More refugees – fewer skilled migrants

22 October 2009

Media Releases 2009

Were Australia a compassionate nation, it would be taking in more asylum

seekers and fewer skilled migrants, according to Australia’s only

environment group dedicated to lower population, Sustainable Population

Australia (SPA).

SPA National President, Ms Sandra Kanck, says Australia could double the

number of refugees it accepts, providing that at least as many, if not

more (which is SPA’s preference), were cut from the skilled migration


Australia’s humanitarian program is currently 13,500 annually, while

skilled immigration for 2008-9 is 115,000. Total net overseas migration,

however, for the year ended 31 March 2009, was 278,200 persons. As well

as skilled migration, this includes family reunion, New Zealanders and

those on temporary visas.

“We have no moral obligation to the people coming here under the skilled

migration program – they are not fleeing from war-torn states,” says Ms

Kanck. “They are taking places we could make available to real refugees.

“With 22 million refugees in the world at the moment, Australia cannot

take them all, but we can accept more than we currently do – provided we

reduce the skilled migration intake,” she says.

Ms Kanck says that Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s rebuffing of asylum

seekers and attacks on so-called people smugglers are a diversionary tactic.

“Mr Rudd is responsible for one of the highest immigration rates in

decades so his line on the current influx of asylum seekers is simply a

smoke screen to avoid public discussion on the bigger issue of the

immigration blow-out.

“Refugees have to wait in long queues for places to become available,

while at the same time Mr Rudd has an open door policy to people who

want to come here for purely economic reasons.

“Surely Australia can supply its own skills and not poach from other

countries,” says Ms Kanck. “If we got rid of the baby bonus we could put

that money into training/retraining our current population and thus

decrease our reliance on the skilled migration program.”

Ms Kanck added that a multi-pronged approach was what was required in

dealing with refugees. Diplomatic efforts could often diminish conflict

that cause people to flee.

“For instance, what is Australia doing to ensure that the Sri Lankan

Government is treating the Tamils fairly and humanely?” she asks.

Further information: Sandra Kanck 08 8336 4114


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