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September 01st 2010 print

John Stone

Immigration Policy: Our Self-Inflicted Wounds

In The Howard Era (Quadrant Books, 2009) I assessed the Howard government’s record on immigration and citizenship policies. A slightly updated version appeared in the December 2009 edition of Quadrant as “The Origins of the Crisis in Immigration Policy”. I set out there my own attitudes towards immigration—broadly favourable, but with qualifications growing more serious over time. I shall not now re-till that ground.

My conclusion was that on both immigration and citizenship matters the Howard era record was mixed, but that: “Comprising as it did achievements, on the one hand, and failures (both of commission and omission), on the other, my ultimate verdict is that it essentially failed at the fence.”

Those Howard era deficiencies, however, have been as nothing to Labor’s. A Prime Minister bent on forging a name (and future career?) in the United Nations arena abandoned Australia’s right to “decide who comes to this country, and the circumstances in which they come”.[1] Labor lost control both of our borders in respect of illegal boat arrivals and of the whole once orderly immigration process. Statements earlier this year by the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Senator Chris Evans, sought to mitigate its self-created problems,[2] but even then with questionable results.

Recently, Julia Gillard has told us many times that (in President Clinton’s words) she “feels our pain” about the illegals—though she never used that word—and also that, unlike Kevin Rudd, she does not favour “a big Australia” of 36 million people by 2050.[3] What this means for immigration remains unclear. As for the illegals, if Labor wins the federal election impending at the time of writing, that situation will deteriorate further.

But should Labor lose that election, how much would change under Tony Abbott and his Shadow Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Scott Morrison?

In what follows I first state some basic facts that should govern our immigration policies, including our policies to deter illegal boat arrivals. Then, after examining the arguments advanced to justify those policies, I discuss Labor’s record and enumerate the nature and significance of the wounds our policies—under all governments for the past thirty-five years—have inflicted on us. Finally, I assess how much things would improve under the Coalition.

Some Basic Facts

Australia has long been a prized destination for people wishing to emigrate. The United States and Canada might outrank us, but few others. Achieving permanent residence in Australia (with the prospective further prize of citizenship) promises peace, order and prosperity at levels often far exceeding those of their own societies.

While our politicians doubtless accept those facts, they do not seem to understand their implications for framing a sensible immigration program. In short, they mean that Australia has no need to seek immigrants. The problem, rather, is to choose those whom we wish to take.

Choice implies priorities. Were we willing to take all and sundry (as the mad Greens, and even some slightly deranged economists,[4] would have us do), choice would not arise. But having said, “We won’t take you all”, we must choose.

Take an obvious example. Since Australians speak English, we should choose immigrants who are reasonably proficient in speaking (and reading, writing and comprehending) English.[5] If English-language proficiency at an appropriate (higher) level were mandatory across the whole immigration program, there would still be plenty of qualified applicants, but since English-speaking immigrants invariably find (and retain) jobs more readily, we would have fewer unemployed migrants, with both social and budgetary benefits.

An English proficiency criterion would be particularly valuable in our Refugee and Special Humanitarian Program (SHP) intakes, totalling about 13,750 people each year. United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) camps presently contain more than 10 million people, many of whom are proficient in English.[6] Why not confine our selections to those? (And incidentally, why not make those selections ourselves, rather than largely leaving them to a now thoroughly corrupted UNHCR? On that, see that earlier Quadrant article.[7])

Again, since we can choose, we should take those possessing a high level of education, or high quality trade skills, who will be readily employable and therefore not burden the welfare system. “Family reunion” immigration should therefore be confined to those possessing such qualifications. The Howard government did move steadily in that direction, and Labor has done likewise, but inadequately so.

Similar rules should apply to “spouse” immigrants. Today, young men (usually) bring brides back here from their ethnic homelands, producing new permanent residents who often cannot speak English or contribute economically—negating integration of the ethnic groups involved.

More broadly, since we can choose, we should choose people who will readily fit in. Today we almost boast of admitting people unlikely to do so, or only with great difficulty. The bien pensants will deny it, but all cultures are not equally worthy, nor are the adherents of all cultures equally likely to integrate and become good citizens. The most obvious examples to the contrary come from Islamic cultures; but the same goes for people from such violence-prone places as Somalia, Sudan and many West African states. What values do people from such dysfunctional societies bring to Australia? Look only at the sources of ethnic crime (particularly violent crime): as Andrew Bolt notes, “Sudanese refugees are four times more likely to be in trouble with police than are the rest of us … The rate of serious crime among the Lebanese-born … is nearly double that of the rest of us … Among Vietnamese and Cambodians the crime rate is even higher. While just 0.13 per cent of all Australians are prisoners, the rate for Tongans is 0.74 per cent, for Samoans 0.64 per cent, for Fijians 0.26 per cent.”[8]

