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Two cheers for Labor

July 29th, 2008

The euphoric honeymoon period for the Rudd government may be behind us, but we still get regular reminders that we made the right choice as a nation last November. Today’s news includes two such reminders
* The end of the brutal policy of mandatory detention, introduced by the Hawke-Keating government and hardened repeatedly by the Howard government (notable participants who deserve continued obloquy include Philip Ruddock, Peter Reith and Amanda Vanstone)
* The intervention by Peter Garrett to protect remaining cassowary habitat near Mission Beach

The Opposition’s response on mandatory detention, as on almost every issue that has come up for debate since the election, is a reminder that they need a long spell out of government. On current performances, I’d say that they won’t be a credible alternative until everyone who held office under Howard has left the political scene.

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  1. Vee
    July 29th, 2008 at 22:08 | #1

    The lesser of two evils perhaps but still far from ideal and it all comes crashing down when you consider they’re still pressing ahead with the internet filtering, they’ve signed off on NSW govt privatisation of electricity which will undoubtedly jack prices sky high and I’m sure there must be more.

  2. Jill Rush
    July 29th, 2008 at 22:29 | #2

    In hearing the history of the detention of refugees it becomes apparent that a lot of money was wasted on facilities which are now useless. On the humanitarian side how it was that the Howard government managed to convince people who are charitable and often Christian (with all that belief system)that refugees should be treated so badly.

    It was an evil which has not ended too soon. The Rudd government may be struggling with climate change but at least they have a heart and an understanding that a society works best when it treats all with respect.

  3. Spiros
    July 29th, 2008 at 22:50 | #3

    “privatisation of electricity which will undoubtedly jack prices sky high”

    Which means less electricity bought which means less electricity made which means less carbon cooking the planet.

    Sounds orright to me.

  4. Ian Gould
    July 29th, 2008 at 23:16 | #4

    “…privatisation of electricity which will undoubtedly jack prices sky high …”

    Funny nothing of the sort happened with the privatisation of the electricity retailers here in Queensland.

  5. SJ
    July 29th, 2008 at 23:36 | #5

    Ian Says:

    Funny nothing of the sort happened with the privatisation of the electricity retailers here in Queensland.

    Correct me if I’m wrong. In Qld the retailers were privatised but the generators weren’t, and the retailers are still subject to price regulation.

    In NSW, what’s proposed is privatisation of both retailers and generators, with the retailers being subject to price regulation.

    There’s a subtle difference. The regulation of retail tariffs allows a “pass through” of what the generators charge, because of various assumptions about competition in generation and about the prevention of vertical integration by the ACCC.

    All of those assumptions go out the window with what Costa has proposed, or more correctly, has been sold to him by the companies that want to screw electricity consumers.

  6. Donald Oats
    July 30th, 2008 at 01:33 | #6

    Couldn’t agree more, Jill #2.

    The idea of detaining someone for an unspecified time, without effective legal support, without even detailing the grounds for incarceration, is in my book immoral.

    The fact that detention of unknown duration was used as a policy of deterrence, in my eyes converts it from immoral to pure evil :-( .

    I’m more than glad to see the policy buried. As an atheist (I couldn’t work out which god, so I picked “none of the above”), I’m not in a position to shed light on how a religious person could find themselves constructing such a system. Compartmentalisation of beliefs, perhaps.

    Even the goal, which I think was of deterring nefarious types who want to get into Australia, was not well served by the policy. It assumed that they couldn’t find alternative means of getting in.

  7. July 30th, 2008 at 02:34 | #7

    “that we made the right choice as a nation last November”

    Now that is being a delusional.

    There is plenty to cheer about.

    *increased taxation on cars and alcohol.
    * Abolising private health care.
    * outlawing solar panels.
    * Fuelwatching petrol prices into the heavens.
    * opening the borders.
    * EMT Fart Tax
    * Higher interest rates

    Whats next?

