Prime Minister Scott Morrison (pictured) has no intention of doing anything significant about the migrant intake, either in terms of numbers, composition or regulation, according to an opinion piece in today's The Australian.
Conservative Party policy is for a halving in immigration numbers and for Australia to be more selective about migrants we let in.
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The Australian opinion writer Mark Day says at heart, the Prime Minister is a "Big Australia" man who thinks he can undertake a few tweaks here and there and send a few migrants off to the regions and the problem is fixed.
Here’s the thing: high migration doesn’t work for all of us and Mr Morrison should concede this point. High rates of migration are great for business and government revenues. They provide willing workers, restrain the growth of wages and provide markets for their goods and services.
But the distributional effects of migration are very significant. Local workers with substitute skills to migrants lose out and residents of larger cities, in particular, bear the negative external effects of excessively rapid population growth.
The Coalition government has manifestly failed to reduce net overseas migration by imposing a sort of informal restriction on the formal annual cap of 190,000 permanent migrants. And here’s something to think about: the number of migrants on bridging visas has rocketed: from around 40,000 last year to nearly 180,000.
A very large number of these bridging visa holders will secure permanent residence in due course. All Morrison has done is put a flimsy, temporary cork on the flow of permanent migrants.
It might sound vaguely sensible for the federal and state or territory governments to begin to devise a population policy. But Morrison has proven himself to have all the wrong instincts on this topic.
The fact he parrots Treasury’s own self-serving figures on the lower tax revenue associated with a lower migrant intake without referencing the lower costs and benefits makes it clear he is completely captured.
Unable to do anything to lower electricity prices in the short term, the one chance that Morrison had to improve the government’s electoral fortunes was to significantly reduce both permanent and temporary migrant numbers. The regional ruse won’t cut it.
All the polls are telling him that people want the migrant intake cut. He just thinks that he knows better, it would seem.
Conservative Party leader told Sky News, addressing the issue of migration should be one of Coalition's top priorities.
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