Peter Khalil, the Federal Member for Wills, has criticised both Tony Abbott’s calls to cut Australia’s migration intake and Scott Morrison’s response to Mr Abbott’s views.
In a speech to the Sydney Institute on Tuesday night, Mr Abbott said Australia’s immigration rate should be returned to what he claims was the long-term average under the 11 years of the Howard government, at least until infrastructure and housing stock could catch up.
Scott Morrison was quick to dismiss the former Prime Minister’s call, saying migration levels are exactly the same as when Mr Abbott was in power.
But both members of the Turnbull Government drew criticism from Mr Khalil, who formerly served as a Victorian Multicultural Commissioner before his election to Federal Parliament in 2016.
“Abbott is wrong because he suggests cuts to our intake of migrants – people who work pay taxes and contribute to our society – which would have a negative impact on our economic growth. Morrison is disingenuous because it is the Turnbull Government that has cut funding for infrastructure, roads, transport and has cut funding to schools and hospitals all of which are feeling the strain because the majority of migrants go to Melbourne and Sydney,” said Mr Khalil.
“Instead of taking pots shots at each other with a simplistic argument over cutting migration, what about some creative policies? What about investing in infrastructure? What about some incentives for migrants to settle in other capital cities? Support for advanced manufacturing, R&D, IT and Biotech jobs? What about, as Bill Shorten has rightly noted, the need to tighten visa restrictions on temporary migrant visa holders who are also adding to the pressures faced by Melbourne and Sydney.”
“Why doesn’t this Government do its job, so that Australia can continue to benefit economically from skilled migration?”
Mr Khalil’s comments on the issue will air on SBS World News at 6:30pm AEDT tonight.