  8. TerjeP (say tay-a)
    July 30th, 2008 at 06:51 | #8

    Illegal immigrants arriving by boat will still be detained at Christmas Island under ALP policy. This doesn’t seem that consistent with the sybolism of the announcement. However I agree with the sentiment that detention is harsh.

    There are two immigration reforms that would improve things further:-

    a) Firstly we should abolish immigration quotas and adopt an immigration tariff instead. In other words we should open our door to anybody that poses neither a security nor health threat and who can pay the relevant tariff. The tariff would need to be high enough to moderate demand. This would convert some of the participants in the black market into legal participants in an immigration market. It would also allow humanitarian groups to raise funds and buy passage for special cases. It would also raise revenue to cover infrastructure costs abolish waiting periods and red tape.

    b) We should have bi-lateral free immigration agreements with more nations along the lines of the existing deal with New Zealand. In general such a bilateral deal should apply to countries that share basic institutional values such as the rule of law and democracy as well as probably being limited to nations with somewhat comparable living standards. Countries such as Singapore or Ireland might be contenders although others might be even more suitable and/or interested.

  9. Ian Gould
    July 30th, 2008 at 09:29 | #9

    “Firstly we should abolish immigration quotas and adopt an immigration tariff instead. In other words we should open our door to anybody that poses neither a security nor health threat and who can pay the relevant tariff.”

    Yeah that way we can set it so high that it excludes 99% of peopel from the developign world while telling ourselves its a liberal and nondiscriminatory policy.

    Jack Strocchi will love it.

  10. wilful
    July 30th, 2008 at 10:33 | #10

    jesus christ “Fights Censorship”, there are so many things wrong with your list I don’t know where to start. Every single item on your list is just plain stupid or wrong.

  11. James Haughton
    July 30th, 2008 at 13:09 | #11

    I believe he’s cracked down on the Howard era political advertising rorts too. Or did you already cover that somewhere?

  12. Chris Lloyd
    July 30th, 2008 at 15:20 | #12

    Auctioning immigration points is about the best way to ensure that (a) we get immigrants who, according ot their own self assessment, will benefit most from moving and (b) paying for the costs of more people. Basic economics. You don’t give limited things away free when there is a chance to sell it. If you do, you lose all the gains of trade. Oh, but I forgot. We have some moral obligation to take more immigrants because…we killed the aborigines..or something. Bollocks.

    Those from poor countries could borrow the money from the government and pay it back like HECS. Refugees come under a completely different system. We accept refugees to hep them, not to help us. They don’t have to pay (but it would not be entirely crazy to ask for something back later).

    I will refrain from wasting my breath about Tampa and what a terrible country we are to detain people. The arguments and hysterical claims have been demolished on any number of other blogs.

  13. Ian Gould
    July 30th, 2008 at 15:27 | #13

    “Auctioning immigration points is about the best way to ensure that (a) we get immigrants who, according ot their own self assessment, will benefit most from moving and (b) paying for the costs of more people. Basic economics.”

    Very very basic economics.

    Roughly second semester first year.

    More advanced economics recognises that capacity to pay is frequently restrained and that those that can pay the most are not necessarily the most capable or the most virtous

    (Just think – values that aren’t measured in dollars and cents. Heresy!).

    Most immigrants into Australia more than pay their way via the tax system already.

    But hey let’s whack on an extra charge just to remind them that they should be suitably grateful.

  14. TerjeP (say tay-a)
    July 30th, 2008 at 17:26 | #14

    Personally I would not auction immigration permits although I used to advocate this. I’d sell them at a fixed price and let the quantity fluctuate with demand. Essentially for reasons similar to prefering a carbon tax over an ETS.

    Ian – perhaps you missed the fact that our existing immigration system is discriminatory. Anything other than open borders is discriminatory. I accept this as political reality and seek the best policy within that constraint. However perhaps you might like to instead consider part (b) of my suggestion. Part (b) does not depend on part (a).

