#Budget2018 – Band-aids won’t help #AusPol fix a continuing #BigAustralia

The Australian Budget, announced on 8 May 2018, makes no change to the planned level of permanent immigration.

Here’s the official statement by the Minister for Home Affairs, Peter Dutton, about this larger component of Australia’s immigration program:

In 2018-19, the portfolio will maintain 2017-18 levels (up to 190,000 places)

A number of visa categories within the program seem designed to incentivise migration to regional areas.

The other component is the humanitarian program. This appears to be unchanged as well (i.e. 16,250 places per annum),  because the Ministerial Statement does not mention any alteration:

The portfolio supports humanitarian settlement in regional Australia by working with the Department of Social Services, local and state government, community groups and service providers.

The Big Australia agenda underpinning these continuingly high levels of immigration is clear in the Ministerial Statement:

Australia’s migration program continues to support Australia’s growth—stimulating economic growth, addressing skills shortages, and contributing to diversity and multiculturalism.

Several commentators overnight have pointed out that the Budget is simply a band-aid for the adverse effects of high immigration on our environmental and economic sustainability, social cohesion and cultural integrity.

Here are some examples:

Terry McCrann, ‘Budget a good fiscal and political balance’, Herald Sun, 8 May 2018:

[Any long-term budget surplus] pivots on our high immigration-strong population growth dynamic, provided, crucially, there are jobs to be got.

Andrew Bolt, ‘Many Budget winners, but Liberals aren’t among them’, Herald Sun, 8 May 2018:

[The budget is] all paid for by a cash windfall, massive immigration and a gamble that the economy will improve faster than many economists predict.

Judith Sloan, ‘Budget 2018: optimistic forecasts crowd out an immigration fix’, The Australian, 9 May 2018:

Clearly the “wets” in the cabinet (and that is most of them) couldn’t bring themselves to reach the obvious conclusion that the migrant intake is excessive and is causing all sorts of problems, particularly in Melbourne and Sydney. The fact that there are a number of entirely inadequate and disruptive “congestion busting” measures contained in the budget indicates that the government knows the perceived, rapid loss of urban amenity is an issue in the electorate.

Peta Credlin, ‘Turnbull’s left turn pushes Shorten to extremes’, The Australian, 9 May 2018:

… the new $1bn Urban Congestion Fund … is a missed opportunity to open up a debate on Australia’s rate of immigration, one of the highest in the developed world.

Instead, Turnbull will use the fund to tell fed-up city dwellers that everything is OK when it’s clear that the majority of Australians, in poll after poll, want a population plan for the future.

In our pre-Budget post about the apparent increase in awareness about immigration, we documented some of the polls to which Credlin refers.

Now that it’s clear that the government won’t listen to published advice on the importance of reducing immigration, and intends only to patch things up with band-aids, it’s up to all of us to spread the message as best we can.

We recommend writing REDUCE IMMIGRATION in the clear blank space at the top of your ballot papers, whenever you have the opportunity to vote.

Go to our How To page for further details, and check out the FAQ page if you have any questions.


Will tonight’s #Budget2018 help #ReduceImmigration for Australia?

What limits, if any, will the 2018-19 Australian budget set for our immigration targets?

Speculation commenced in March (see Greg Sheridan in The Weekend Australian on 29 March, p. 12) that the announcement tonight (8 May) will feature a small reduction. Media coverage in April also suggested that Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton may have been ultimately successful in subduing the immigration numbers ever so slightly as a nod to mounting public opinion:

Judith Sloan‘s comment this morning (The Australian, 8 May 2018) conveys a pragmatic reminder:

I will be looking to see whether the government takes the sensible course and reduces the planned number of permanent migrants, presently 190,000 a year. Last year I had to search high and low even to find out what the government’s plans were. They had been intentionally hidden because it was such a big call for the government to sustain such an intake.

