Australia is a country built on the hard work of immigrants.
Over the years Australia has been able to be the new home for millions of people, people from the far corners of the world. Immigration has been a success story in Australia. People of diversity have settled, worked and helped build a vibrant nation. All this has happened without great social upheaval or calamity. We are a better and stronger country because of immigration.
Sadly, in recent times, successive governments along with certain sections of the media have used immigration as a political tool to instil unrest and division; to sell newspapers and to solicit votes. This has hampered a reasoned national discourse about the issue. Instead of the facts we have been presented with hysteria and untruths. A transparent discussion has been manipulated and a clear course of action has been obstructed. When considering immigration we need to look at the environmental capacity of the country, balanced with vital economic factors, not forgetting our commitment to accepting people who find themselves seeking asylum, as is their legal right to do.
So that Australia can make the right decisions about immigration, the Australian Workers Party proposes that party politics is taken out of the discussion.
Our position is that fact should be brought to the forefront of the discussion and that decisions vital to our future are balanced, researched and based upon scientific evidence. We propose the formation of a National Immigration and Population Commission. This body would be an independent statutory authority, free from partisan and government manipulation, structured as an independent body such as the AEC is.
Our proposal would see the gathering of experts in environmental sustainability, economic forecasting, social science along with representatives from the broader community. It would be a meeting of experts in their fields along with community representation. No elected politician would have a place in this body.
The task of the commission would be to determine, based solely upon evidence, the capacity of Australia to set levels of immigration sustainability. The commission would also have carriage of the yearly numbers of refugee intakes and would consider external circumstances and events as well as environmental and economic sustainability.
The AWP proposal would take away the politics from the discussion and would deal with evidence based facts. Our idea would also remove any possible media manipulation of the topic.
We would see such a commission handing down yearly findings that would be presented to Parliament, not just to view and debate but to accept and to commit to weave into the policy of the government of the day.
Our idea of a National Immigration and Population Commission would free this important issue from ideology, misinformation, emotion and manipulation. It would place the best interests of our economy and environment at the centrepiece of the discussion. Moreover, it would remove the temptation of unscrupulous politicians to try to twist a situation where the truth is paramount.
Anyone fleeing persecution and harm has the right to seek asylum. It is completely lawful to do so. As Australia is a party to international treaties on this matter, the AWP supports a person's right to seek asylum in our country. We do not support offshore detention for people seeking asylum for humanitarian, ethical and financial reasons. We do not support offshore detention with indefinite time frames or bans on asylum seekers ever coming to Australia if resettled elsewhere. We certainly do not support the detention of children. We support timely processing of anyone seeking asylum with thorough checks without any bias based upon point of origin, religion or culture. Those people who have been found to be clear to enter Australia should be classified as immigrants and settled in a timely manner.