  15. Ian Gould
    July 30th, 2008 at 17:55 | #15

    There’s a difference between discrimination based on relevant factors (e.g. health status, criminal record) and irrelevant factors.

    There’s a word for the latter starts with pre-.

  16. Ian Gould
    July 30th, 2008 at 18:31 | #16

    Terje – so you know I have a great deal of respect for you even though we disagree on many issues.

    I am NOT suggesting you’re prejudiced.

    I do however think that your libertarian views sometimes lead you to support policy positions without adequately considering their effect.

  17. July 30th, 2008 at 18:51 | #17

    Labor must take care to not roll back the mandatory detention policy too far (only time will tell if that has already been done) or else they will be voted out.

    Simple.

    The voting population wants Australia to decide who comes here (to paraphrase someone).

  18. Spiros
    July 30th, 2008 at 19:10 | #18

    “The voting population wants Australia to decide who comes here (to paraphrase someone).”

    It’s too late for that. New Zealanders can come as go as they please, even the shaded ones.

  19. Chris Lloyd
    July 30th, 2008 at 19:50 | #19

    Terje, It is better to auction points than so sell the whole visa. If someone is a plumber with native English and perfect health, then that should be recognised through points we need healthy plumbers. If you have no factors we need and are short of points, you can still pay the residual at market rate. What is the problem with that?

    Ian, I do not see any relevant argument in your comment, apart from an unsubstantiated assertion that immigrants more than pay for themselves. An economist would ask “paid compared to what?� Also, are you referring to every single immigrant? Or just on average? Isn’t the real question whether we could do better? After all, the purpose of the immigration program is to benefit us, yes? Imagine that 300,000 entries next year paid only $10,000 each. We are talking $3 billion per annum. I reckon the market price would actually be much higher. Huge amount of money that would allow us to transform the national infrastructure, and avoid the costs of those immigrant who will not contribute. All in an open modern market based manner.

    If you think immigrants are good, why would self selecting paying immigrants be worse? Why don’t you just admit it and say that you support immigration per se, because of your personal ethics or some desire for penance?

  20. Ian Gould
    July 30th, 2008 at 20:03 | #20

    “Ian, I do not see any relevant argument in your comment, apart from an unsubstantiated assertion that immigrants more than pay for themselves.”

    The typical immigrant into Australian is an adult meaning that the Australian taxpayer doesn’t shell out twenty-odd years worth of education spending and welfare assistance.

    Because of the health restrictions on immigrants they tend to have a higher workforce participation rate than Australian-born citizens.

    “If you think immigrants are good, why would self selecting paying immigrants be worse?’

    Because the ability to pay says far more about family background and country of origin than innate ability.

    Do you seriously think Frank Lowy would have been able to afford your proposal?

    How about Victor Chang?

  21. Ian Gould
    July 30th, 2008 at 20:07 | #21

    Oh and let’s note that it already costs several thousand dollars to apply for an Australian visa.

    For example:

    http://www.immi.gov.au/allforms/990i/employer-sponsored-permanent.htm

    http://www.immi.gov.au/allforms/990i/professionals-outside-australia.htm

  22. Ian Gould
    July 30th, 2008 at 20:10 | #22

    I’m yet to read even the summary but this may be a useful starting point to look at the economics of immigration to Australia.

    http://www.immi.gov.au/media/publications/research/social-costs-benefits/contents_exec_summary_and_intro.pdf

  23. Chris Lloyd
    July 30th, 2008 at 21:11 | #23

    Willfully missed the point again Ian. With many millions of potential immigrants, we should be trying to get the best. And yes, Lowy and Chang would get in under a loans scheme. While many others who have contributed nothing, and never intended to, would not. All this follows, regardless of whether current policy has net positive benefit.

