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.


#AustraliaDay – a time to reflect on ‘benign cultural genocide’

In September last year, journalist Greg Sheridan observed: ‘In 40 years the racial and ethnic identity of Australia has been completely transformed’. His article, ‘Constitutional change will divide not unite the nation’ included the following shocking statements:

From the late 70s, less than 40 years ago, Australia began accepting large numbers of Asian immigrants.

Almost from the first words I wrote for public consumption I have strongly supported this policy. It has resulted, incidentally, in a kind of benign cultural genocide. The old race of ‘Austral-Britons’ is gone forever. It was not a bad race and it produced a good culture. Don’t think this was not a real identity. National leaders as recent as John Curtin and Robert Menzies called Australia a British ­nation, or even more explicitly, ‘a nation of Britishers’. We are certainly not that now. The old Austral-Britons have been supplanted by a much more diverse range of ethnic and cultural backgrounds. I don’t feel at all unhappy about that because race and ethnicity are the least interesting or important things about a person. It is the content of their character that counts.

Can ‘cultural genocide’ ever be ‘benign’? We don’t think so, and feel sure that most Australians, including many immigrants, would be horrified at the concept.

But ‘cultural genocide’ correctly describes the outrageous effect of immigration on traditional Australia over the last 40 years. How has this occurred? Research by Denis McCormack reveals that there has long been a ‘Grand Plan’ to bring about such dramatic and unwanted change to our society. For your reading over the Australia Day weekend, we present his grim reflections and inconvenient truths about the history and impacts of Australia’s immigration policy: Asianizing Australia – An Elite’s Long-Term Project (2015).

This catastrophe is not unique to Australia. Readers seeking an international perspective should consult Professor Kevin MacDonald’s book, The Culture of Critique: An Evolutionary Analysis of Jewish Involvement in Twentieth-Century Intellectual and Political Movements (1998). It includes an important chapter on Jewish involvement in shaping U.S. immigration policy.

McCormack’s essay concludes by quoting his own words, published in the Washington Post and The Guardian Weekly in 1993: ‘It is not a position of cultural or racial superiority to wish to preserve your own culture … Our complete racial and socio-cultural milieu is being changed through undemocratic policies. This is grounds for revolution.’

For a powerful suggestion about getting the political revolution rolling – using democratic means – please revisit our 2014 Australia Day message!

The real Light on the Hill: PM Ben Chifley on #immigration policy, 1949

PM Ben Chifley (Labor) is still hailed as one of Australia’s great Prime Ministers. Rarely, however, are his thoughts on the topic of immigration quoted for modern readers.

As Australians await the next national budget announcements on 13 May 2014 – with their potential to include new and hopefully lower immigration targets – we’d like to share with readers an editorial from the Melbourne Age some 65 years ago.

“National Ideal of White Australia”, Editorial, The Age, 31 May 1949

In a few plainly expressed homely paragraphs, the Prime Minister, in his Sunday night “weekly broadcast”, re-stated the basic factors behind our national policy of vigorous but selective immigration. These, as Mr Chifley pointed out, are as valid today as when the statutes of the respective states were incorporated in a federal law early in this century.

There is no ideal in which national agreement so nearly approaches unanimity as the desire for homogeneity, colloquially expressed in the terms “white Australia.” Any tampering with this policy for economic gain on the part of some small, affluent minority who would welcome a flood of cheap, coolie labor, or by a few impractical sentimentalists, would arouse wide spread indignation. Australia asks only the same right as that recognized and practised by every other nation – the right to determine how her population shall be composed. This generation of Australians recognizes a duty to preserve the heritage passed on by the pioneers who developed this continent and made it habitable.

It is to be hoped that Mr Chifley’s clear disclaimer will dispose of the false and mischievous notion that any sense of racial superiority is expressed or implied in our national policy. The blare of publicity which has attended the routine carrying out of the law in a few exceptional cases arising from the peculiar circumstances of the war, is to be deprecated. If traced to its source, this clamor will be found to be motivated, not by any mass urge of Asians to gain unrestricted right of entry into Australia – a right which they themselves do not accord even to other Asians – but by the strong desire of critics prepared to discredit the government by any propaganda device.

