It was back in February when former Prime Minister Tony Abbott prompted a national debate over immigration.
Calling for significant reductions in the controversial annual intake of 190,000 immigrants. This was in a bid to ease congestion and give governments time to build infrastructure.
And it seems Former Prime Minister John Howard is not only listening but supporting his successor.
In an interview with The Australian, John Howard hints at his support to Abbott, saying:
‘I’d like to hear the debate. I really would. One of the problems with political discourse at the moment is we’re losing power to discuss something…
‘No country will accept what it apprehends to be unlimited immigration. That’s the lesson out of Europe…
‘We ought to be able to discuss the composition and volume without on the one hand being branded a racist or on the other hand somebody who wants to have completely unlimited immigration’.
A slower approach is needed
Economic growth brought in by immigration is a kind of ‘false growth’. Australian infrastructure is at a point where it could be stretched to breaking point, in our cities and country. A large population places more strain on water, roads, transports and housing.
Changes in Australia’s immigration sector were significant under the Howard government. In his early years of government, he kept the permanent intake low.
But every year since Howard lost his 2007 election to Kevin Rudd, more of Australia’s population growth has been due to migration rather than a natural increase by births.
It makes GDP numbers look good, but these immigrants then become normal citizens, contributing the exactly the same amount as the rest of us.
And so the only way to keep growth of this kind is to keep bringing in more people. And here we have the issue — more and more people are needed every year to get the same amount of growth, as the population becomes larger.
The people who question our immigration levels are often labelled as racist. This is hamstringing the debate about immigration levels. This is a problem, as this is a debate we need to have.
If we continue to grow, without building the capacity to support that growth, Australia is setting itself up for a crisis.
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