singapore, during the last 5 years Australia ran far and away the biggest per capita migration program in the world – 11.1 migrants per thousand people per year.  After us came Italy, with 6.7, Canada 6.6, Sweden 5.8, Hong Kong 5.1, the United States and the United Kingdom 3.3, and New Zealand 3.1.

I believe the Australian people are instinctively generous and good-hearted, but their tolerance has been stretched to breaking point by the quadrupling of the skilled migration program over the past 15 years, which has generated competition for jobs and housing and put pressure on family living standards.

As a consequence the debate about asylum seekers is very divisive.  It is doing nothing for our sense of national unity and respect for each other.

We should not expect the Australian people to accept an increase in the refugee intake in isolation.  It should be part of a package where skilled migration is cut by 50,000.  There are many good reasons to cut our migration program, and one of them is that it is likely to lift public support for an increased refugee program, which I think it’s something we have to bring to the table when we are working with our regional neighbours on the asylum seeker issue.  Furthermore the Australian people have said over and over that they think our migration level is too high, so cutting our massive migration rate is giving the Australian people what they want. 

In fact we could cut our migration program to 74,000, rather than 174,000, and we’d still be running one of the biggest per capita programs in the world – as big as the  UK, Italy and Sweden, and bigger than the US and New Zealand.



  1. Kelvin, good on you. You are the only voice of reason in this non-sensical approach to immigration. Our politicians and political parties (except you) are all addicted to population growth. They are all pandering to big business that sees population growth as a source of more consumption. Politicians see it as an easy way to justify economic growth. All smoking mirrors because we are enlarging the cake that dividing it into many more people. No wonder that we have all these traffic, housing affordability, etc., problems. And what is more interesting is that all the debate is about a few leaky boats and few people who are risking their lives to flee persecution.

  2. Kelvin, well said. The present situation is miserable for asylum-seekers and detrimental for Australia and Australians.

  3. We should not have a population growth double that of the US
    WE SHOULD NOT HAVE A POPULATION growth 700% higher than the average of the developed world
    We should not have a cut off age of 50 for skilled migration(what about the aging population)
    Family reunion should be restricted to those whose relatives come here from difficult environments.
    Our young compete with very affluent economic migrants whereas we(I'm 57) competed with people who came here with nothing.
    Globalisation is unjust.
    Political parties are responsible for making people's lives worse.
    Kelvin Thomson should be an independent.
    Have never been so disillusioned with the political process
    Ironic that the labourious party set up the department of housing affordability when blind freddy could tell you what's causing unaffordable rents/escalating house prices.
    The liberal party certainly isn't going to be our saviour.
    In conclusion politicians are selling off our farms....have given excessive market share to wow wes (84% )the next highest market share is in the UK at 47%
    What effect has this had on consumers/farmers/food manufacturers?
    RIO and BHP are now majority foreign owned.
    Most of our new city apartments (too many built)are owned by people living overseas.
    I could go on and onnnn

  4. Thanks for stirring up the elephant in the room.
    Population policy needs to be a global effort but we could have some useful experiments:
    1. Charge there full cost of training a resident for a 457 visa
    2. Child Benefit say $ X for the first child, $ 0 for the second and a $ X heck style debt for the third

  5. Really?
    1. Below replacemnet fertility for over 34 years now.
    2. Peaking emigration. Over 88,000 permanent departures last fin year!

  6. to unknown

    we have hardly any manufacturing industry anymore
    21% youth unemployment
    part time exceeding fulltime work
    work insecurity.
    Most processes are now mechanised...bhp/rio need a lot less personal.
    Our wonderful supermarkets with massive market share are introducing automated scanning ..though they pretend to need more workers??(more customers their real agenda)
    online shopping could get an accountant to do work for u offshore(not that I encourage it)Why aren't more enlightened countries like norway denmark the netherlands ramping up their immigration levels?
    answer...... they are not that stupid
    a pop growth similar to post ww2 levels is not justified under any measure
    all of these people will get old too exacerbating our problems
    governments are ramping up migration but leaving services the way they are
    an analogy like me increasing the inhabitants in my 4 bedroom house to 100 without altering the dwelling
    reduce the deficit impossible with a burgeoning population
    contraditions/inaaccurencies abound

  7. Despite below long term replacement, Australia's population continues to grow (subtracting net overseas migration which takes into account emigration)We have approximately twice the number of births as deaths due to the relatively large numbers in the child bearing age groups. Kelvin Thomson has his priorities right with regard to asylum seekers and skilled migration. It is appalling the way the issue is politicised and treated by the media.
    With regard to immigration (not asylum seekers) and the push for ever more population growth- Remember there have never been as many people living in Australia as there are today. The long term human population of Australia is less than 1 million. The situation now is really an experiment.

  8. Well said Kelvin. You speak for the silent majority. We all agree that something needs to be done but so far there has been little positive action. If the influence of big business on governments for continuing growth is to be overcome it is time to take action. The world is obscenely overpopulated. The solution is birth control, not migration. If neither of the major parties will stop immigration, a new party needs to be formed with population as a key plank in its platform of reforms. Kelvin would be a great leader, and support from thinking Australians like Dick Smith could be counted on. Come on Aussies--it's getting late!

  9. You have hit the nail on the head once again. However, none of your colleagues share your wisdom and common sense. Here in the ACT Lundy and Leigh are hopeless and arrogant.