    “Because of the health restrictions on immigrants they tend to have a higher workforce participation rate than Australian-born citizens.” Not in the Lebanese community they don’t. Anyway, sounds like you are sanguine about rejecting immigrants with bad health. I would let them in if they can plumb and can pay for the health points lost. Perhaps you are the hard-hearted one?

    Enough. I’m off to Club Troppo.

  24. Ian Gould
    July 30th, 2008 at 21:20 | #24

    “Not in the Lebanese community they don’t.”

    Got any proof for that?

  25. Ian Gould
    July 30th, 2008 at 21:36 | #25

    Oh and Chris as the population growth in much of the developed world drops below repalcement, world population growth continues to slow and economci growth in most of the developed world exceeds that in the developed world those “many millions” of potential immigrants may dry up faster than you think.

  26. TerjeP (say tay-a)
    July 31st, 2008 at 08:23 | #26

    Terje, It is better to auction points than so sell the whole visa. If someone is a plumber with native English and perfect health, then that should be recognised through points we need healthy plumbers. If you have no factors we need and are short of points, you can still pay the residual at market rate. What is the problem with that?

    Chris – I’m not big on picking winners. And the notion that you or I can know that plumbers are needed more than carpenters is in my view flawed. I personally have no problem getting a plumber when I need one (which has been often enough over the last couple of years) but lawyers are in short supply judging by the fees they charge.

    In my view willingness to pay says something about the benefit to the migrant of being able to migrate. And whilst Ian is right that capacity to pay is also a big factor I think that those with real prospects would be in a position to borrow money. In fact I think a labour import industry would spring up for those areas where skills are valuable and where demand is strong. A legion of people would be there to help a poor plumber with exceptional english get into the country if the skill was in short supply. Migrants would not be on their own to overcome the financial barriers although the savy ones could probably do it on their own.

    Terje – so you know I have a great deal of respect for you even though we disagree on many issues.

    Ian – Thanks. I appreciate that comment. However you are wrong to think that my advocacy of an immigration tariff is due to some self imposed libertarianism. Simply because it is not a libertarian position. Open borders would be. In fact option (b) that I mentioned earlier which entailed an expanded intitiative to forge bilateral free immigration agreements such as the existing one with New Zealand is much more inclined towards the libertarian position. And you have not really examined or offered comment on that option at all. Do you oppose the existing bilateral free immigration agreement with New Zealand?

  27. Ian Gould
    July 31st, 2008 at 09:48 | #27

    “And you have not really examined or offered comment on that option at all. Do you oppose the existing bilateral free immigration agreement with New Zealand?”

    If it were up to me, we’d unilaterally open our borders to people from the entire developed world – subject to the usual health and character checks.

    We’d also run a much more generous refugee program and increase the number of people we accept from developing countries.

    Personally I’d be happy with an annual immigration intake of 300,000 a year.

  28. Tony G
    July 31st, 2008 at 11:51 | #28

    Ian,

    I agree with this statement;

    “If it were up to me, we’d unilaterally open our borders to people from the entire developed world – subject to the usual health and character checks.”

    But, I think a lot more than 300,000 per year would come.

  29. TerjeP (say tay-a)
    July 31st, 2008 at 19:05 | #29

    If they also opened up to us then a lot would leave also. Maybe not permanently but on balance there would be more citizens abroad and any given time.

    I agree with Ian on unilateral free immigration for the developed world however bilateral free immigration agreements (such as the one with New Zealand) seem like a more likely pathway that is incremental and experimental without immediately threatening the entire closed border experiment and which will more likely build a constituency of supporters. In other words given the politics of immigration I think it is an easier sell. Who would get upset if we had a free immigration agreement with Ireland or Switzerland? Kevin Rudd could start negotiations next week and I’m sure there would be significant goodwill and support.

  30. Ian Gould
    July 31st, 2008 at 22:10 | #30

    The problem with bilateral deals is that as with bilateral free trade deals they promote the idea that open borders or (free trade)is a concession we’re granting to the other party in exchange for access to their country when in both cases unilateral liberalisation by Austtralia would benefit us.

