Monday, 15 June 2020
Questions without Notice
KAP—not Independent! The morning has been a turkish delight, I've got to say! Prime Minister, COVID is here to stay, warranting surely a return to 2006 visa entrant levels of 360,000—now 640,000, and from countries with no democracy and/or no rule of law and/or no egalitarian traditions and/or no industrial awards and/or no Judeo-Christian 'love everyone, make a better world'. Isn't visa-shot universities' claim of $23 billion in exports actually income from cabdrivers and after-hours cafe workers? Surely we should be enriched by annual inflows of diversity but not, as 60 Minutes highlighted, drowning in a tidal wave of foreign values?
Honourable members interjecting—
I thank the member for Kennedy for raising the important issue of migration in this country. The member for Kennedy is in fact a long-term product of that program. We've all come from somewhere else at some point in time in our background, unless we're Indigenous Australians. The member for Kennedy comes from a very proud line himself. We are the most successful migration country in the world. There is no doubt about that, and we're the most successful multicultural country in the world. Migrants have overwhelmingly added to our nation, and do so every single day.
Points are raised around the issue of the employment of migrants in Australia. ABS data of working-age migrants released just last week shows that 68 per cent were employed, up from 65 per cent in the last Characteristics of Recent Migrants Survey. This compares to 65 per cent for those born in Australia. Recent migrants are also getting more skilled, with 69 per cent arriving with tertiary qualifications, up from 65 per cent in the previous survey. One in three small businesses in Australia are managed or owned by migrants and employ hundreds of thousands of people right across Australia.
The great success of Australia's migration story is that it is a story of people who have come to make a contribution to this country, not to take one. That is the success of our migration policy. And our migration policy will continue to be not just an economic pillar of this country but it will continue to be one of the most important social pillars of this country.
No system is perfect, and integrity in migration is important. That's why I commend the Minister for Home Affairs on the outstanding work that he has done to ensure that Australians can have confidence in our migration program, regardless of what stream that migration comes from. And we will remain ever vigilant, I will commit to the member for Kennedy, to ensure that we maintain the integrity of that program—both the integrity of the program and—
Mr Katter interjecting—
I haven't called you, Member for Kennedy. Everyone watching can't hear you; I haven't called you. I haven't called the member for Kennedy because, with the number of questions he asked—and this is somewhat unique—it was impossible for the Prime Minister not to be relevant to the range of subjects that were raised.
Thank you, Mr Speaker. I am equally fond of the member for Kennedy. He raises the important point of temporary migration, and one of the important issues that has occurred in our program over the last decade is that temporary migration has become, under the skills program, a pathway to permanent migration that ensures that we can have a greater confidence of those who move into the permanent program that they have established the skills, the employment and the security in the community to be successful permanent migrants. There is a connection between the two, and it's been a positive connection. Our government will always be supportive of positive migration, and also we will ensure its integrity, whether it's protecting the integrity of our borders or protecting the integrity of the scheme on which so many Australians depend.