We presume that Dutton is hoping to salvage some votes and public credibility to buffer the Turnbull Coalition government’s chances at the next Federal election (2019?), and to build favour in his own electorate of Dickson. It seems, however, that he will probably have been unsuccessful in persuading his cabinet colleagues about the merits of genuinely reducing immigration, relying instead on:

  • a reinterpretation of 190,000 permanent immigrants from a ‘target’ to a ‘cap’, and
  • a continuing sleight-of-hand relating to the temporary workers and students whose visas set them on an easy path to permanent status.

In the current and long-term absence of an argued policy statement to guide Australia’s planning and decision-making about immigration, we are forced to rely on figures released as part of the annual budget. We await tonight’s budget for confirmation of the situation for 2018-19, and plan to post the details as soon as we can.

Debate about Australia’s immigration policy goes back a long way, and overlaps with discussion about population policy. Click HERE to read our interpretation of the history of this debate.

2016 #Ausvotes: the ‘complaint box’ on immigration isn’t working

As the counting of votes in the 2 July Australian federal election approaches conclusion, we congratulate the candidates who declared their commitment to a lower rate of immigration. It was pleasing to note the increased spread of candidates and registered parties with policies to reduce immigration by one means or another.

At the foot of this post are their results as at 30 July. These results suggest that people vote to elect a government rather than devote their primary vote to a single issue – even if it’s an over-arching issue like immigration.

We tried to help by offering a non-partisan focus. We emailed our website’s REDUCE IMMIGRATION write-on message to various parties and independent candidates standing on high immigration and multicultural policy related concerns but received no real feedback. From what we could observe of their platforms and concerns on-line, we found no evidence of any of them spreading the word which could so easily have informed vast numbers of similarly concerned voters across the entire political spectrum on how to help themselves by simply writing REDUCE IMMIGRATION atop ballot papers…

Pauline Hanson’s One Nation party did well in the polls, and anticipates gaining three seats in the Senate. They have the advantage of having a media-created, high public profile over the last two decades. Their recent electoral revival is likely to be partly due to that factor, and partly because the electorate wanted to lodge a protest vote to express general dissatisfaction with the Coalition / Labor bipartisan status quo on a whole range of serious issues.

We also know that during the 2013 federal election campaign Pauline Hanson ignorantly and specifically rejected the RI write-on idea on the erroneous notion that it would make such votes invalid (see: https://reduceimmigration.wordpress.com/2013/09/05/setting-the-record-straight-re-origin-of-temporary-protection-visas).

This sort of know-it-all mixture of ignorance, partisan obstinacy and mismanagement has long been Hanson’s Achilles heel. There are 14 million out of 15 million voters out there to whom Hanson does not appeal. We know the majority millions of immigration sceptics are spread throughout both the major parties’ voters and the wider spectrum, and that if they knew about the REDUCE IMMIGRATION write-on, they’d do it.

Pauline Hanson’s One Nation party targeted Muslim immigration this time around because the party acknowledges nationwide concern about the socio-cultural impact of non-Western migration. By contrast, the Sustainable Australia (SA) party expressed the environmental impact and infrastructure establishment costs of high migration well, and with substantial advertising for the first time, but underplayed the socio-cultural consequences deliberately.

According to a SA party post-election email on 6 July, “Pauline Hanson and Derryn Hinch and Nick Xenophon ate our lunch. We had picked the right issue – immigration, on which to make big inroads. News Ltd research showed it was in the top three concerns for the Australian electorate going into the last week. Our whole campaign was tailored to catch this wave of community concern about the record immigration intake.”