In case “picking and choosing” on any such basis of cultural compatibility is thought to conflict with our international obligations, consider the wise words of the late Sir Harry Gibbs, formerly Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia:

While it would be grossly offensive to modern standards for a state to discriminate against any of its own citizens on the ground of race, a state is entitled to prevent the immigration of persons whose culture is such that they are unlikely readily to integrate into society, or at least to ensure that persons of that kind do not enter the country in such numbers that they will be likely to form a distinct and alien section of society, with the resulting problems that we have seen in the United Kingdom.[9]

Eight years later, “the resulting problems that we have seen in the United Kingdom” have mushroomed, and now exist in many other European countries—the Netherlands,[10] France and others. Yet still our political “leaders” refuse to contemplate the lessons now being learned (too late) in Europe, even refusing to discuss such questions publicly.

The prize of permanent residence (and future citizenship) is such that would-be immigrants will often move heaven and earth to attain it. If that means breaking our laws, or bribing officials, medical examiners, English-language proficiency assessors, trade skills assessors, or employers able to offer “sponsored” employment, so be it.

A particular example of law-breaking is people-smuggling. Here too some basic facts prevail. People-smugglers and their clients have a choice of destinations—continental Europe, the United Kingdom, Australia and so on. Their choice will be a function of three considerations: the relative fees charged by the smuggler, the relative value to the client if successful (very high in the case of Australia), and the relative likelihood of success.

Under Howard, the likelihood of success had become so small, and subject to such delays even if eventually successful, that the choice was strongly weighted towards going elsewhere. Under Rudd, the likelihood of success rose sharply, the delays involved fell sharply, so the number of boats (predictably) soared. Gillard’s proposal to set up “a regional processing centre” somewhere in our region would make things worse. The likelihood of success in entering Australia will be undiminished (at best) or (more likely) enhanced, since she proposes to hand over processing to the UNHCR. The boats would therefore keep coming, while the regional processing centre would act as a magnet for all those illegals now camped in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and the Middle East.

Justifications for our immigration program

Arguments for our immigration program have varied over time, but most persistent is the claim that immigration has beneficial economic effects.

The economic growth justification. About forty-five years ago the then Secretary to the Treasury, Sir Richard (Dick) Randall, asked me to draft a Treasury paper on the economic effects of immigration. Randall, a strong supporter of our then immigration policies (as was I), believed such a paper would conclude that they produced real economic benefits.

Weeks later, having struggled—with my small staff—to produce that paper, I told Randall that we could not honestly reach that conclusion. While immigration produced a larger labour force, and hence a greater rate of growth of total Gross Domestic Product (GDP), we could not show that it raised per capita GDP—the average Australian’s living standard. While the immigrants were almost invariably better off, existing Australians were if anything marginally worse off. Despite many attempts since by interested parties to prove the contrary, I have never seen an intellectually rigorous study that did so.

In 2005 the Productivity Commission was asked to examine the matter. Its April 2006 report, Economic Impacts of Immigration and Population Growth, reached essentially the same conclusions as we had done forty years earlier. Even for skilled migration, “the effect of increased skilled migration on average living standards is projected to be positive, but small. It is also likely that most of the benefits accrue to the immigrants themselves”.[11]

In short, immigration does not improve average Australians’ living standards, and that long-standing argument for it has no substance. Our corporate chieftains—including importantly those controlling our media—find that conclusion unacceptable. More immigrants mean more demand for their products, whether widgets or newspapers. Thus, when the latter editorialise about the need for large (and preferably larger) immigration programs “in the national interest”, they should declare their own.

The defence capacity justification. When the Chifley government established the hugely successful postwar immigration program, one argument for it was, “Populate or perish”. After a war in which Japanese bombers had destroyed large parts of Darwin and Japanese midget submarines had penetrated Sydney Harbour, that argument carried force. Even today 30 million people (say) could probably better defend themselves—or better deter potential aggressors—than 22 million. Nevertheless, short of nuclear weapons, such arguments are not now easy to sustain, and even less so when major additions to the population constitute people whose cultural loyalties in many cases put their willingness to defend Australia in doubt.

The cultural diversity justification. Of all the arguments for our immigration program, this one, which underlies our whole official multiculturalism policy, is the most tendentious. If we listen to the multiculturalism advocates, a major reason for admitting immigrants is to multiply the international cuisines available. Such trivialising of debate is part of a broader insistence that cultural diversity is an unalloyed good. Few things could be more false.

