Conservative Party leader Cory Bernardi has set The Australian newspaper's record straight, after it published an editorial in yesterday's paper suggesting that the Conservatives had advocated a 'chauvinist' immigration policy based on excluding migrants with religious beliefs.
His letter to the editor reads as follows:
The Australian’s editorial column yesterday does not accurately reflect the Australian Conservatives' immigration policy and cannot be traced to our public statements or policy material.
The Conservatives have led public debate on immigration reform to ensure it acts in our economic, social and cultural interests. Our immigration policy position has been articulated in many media forums since our inception and is easily located on our website.
We believe that current immigration levels are too high, putting pressure on services, infrastructure, family incomes and social cohesion. We also recognise the misuse of the current visa system that is working against our national interest.
Our immigration policy agenda includes a reduction in immigration, comprehensive visa reform, withdrawal from the UN refugee convention, new accountability criteria for permanent residents and more robust citizenship requirements.
Our policy positions are built on principle rather than three word slogans. A blanket ban on any group of people based on race, creed or colour ignores the character of the individual and establishes a dangerous precedent for any legislator.
I recognise our comprehensive, consistent and principled approach to immigration reform is somewhat more sophisticated than some other propositions but we have sought to be the voice of reason and common-sense in this important debate.
The Conservative Party proudly proclaims the strength of Australia’s culture and values. We continue our principled, calm exposition of our policies because common decency, our commitment to Australia and our desire to strengthen civil society demands that we do so.
Australian Conservatives Party
Illustration: Eric Lobbecke
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