The real problem was identified by Geoffrey Blainey in his landmark book, All for Australia (1984). It is well worth re-reading, both for its insights into the way governments and trade unions brought about a massive policy shift, and for the sense that little has changed over the intervening 32 years – except that migrant numbers and the diversity of their source countries have increased further, and the migrants are being settled more widely across Australia, not only in particular suburbs of capital city metropolitan areas. On pages 141-2 of his excellent book, Blainey asked ‘Where is the complaint box?’:

The newcomers have been told their rights and been given government money to set up their ethnic organizations, and told how to make their protests and express themselves. The old Australians in contrast are no longer sure what rights they possess. Their dissent is now concentrated on private talk and indignation expressed amongst friends … in the name of Tolerance, an intolerance has been imposed by those powerful respectable civic authorities coming from outside the affected suburbs.

An obvious channel for complaints against unpopular policy is the ballot box – but this is effective as a ‘complaint box’ only if the parties are well organised, their policies are framed with intelligence, and the vote is not split across myriad small groups. Since Blainey wrote, a variety of political parties and movements have attempted to harness the public concern sparked by Australia’s high net overseas immigration rate. A highlight was the Australians Against Further Immigration party (AAFI).

From 1990 to late 1996, AAFI contested three Federal Elections and nearly every by-election in between. It attracted lies and misrepresentation, but also the attention and staunch support Graeme Campbell, MHR, Kalgoorlie. In the first by-election AAFI contested on 11 May 1991, Menzies in Victoria, the AAFI vote was 6.8% (see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Menzies_by-election,_1991)- ‘…a creditable vote for a new and mildly controversial small party, its result close to a translatable quota in a double dissolution full senate election scenario…’ said Pru Goward when interviewing the AAFI Menzies by-election candidate on ABC radio the Monday after the election, and the 9 TV network’s 60 Minutes segment of June 1991 on AAFI’s Menzies result and consequent critique of high mass immigration presented by Jeff McMullen was informative, understanding, and supportive of AAFI’s stance. A AAFI candidate first out polled the Democrats at the South Australian Bonython by-election with 6.82% on 19 March 1994 and another AAFI candidate in the NSW Warringah by-election the next week, 26 March 1994 garnered 13.5%.

In 2016, the Australian electorate has, once again, largely bypassed the opportunity to vote for the candidates who want immigration reduced.

Would they have loved to write REDUCE IMMIGRATION atop their ballot papers on polling day if the mainstream media had had the honesty to discuss the utility of the write-on campaign? They sure would have. Do have a look at the meagre coverage we were able to squeeze for the RI write-on this time around:

As regular readers of this site know, every election, anywhere, any level – local, state, federal – gives voters the opportunity to write the REDUCE IMMIGRATION message on ballot papers. This is a far better, real, available, extant, anonymous, quantifiable approach. It is already a powerful version of Professor Blainey’s ‘complaint box’.

If only each party and candidate supporting a lower rate of immigration would also promote the REDUCE IMMIGRATION write-on concept, then scrutineers, the media, the parties and therefore the politicians would take note of the widespread public concern and we might see improved policy action by governments.


Election results as at 30 July 2016

These are the candidates who stood on a ‘reduce immigration’ platform, as far as we are aware. Please contact us if we have inadvertently omitted any others.


Australia First

3.03%       Susan Jakobi (House of Representatives, Lalor, Vic)

2.09%       Victor Waterson (House of Representatives, McMahon, NSW)

1.46%       John Kearney (House of Representatives, Solomon, NT)

1.20%       Jim Saleam (House of Representatives, Lindsay, NSW)

0.22%       Brian McRea & Lyn Vickery (Senate team for WA)


Australian Liberty Alliance

6.08%       Ron Pike (House of Representatives, Farrer, NSW)

3.59%       Tony Duncan (House of Representatives, Bowman, Qld)

3.52%       John Spellman (House of Representatives, Fisher, Qld)

3.46%       Shaun Spain (House of Representatives, Forde, Qld)

2.36%       Steve Roddick (House of Representatives, Lindsay, NSW)

1.92%       Peter Kelly (House of Representatives, Bradfield, NSW)

1.88%       Rob Windred (House of Representatives, Hinkler, Qld)

