Australia vs. Canada : 3 Telling Differences On The Immigration Issue

“Australia vs. Canada : 3 Telling Differences On The Immigration Issue”

Three differences become evident between Australia and Canada on the immigration issue.

1. One of the biggest differences is that in the midst of the current Australian federal election, immigration is one of the most important issues. In Canada, immigration should be a major issue because of the enormous negative changes it is causing in Canada, but so far, it is not.

2. 75% of Australians have indicated in a recent poll that they do not want a larger population. Immigration should be reduced to achieve that goal. Canadians have never been asked whether they want a larger population. In fact, most Canadians do not know much about the immigration issue, particularly that immigration is the major factor in Canada's population increase. Crucially, the majority do not know that most of Canada's immigration intake makes little sense.

3. Australia's national broadcaster and a number of Australian academics have promoted a discussion of the issues of a larger population and of immigration. In Canada, the CBC has become a national embarrassment to the country. As we have said before, rather than perform its journalistic duty by airing a discussion of the immigration issue, the CBC has assumed the role of propaganda arm for the high-immigration lobby. Re Canadian academics: almost all have been timid and have abdicated their professional responsibility.

Dan Murray
Immigration Watch Canada




A. “Australia has no need to seek immigrants. The problem is choosing those whom we wish to take. Were we willing to take all and sundry (as the mad Greens, and even some deranged economists, propose), choice would not arise. But having said 'We won't take you all', we need to choose. This has many implications, the most important being that we should choose culturally compatible people who will easily fit in with our essentially Judeo-Christian culture. (Prime Minister) Julia Gillard's disingenuous reference to 'the right kind of people' implicitly acknowledged this, but that spin will never be reflected in (Gillard's) … actual immigration selection policies. On this, the Coalition (Australia's current Opposition) is no better. Today, both sides almost boast of their joint conspiracy against the public in admitting people unlikely ever to fit in.

B. “The most obvious examples come from Islamic cultures, but the same goes for people from such violence-prone places as Somalia, Sudan and many west African states. For the results, look only to the figures for ethnic crime. The prize of permanent residence is such that would-be immigrants will move heaven and earth to attain it. If that means breaking our laws, or bribing officials, or medical examiners, English language proficiency assessors, trade skills assessors, or employers able to offer “sponsored” employment, so be it. The result, as the current student visa shambles vividly attests, is that our immigration processes today are riddled with corruption.

C. “The corporate chieftains continue to promote their own narrow interests in large numbers, but average Australians are demanding a sharp cut in the flood of immigrants. An official immigration program of (say) 50,000-100,000 (compared with roughly 180,000 now) would provide some relief. As for those genuinely needed skilled workers (for whose Australian counterparts the same corporate chieftains have miserably failed to provide), they are relatively small in number and could be readily found within such a program.”



A. “The result appears to back up the decision by the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, to switch from (former PM) Kevin Rudd's ''Big Australia'' argument to her own 'sustainable Australia' rhetoric. The Australian survey of social attitudes, which canvassed the views of 3200 people, found those in rural and regional areas were more strongly opposed to a larger population, with up to 86 per cent of those in country (rural) Queensland rejecting the notion. NSW (New South Wales) inner-city residents held more moderate views than the population as a whole, with 58 per cent saying 'no' and 42 per cent 'yes' to more people, compared with a 72 per cent rejection rate overall.

B. “Adjunct Associate Professor Katharine Betts, recently retired from Swinburne University of Technology, who analysed the results, said the inner-city result was surprising ''given the distress that growing traffic congestion and overloaded infrastructure are causing in the major cities'' but could be explained by the preponderance of university graduates or first-generation migrants in such areas. Those two groups provided the most enthusiastic support for more people, she said. The most supportive were affluent migrants from non-English speaking backgrounds (63 per cent in favour).

C. “Professor Betts said the survey was conducted late last year, not long after the Treasury released its prediction of a 36 million population by 2050, a prospect the then prime minister, Mr Rudd, welcomed. He said at the time: 'I make no apology for that. I actually think it is a good thing that our population is growing.' But Ms Gillard abandoned her predecessor's policy shortly after she took over (as Prime Minister) and renamed the Population portfolio held by Tony Burke 'Sustainable Population'. She and the Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, have since argued about immigration levels, with both parties setting up committees to advise them of optimal growth and sustainability rates.

D. ” 'But any plan to direct new migrants into non-metropolitan areas was unlikely to receive support, Professor Betts said. ' In some cases individual country towns may welcome this, but many are already feeling their own population pressures. They may resist being used still further as a means of relieving stresses on the larger cities.'

E. “The survey showed little difference in attitudes based on voting intention for the main parties although Liberal voters (72 per cent) were slightly more inclined to maintain stable levels than Labor (67) or the Greens (68). National Party voters (87 per cent) and Family First supporters (84 per cent) were strongly against increases. Labourers (81 per cent) and technicians, trade workers and community workers (79 per cent) were the employment groups most against a higher population while so-called 'social professionals' (arts and media, education, and legal, social and welfare professionals) were the least resistant to the idea at 57 per cent.”



