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An economist views asylum seeker policies

Deriving sound asylum seeker policies is partly a moral issue. It is also a concern that analytical disciplines like economics can throw light on. I have been asked to provide views on asylum seeker policies as an economist. The views below are preliminary and I welcome polite comment. What I want to [...]

Getting towards a sound asylum seeker policy

The major election concern at the last Federal election, after the economy, was the asylum seeker issue. It was the main reason Labor lost the election. The nonsensical view, propounded by social romantics who treat Australia as common property owned by the international community, was that relaxing the constraints on illegal entry that John Howard [...]

Housing prices & migration

House prices in Australia are expensive because we live in a highly urbanised society that is subject to high rates of immigration. In the year to 30 June population grew by 407,000 of which 244,000 was net migration and 162,000 natural population increase. Deaths over this period were 147,000. Without the migration the supply of [...]

Immigration policy idiocy

Alana Lentin in The Guardian has the solution to Australia’s asylum seeker difficulties – an open borders policy. This policy avoids all border protection costs by abolishing border protection – anyone who wishes to reside in Australia could do so.

In the previous post I cited a link to Amnesty that summarises current information on [...]

Rudd & the illegal arrivers

Wow hasn’t Rudd changed his stated views since he attacked John Howard’s approach to successfully dealing with illegal entry to Australia. What a total disaster Labor’s policies have been. Even given Rudd’s well-known electoral awareness (the full page ads in today’s newspapers warning that illegal arrivals will not gain Australian residency are directed entirely at [...]

Economic migrants dominate illegal migrant entry

For more than a decade I have argued two key propositions in relation to attempted illegal migrant entry to Australia. Both have aroused intense criticisms:

(i) Softening the approach to so-called asylum seekers will definitely attract many more attempts at illegal entry. (ii) Almost all so-called asylum seekers are economic migrants seeking a better economic [...]

Lessons from Boston

I agree with The Australian’s editorial (for once). We don’t want immigrants or those entering Australia via the refugee and humanitarian program to be people who despise our democracy, our legal system and our tolerant society. It is reasonable to be totally intolerant towards their intolerance. Of course we don’t want those fanatics who will [...]

$5m to gain an Aussi visa

Government policy is now allowing businesspeople who will make a business investment of $5m in Australia to gain entry to Australia as an immigrant. Critics have described the policy as an immoral sale of entry rights. It isn’t really. The policy in the main provides a signal of the applicant’s entrepreneurial or business skills which [...]

Labor gets tough too late on asylum seekers

I have posted repeatedly in the past on the foolishness of the Labor Government’s solution to the asylum seeker problem and the virtue of the Howard Government’s “Pacific Solution” which meant almost no illegal arrivals (here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and particularly here, here etc). For my troubles I have been labeled [...]

Thinking clearly about immigration

We have been selective in sections of our immigration program – for example the business program discriminates on the basis of wealth. But if one raises the case for not favouring the admission to Australia of those who come from violent societies where our democratic values and belief in religious tolerance would get zero respect [...]

Open the gates to humanitarian migrants?

Jessica Irvine in the SMH suggests that we simply “open the gates” to all refugees/asylum seekers. There are around 40 million of them but her argument seems to be that we are a rich country and the demand for entry to Australia specifically is currently only of the order of 50,000 per year. Of course [...]

Moral hazard & the boat people fiasco

It seems yet another boatload of people has faced the possibility of sinking in Indonesian waters but, with the distinctive features that: (i) The attempted sinking (it seems) was engineered by those on board and; (ii) that those on board had the foresight to have satellite phones with the phone number of the Australian Federal [...]

Queue jumpers

The Gillard Government does finally seem determined to address the “people smuggling” issue. The deal is to send the next 800 illegal migrants (almost all “queue-jumpers” seeking a better lifestyle) to Malaysia in exchange for accepting – over the next 4 years – 4000 refugees from Burma currently held in Malaysia. These Burmese refugees will [...]

Population & the Environment

I’ve spilt a lot of printers ink on this topic over the years. Here is a draft of some notes I prepared for a Productivity Commission meeting next week. Comments welcome. (911)

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Migration & population economics

For the most part I have refrained from entering into the current discussions on migration and population targeting. My preferred approach to these issues – as an economist – is to recognise the potential for economic gains from migration and population increase and then to look for policies that guarantee resident Australians will be better [...]

Economics of population growth

Mark Crosby over at Core Economics has a post on population economics that created stress for me. Stress because it argues an intellectual position I (and many others) have being trying to combat for many years. (1679)

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Sense on asylum seekers

An excellent article on asylum seekers by Ken Parish. I agree with the central argument that queue jumping should be prevented. John Howard was right – Australia should determine who becomes a citizen of Australia.

‘Asylum seekers brought to Christmas Island and found to be genuine refugees should not be automatically granted a visa entitling [...]

Rudd Labor migration policy

One of the worst policies of the Hawke/Keating era in Australia was its migration policy. Bob Hawke was a garrulous cry-baby with his eye keenly on the ethnic vote. Hence he, as with many former governments, promoted ‘family-based’ rather than ‘skilled-migration’ to Australia on [...]

Illegal migration demands surge with Rudd Government policy failure

There is no doubt that Labor policy ending the Pacific Solution on queue-jumping migrants has encouraged illegal migration to Australia. Labor is seen as ‘softer’ on border control than was the previous Howard Government despite the stench of hypocrisy amid talk of ‘toughness’ from the Labor faithful. Whatever people may [...]