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More Refugees - Fewer Skilled Migrants - Sandra Kanck, SPA National President

22 October 2009


Were Australia a compassionate nation, it would be taking in more asylum seekers and fewer skilled migrants, according to Australia’s only environment group dedicated to lower population, Sustainable Population Australia (SPA).

SPA National President, Ms Sandra Kanck, says Australia could double the number of refugees it accepts, providing that at least as many, if not more (which is SPA’s preference), were cut from the skilled migration program.

Australia's humanitarian program is currently 13,500 annually, while skilled immigration for 2008-9 is 115,000. Total net overseas migration, however, for the year ended 31 March 2009, was 278,200 persons. As well as skilled migration, this includes family reunion, New Zealanders and those on temporary visas.

“We have no moral obligation to the people coming here under the skilled migration program – they are not fleeing from war-torn states," says Ms Kanck. "They are taking places we could make available to real refugees.

“With 22 million refugees in the world at the moment, Australia cannot take them all, but we can accept more than we currently do – provided we reduce the skilled migration intake," she says.

Ms Kanck says that Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s rebuffing of asylum seekers and attacks on so-called people smugglers are a diversionary tactic.

"Mr Rudd is responsible for one of the highest immigration rates in decades so his line on the current influx of asylum seekers is simply a smoke screen to avoid public discussion on the bigger issue of the immigration blow-out.

“Refugees have to wait in long queues for places to become available, while at the same time Mr Rudd has an open door policy to people who want to come here for purely economic reasons.

"Surely Australia can supply its own skills and not poach from other countries," says Ms Kanck. “If we got rid of the baby bonus we could put that money into training/retraining our current population and thus decrease our reliance on the skilled migration program."

Ms Kanck added that a multi-pronged approach was what was required in dealing with refugees. Diplomatic efforts could often diminish conflict that cause people to flee.

"For instance, what is Australia doing to ensure that the Sri Lankan Government is treating the Tamils fairly and humanely?" she asks.

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Kerry O'Brien was interviewing Kevin Rudd tonight (22 October) and asked him a question regarding increased population. Rudd said that we want population growth, that we want a "big Australia" and that we did to want to suffer from population decline as they are in Europe.

How do they find such ignorant people to be prime ministers. Why should we have to put up with it?
Australia has never agreed to be invaded by nearly a million people a year (counting the temporaries) and what is wrong with Europe - they are not suffering. WE ARE!

It is incredible that Kevin Rudd, a professing church-attending Christian, totally lacks any sense of social justice or compassion. Our government head-hunts the well-off professionals and educated from often developing countries and lures them to Australia at a time of high unemployment, housing stress and prohibitive education fees. Foreign students who have paid for their own education are invited to apply for PR. The great majority of asylum seekers are found to be genuine. However, the poor and persecuted are turned away from Australian shores! He is happy to pass them onto a basically Muslim country to be the Good Samaritan.

Kevin Rudd is totally focused on monetary values and on worshiping the Economy! According to what he said on 7.30 Report - ''I actually believe in a big Australia. I make no apology for that. I actually think it's good news that our population is growing,'' Mr Rudd said.

Rudd is totally ignoring costs of infrastructure that will be paid for by the public, the environmental damage to our already fragile ecological life-supporting systems, the social, cultural impacts we are seeing from excessive immigration, and the erosion of our lifestyles that used to be part of the "lucky country". His interest in the welfare of the Australian public is so blatantly lacking he is prepared to make this sacrifice for The Economy!

We in Australia are already world leaders in wildlife extinctions, with 40% of mammal disappearing in the last 200 years originating from Australia. Is their demise of no significance?

Christianity is about sharing compassion, the importance of individuals, and caring for God's Creation. However, Kevin Rudd seems to have missed the point and has sold out to the 'god' of materialism, and he is quite happy to be subservient to the monetary masters of mass markets and globalized powers.