As Dr Frank Salter, among others, has been pointing out for years—most recently in an outstanding article, “The Misguided Advocates of Open Borders”, in the June Quadrant—cultural diversity, beyond a certain point long passed in Australia, has positively adverse consequences for the original population:  

Rising diversity in human societies tends to drive people apart, causing them to take sanctuary in individual pursuits and ethnic communities. The practical consequences are reduced public altruism or social capital … and a general loss of trust”[12] (my italics).

Or as no less a liberal than John Stuart Mill wrote 150 years ago:

Free institutions are next to impossible in a country made up of different nationalities. Among people without fellow-feeling, especially if they read and speak different languages, the united public opinion, necessary to the working of representative government, cannot exist.[13]

The international responsibilities justification. This is the next most tendentious justification. Australia need defer to no one (except possibly the United States) in having shouldered its share of genuine international responsibilities. Our role in two world wars alone attests to that. There is, however, a difference between playing one’s due part in all those relationships between states needed for a well-functioning international polity, and succumbing meekly to the trumped-up demands of the United Nations brigade and assorted New World Order utopians.

Australia has no “responsibilities” to admit any would-be immigrants from anywhere, other than those imposed upon ourselves by adherence, decades ago, to a long out-dated UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees.[14] Even those undertakings (which we could abrogate at any time by giving twelve months notice) do not require us to admit any specific number of people qualifying for refugee status, or to confer permanent resident status on those we do admit. (Japan, which belatedly ratified the Convention in 1981, admits only a handful of such people each year.[15]) Of course, activists argue that, in the name of what they quaintly term “international human rights”, we should admit any other “citizen of the world” demanding entry. Such bizarre claims form part of a more general category of humanitarian sentiments justifications.

The humanitarian sentiments justification. First, two definitions. The Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) defines refugees as “people who are subject to persecution in their home country and have been identified in conjunction with the UNHCR as in need of resettlement”, while the Special Humanitarian Program “assists people who have suffered substantial discrimination amounting to gross violation of human rights in their home country … [and] enables the resettlement of persons in Australia who, while not refugees, are in humanitarian need”[16] (my italics).

For genuine refugees, humanitarian sentiments are wholly appropriate. Often, however, the claim to have a well-justified fear of persecution in the home country may be questioned. Many (perhaps most) claims by recent Sri Lankan illegals appear doubtful. Similarly, the very concept of “substantial discrimination amounting to gross violation of human rights” is a slippery one, depending inevitably on the assessors’ subjective judgments.

Many well-meaning people doubtless feel that “humanitarian sentiments” would justify an even greater intake of these people; but such arguments chiefly come from the wider “compassion industry”. These are people (why does Mr Julian Burnside QC spring to mind?) who hasten to any available microphone to claim moral virtue as they argue for other Australians to bear the cultural and financial costs they would impose on them. When Australian Navy personnel sought to rescue their comrades who had been thrown into the sea when illegals caused an explosion on their vessel, these people rushed to those microphones to condemn them for their “inhumanity” in not first rescuing the illegals.

In their nature, humanitarian sentiments arguments are incapable of resolution. For me, charity begins at home.

Labor’s record

To date, the Gillard government has maintained her predecessor’s record, which my Quadrant article last December summed up as follows:

The bottom line is this. It is the first duty of any government to protect its citizens, including their protection against invasion by undesirables and incompatibles who seek to penetrate the nation’s borders by entering into criminal conspiracies with people-smugglers. The Rudd government’s palpable failure in this respect means that we have lost control of our borders. Just as the British government under Tony Blair … lost control of immigration into Britain … so we are losing control of immigration into Australia. Though the consequences may be literally incalculable, one thing is certain: Australia will be a lesser country—and progressively so—as a consequence.

That conclusion referred particularly to the breakdown in border control in respect of illegal boat arrivals. But the more general breakdown, which began under the Howard government and has since intensified, goes much wider. It is evident in the ballooning of student visas for hundreds of thousands of “students”, and in the growth in other temporary entry visas issued to people whose real objective is permanent residence.

On February 8 Senator Evans announced policy changes designed, on their face, to address the student visa rackets,[17] and on May 17 he issued a new Skilled Occupation List removing such frivolous “skills” as cooking and hairdressing from those qualifying “students” for permanent residence.[18]

These statements—and the associated departmental “information sheets” and “frequently asked questions” lists[19]—reveal both a state of grand confusion and a lack of determination to deal effectively with the tidal wave of bogus “students” flooding in to undertake courses at universities and vocational education and training (VET) establishments. The rackets involved have been all-embracing.[20] By the end of 2009 some 435,000 international “students” were here on student visas—231,000 of them attached to VET establishments and 204,000 at universities.[21] Some 107,000 were of Indian nationality and 98,000 Chinese.