  31. TerjeP
    July 31st, 2008 at 23:54 | #31

    Ian – in spite of your fine sentiments even you only advocate that we unilaterally open our borders to “developed” countries. Clearly political reality, not pure ideology (which is what you accused me of earler) need to be taken into consideration if you want to formulate a policy that stands a chance of making things better. Insisting that a reform is bad because it isn’t perfect seems to me like a rather shallow criticism.

    We have a bilateral free immigration agreement with New Zealand. To me that seems like a reasonable model to build on and a good reference case to point to. Perhaps in time if we had several such agreements in place with other nations then the political environment might become ripe for a more unilateral liberalisation. However my gut feeling is that whilst Mr Kevin 07 could get away with a bilateral free immigration deal he would sink like a stone in a pond if he tried for anything unilateral.

  32. Tony G
    August 1st, 2008 at 12:55 | #32

    Wilful said re post 7

    “je*us ch*ist “Fights Censorshipâ€?, there are so many things wrong with your list I don’t know where to start. Every single item on your list is just plain stupid or wrong.”

    Yes,it is wrong or stupid of the KRudd government to do those things.

  33. observa
    August 1st, 2008 at 13:35 | #33

    “I believe he’s cracked down on the Howard era political advertising rorts too.”
    Obviously you don’t listen to radio or watch TV with all those Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme ads James?

    As for the new policy of you lob here and you’re free to move about the community until your refugee status is heard, we’ll see how many innocents that drowns in the long run and the costs imposed by the devious WRT the deserving.

    Speaking of the bad and the good, I notice some are increasingly questioning the Rudd Govts overall judgement on that now-
    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/JH01Df02.html
    and apparently we’re going to send some ‘military advisors’ to Pakistan to help sort out the bad and the good too in that regard. Should have the bad guys surrounded pretty quick by the looks of things, now they’ve all moved on from the ‘bad war’-
    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/JH01Df01.html
    Looks like the ‘bring them on’, flypaper ‘bad war’ mob are completely discredited now.

  34. Ian Gould
    August 1st, 2008 at 21:58 | #34

    “Yes,it is wrong or stupid of the KRudd government to do those things.”

    So, Tony, you maintain in all seriousness that the government has abolished private health care and
    outlawed solar panels?

  35. Tony G
    August 2nd, 2008 at 01:23 | #35

    “Two cheers for ‘KRudd’ we made the right choice”

    My comments might be a slight exaggeration of what he has done but they are not far off the mark.

    If he isn’t trying to abolish private health care, what would you call it.

    “Treasury projection that 486,000 families Australia-wide would drop their insurance as a result of the budget’s relaxation of measures to coax people into health insurance”.

    And it is unlikely low income earners are the ones who would put a solar panel on their roof so he may as well outlawed them.

    “This move has prompted widespread complaints of cancelled orders from across the solar panel installation industry.”

    With bank lending and retail sales figures slumping to recession levels this week we have will a third thing to cheer about. (sorry, he had nothing to do with this recession it was all caused by the previous government or overseas factors -like the mining boom)

  36. August 2nd, 2008 at 01:29 | #36

    test

  37. Ian Gould
    August 2nd, 2008 at 11:27 | #37

    “Government figures show there has been a surge in applications for the solar panel rebate.

    Earlier this year, the Federal Government bought in a means tested rebate making it available to families earning less than $100,000 a year.

    The solar industry claims the means test has crippled business.

    But Environment Minister Peter Garrett says applications for the rebate have increased by 150 per week since the test was bought in.

    “We are seeing on average over 500 applications lodged each week since the Budget, with 700 in one week alone,” he said.

    “To put this into perspective the current weekly average is higher than any week prior to the Budget, throughout the whole program’s history.”