The following is an excerpt from a recent ABC interview with Mark O'Connor (a writer and co-author of a book called “Overloading Australia” and a minor party Senate candidate in New South Wales at this election) and Robert Mellor (the managing director of economic housing and immigration forecaster for BIS Shrapnel, which advises business and government). The two participants discuss whether Australia should continue to take large numbers of immigrants and whether Australia should cap its population.

INTERVIEWER : And what in a nutshell, very briefly, is the economic argument from your perspective for a substantial immigration program like the one you're describing?

ROBERT MELLOR: Well, see the trouble is it is not really an immigration program. It is partly an immigration program because the number of permanent residents coming in can get up to 150,000 – and maybe higher at the peak – but that is not where the big increase in the numbers have come.

It has come because we have allowed a significant increase in the number of people on long term visas including the 457 visas (Temporary Foreign Workers) to come in through the period when the economy was really booming in 07 into 08. And they came in and they relieved pressure in the labour market.

If they hadn't have come in at that point in time, we would have had significantly greater inflationary pressure in wages and that would have flowed through to even higher interest rates than we had at the time—remembering that we had housing interest rates in the middle of 2008 around 9.5 per cent.

So I think there is an economic argument in terms of our labour requirements given the ageing of the population that we will need more people. And secondly there is a decision we have to make with regard to whether we want an increasing number of students. Because we have probably gone from 200,000 to even 500,000 students in the country at any one point in time in terms of overseas students. So that is a critical export market for us.

INTERVIEWER : Okay. Mark O'Connor, in arguing for serious population limits, including much lower caps on immigration I assume, how do you address the economic concerns that limits to growth will also seriously limit the nation's, and therefore individual, prosperity?

MARK O'CONNOR : That is very much the view from the big end of town that we've just heard. It's quite different from the figures I'm hearing from demographers and certainly from the figures that (Monash University Professor) Bob Birrell was offering in the Sydney Morning Herald yesterday.

You always get this argument, particularly not so much from small business – which often finds that its rents are going up and it's being squeezed in sorts of ways by population growth in much the same way as ordinary people are.

But when you are the biggest fish in the pool, you just want the pool to be big and you get this argument that we need more labour, that immigration is actually determined by the labour shortage.

I do not believe that for a moment because there is no labour shortage in Australia. We have 5 per cent unemployment.

What we have is an unwillingness by many employers the pay the market cost of labour, which in most countries – most other advanced countries – means training people.

But if you can actually con the Government to bring in skilled labourers … whenever you say you're short of them, then why would you take an Australian teenager and train them for four weeks or six weeks or six months at your own expense? Or why would you pay them enough that they would then actually find it worth their while to do the training themselves?

It's easy to get somebody who has just been brought into the country who has already got labour experience. It saves perhaps $10,000 per person but it costs the taxpayer an enormous amount.

INTERVIEWER : Robert Mellor, I know you acknowledge the need to manage sustainable growth but why should we have any faith in government's capacity to do that – provide proper infrastructure, proper social planning, proper protection for the environment – when governments have failed so dismally to do precisely that in the past?

ROBERT MELLOR: With respect to the need for overseas workers here, I think the critical thing is to explain to people that we need the infrastructure and then there is an actual commitment to deliver on that infrastructure.

While there may be a whole range of xenophobic views out there on the immigration issue, I suspect that putting that aside for a certain group of people I think probably the biggest concern is people's worry that their environment's going to change significantly – both at the local level, they don't want the high rise or even the medium density occurring in the backyard. And you know, they are concerned – I think as Mark made the comment in one of his speeches – the fact that the trains might get rid of the seats and we are all standing up on the trains coming from in the outer suburbs.

So they are the sort of things that concern people and I think if government actually took a longer term view and started to address those infrastructure issues and sold the view to our community that rather than spending an hour and a half or two hours in your car or more every day we are actually going to be committed to infrastructure and you are going to be paying more taxes to meet that, then I think there would be less of a debate on the whole immigration issue.

INTERVIEWER : Well I'll come back to the taxes in a moment but Mark O'Connor would you be any more relaxed about the kind of population growth at the top end if the numbers of people were being spread more sensibly around the nation away from the population hotspots that we are seeing now?

MARK O'CONNOR: All advanced nations struggle with infrastructure and there is a simple way of thinking about what the problem is.

Infrastructure lasts about 50 years, which means that with a stable population – which is what most advanced countries basically have – you have got to replace about 2 per cent of it a year,… a very, very large amount of GDP has to go to it.

If you have a population growing at 2 per cent a year, then just to stay in place and not have things get worse you have got to spend double the amount on infrastructure – and by a standard economist's rule of thumb that's well explained by Jane O'Sullivan from the University of Queensland – you then have to use about a quarter of all GDP …(that is) extracted from the taxpayer and put into infrastructure.

And that ain't possible. That is why none of these places where you have got rapid population growth are actually keeping up with infrastructure despite all the optimistic talk that we hear.


Full versions of each of the above OP ED, News Article and ABC Interview can be found online :

1. “Cut migrants, and keep out those who don't fit in” By John Stone From: “The Australian”, August 5, 2010

2. “Big Australia vision goes down like a lead balloon” By Jennie Curtin, “The Sydney Morning Herald”, August 3, 2010

3. Australian Broadcasting Corporation Interview Done By Kerry O'Brien Of Mark O'Connor and Robert Mellor