  10. High immigration intakes could easily be fanning negative feelings about asylum seekers and damaging national unity, Labor MP Kelvin Thompson rightly says. This is due to public misconception and misrepresentation of the immigration debate. Asylum seekers are not pushing our numbers and causing a "big Victoria" or a "big Australia".

    Nearly 100% of the immigration focus, in the media and politics, is on asylum seekers. However, the vast majority of our immigration intake consists of economic immigrants, decided by our State and Federal governments.

    Our present level of permanent net immigration is largely from economic immigration, consisting of the "skilled", and family reunions. They make up about 180,000 per year. Our humanitarian intake is about 13,000, and it's unclear whether asylum seekers are included in this number. Keeping statistics smudgy, and not having an open and democratic debate on immigration and population growth, means that asylum seekers could be unfairly blamed for high costs of housing, shortages of public housing, rising costs of public services, environmental bankruptcy, urban sprawl and ongoing State government debt.

    Property developers, investors and mortgage industry, represented largely by the Committee for Melbourne, have captured political support due to the short-term benefits of cash flows from population growth. The long term implications, of jobs and housing and living standards, means the impacts won't become obvious until safely after the following elections - when we realize the irreversible costs of population growth.

  11. People have to be reminded, and re-reminded, that the crowding they are experiencing more and more in their daily lives is population growth. The pro-growth people keep saying hwo we'll all benefit from a big population, yet we're being crowded, everything costs more, things take longer, so what are these benefits? This message needs to get out clearly because too many people still buy the "populate or perish" furphy.

  12. The media's immigration debate on asylum seekers, arriving by boat, are taking the hammering for our population growth woes. It ignores the fact the great mass of our immigration is economic - from "skilled", family reunions and students staying on as residents. How are we meant to accept this population growth rate and ignore the decline in living standards, the push to live in high density housing, and urban sprawl. Why is Kelvin Thomson the only MP able to speak up? There's a population conspiracy to force us to accept the horrible future and mistake of "big Australia".

  13. Kelvin, there is obviously a need for a wider debate on population growth in Australia. While we are being encouraged to reduce our "environmental footprint", increased population without increased infrastructure and planning leads to degraded urban environments, increased traffic on roads and generally increased demands on government agencies both federal, state and local. No only are there more "footprints", but there is a consequent reduced standard of living for the majority of existing Australians.

    Labour has not only "fouled the nest" of its long-term supporters by over-population, but it is also attempting to kill what remains of wealth creating industries in Australia.

    Labor's Mining and Carbon taxes are inspired by an unrealistic desire to return to a budget surplus before the next election; and they have been introduced using the politics of envy and division and by politicising science. It is hard to comprehend why an obviously intelligent person such as yourself has agree to participate and support such taxes, which will emasculate the last vestiges of competitiveness in the Australian mining, processing and manufacturing industries. I would urge you to talk some sense into your Labor compatriots , but I'm afraid it is too late.

  14. The Australian people are not all red necks sir. The people who risk their lives to come here are running from very frightening situations. You have no idea of what you speak.

  15. Kevin, sensible and compassionate as always.

  16. kelvin you fool! The skilled immigrants are those who produce values and encourage economy. Asylum seekers without any skills receive financial support from the gov and contribute little to the economy.

    How dare you ignore these brilliant immigrated scientists and engineers! That's why US is the greatest country in the world. They have the best talented people working for them. So far US has a much more population than Australia. They have the population to stimulate domestic demand and their retail business. Just google scholar some famous publications if you cannot understand it. All these horrible future is your stupid hallucination. Maybe funding for infrastructure and faster action is what you guys needed. Don't just waste time talking these boring topics. Why Steve Jobs is not an Aussie? Why US people have the cheapest prices for the same goods? Think about it!

  17. The asylum invasion issue is something that has many sub-issues and needs to be considered in many ways.
    The airlines are required to ensure that everyone who enters Australia by air has a passport and visa.
    Boat entry, the way that border invasion is achieved can be quickly and dramatically increased in volume should Australia not police its borders. Boat entry does not require passport or visa. It becomes a game where by our nationhood is not respected by the people whom arrive.

    As for the growth by business migration, it is not just business that brings in overseas skilled people educated at other’s expense. Governments also import medial and other skills that have been stolen from their national education nation. Of course, this is partly balanced by the overseas out migration of our own citizens.

    Then there are the various advocacy and support groups that have developed the asylum invasion into their business model, fed by government funds. Think lawyers, SERCO, churches, nationality groups and those that genuinely think that all have a right to utilise and even plunder the Australian social contract.

    Kelvin Thompson, thank you for your efforts on population control, the ultimate issue. I support a fixed UN based refugee intake and a very limited, chain family inclusion migration program where Australia decides whom shall step on our soil by limiting population growth to stability.

  18. Well done once again Kelvin. It is a pity Labor is not taking more heed of your articles. So many great comments here from informed Australians!! How much longer can our government ignore the increasing attrition of our country through overburdening with excessive population growth and things we've known about Australia for decades:, and we have several options through whom we can vote our desire for a sensible immigration policy which balances immigration with emigration (or perhaps even favours emigration for a year or two to ease pressure on our overstressed environment, infrastructure and population) e.g. the STABLE POPULATION PARTY.

  19. Perhaps the problem is the debate on asylum comes from a poor starting point - I have blogged on that point here:

    In addition we must recognise that Multiculturalism has worked in Australia (see