Not only Senator Evans and his department are to blame. The Minister for Education, and the Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations (both of whom until recently happened to be Julia Gillard), also bear significant responsibility. As Bob Birrell and Ernest Healy say in a recent People and Place article assessing the February 2010 changes:

DEEWR has had a long history of prioritizing growth in the international education industry and of warding off any reforms which threatened this growth … despite evidence of the low English standards of many of the overseas students … the Department refused to act to tighten English proficiency standards … late in 2007, there was an explicit rejection of any need to require English language testing during or at the conclusion of an overseas student’s university studies.[22]

The outcomes of Senator Evans’s announcements remain unclear. The “generous transitional arrangements” conceded are indeed so generous that a high proportion of bogus “students” will still gain permanent residence. All existing student visa holders who now complete their courses can then apply for 485 visas under the former Skilled Occupation List (rather than the new, more restrictive one) until the end of 2012. Thus, a large proportion of the 435,000 student visa holders referred to earlier will be able to remain here for years. Many will find an employer “sponsor” to offer them jobs under 457 visas, thus enabling them to remain here for up to a further four years. Birrell and Healy hint at the likely consequences:

It would be naive to deny the possibility of this [corrupt agreements between sponsors and nominees] occurring given that the stakes are so high from the point of view of former students desperate for Permanent Residence and the commercial advantage for the employer in the hospitality industry … The miserable record of compliance in the VET sector should leave no illusion that some employers and students will be party to non-compliance with the official regulations. [my interpolation]

More bluntly, the manifold corruptions of the student visa program will now be complemented by the equally blatant corruptions of the employer sponsorship arrangements.

These corrupt practices have been going on for years. If apprehended, employers who enter into them are usually only cautioned—cautions that are routinely, and usually safely, ignored. Such practices will never cease until they are made a criminal offence, punishable by heavy fines on the employers involved.

Gillard’s stated attitude towards population growth would require a major cut in the current immigration program, including a ruthless pruning in those admitted under temporary entry visas. Since Gillard herself, as Minister for Education, bears a large responsibility for the international “student” shambles, that would involve a major volte-face.

Our Self-Inflicted Wounds

Social divisiveness. For thirty postwar years Australia ran a hugely successful policy involving millions of immigrants who, coming from European cultures all sharing a common Judeo-Christian background, had no major difficulty melding into (and altering for the better) the previous largely Anglo-Celtic Australian society. As always, there were whingers, claiming—sometimes genuinely, often falsely—to have suffered “discrimination”. The case of one such claimant, Dr Petro Georgiou, who despite all those well-publicised handicaps became the MHR for one of Australia’s most blue-ribbon electorates for fifteen years, says all that needs to be said about people of that fortunately fairly rare kind.

Whitlam’s official multiculturalism policies changed all that. Ethnic councils now “represent” one tribe or another. Conflicts in other countries now erupt almost daily into our streets.

As Professor Mirko Bagaric recently conceded in a Sydney Morning Herald article evincing otherwise a level of utopian stupidity notable even by academic standards: “Even in the supposed enlightenment of the 21st century, most still prefer people of their own type and find different cultures jarring … It is in the human DNA”.[23] Yes, indeed. Yet for thirty-five years all Canberra politicians have blindly pursued official multiculturalism policies that fly in the face of one of humanity’s most deeply ingrained instincts. The results today include self-important ethnic councils; ethnic electoral branch-stacking; truly racist political campaigns, such as that to elect Maxine McKew in 2007; proliferation of ethnically based criminal gangs; ethnically divided national loyalties, reflected in those street marches; and even an annual Harmony Day (!) whereby DIAC seeks to repair the divisions in our society that its policies have created. We now have a country, a significant proportion of whose people’s loyalties are now so strongly divided that they would never dream of fighting for it.

In 1988 the Fitzgerald Committee recommended that “in the philosophy of immigration, emphasis [should be] given to Australia, the Australian identity and commitment to Australia”.[24] Dr Peter Shergold (then Director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs), described its Report as “positively hostile to the concept of multiculturalism, [with] an underlying distrust of the power that was being wielded by ethnic communities”.[25]

To Fitzgerald’s strikingly sensible views the Hawke government, more interested in importing non-English-speaking tools for branch-stacking than in Australia’s future national cohesion, and thus preferring the advice of Dr Shergold and his multiculti cronies, turned a deaf ear. With all its successors doing likewise, the multicultural wound is now bleeding profusely.

The Muslim Problem. I have written extensively about this elsewhere.[26] In my considered opinion, the threat to Australia’s future peace, harmony and good government from this quarter has increased, is steadily increasing, and ought to be diminished.