The peoples of Asia, toward whom in their upsurgent consciousness of nationality Australia adopts good-neighborly attitude, would not find in this continent with its own problems of light rainfall over wide semi-arid areas and liability to droughts, any appreciable relief from their population pressures. Their leaders who are well informed on the subject will endorse Mr Chifley’s words that, “the only way for Asians to achieve peace and prosperity for all their nations, was through strenuous efforts in their own lands, and not through emigration.” To this end they can rely on the good will, cultural friendliness and the material benefits of mutually advantageous trade with Australia.

These words reflect an age of practical intelligence, a time when ordinary people understood the importance of national survival and social cohesion as a “light on the hill”. Chifley would roll in his grave to learn of the size and composition of our current immigration program and their inevitable demographic consequences.

“About 22 or 23 million… the country couldn’t stand any more.” PM John Howard on #PopulationGrowth in 1997

Aaahhhh, those were the days! In 1996, Prime Minister John Howard had cut the Keating (ALP) Government’s immigration program back to the low 80 thousands only weeks after winning office. That first cut was by approximately 16,000. Howard then followed up with a further reduction of approximately 6,000 in 1997.

Although he’d campaigned in early 1996 (before the March election) that he’d keep the numbers ‘about the same’ as PM Keating’s program, it seemed to those closely following population / immigration politics at the time that Howard had understood the population / immigration message. Hence Howard’s initial cuts seemed like a bow to the common sense majority view.

In the early Howard years, whenever the growth lobby pushed for higher numbers, Immigration Minister Phillip Ruddock would confidently respond along these lines: ‘The evidence suggests that, once we lift the annual intake above 120,000 to 130,000, we run into significant speed humps’. (As has been well documented over the last three decades, these ‘speed humps’ typically include infrastructure, housing, health services provision, social cohesion and so on.)

Whatever happened soon thereafter to influence the Howard Government to turn its immigration policy through 180° is yet to be fully explained. The outcome, however, was a doubling of the immigration intake from 1999 through to their loss of office in 2007.

Meanwhile, read this transcript of a Singapore Straits Times article by Anthony Paul, a journalist with Australian connections. In ‘Changing face of Australia – the economics of numbers’ (8 May 2004), Paul records Howard’s earlier words of wisdom to him:

Prime Minister John Howard, a conservative, has cautiously modest ambitions. ‘About 22 or 23 million seems about right,’ he told me in a 1997 interview. ‘The country couldn’t stand any more.’

It’s hard to find any evidence that Howard ever shared his sensible perspective on sustainable, low-growth population with Australian policy-makers or the electorate – to his cost in 2007.

For the record, Australia’s population is now just under 23.5 million, thanks to the continuing high immigration policies of several governments since 1999. Weep, get angry, then calm down – and get even by spreading the REDUCE IMMIGRATION write-on idea.

In 1990, our current Prime Minister Tony Abbott wrote an excellent opinion piece on the problems of immigration and multiculturalism from which he now unfortunately resiles. Its title, ‘The real issue is the changing face of our society’, provides an ironic precursor to Anthony Paul’s article, ‘Changing face of Australia – the economics of numbers’.

Together, these articles provide an historical backdrop to immigration decisions that are part of the 2014 Australian Budget, due for release on 13 May. Will new Budgeteer-in-Chief PM Abbott reduce immigration for the first time this century?


A view of multiculturalism from an Indigenous leader

Respected Indigenous leader Gularrwuy Yunupingu is good mates with Tony Abbott, as was recently demonstrated very publicly when they discussed land rights at the Garma Festival.

They are also linked by their criticisms of multiculturalism which has long been a government-enforced (and costly) consequence of high immigration.

We recently posted the text of Abbott’s 1990 essay, ‘The real issue is the changing face of our society’. Back in 1996, Gularrwuy Yunupingu expressed similar views.

