With the results coming in soon for the Australian elections, it is rather interesting to consider the impact immigration has had on the election, and also how this rather strongly correlates to the UK election. Another interesting parallel is that as like the Labour party over here, the Australian Labor party seem to have been fighting the election with many divisions. But not like the UK Labour party, Labor disposed of their leader. It offers an interesting comparison, as whilst Julia Gillard enjoyed an initial boast, it seems that it is costing her votes – with a Sky News Australia exit poll finding that 8% more would have voted for Labor if the decapitation had not taken place. Interesting to muse on for the UK Labour party and what could have been.
More specifically, immigration seems to have become a real talking point in the Australia elections, as it did over in the UK elections. I have not been following the Australian elections as intense as many of you, but what is quite interesting is how big the immigration debate has become. The immigration debate was very big in the UK, with the immigration cap proposal from the Tories (hated now amongst many), the Liberal Democrat amnesty debate (arguablly cost them votes) and Brown’s bigoted woman comment. What was clear from the election was how anti-immigration the UK public has/had become, and this seems to be the case in Australia.
Similarly to the UK election, there is also the chance of a hung parliament – but differently, there is no real third-party to offset the two main parties (but the Greens seem to be doing well in the intial results). Whilst Rudd, the previous prime minister favoured more immigration, the current prime minister and the oppositional candidate, Abbott, are fighting amongst each other for the most feasible anti-immigration policy.
What is also interesting about the terminology used in the Australian election is how both candidates have used the word ‘sustainable’ when discussing immigration. This relates back to previous discussions on my blog, about how climate change and the environment can be used as a justification for more controlled immigration policies. It is also a way to blame poor infrastructure and capital spending projects upon someone else other than the government’s inadequate policies. The immigration debate is also focusing on the refugees who travel via boat to the country, however, this is apparently less than 1% of the of the immigration total.
Again, immigration has been used as a way to undermine real competent discussion about many issues that are actually the real cause of many problems that are blamed upon immigration. Again, what is needed is an open frank discussion about immigration (the facts – not the moral panic hype), and more importantly – the issues that relate to it.