1.85%       Carl Halley (House of Representatives, Macquarie, NSW)

1.80%       David Archibald (House of Representatives, Curtin, WA)

1.61%       Matt Darragh (House of Representatives, Griffith, Qld)

1.11%       Debbie Robinson & Dr Marion Hercock (Senate team for WA)

1.07%       Bernard Gaynor, Alan Biggs & Chelle Dobson (Senate team for Qld)

0.94%       Caleb Wells (House of Representatives, Longman, Qld)

0.66%       Kirralie Smith & Gary ‘Angry’ Anderson (Senate team for NSW)

0.65%       Daniel Jones (Senate candidate for Vic)

0.42%       Wanda Marsh (Senate candidate for SA)

0.33%       Tony Robinson (Senate candidate for Tas)


Pauline Hanson’s One Nation

20.90%     Rod Smith (House of Representatives, Wright, Qld)

19.16%     Damian Huxham (House of Representatives, Hinkler, Qld)

17.83%     Lynette Keehn (House of Representatives, Maranoa, Qld)

17.15%     Phil Baker (House of Representatives, Flynn, Qld)

15.60%     Elise Cottam (House of Representatives, Wide Bay, Qld)

15.58%     Troy Aggett (House of Representatives, Blair, Qld)

13.53%     Geoff Virgo (House of Representatives, Herbert, Qld)

13.05%     Graham Burston (House of Representatives, Paterson, NSW)

11.96%     Brenden Ball (House of Representatives, Fadden, Qld)

9.74%       Robert Pasquali (House of Representatives, Fairfax, Qld)

9.42%       Michelle Pedersen (House of Representatives, Longman, Qld)

9.14%       Pauline Hanson, Judy Smith, Fraser Anning & Malcolm Roberts (Senate team for Qld)

8.61%       Carter Edwards (House of Representatives, Dobell, NSW)

8.42%       Brad Trussell (House of Representatives, Oxley, Qld)

7.63%       Peter Rogers (House of Representatives, Leichhardt, Qld)

6.26%       Neil Smith (House of Representatives, Richmond, NSW)

4.09%       Brian Burston, Dean Mackin & Christine Bernier (Senate team for NSW)

4.02%       Peter Georgiou, Rodney Culleton & Ionna Culleton (Senate team for WA)

3.01%       Steven Burgess & Angelina Nicolis (Senate team for SA)

2.57%       Natasia Manzi & Kate McCulloch (Senate team for Tas)

1.83%       Ian Cameron & Simon Roylance (Senate team for Vic)


Sustainable Australia

1.05%       John Haydon & Martin Tye (Senate team for ACT)

0.69%       Chris Spike (House of Representatives, Sydney, NSW)

0.30%       Georgia Nicholls & Steven Armstrong (Senate team for Vic)

0.20%       Matt Moran & John Roles (Senate team for Qld)

0.17%       Greg Graham & William Bourke (Senate team for NSW)



1.18%       Diane Teasdale (House of Representatives, Murray, Vic)

0.01%       Kim Vuka (Senate candidate for Qld)

Where is #reduceimmigration in 2016 election debate? #AUSPOL #AUSVOTES

Congratulations to the British people who exercised their democratic right to express their discontent with continuing membership of the EU. While each individual will have had their own reasons for voting to Leave, it appears that mass immigration and its consequences has been a strong motivating force behind the Brexit result.

Here in Australia, the major parties contesting the federal election on 2 July 2016 have declined invitations to debate one of the biggest policy issues facing our collective future: immigration. (See: Federal election 2016: Coalition, Labor back away from health, immigration debates)

Despite this lack of engagement, we do have fresh opportunities to communicate concern about our current high levels of immigration.

This website was started to support two independent candidates (in Flinders, Victoria) who promoted the REDUCE IMMIGRATION write-on concept at the 2013 federal election.