The following paragraphs come from Note 1 to Denis McCormack’s article, ‘An Epistle to Traditional Australia’, published in The Social Contract (Spring 2006).

Most Aborigines and we Yobborigines who take the time to contemplate “what if” realize that some colonial power or other was going to arrive here eventually, and that between the best and worst intentions, unhappy stuff happens on frontier fringes of expanding empires no matter which one, when, or where. If we examine the fate of other indigenous peoples who were caught up in other empires, by and between other races at other times, we know why we thank our lucky stars that the British settled Australia. “Where most Asians are concerned, the survival of Aboriginal people has never had any priority,” said Prof Wang Gu Wu, Vice Chancellor of Hong Kong University, past- President of the Asian Studies Association of Australia in The Canberra Times 8 July 1992.

Gularrwuy Yunupingu, past Australian of the Year, and Aboriginal Community Leader in Australia’s Northern Territory warned of timidity in the face of multiculturalism over ten years ago in The Australian, 6 Jan 1996: “There’s too many outside immigrants…. People who are Aboriginal and who are Australian-born have the main rights. Those cultures should be dominant instead of Australia being multicultural. It’s an insult to say multicultural. You’re trying to hide behind other cultural groups. This is Australia it should have a culture of its own. Why do we have to hide it among the Chinamen, the Arabs and the Jews? We love outside stuff too much…”

Amen, brother Yunupingu!

We find this common-sense from yesteryear to be quite refreshing!

Abbott vs Rudd – some lessons from 2010‏

An essay about Abbott vs Rudd in 2010 was submitted to The Social Contract on 2 June 2010 but was unpublished at that time due to Julia Gillard’s coup against Kevin Rudd on 23 June of the same year.

It was originally sent as an email to the founding editor of The Social Contract and is now reproduced in that format here, with some minor corrections and expansion of abbreviations.

The change of Australian Prime Minister from Rudd to Gillard on 24 June 2010 made the article redundant, and therefore it was not published at that time.

Publishing this draft now on the REDUCE IMMIGRATION website is stimulated not only by the imminent federal election with its return bout between Abbott and Rudd.

Its publication is also prompted by the need to demonstrate that our friends in the mainstream media have been given ample opportunity to absorb the REDUCE IMMIGRATION message, and that the facts of the ongoing boat-people fiascos and the crimes and methods of people-smugglers have long been known (as per the Herald Sun front-page story from 1999, incorporated towards the end of the draft article). These are not new issues in 2013.

Here we are again in 2013 with Abbott vs Krudd, so enjoy some otherwise hard-to-know background about these two. Drafted in 2010, it’s even more pertinent now.

The real issue is the changing face of our society

Here is a fascinatingly forthright article from 1990 by Tony Abbott, the same man who currently hopes to become Australia’s next Prime Minister. His official statements now about immigration and especially Multiculturalism are sadly changed. Which is the real Abbott? We believe that he nailed the “real issue” back in 1990, and are therefore pleased to share this historical text with our readers.

The real issue is the changing face of our society

By Tony Abbott

Originally published in The Australian, 31 May 1990, page 8.

Immigration risks a backlash because in some suburbs of Sydney and Melbourne it is hard to hear an Australian accent. Of course parts of Australia’s big cities have been immigrant ghettos for a generation. The change is that today’s immigrants look as well as sound different from most Australians.

Yet in 1984 when Professor Geoffrey Blainey first said that Asian immigration posed a challenge to social harmony students picketed his lectures, academic colleagues attacked his previous work and The Sydney Morning Herald editorialised that he had come close to espousing the ‘dangerous canard’ that Australia was being Asianised.

When the Opposition sought to make an issue of Blainey’s comments, the Prime Minister Mr Hawke, accused it of ‘dragging something up out of the gutter of racism’.

In 1988 when the then Opposition leader John Howard conceded a case for slowing down Asian immigration the Prime Minister called on him to retract his ‘inflammatory’, ‘discriminatory’, ‘morally repugnant’ and ‘economically insane’ comments.