Despite the Howard government’s repeated bland statements that “the great majority of moderate Muslims” should not be tarred with the brush of “a relatively few extremists”, the problem remains, and is growing. Its essence is that all Muslims—“moderate” or not—owe their overriding allegiance not to Australia, but to Islam—a creed which, while presenting as a religion, is also (and increasingly, even predominantly) an international political movement bent on world domination.

Many of Islam’s tenets are repugnant to everything Australia stands for. Where Islam predominates, other creeds are either barely tolerated or actively (even savagely) set upon. No Christian church can be built in Saudi Arabia. In ways ranging from the trivial to the deadly, women are sexually, legally and societally subjugated to men. Jews are routinely excoriated, homosexuality is not tolerated (many Islamic regimes punishing it by death). In exchanges between Muslims and non-Muslims (infidels), truthfulness goes by the board—Taqiyya[27] (the Islamic doctrine whereby any deception is justified if it is for the purpose of defeating the non-believer) justifies such deceit.

Contrary to propaganda from its apologists (including many “useful idiot” Westerners recruited for that purpose), Islam has never treated non-believers as equals. As Dr Mark Durie has reminded us in his recent book The Third Choice,[28] the best they can hope for is dhimmi status,[29] whereby payment of an annual tax, and distinctive clothing marking them out as non-believers,[30] permit them to live. (The other two choices are, of course, conversion to Islam or death.)

Apart from official multiculturalism policies, the admission to Australia of so many (and so rapidly increasing) adherents to this deadly totalitarian ideology is the most dangerous wound inflicted by our immigration policies.

Ethnic Crime. Australia’s crime rate was once quite low. Now, particularly in Sydney and Melbourne but spreading elsewhere, ethnically-based criminal gangs proliferate.[31] A decade ago then New South Wales Premier Bob Carr described the eponymously named Telopea Street (Punchbowl) Boys gang as “the hub of Lebanese [Muslim] crime”. The 5T—a Cabramatta gang of Vietnamese youths whose parents came to Australia , mostly as refugees, in the 1980s—was involved in the 1994 murder of the Member for Parramatta, John Newman, later morphing into other gangs such as Madonna’s Mob and The Four Aces. Sydney also has its Chinese triads, offshoots of Chinese immigration from Hong Kong (such as the Sun Yee On) and more recently Mainland China (the Big Circle). Apart from the heroin trade, they specialise in protection rackets and people-smuggling to provide low-wage indentured labour for Chinese restaurants and brothels. The Yee Tong gang (not a triad) comprises young Mainland Chinese men, many of them here on student visas.[32]

There are also now Pacific Islander gangs, including the Crazy Little Coconuts and the FBI (Full Blooded Islanders). In 2008 Gee40, a Guilford Pacific Islander youth gang, attacked a school in Merrylands.[33] Last year the New South Wales police set up a special task force focusing on such gangs. Melbourne also has its ethnic criminal gangs (Somali, Sudanese, Eritrean), despite shamelessly dishonest efforts by both former Police Commissioner Christine Nixon and her successor Simon Overland to deny the fact.

In 1973, when Al Grassby was Whitlam’s Minister for Immigration, a senior public servant in his department told me of his despair at his minister’s behaviour. Recommendations to Grassby that he deny entry to certain would-be Calabrian immigrants (particularly from Plati), were being continually rejected, with Grassby directing they be granted entry. Some of those involved later became infamous in Griffith’s “grass castles” saga and the murder of anti-drug campaigner Donald Mackay. In February 1974 Grassby was honoured by Plati’s N’drangheta controllers, receiving the keys to that city.[34] Thus did our official multiculturalism policies, with their “cultural diversity” in ethnic crime, begin as they meant to go on.

After Grassby’s 1974 election defeat, Whitlam appointed him as Commissioner for Community Relations, where he went on to become “the father of multiculturalism” in Australia. How fitting that this (unconvicted) criminal, a forty-year-long associate of Australia’s branch of the Calabrian Mafia[35] (who paid his New South Wales election expenses in 1969 and his federal ones in 1972), should be so designated.

Infrastructure breakdown. A rather different kind of wound involves the widespread breakdown that a soaring immigration rate imposes upon a whole range of governmentally provided infrastructure and associated services—roads, railways, public transport generally, schools, hospitals and so on. This huge topic cannot be encompassed here; but these wounds, and immigration’s contribution to them, are keenly felt by average Australians.

The UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees. Originally set up to deal with the postwar displacement of millions from European countries, the UNHCR established by this 1951 international treaty (and its 1967 Protocol) has morphed into an ever-larger bureaucracy purporting to cater for the whole world. Many countries (like Japan) acceding to the Convention honour their obligations more in the breach than the observance.