Now, we are happy to see the Sustainable Australia party campaigning with its new ‘Lower Immigration’ logo. They are fielding candidates for the Senate (in the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria) and for the House of Representatives (in Sydney). We encourage people in those electorates to consider supporting Sustainable Australia.

Wherever you live, and whomever you choose to vote for in the federal election on 2 July, it’s easy to add the words REDUCE IMMIGRATION in the blank space at the top of your ballot papers. For guidance, see our How to and FAQ pages.

The REDUCE IMMIGRATION write-on campaign continues! See here for recent media coverage, and visit our Select Bibliography for articles that provide a range of reasons to reduce immigration.

Please share this information with as many Australian voters as you can, in the lead-up to polling day on 2 July. Don’t forget your family, friends, colleagues, Facebook groups and other social media!

Postscript (added 28 June 2016)

A guide to party policies relating to immigration, based on a survey process, has been prepared by Sustainable Population Australia in advance of this federal election and makes interesting reading for all who care about Australia’s future.

A mixed bag of news for #reduceimmigration in 2015

High immigration adversely affects our environmental and economic sustainability, social cohesion and cultural integrity. A summary of the continuing need for the REDUCE IMMIGRATION write-on campaign can be found in our Select Bibliography for 2015.

In the year just ending, immigration issues have created harrowing times for Europe and many other parts of the world. Here are a few items of special relevance to Australia.

The Good News…

Australia’s net overseas immigration (NOM) has reduced a little. The Australian Bureau of Statistics has released (in Australian Demographic Statistics, June 2015) its preliminary estimates for the financial year 2014-15:

The preliminary estimate of net overseas migration recorded for the year ended 30 June 2015 (168,200 people) was 11.4%, or 21,600 people lower than the net overseas migration recorded for the year ended 30 June 2014 (189,800 people).

The Bad News…

  • Despite the slight fall in intake that’s reported above as Good News, the 2014-15 actual NOM figure represents 1.6 times the capacity of the Melbourne Cricket Ground, or approximately two federal electorates – that’s a lot of immigrants! And the immigration targets for Australia are still excessively high. For 2015-16, the government has provided for up to 190,000 permanent migration places and 13,750 humanitarian places, plus an additional 12,000 humanitarian places for Syrian refugees, with ongoing pressure to accept more.
  • At its AGM on 4 July 2015, Victoria First retreated from its earlier endorsement of the REDUCE IMMIGRATION write-on campaign, due to a short-sighted lack of courage by its Executive. (Their only fresh idea for the future is to fold their tent, and wind up the association – with their modest residual funds being directed to the Victorian & Tasmanian branch of Sustainable Population Australia.)

A Mixed Bag…

In September, the Australian Institute for Progress released its report on a survey conducted in November 2014, Australian Attitudes to Immigration. While the sample group was, by their own admission, severely limited through ‘a significant skew towards Greens and Labor’ – ‘we miss out on many blue-collar, working-class voters’ – the research valiantly attempts to wrestle with the complex issues associated with understanding how Australians view immigration. Nevertheless, the questions they pose are interesting, and the mixed bag of responses gives food for thought. Their media release on the launch of their report suggests that it reveals ‘a nation deeply divided on issues around immigration, refugee policy and arrivals from Islamic countries’ and shows that ‘Australians are not only polarised on immigration, but they are very much “talking past” one another – using the same words to indicate radically different things’. Many respondents, for example, are so fixated on the illegal arrival of refugees (part of the Humanitarian program) that they are unable to comment rationally on the larger immigration program and picture. Every day, we see and hear such distortion of perception reflected in the media; this report epitomises the problem, but also lays a foundation for further research on complex and thorny issues.