When the next Opposition leader, Mr Andrew Peacock opposed the multifunction polis, the Treasurer, Mr Keating, said he had insulted the Japanese.

Whether our political and ‘ethnic’ leaders like it or not, Australia has an immigration debate. It may not happen in Parliament but it is taking place in the pubs, clubs, cafes and dining rooms of Australia, wherever people meet and talk about the future of our country. The issue is not whether migrants help or hinder our economic prospects. That debate is inconclusive, depends on econometric forecasting only experts understand and is only marginally relevant.

The issue is the sort of Australia we want our children and grandchildren to inherit. Will it be a relatively cohesive society that studies Shakespeare, follows cricket, and honours the Anzacs? or will it be a pastiche of cultures with only a geographic home in common?

The Government may think that race and culture do not matter. Anyone who has watched a National League soccer match or walked through inner city Redfern on a Saturday night knows otherwise. Recently, sensitivities over race have led to a proposed ban on interracial adoptions in Western Australia, an attempt to keep foreign flags out of soccer games and the alleged suppression of a report on Vietnamese crime levels.

The pressure of trying to manage immigration policy – recently described by Senator Peter Walsh as a result of a series of lobby-driven cave-ins and blow-outs – has meant six immigration ministers in seven years and the recent sacking of the departmental head.

Yet the Government tries to pretend that immigration and consequent social policy is not a contentious matter. Or that if it is it ought not be frankly discussed.

Race matters – but only because it usually signifies different values, attitudes and beliefs.

The real problem is not race, but culture. Difference does not guarantee trouble – but it makes it much more likely. The trouble with present government policy is that it seems to stress what divides our society rather than what unites it.

As the Government puts it, Multiculturalism means respecting migrant’s rights to maintain their old culture. But if so, and it is just a fancy word for ordinary tolerance, why the need for a special government policy plus specific agencies and a huge propaganda effort to support it?

Supporters insist that it does not mean, for instance Melbourne Greek organisations backing Athens rather than their hometown for the 1996 Olympics. But if it only means respecting migrants as people, why not drop the policy and keep the practice?

Multiculturalism acknowledges culture’s tenacious hold even on people who want to start a new life. But it ignores culture’s presumably even greater grip on people happy to stay where they are. It generously accommodates the cultural yearnings of Greeks, Italians, Vietnamese and other cultural groups living in Australia. But it assumes that stay-put Australians, by contrast, are entirely indifferent to revisions of our history, way of life and national eccentricities.

The Prime Minister often says that Australian life has been enriched by immigrants of diverse race, religion and culture. This pays proper tribute to post war migrant’s contribution, but tacitly denigrates pre-existing Australia. Pre-1950 Australia indeed is often considered a pallid reflection of the British Isles and the opponents of multiculturalism are reckoned to harbour ethnic yearnings of their own.

The difference between someone concerned with the rights and wrongs of British policy in Ireland and someone passionate about the antipathies of Serbs and Croats is that the former has profoundly influenced Australian history and attitudes but the latter has not. Whether one’s own ethnic background is Anglo-Celt, Serbo-Croat, or Vietnamese, to be an Australian means to inherit an Anglo-Celt cultural perspective.

For a Pakistani, becoming an Australian does not mean barracking for Australia against Pakistan in subsequent cricket matches. But it does mean taking an interest in cricket and the other cultural paraphernalia that make Australians different. For an Australian, by contrast, nationality does not mean unswerving devotion to everything in our past. But it does mean appreciation of and respect for that which made us what we are.

Australia has a unique culture – hard to define, like all cultures – but different. We participate in the broader English speaking culture. Yet we have given it our own gloss. Unlike the English, we lack a class perspective: unlike the New Zealanders, we have largely overcome cultural cringe; and unlike the Americans, we possess a sense of humour.

The adherents of Multiculturalism veer between asserting that Australia has no significant culture on the one hand, and that it has a racist and oppressive culture on the other. In fact, one of the finest features of modern Australian culture has been its open-hearted welcome to others who wish to share our way of life.