Our Humanitarian Program, currently running at 13,750 people each year, involves huge expense. Refugees and SHP recipients are granted permanent residence visas, and are exempted from the benefit waiting periods which normally apply to such visas (such as two years for Newstart Allowance, ten years for Age Pensions and Disability Support Pensions).[36] They can thus immediately receive unemployment benefits, Disability Support Pensions, Age Pensions, rental assistance (if unemployed), Medicare and pharmaceutical benefits and so on. DIAC also provides “specialised services” for six months (extensible), including on-arrival reception, assistance to find accommodation and provision of basic household goods. While the huge additional costs for these immigrants cannot be wholly eliminated, they could—and should—be greatly reduced by adopting the basic eligibility policies suggested earlier.

We should give notice of our intention to withdraw from the Convention, and amend the Migration Act accordingly. I am not suggesting that Australia should cease to be concerned for genuine refugees, or that we should cease to admit such people. I am suggesting we should do so on our own terms, and without being beholden to a now seriously corrupt United Nations body.

Increased security risks. Immigrants are supposed to be “screened” by ASIO for security risks. When most immigrants came from (mainly European) countries where our intelligence services could rely on the co-operation of their foreign counterparts, this task was manageable. That is no longer so. How is ASIO to “screen” effectively people from countries where either the regime itself may be hostile (such as Iran), or where a suitable bribe can ensure the would-be immigrant a favourable police report? As Ayaan Hirsi Ali recently pointed out in an interview with the Australian, it is “futile for countries to try to establish the bona fides of would-be refugees, not least because many asylum seekers would say anything in order to qualify” for refugee status: “Everybody lies”.

The increased security risk is most obvious in people-smuggling operations. A high proportion of illegals arrive without any documentary identity. The pressure of illegal numbers is now such, and the pressures on ASIO not to delay their processing has become so intense, that the likelihood of people slipping through the net has increased markedly. (Even so, 150 Afghan illegals are now segregated on Christmas Island because ASIO is not prepared to grant them security clearances despite these government pressures.) If al Qaeda, or its Indonesian subsidiary Jemaah Islamiyah, want to insert their followers into our community, this is the obvious route.

Dual citizenship. This is another wound inflicted on us by the Howard government—having its political origins, so it was freely rumoured, in Rupert Murdoch’s desire to regain the Australian citizenship he had renounced when, years earlier, he became a US citizen in order to own television stations there. It was said at the time, correctly, that many naturalised Australians still retained citizenship of their countries of origin. Such “passive” dual citizenship was one thing; it is now altogether a different thing for Australians actively to swear allegiance to another country while purporting to retain full allegiance to Australia. That is a nonsense, and a potentially dangerous one. It is not possible to serve two sovereigns, and the very concept of dual citizenship is incompatible with the basic concept of sovereignty. When the chips are down, where do such people’s loyalties lie?

The New Zealand back door. One result of the closer Australia–New Zealand relationship is the Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement permitting effectively free movement of each country’s citizens to the other. This otherwise welcome development has had two unforeseen (and unacceptable) consequences.

Cook Islanders, Niueans and Tokelauans have enjoyed New Zealand citizenship since 1949.[37] In addition to these Pacific Islanders, New Zealand provides for 1500 people each year from Samoa, Kiribati, Tuvalu and Tonga to settle in New Zealand.[38] Once they have resided there for five years, and have not committed any serious crime (more precisely, not been caught doing so), they too are eligible for citizenship.[39] They are then free to enter and remain in Australia. Today, most of our Pacific Islander residents are not here through our formal immigration programs (under which most of them would simply not qualify), but via the back door which the Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement now constitutes.

The second unacceptable consequence of that Arrangement concerns other people who, having unsuccessfully sought entry to Australia directly, then gain entry to New Zealand under its immigration program, remain there long enough to obtain New Zealand citizenship and then hasten to Australia via this back door.

This unforeseen wound should be staunched. The Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement should be amended to make it refer to native-born New Zealanders only. New Zealand citizens not in that category could, of course, still apply to enter Australia in line with other applicants.

Would the Coalition be Better?

On boat-borne illegals, the answer to that question is clearly “Yes”. Tony Abbott has said that he would:

· re-institute the chief deterrent to such people by granting only Temporary Entry Visas to those admitted (which carry no right to bring family members to Australia);

· in appropriate circumstances, turn boats back; and that

· in assessing people’s claims to be genuine refugees, make a presumption to the contrary where the claimant possessed no identification papers and where, in the opinion of the assessor (and ultimately of the Minister), such papers had been deliberately discarded or destroyed.[40]

So the current flood of illegals seeking to invade Australia would undoubtedly again drop off.