Still Pending…

  • In November, the Productivity Commission released its draft report, Migrant Intake into Australia. Elements from our submission are reported in Box 4.2 (page 115) and Box 6.2 (page 186). As we noted at the time, the focus of the report’s recommendations is unfortunately on immigrants, not on ‘incumbent Australians’ or the environment. Public hearings on the draft report were held in December. At the Melbourne hearings, the REDUCE IMMIGRATION arguments were made persuasively by several speakers who out-numbered those from the pro-immigration lobby. Submissions and transcripts are available on the Commission’s website. We await the final report in March 2016.
  • Plebiscites are an excellent way to assess public opinion as a guide to government action. Earlier this year we canvassed the idea of a REDUCE IMMIGRATION Yes/No plebiscite not long before (then) PM Tony Abbott rightly decided the people should have a say on the (less important than immigration levels) issue of  ‘Gay Marriage’. We have made sure the PM and many others have received our communications on the REDUCE IMMIGRATION plebiscite. We hope for its eventual inclusion!

If Only…

This year, if only they had known about the REDUCE IMMIGRATION write-on campaign, 7,199,273 Australian voters would have had the opportunity to send the REDUCE IMMIGRATION message through the electoral process (not counting local government polls). These were the people who lodged formal votes at the New South Wales state election (4,404,334), the Queensland state election (2,623,443), and at federal by-elections in Canning WA (89,717) and North Sydney (81,779).

If only a number of high-profile people and organisations who are on the public record as having concerns about Australia’s immigration-driven population growth had spoken up about this non-partisan campaign! For reasons not clear to us, the following have been dismissive up to now about the REDUCE IMMIGRATION write-on campaign: Dick Smith, Graham Turner, Bob Carr, Tim Flannery, Ian Lowe, Ross Gittins, Andrew Bolt, Rita Panahi, Tom Elliott, William Bourke, Kelvin Thompson, the Australian Conservation Foundation, the Greens, Sustainable Population Australia and the Sustainable Population Party. Feel free to pester them on this issue!

Looking Ahead…

A federal election is due at some stage in 2016. Also, the Northern Territory is expected to go to the polls on 27 August 2016 and the Australian Capital Territory on 15 October 2016. See how to participate in the REDUCE IMMIGRATION write-on campaign, and check our FAQ page for further information.

We encourage all readers to spread news of the REDUCE IMMIGRATION write-on campaign to friends, family, elected representatives and influential leaders.

Happy New Year!

Bigger #Australia, faster? Why? We have already overshot our @UN 1987 Population Card projections

Back in the 1980s, the United Nations Population Fund requested the 165 UN member states and observer states to submit their projections for national population growth.

The assembled data was presented through the ‘Population Card’, a then state-of-the-art computerised calculator. The size of a credit card, this neat digital device allows people to check the rapid increase of global and national populations through to 2020. It came stylishly boxed with a helpful manual in three languages.


Double-click on our photos to enlarge the images.

This intriguing device was rightly praised by John Tanton in The Social Contract in 1991. Since then, however, it seems to have disappeared from public consciousness, even on the internet. We can’t find it preserved by major libraries, nor does it appear to have become a collectable. We therefore want to share this rare gem with you.

We checked the Card today (28 October 2015). It shows Australia’s (1987 anticipated) population for today as being 21,828,058:


Today’s official population for Australia is actually 23,912,665. That’s an overshoot of 2,084,607, or 9.6% more than the UN Card’s prediction! (Check our source and calculations for yourself – obviously, the population will have increased by the time you read this post!) The long-ago forward projections on Australia’s population growth have been seriously overshot.

We know that Australia has been politically committed to increasing its population through mass immigration since WW2. The present rate of increase is 1.4% (source: Australian Bureau of Statistics).

Our Bibliography illustrates that Australia is not coping with its current rapid population expansion, 60% of which is immigration-induced.

Rapid population growth matters to Australia, but does our growth matter to the rest of the world? Not really! With much else to concern them, the rest of the world wouldn’t care one way or the other. But what about Australia’s friends in the “Five Eyes” intelligence alliance, and how have their populations expanded? In alphabetical order, here are the 1987 projections for Canada, New Zealand, UK and USA, set against real-time contemporary data from each nation’s official ‘population clock’.


