Tuesday, 19 June 2018
That the Senate—
(a) notes the comments of the New South Wales Opposition Leader, Mr Luke Foley, highlighting the problems arising in Sydney from recent immigration trends;
(b) calls upon the Federal Government to comprehensively review the scope and composition of future migrant intakes; and
(c) urges the Federal Government to ensure that Australia’s immigration intake operates in the economic, social, cultural and security interests of all Australians.
Labor opposes this motion. Australia is a nation built on migration. We've welcomed 7.5 million migrants since World War II. Migrants have helped to build Australia into the strong, vibrant and multicultural society it is today as well as contributing to our economy. One in three small businesses in Australia is run by migrants, and 1.41 million people are employed by migrant business owners across Australia. I note that the New South Wales opposition leader has acknowledged he made a poor choice of words by apologising for his recent comments.
Labor understands all Australians are frustrated with stagnant wages, with unaffordable housing, with clogged infrastructure and where employers rely on temporary work visas rather than hiring local workers. It's clear that Malcolm Turnbull and his priorities are to blame for failing to invest in infrastructure, for giving an $80 billion tax handout for big business and for putting the banks ahead of doing something about the cost of living, affordable housing and his dodgy crackdown on skilled migration. Labor will oppose this motion.
With a shrinking population in comparison to other states, South Australia is in great need of skilled migrants. We want the government to base migration on a regional basis, using a three-tiered system where annual population growth under 10,000 should have the highest immigration rates, then 10,000 to 50,000 and then beyond 50,000. This will provide crucial assistance to regional areas in South Australia whilst easing congestion in the eastern state cities.