MP Kelvin Thomson wants to stop New Zealand migration to Australia
By John Masanauskas
November 12, 2009 12:01am
NEW Zealand migration to Australia would be slashed under a federal
Labor MP's plan to curb our population growth. Outspoken Melbourne MP
Kelvin Thomson believes the open-door policy for Kiwis made it
impossible for Australia to control its numbers and maintain quality
“The trans-Tasman travel arrangement with New Zealand would need to be
renegotiated to do away with the open door,” he said yesterday.
Australia's migrant intake is at record levels, with almost a
quarter of the influx due to New Zealanders who have an automatic
right to live here, the Herald Sun reports.
Mr Thomson said there should be a cap on Kiwi arrivals that was
linked to the number of permanent departures from Australia each year.
“This would give Australia control over our net migration number,
which we presently don't have,” he said.
In a challenge to his leader, PM Kevin Rudd, Mr Thomson last night
spelled out the details of his plan to deal with the population
“Population is now a runaway train,” he said in a speech to a
community group in North Melbourne.
Mr Thomson called for annual net immigration to be slashed from more
than 200,000 now to just 70,000.
This would stabilise the population at 26 million by 2050, instead
of the 35 million predicted by the Government.
Under the Thomson plan:
SKILLED migrant numbers would be cut from 114,000 to 25,000 a year
and refugees would rise by 6000 to 20,000.
THE baby bonus would be abolished and family payments cut to lower
the fertility rate.
Mr Thomson, who heads the Parliament's joint standing committee on
treaties, said his measures would stop Australia wrecking the
environment and force governments to focus on education and training.
“They would address the declining quality of life in our cities, the
traffic congestion and the disappearing back yards and open spaces,”
Monash University population expert Dr Bob Birrell said Mr Thomson's
proposals were refreshing and realistic.
“Population policy is not made in heaven, it's determined by
government policy and, currently, Labor policy is to run record high
migration,” he said.
Despite concern about urban congestion and water shortages, Mr Rudd
recently said he was a “big Australia” man.
“I make no apology for that. I actually think it's good news that
our population is growing. I think it's good … for our national
security long term, it's good in terms of what we can sustain as a
nation,” he said.