On immigration more generally, the Coalition has now said that “within its first term” it would produce “a 130,000 cut in immigration numbers to no more than 170,000 a year”. However, it is clearly referring here not to a cut in the official immigration program, but to the net overseas migration figure (three years hence). The two are quite distinct, with the latter including both permanent arrivals (the official program) and long-term temporary entry visa holders such as students, workers granted long-stay visas, New Zealanders and others.

On the official program per se, the Coalition (like Labor) has retreated to weasel words, saying that it would seek advice on a level “consistent with a sustainable growth path”[41] for population from a newly re-named Productivity and Sustainability (!) Commission. By contrast with this disingenuous waffle, what people really want to know is, to what figure will it cut that program from Day One? An official immigration program of (say) 50,000 to 100,000 (compared with roughly 180,000 now) would provide some relief, while still permitting entry to genuinely needed skilled workers (in fact, relatively small in number) for whose Australian counterparts our corporate chieftains have so miserably failed to provide.

The Coalition also might do something—though not, I fear, nearly enough—to improve the general integrity of the current departmental processes, for example by replacing locally engaged staff with Australian-based immigration officers in “sensitive” (mainly Middle Eastern) posts.

Welcome though these latter actions would be, they too “fail at the fence”. I see little evidence that Scott Morrison, for one, is prepared to face squarely the most grievous wounds involved. He, and other Liberal Party “moderates”, prefer to shut their eyes for fear of being vilified as “racist”, “discriminatory” or “anti-Islam”. So long as that continues, those “resulting problems that we have seen in the United Kingdom” (and more generally now throughout Europe) will keep on marching remorselessly upon us.

John Stone, a former head of Treasury, is a frequent contributor to Quadrant



[1] John Howard’s famous, and wildly popular, promise in his 2001 federal election Policy Speech.

[2] Senator Chris Evans, Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Press Release, Migration reforms to deliver Australia’s skills needs , 8 February 2010 ; and Press Release, New Skilled Occupation List to meet Australia’s economic needs, 17 May 2010.

[3] This was the population projection , based on an assumed 180,000 annual addition from net immigration, in The 2010 Intergenerational Report, Australia to 2050: Future Challenges, issued by the Commonwealth Treasurer, Hon Wayne Swan, January 2010.

[4] A notable, and notably egregious, example of this genre is the article by Chris Berg, Open the Borders, in Policy, The Centre for Independent Studies, Vol 26 No.1, Autumn 2010.

[5] Testing for this purpose is carried out through the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), which is jointly managed by the British Council, IDP:IELTS Australia and the University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations. It conducts tests (in 130 countries) in English language proficiency in four “modules” (listening [comprehension], reading, writing and speaking), grading the results at successively higher levels of proficiency. At present, the proficiency levels required under most aspects of our immigration programs are relatively low (e.g., Levels 5 or 6).

[6] The actual numbers in this category will depend upon the levels of proficiency required. Setting a relatively high level of proficiency is thus a means of “sieving” the otherwise huge numbers of applicants.

[7] The Origins of the Crisis in Immigration Policy, op. cit., pp. 12-14.

[8] Tell Truth on Ethnic Crime, Andrew Bolt, Herald-Sun, 19 March 2010.

[9] Rt Hon Sir Harry Gibbs, GCMG, AC, KBE, Australia Day Message to members of The Samuel Griffith Society, 26 January 2002. Reprinted in Upholding the Australian Constitution, Proceedings of The Samuel Griffith Society, Volume 17 (2005), pp. 369-70.

[10] Perhaps the most notable feature of the general election in The Netherlands in June this year was the performance of the Freedom Party, headed by Geert Wilders, which campaigned almost solely on a portfolio of anti-Islamic policies—including the proposed imposition of a total ban on all further Muslim immigration into The Netherlands. This party almost tripled its parliamentary representation, from 9 seats previously to 24. It thereby became the third largest party in the Parliament, after a business-oriented Liberal Party with 31 seats and a Labour Party with 30.

[11] Economic Impacts of Migration and Population Growth, Productivity Commission Research Report, April 2006, p. xxxvii. Interestingly, this study also concluded (p. xxii) that “English language proficiency stands out as a key factor determining the ease of settlement and labour market success of immigrants”.

[12] The Misguided Advocates of Open Borders, Dr Frank Salter, Quadrant, June 2010, p. 4.

[13] Ibid., p. 5. The quote (for which I am again indebted to Dr Salter) is from John Stuart Mill, Representative Government, Chapter XVI (1859), accessed at [email protected], The University of Adelaide Library, University of Adelaide, South Australia, 2009.