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/08/02/2322243.htm?section=justin

  38. Tony G
    August 2nd, 2008 at 15:43 | #38

    Ian,

    Those figures are nothing but Krudd disinformation.

    People applying is not the same as people actually receiving the rebate. How many are knocked back because they are over the threshold?

    Why won’t he show us the real figures?

  39. Tony G
    August 2nd, 2008 at 15:45 | #39

    Like the actual change in the number of rebates claimed.

  40. Ian Gould
    August 2nd, 2008 at 19:24 | #40

    You’re asking in the first days of August why they won’t show us “the real figures” for a program that started on July 1st?

  41. Chris Lloyd
    August 7th, 2008 at 17:13 | #41

    Re 26 Ian: I will not resort to saying that ti is common knowledge, though ti is. It is pretty hard to get official figure on ethnci breakdowns of anything sensitive. Regarding jobless rates, I refer you to an article by George Megalogenis in the weekend Australian, (Apr 8, 2006) where he cited the jobless rate of Lebanese migrants at 37.2% being 6 times the national average. It was extracted from the ABS after two months effort.

    I am not interested in getting into an ugly and unnecessary debate about who are the best migrants. But I cannot accept blanket statements like “Most immigrants into Australia more than pay their way via the tax system already�. So what? The target is not to have 51% breakeven or better. The target is to maximise the benefit.

  42. Ian Gould
    August 7th, 2008 at 18:32 | #42

    Counting existing fees, air-fares, relocation costs etc it probabyl costs $15-20,000 per person to migrate to Australia.

    Do you seriously think adding another $10,000 per year is going to “maximise the benefit” especially when most migrants bring the bulk of their fianncial assets with them anyway?

    Once again we see the right’s endless faith in the ability of government to micromanage optimal social outcomes in the area of immigration (but oddly, only in that area).

  43. Tony G
    August 8th, 2008 at 00:02 | #43

    Ian,

    I think the program started on the 21st of May
    see next to Guide for Residential Applicants on this page; Here

    Garrett is stating they are getting approximately 2000 applications per month up 150%. Presumably they were getting 800 per month prior i.e 800 x 1.5

    The figures show they averaged 490 monthly rebates for Jan Feb Mar & Apr 08;Click Here For rebate figures xls file

    So up until April of this year 300 per month were presumably getting knocked back.

    In the guidelines for applicants it states;

    “Applicants should not assume that they will receive a rebate on submitting an application. The Program Manager has sole and absolute discretion whether an applicant is eligible for a rebate”

    “A rebate will NOT be paid for equipment installed without pre-approval being granted.”

    &
    “Notification of pre-approval
    Applicants will be notified in writing if the pre-approval has been granted or not within six weeks from receipt of the complete application.

    Maybe on the 26 of August when federal parliament returns, some one can ask Mr Garret how many pre-approvals have been granted? ( Although he is not asking for tax returns to verify income so anyone could theoretically still get the rebate)

  44. Tony G
    August 8th, 2008 at 00:03 | #44

    test

  45. Tony G
    August 8th, 2008 at 00:11 | #45

    I think the program started on the 21st of May
    see next to Guide for Residential Applicants on this page

    should be this page
    http://www.environment.gov.au/settlements/renewable/pv/index.html

  46. Ian Gould
    August 8th, 2008 at 00:30 | #46

    The document you link to Tony says the means test came into effect immediately on May 17th when the budget announcment was made.

    THAT was stupid and explains why there was an immediate wave of cancellations.

    As for the long tern effect, the document also says the application process takes six weeks so at this point we have maybe one month’s data.

    Having worked in the public service including on project management and assessment, I doubt they even have that at this point.

    This document:

    http://www.environment.gov.au/settlements/renewable/pv/pubs/wattsbymonth-april08.xls

    shows month by month how many watts were installed. It currently goes up until April, so within a couple of months we’ll be able to check on the number of systems installed.