1987 projection for Canada today: 31,862,450
2015 official count for today: 35,851,774 (source)
This means that the Canadian overshoot is 3,989,324, or 12.5% more than the UN Card’s prediction!


1987 projection for New Zealand today: 4,063,429
2015 official count for today: 4,627,269 (source)
This means that the NZ overshoot is 563,840, or 13.9% more than the UN Card’s prediction!


1987 projection for the United Kingdom today: 58,192,236
2015 official count for today: 64,971,075 (source)
This means that the UK overshoot is 6,778,839, or 11.6% more than the UN Card’s prediction!


1987 projection for the United States of America today: 294,164,789
2015 official count for today: 322,045,200 (source)
This means that the USA overshoot is 27,880,411, or 9.5% more than the UN Card’s prediction!

Not every advanced nation has experienced the sort of growth that the Five Eyes nations have experienced. Japan, for example, has not reached its statisticians’ expectations. The Population Card predicted 139,247,705, but the reality is that Japan’s official population now is only 126,904,000 (source), and Japan still sensibly eschews mass immigration.

World population ‘league tables’ currently rank Australia at 52 in a list of 257 countries (source: Wikipedia) or 51 in a list of 200 (source: Worldometers). Are all those many countries with populations smaller than Australia’s obsessively seeking to expand through open-ended mass-migration programs? No, they aren’t.

Indeed, most countries in the world sensibly don’t do mass immigration. We need to REDUCE IMMIGRATION here. In fact, now that we see how far ahead of the projections we’ve moved, and now that we live with the consequences of high mass immigration, perhaps a complete moratorium on all immigration to Australia would be a good idea.

Voters at this weekend’s Victorian by-elections, or the federal North Sydney by-election on 5 December, should use these opportunities to write REDUCE IMMIGRATION in the blank space atop their ballot papers. (Learn more about how to do this.)


Below are the introductory pages from the explanatory manual that accompanies the UN Population Card. We can check the 1987 projections for other countries, on request.


It’s 25 years since @TonyAbbottMHR’s best shot against #immigration and multiculturalism… so can he still be trusted?‏

On 31 May 1990, a journalist named Tony Abbott wrote a refreshing article as part of The Australian’s ‘IMMIGRATION DEBATE – A SPECIAL WEEK-LONG SERIES BY EXPERT COMMENTATORS ON THE ISSUES THE GOVERNMENT WANTS TO AVOID’. By March 1994, Abbott had entered Federal Parliament at the Warringah by-election. He has been re-elected seven times since, and has been Prime Minister of Australia since September 2013. We publicised his opinion piece, ‘The real issue is the changing face of our society’, on this website in August 2013, when Abbott was still leader of the Opposition.

Twenty-five years ago, Abbott’s honest and patriotic writing robustly defended both academic Geoffrey Blainey and politician John Howard. His article was the first significant dust-up over things immigration since John Howard’s popular, but ultimately unsuccessful, 1988 immigration policy intervention – a move which cost him the Opposition leadership in 1989.

By inference, Abbott’s article also defended the position taken on immigration and multiculturalism by the political party Australians Against Further Immigration. AAFI was not invited to contribute to The Australian’s ‘special week-long series’ despite the so-called ‘debate’ being clearly prompted by dust kicked up around their first electoral challenge at the March 1990 Federal election.

Fast forward to this year, when PM Abbott foreshadowed (ABC 7.30 program, 20 February 2015) new legislation to deal with ‘home grown’ and imported jihadi terrorism security risks. This might seem to be a natural, easily-predicted, straight-line progression from his 1990 views:

TONY ABBOTT, PRIME MINISTER: We are a free and fair nation, but that doesn’t mean we should let bad people play us for mugs, and all too often, they have. Well, that’s going to stop.

