Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Australia’s migrant intake is already being cut

There’s a certain irony in Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton having different recollections about whether they had discussed cutting immigration. It’s being quietly reduced anyway.

If the current trend in the way Dutton’s department issues visas holds, immigration is being cut by about 20,000 - the figure Dutton either did or didn’t discuss with Cabinet colleagues.
Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

The number of permanent non-humanitarian visas 2016-17 came in nearly 6,400 short of the government’s target of 190,000.  Last financial year’s shortfall is four times the total shortfall over the previous decade.

And this year’s gap is shaping up to be substantially greater. “Invitations” to take up the main independent points-based permanent visa over the first nine months of the year are down by about half on the previous corresponding period.

In 2016-17, the government planned to issue 43,990 of these subclass 189 visas and did issue 42,422. “Invitations” aren’t exactly “visas”, but they’re a good proxy.

The ABC reports the government is allocating visas that previously mainly went to overseas Asians to New Zealanders who are already Australian residents.

If the dive in invitations holds for the year’s final quarter, permanent immigration will have been cut by about 20,000 - the figure about which the always-helpful Tony Abbott suggests Malcolm Turnbull has “his knickers in a twist”.

Most of these subclass 189 visa migrants come directly from overseas, as opposed to those who transition here from temporary visas, and thus the reduced numbers will show up in the headline net overseas migration (NOM) numbers.

Another impact on NOM is working its way through the system from both the rhetoric and actions by the government in making it harder and less desirable to obtain temporary work visas. As previously reported, applications for 457 visas were down by a third in the first half of the year – and that was before the more restrictive two-tier temporary work visa system started last month.

The latest NOM figures are for the year to the end of September. They totalled 250,100 – representing close to one per cent of the Australian population. If the trend of subclass 189 visa invitations and temporary visa applications hold and international student visas are either steady or dip, NOM could be headed down to around 200,000.

(There’s a reasonable argument that the current NOM is overstated by about 20 per cent anyway, but we’ll stick with the ABS definition for consistency.)

At that level, NOM would be running at about 0.8 per cent of the population – not far off the average over the entire post-war period. And NOM includes the humanitarian element at a time when the outlook for genuine refugees – unable to live anywhere in their country of origin, unlike white South African farmers – remains bleak.

Meanwhile the anti-immigration chorus grows, tempting one side or the other of politics to explicitly break bi-partisanship.


Israel Folau escapes sanction for what he said - but sponsors showdown looms

He said homosexuals would burn in Hell

Rugby Australia is set for an ugly showdown with its major sponsors after deciding to not take action against Israel Folau over his anti-gay comments in an Instagram post earlier this month.

Fairfax Media understands RA chief executive Raelene Castle is satisfied with the “respectful” way in which the Wallabies’ highest-paid player clarified his remarks in a first-person online column posted on Monday night.

In the column, Folau threatened to walk away from the game if RA officials wanted him to. He also took aim at Castle for misrepresenting his “position and comments” at a media conference following their meeting in Sydney early last week.

Despite this, Castle and RA are satisfied with his comments and will not take action against him. RA confirmed the news on Tuesday afternoon via a statement.

“In his article, Israel clearly articulated his religious beliefs and why his faith is important to him and has provided context behind his social media comment," Castle said. "In his own words, Israel said that he did not intend to upset people intentionally or bring hurt to the game. We accept Israel’s position.

“Rugby Australia will use this experience as an opportunity to remind all employees of their obligation to use social media in a respectful way.”

But the decision to bend for the renegade Wallabies and Waratahs player, who is off contract at the end of this season, is set to anger major sponsors who have been watching the issue fester over the past two weeks. In their eyes, there has been a major backflip.

It is understood RA told its major corporate partners last week it was going to take action against Folau over his claim in an Instagram comment that gay people were going to “hell unless they repent of their sins”.

On Tuesday morning, some sponsors told Fairfax Media they believed Folau was about to receive a breach notice at any moment. Instead, the opposite has happened.

Castle and RA have been under enormous pressure from Folau’s closest allies, not least influential broadcaster Alan Jones, to allow him to say what he wants because of his religious beliefs.


“After we’d all talked, I told Raelene if she felt the situation had become untenable – that I was hurting Rugby Australia, its sponsors and the Australian rugby community to such a degree that things couldn’t be worked through – I would walk away from my contract, immediately," Folau wrote. “At no stage over the past two weeks have I wanted that to happen.

“I felt Raelene misrepresented my position and my comments. And did so to appease other people, which is an issue I need to discuss with her and others at Rugby Australia.

“When I spoke to Raelene about walking away, it was to help the game, not harm it, in the event we couldn’t come to an understanding.

“I used to believe I was defined by my actions on the footy field, but I see now that’s not true.

“During the meeting I told them it was never my intention to hurt anyone with the Instagram comment, but that I could never shy away from who I am, or what I believe. They explained their position and talked about external pressure from the media, sponsors and different parts of the community, which I understand."


The shrinking Labor party

Bill Shorten’s plan to lift Labor Party membership to 100,000 has failed, with those leaving the party outpacing those who are joining, and the party registering only 53,550 members at the end of last year. Labor is officially losing members.

Three years ago, Labor ­declared that as at December 2014 it had 53,930 members who were eligible to vote in a ballot to elect a national president and two vice-presidents.

The latest tally of membership, at last December, shows a fall of about 400 members in net terms.

The Opposition Leader outlined an ambitious plan in March 2014 to boost Labor’s rank-and-file members from about 44,000 to 100,000 members nationally.

“I announce the start of a major campaign to rebuild the Australian Labor Party and renew our sense of purpose,” Mr Shorten said the following month.

“A campaign to create a big party, a nation-embracing party, a party that represents and reflects the Australian people … a Labor Party with 100,000 members.”

Labor’s membership figures, provided by state branches to the national secretariat, are closely guarded.

The latest tally of members ­obtained by The Australian was prepared for the rank-and-file ballot to elect a president and two-vice presidents that will take place in May and June.

Ahead of the leadership contest between Mr Shorten and ­Anthony Albanese in September-October 2013, The Australian ­revealed the party had 43,823 rank-and-file members.

The next audit in December 2014 found the party had 53,930 members, a significant increase following the 2013 election defeat. Membership essentially has plateaued since.


'Is graffiti an art form or a criminal offence?': Schools accused of dumbing down English lessons with tests on STREET TAGS

English teachers  being asked to teach students to 'read graffiti' in Queensland

The sample assessment, detailed on the Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority website, asks students to engage, examine and evaluate graffiti.  

Images of graffiti are provided to the students who are asked to explain, 'How do you know about the graffiti? Who produces the graffiti? Is graffiti an art form or a  criminal offence?'

The exercise even provides examples of student responses to the graffiti images, with answers including 'I have seen graffiti on the way to school' and 'It is mainly done by young people'.

Queensland's Education Minister refused to comment, while the curriculum authority described the assessment as an 'optional resource' for teachers, according to the Courier Mail.

'Decisions around the use of assessment items and contexts for learning are made at the school level,' he said.


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here

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