Last week I wrote this article about the possible impacts of a change in government on Australian immigration policy and at the time of typing I was hopeful that a few days later we would have a result.
Alas.. one week later we are no nearer to a result and it’s looking likely that a of hung Parliament may be on the cards for the first time in 70 years.
Australia’s first hung parliament since 1940 means neither Labor nor the Liberal/National coalition had the majority of 76 seats to form government in their own right.
Three returned independents – Tony Windsor, Rob Oakeshott and Bob Katter – therefore, will share the balance of power with the Greens Member of Parliament Adam Bandt.
Negotiation has begun between the party leaders and the independents who on Wednesday released a list of seven demands to secure their support.
The list included access to the latest Treasury advice on election promise costings and the economic outlook for Australia. The independents also want changes to political donations, electoral funding, and truth in advertising reforms
The subject of Australian immigration has been a hot topic during the run up to the Australian election, with both candidates showing a resolve to protect the Australian way of life by reducing immigration intake if elected.
Liberal leader, Tony Abbott pledged to reduce net migration to 170,000 a year, which is a huge decrease from the peak of 300,000 in 2008, and he also said a review of migration in general was necessary.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Julia Gillard has been promoting her view of “a sustainable and small Australia” in line with her objective to protect the Australian culture.
Immigration levels and policy are largely set by the executive government, not by parliamentary law, so the hung parliament should not affect it much.
Having said that, each of the independent candidates comes from regional Australia, where the population is falling, or at least not increasing, and increased immigration is a way to address that. Whilst they have the ‘airtime’ some of these concerns could be tabled and potentially addressed.
I guess for now we are still some way away from getting any answers so as soon as we have something useful to report we’ll let you guys know.
In the meantime, one thing that has been confirmed as a result of this process is my heartfelt and undying love for all things politics. It’s just soooo interesting and fun… not! ;)