DYLAN WELCH, REPORTER: Tony Abbott is planning tougher measures on terrorism. His announcement came days after police charged Kuwaiti national Mohammad Kiad and Iraqi refugee Omar al-Kutobi with planning a gruesome terrorist attack in Sydney.

TONY ABBOTT: Under the influence of the Islamist death cult, all you need to be a terrorist is a knife, a flag, a camera phone and a victim. That’s all you need. …… It’s clear to me that for too long we have given those who might be a threat to our country the benefit of the doubt. There’s been the benefit of the doubt at our borders, the benefit of the doubt for residency, the benefit of the doubt for citizenship and the benefit of the doubt at Centrelink. And in the courts, there has been bail, when clearly there should have been jail.

DYLAN WELCH: Lindt cafe gunman Man Monis ticked all those boxes. He was a refugee from Iran living on welfare. He was on bail for a string of sexual assault charges as well as his alleged involvement in the murder of his ex-wife.

Similarly, PM Abbott’s recent ‘Nope, nope, nope!’ reply to pleadings by the mainstream media for him to allow refugee / asylum entry to Australia by the latest boat people du jour, Bangladeshis and the Rohingya from Burma would seem straightforward enough. Having successfully staunched the inflow of boat people to Australia that, on coming to office, he inherited from the previous ALP administration, Abbott cannot now afford to flip back to courting such disaster again – even if influential commentators want to unleash another ‘Camp of the Saints’ wave of the unwanted upon Australia’s shores (#).

In his 2009 autobiography (and, arguably, his Prime Ministerial job application) Battlelines, Abbott provided a number of carefully couched apologies for his previously well considered, crafted and printed thoughts regarding immigration and multiculturalism policy problems. He asked readers to believe in his complete conversion (following his 1990s experience with Australians for a Constitutional Monarchy) from antagonist to believer in multiculturalism, and distanced himself further from his 1990 opinions by attributing them to the 1980s (see Battlelines, pages 161 to 163).

This anomaly was also noticed by journalist David Marr who in 2013 cited and commented critically on Abbott’s 1990 article. Marr clearly found Abbott’s anecdote about his own conversion to multiculturalism unconvincing, self-servingly convenient, and hard to believe:

It beggars belief, perhaps, but working with people like Sophie Mirabella nee Panopoulos in his mid thirties reconciled Abbott to multiculturalism. He told Paul Kelly [a long time political journalist at The Australian] a decade later: ‘I had been altogether too ungenerous to migrants. I had it wrong and I made a mistake.’

Source: David Marr, Political Animal: The making of Tony Abbott, 2013,
pages 80 and 81.

In late 2010/11, when European leaders Merkel, Sarkozy, the Dutch and Spanish PMs and the new British PM Cameron all in concert bagged multiculturalism as dangerous policy gone wrong, what did Australia do?  Our then-PM Julia Gillard and her Immigration Minister Chris Bowen spent tax-payers’ money to re-launch Multiculturalism in Australia. And what did ‘conservative’ Opposition leader Tony Abbott do? He agreed wholeheartedly with Gillard and reaffirmed his commitment to multiculturalism.

At a press conference when he became Opposition leader on 1 December 2009, Abbott said:

‘I probably should, I suppose, apologise now for all my errors of the past and make a clean breast of them … and ask the public to judge me from this point.’

Since winning government, Abbott has held to the ALP’s high annual immigration targets and has committed to a stepped increase to the humanitarian / refugee intake.

We don’t trust him to return publicly to his 1990 opinions, but we do like to remind Abbott that many Australian voters still agree with those views.

Please help PM Abbott understand what is important by spreading the REDUCE IMMIGRATION write-on idea far and wide! 

(#)   Jean Raspail, The Camp of the Saints, 1973. (Reprinted 1995 by The Social Contract Press). Reviewed here. (See our ‘Bookshelf’ page for other essential reading on immigration.)