Australian attitudes have come a long way since Billy Hughes declared, while debating the Immigration Restriction Bill of 1901, that he opposed Asian immigration ‘because of their vices and of their immorality and because of a hundred things that we can only hint at.’

Even then however, in declaring that the Japanese should be excluded for their virtues as much as their vices, another one-time Prime Minister, Alfred Deakin, struck a more liberal note. ‘Our civilization belongs to us and we belong to it.’ he said. ‘We are bred in it and it is bred in us (The Japanese) have their own independent development, their own qualities and their civilization, form of life and government which naturally attaches to them. They are separated from us by a gulf which we cannot bridge to the advantage of either.’

The Japanese Government protested to what quickly became known as the White Australia policy: yet a few years ago in an unguarded moment, the then Japanese prime minister Mr Yasuhiro Nakasone attributed Japan’s economic superiority to racial and cultural purity.

In 1956, the government began to relax restrictions on Asian immigration by allowing the spouses of Australian citizens to settle permanently. Ten years later, the government announced that non-Europeans would be allowed to settle but that numbers would be ‘controlled by a careful assessment of the individual’s qualifications and the basic aim of preserving a homogeneous population’.

In 1971, the government declared that future immigration policy would avoid discrimination on any grounds of race, colour or creed.

Public opinion broadly kept pace with these changes.

But a poll last month shows that 65 per cent now want fewer immigrants. What has happened is that Asian immigration has risen from about 10 to nearly 50 per cent of the total.

Before 1950, Australia’s population was remarkably homogeneous with well over 90 per cent ethnically derived from the British Isles. The post war migration of almost 5 million people means that only about 75 per cent are now British derived, even though about 40 per cent of the post war influx came from Britain and Ireland.

Projecting the present numbers and proportions into the future, demographer Dr Charles Price estimates that Australia will be 20 per cent Asian in 40 years. University of New South Wales political scientist James Mackie reckons that Australia will be about 10 per cent Asian within about 15 years.

Even in a colour-blind world, this would matter. In a world where colour and physiognomy differences often denote cultural differences too, a multi-racial society (at least under policies that encourage migrants to keep their identity) means a much changed society.

In an extensive study of community attitudes to immigration prepared for the Fitzgerald Committee, author Dr Murray Goot notes clear community ambivalence over questions of language and culture. In various surveys, no more than half have endorsed non-discrimination in immigration policy, although large majorities say that ‘migrants are OK as individuals’.

[old photocopy indistinct here] … for instance, 81 per cent agreed that immigrants should try a lot harder to be absorbed into the Australian way of life but, in an apparent contradiction 66 per cent felt that they should be allowed to fit in at their own pace.

Popular ambivalence is not surprising because it is also evident in official pronouncements.

Affirmation of the non-discrimination principle always has the rider that the migrant intake should not jeopardize social harmony. Yet tailoring immigration to community attitudes inevitably involves discriminatory selection.

The contradiction at the heart of present policy – between social harmony and a non-discriminatory immigration selection – can be reconciled but only if newcomers are expected and encouraged to assimilate quickly.

Once, immigration was Australia’s favour to war-shattered countries and a means to secure Australia’s way of life. It played to Australian’s pride in their country. Now, immigration is supposed to give us the culture and brains we lack.

There is no reason why a Vietnamese cannot become thoroughly Australian – providing he is encouraged to do so – rather than remain a Vietnamese who happens to be living here.

The problem with multiculturalism is that Australians whose cultural roots are here feel like an endangered species through destruction of habitat.

The argument is not over which national groups have made better migrants in the past. It is over the type of immigrant who is likely to ensure that Australia remains a happy society for all her existing citizens far into the future. The argument is not whether Australian culture is superior or inferior to others. It’s just that one is ours and others are not.

Let the real debate begin.


Click here to read a 2010 draft essay (as a PDF document) by Denis McCormack which includes the above Abbott article.

To download PDF files, you need to install Acrobat Reader on your computer.