So Sandra Kanck thinks cutting the intake of skilled migrants in favour of more refugees is the humanitarian course. She should take a look at research done on the impact of the immigration selection process for Canada and the United States. Professor Herbert Grubel in his seminal study of immigrants who came to Canada between 1990 and 2002 came to the very same conclusion that Ed Rubenstein and Robert Rector did concerning the United States. Unskilled immigrants, who comprise 80% of all those who come to Canada, including the relatives of "professionals", impose a fiscal burden that was $18.3 billion a year by 2002, but now is probably close to $30 billion. They simply cannot earn enough income to reimburse the state for the services they consume. In fact, to break even, the government needs to have a taxpayer earn $25,000 annually. McJobs will not pay for our health care system, our children's education or our pension outlays.

This deficit represents a huge opportunity cost, not only to Canadians who need those dollars for social services but to the investment needed to boost productivity. A Canada with higher productivity and a sustainable population would be better able to assist the world's poor, and poverty and overshoot are the root causes of the conflicts that drive people to flee their homelands. The Australian Conservation Foundation took the same position regarding Australia in recent years. The money deployed in providing services to unskilled immigrants is money that could also be spent in dispensing foreign aid made conditional on family planning. This money could reduce the 'push' factors that encourage migration in the first place, and would benefit the great majority of people who do not win the lottery of landing in North America. It is more cost effective to provide relief to people where they live rather than import their poverty to countries of high consumption and crippling welfare commitments. The money thrown at unskilled migrants in Canada could match the total sum spent by foreign governments in third world family planning programs, and benefit far more people than the 4 million foreign born Canadians who lack marketable skills.

None of this, however, is an argument for recruiting skilled migrants. There is no reason that native born citizens could not satisfy the demands of the job market. In Canada, young Aboriginals are crying out for vocational training and are not getting it, while multinationals are able to hire foreign workers a mere stone's throw from native reservations that suffer an unemployment rate of 75-80%. Without the needed education, and a Canadians-First hiring policy, they are a generation without hope and most end their days as refugees in the cities. Ironic that. So many bleeding hearts worrying about global refugees when we are making refugees out of our own citizens. And still, so many environmentalists are willing to open the flood gates even further. Don't refugees have an ecological footprint? Funny how Dr. William Rees never mentioned that in his book. I suppose that he is so interested in reducing personal footprints that he is oblivious to the number of "feet'.

We have no moral obligation to capsize our own lifeboat by taking on more passengers, skilled, unskilled, white, brown, English or non-English speaking. Closing our borders would be the best gift we could give to both ourselves and the world.


Of all people, the Secretary of Treasury has finally added some sanity to the debate. This morning's news reported that the Government is under pressure to explain itself following Ken Henry's challenging the Government to explain exactly how the country can hope to support 35 million people by 2050. Rudd's response was (I will correct this when I get the precise wording):

That will pose some challenges we will have to meet.

If he was paying any attention whatsoever to the news in his own state of Queensland, as well as the other major Eastern seaboard states and Western Australia, he would be left in no doubt that this country has already abysmally failed to meet the 'challenges' that have already been needlessly 'posed' by previous massive population growth.

As this site has tirelessly pointed out, the principle driver of every major social, economic and ecological problem that this country is facing --- road congestion, threatened native species extinction, water shortages, increases in council rates and charges for electricity, gas, water, road usage, registration, etc. To cap it all off, Queenslanders are having to face the selling-off of $15 billion of assets paid for them by past taxes, because, according to Premier Anna Bligh, they must be flogged off to build the infrastructure necessary for the new arrivals.

As Noosa Mayor Bob Abbot so pertinently pointed out recently, you can't go on doing the same thing as you have in the past and expect a different result.

Perhaps it is time that the debate over immigration, long promised, began, and that Prime Minister Rudd also explain exactly why this country even needed to create these 'challenges' in the first place.

He and his immigration Minister Chris Evans need to explain to the Australian public, whether Rudd and Evans are completely insane, or, whether, out of the sheer unnecessary stupidity of massive population growth, some powerful vested interests bankrolling the Labor Party somehow stand to gain from what intuition, common sense, as well as the evidence, tells all of us, necessarily makes all of us on average, poorer.

[Ed. Article about speech now here.]