[14] Hon Peter Walsh, AO, formerly a Senator and Minister for Finance in the Hawke government, had some characteristically pithy things to say about these matters in The UN Convention on Refugees and its Implications for Australia’s Sovereignty, in Upholding the Australian Constitution, Proceedings of The Samuel Griffith Society, Volume 12 (2000), pp. 33-46.

[15] Japan did not become a party to the 1951 United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees until 1981. Prior to 1995 Japan granted no claims for refugee status, “and since that time [up to 2005] the number each year is limited to single figures”. Similarly, prior to 1991 no claims for humanitarian status were granted, and since that time “284 applicants have been granted humanitarian status”. Source: Japan: Refugees and Asylum Seekers, Professor Merryl Dean, Oxford Brookes University, UK (Report commissioned by the UNHCR). In 2004, the latest year for which figures are given in this publication, 9 refugee claims were accepted and also 9 claims for humanitarian status.

[16] Both quotes are drawn from Population Flows: Immigration Aspects, 2007-08, Department of Immigration and Citizenship, Canberra, p. 72.

[17] Migration reforms to deliver Australia’s skills needs, op. cit..

[18] New Skilled Occupation List to meet Australia’s economic needs, op. cit..

[19] Department of Immigration and Citizenship, Press Releases: Changes to offshore General Skilled Migration visa applications received before 1 September 2007; Changes to the skills assessment requirements for GSM applicants nominating a trade occupation; General Skilled Migration (GSM) Points Test Review; Changes to the current Skilled Occupation List; Revoking the Critical Skills List; Outcomes of the Migration Occupation in Demand List review—frequently asked questions; and Onshore international students. All these press releases posed, and purported to answer, frequently asked questions arising from the ministerial statement of 8 February 2010.

[20] These rackets were enumerated in some detail in The Origins of the Crisis in Immigration Policy, op. cit., pp. 12-14.

[21] Bob Birrell and Ernest Healy, The February 2010 Reforms and the International Student Industry, People and Place, vol. 18, no. 1, 2010, Table 1.

[22] Ibid., p. 70.

[23] Professor Mirko Bagaric, Migration can end worldwide poverty, The Sydney Morning Herald, 7 April 2010. Quoted by Dr Frank Salter, The Misguided Advocates of Open Borders, op. cit., p. 4.

[24] Immigration: A Commitment to Australia, Report of the Committee to Advise on Australia’s Immigration Policies, Canberra, Australian Government Publishing Service, 1988.

[25] Interviews for Making Multicultural Australia, Interview with Dr Peter Shergold, 1995, accessed at www.multiculturalaustralia.edu.au. Dr Shergold, it may be noted, subsequently went on to head the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet under John Howard.

[26] See, for example, John Stone, One nation, one culture, The Australian, 22 July 2005; Solutions to the Muslim Problem in Australia, National Observer, No. 66, Spring 2005; Some will not integrate, The Australian, 18 November 2005; The Muslim Problem and What to Do about It, Quadrant, September 2006; and The Unmentionable Problem of Australian Citizenship, National Observer, No. 70, Spring 2006.

[27] Taqiyya is the Arabic word literally meaning “concealing, precaution, guarding”. It is the Islamic doctrine, referred to in the Koran and in the Hadiths (the sayings of the Prophet), whereby any deception is justified if it is for the purpose of defeating the non-believer (including, for this purpose, an adherent to a different Islamic sect). See, for example, Dr Andrew Campbell, Taqiyya: How Islamic Extremists Deceive the West, National Observer, No. 65, Winter 2005.

[28] Dr Mark Durie, The Third Choice: Islam, Dhimmitude and Freedom, Deror Books, Melbourne, 2010.

[29] Dhimma is the Arabic word for “a covenant, or pact of surrender, by which a conquered non-Muslim community have agreed to live under Islamic rule, and by virtue of which this community is protected from jihad”. See Durie, op. cit., Glossary of Arabic Terms, p. 233.

[30] Cf. the Nazi practice of requiring Jews to wear some distinctive mark on their clothing.

[31] Although now somewhat dated, a useful source is Asian Organised Crime in Australia, Discussion Paper by the Joint Parliamentary Committee on the National Crime Authority, Canberra, February 1995.

[32] Sydney stabbings: alleged triad members held, The Sydney Morning Herald, 25 March 2008.

[33] School attack at Merrylands lifts lid on youth gangs, Kara Lawrence, The Daily Telegraph, 12 April 2008.

[34] More recently, the ACT Labor government has seen fit to erect a statue in Canberra in Mr Grassby’s honour. No statue, so far as I know, has been erected in honour of the late Donald Mackay.

[35] See, on all this, Grassby Crimes Cover-Up</