What is the immigration policy of Australia

Australia's head of government tightens immigration policy after terrorist attack in New Zealand

After the terrorist attack on Muslims in New Zealand, the Australian government announced a reduction in the immigration quota.

Australia's conservative prime minister made the first hints at the end of 2018. Now, less than a week after the racially motivated terrorist attack by an Australian in New Zealand, Scott Morrison announced that the state would continue to limit immigration. Specifically, the upper limit is to be reduced by 30,000 to 160,000 people over the next four years - a step that the Labor opposition supports.

The aim is to reduce the influx into the big cities, whose infrastructure has not been able to keep pace with population growth, said Morrison. The consequences are a lack of housing, high prices and constantly congested streets. Immigrants are considered to be the main reason for such massively overpriced housing markets as in Sydney.

"Dog whistling"

The timing of the announcement - allegedly because of budget decisions on April 2nd - causes frowns. It is said that what Morrison is doing against the background of the attacks in Christchurch is "dog whistling". This is the English term for the tactic of wrapping a message in such a way that it has one meaning for the general public, but another for a subgroup. Morrison alleged infrastructure problems, but in truth he wanted to keep foreigners, especially those of Muslim faith, away from Australia.

The evangelical Christian rejected this. Australia needs to be able to discuss population growth and related issues without drifting into a race debate. Just because someone demands restraint in immigration, this person is not immediately racist, said the 50-year-old.

Critics accuse him of hypocrisy. "This is the same man who has built his career on stoking fears against people of color and asylum seekers," said Tim Lo Surdo, founder of the activist group Democracy in Color. Although Morrison condemned the attack in Christchurch, he never spoke out against Islamophobia, according to a comment in the Sydney Morning Herald this week.

Morrison has not been able to bring himself to distance himself from the very controversial one-nation party leader Pauline Hanson. It went so far as to describe Islam as a disease against which Australia had to be vaccinated.

Yesterday, Saturday, elections were held in New South Wales, the state in which Sydney is located. That has fueled the debate about the political handling of the immigration issue. Australian politicians and the media are regularly criticized for fueling fears and racial hatred.

In New Zealand, however, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern approached the small Muslim community in her country after the attack in Christchurch and showed a great deal of compassion. It also received international recognition for the rapidly imposed ban on semi-automatic weapons used by the perpetrator. On several occasions, Ardern also offered to take in refugees from Australian camps.

Limit migration

But even if the social and political climate in New Zealand differs from its large neighbor Australia, the reasons for less immigration are similar.

Ardern's coalition government has long planned to lower the upper limit for regular immigrants - in proportion even more dramatically - from 67,000 to 30,000 people a year. The tightening is not least a demand of the small coalition partner New Zealand First and its party leader, Foreign Minister Winston Peters.

As in Australia, the reason is that one must relieve the infrastructure and the real estate market. Both countries are also concerned that restricting immigration too much will lead to a labor shortage that will weaken the economy. For this reason, more than 100 craftsmen recently had to be flown in from China for a large hotel project in Auckland.