    And here’s the number of systems by month:

    http://www.environment.gov.au/settlements/renewable/pv/pubs/installedbystate-april08.xls

    Labor doubled the number of systems eligible per year from 3,000 to 6,000.

    At a weekly rate of 500 applicants, they could have a 75% reject rate and still meet their target.

  47. Tony G
    August 8th, 2008 at 11:26 | #47

    JQ,

    FYI

    Re Spam filter

    If I link to a site that has been posted before the post usually gets rejected.

    Ian

    It appears generally there is a higher demand for the rebate than the government is prepared to rebate.

    Approximately 24000 applications per year to 6000 rebates; although this is only half heartedly means tested (which is good).

    6000pa only equates to 500 per month so it will not change the monthly figures, but you will have 6 weeks of no installations.

    The people have the will to put in more solar panels, but KRudd has not got the environmental resolve to rebate them. (he is more concerned with figuring out a new way to tax us)

  48. Ian Gould
    August 8th, 2008 at 11:45 | #48

    “The people have the will to put in more solar panels, but KRudd has not got the environmental resolve to rebate them.”

    Yeah he’s only doubled the size of this prgram and committed several hundred milion dollars in additional spendign on other programs such as solar cities and solar schools.

    Oh and signalled that in a year or so several hundred million dollars a year more will be available through a green loans scheme.

    He’s done more in his first six months than John Howard di in 12 years.

    I must have missed all your posts condemning Howard for this.

  49. Tony G
    August 8th, 2008 at 12:11 | #49

    Ian,

    I concede he has “done more” ,but the more panels installed, means less coal is burnt. 20000pa panels can be done straight away maybe more without the means test. This would have an immediate measured impact on reducing green house gases. They can not give us the figures for the EMT. He should be directing his energies to actually reducing emissions instead of some lame brain tax scheme.

  50. Chris Lloyd
    August 11th, 2008 at 17:41 | #50

    BTW Ian, I am not of the right. The fact that you think I am, just because I am proposing a possible market solution in the holy space of immigration policy, says more about you than it does me. FYI, I normally vote ALP, voted Green once, but voted for Petro last election because he is an enemy of Howard and the seat was safe Liberal anyway.

    It is pretty embarrassing and bizarre that you call selling immigration points government micro-management. It is a pity that you cannot consider the proposition with an open mind – the proposition is to auction immigration points.

    The best immigrants (as determined by your micro-managing immigration department’s formula) would not need to buy any points. So Australia would not lose those who we judge to be a good risk – which was the first objection that occurred to me when I first saw the (bad) idea of auctioning entire visas.

    Those who are ranked lowly according to our point system, but think that they are better than our crude mathematical assessment, could put their money where their mouth is and buy some points – even buy them on credit. Seems like a no-brainer to me. You would prefer to not let them in and trust the government department’s formula.

  51. Ian Gould
    August 11th, 2008 at 19:42 | #51

    ChrisL, the sort of self-pitying pasranoia contained in statements such as

    ” We have some moral obligation to take more immigrants because…we killed the aborigines..or something. Bollocks.”

    “I will refrain from wasting my breath about Tampa and what a terrible country we are to detain people. “is usually a characteristic of the political right.

    As is the mindless uncritical belief that market forces are the solution to all public policy issues.

    And the belief that migrants are a net drain on society.

    If you aren’t on the political right, you’re doign an excellent imitation.

  52. Chris Lloyd
    August 17th, 2008 at 22:25 | #52

    �We have some moral obligation to take more immigrants because…we killed the aborigines..or something. Bollocks.� This is certainly the attitude of some rusted on leftists who believe in immigration for its own sake. I presume that you agree that the statement preceding bollocks is bollocks. Mine as not a right wing statement, though you could argue that it is a straw man.

    “I will refrain from wasting my breath about Tampa…� and I did refrain.

    “…mindless uncritical belief that market forces are the solution to all public policy issues.� Not all public policy. I am against most PPP’s or at least the PPPs that our governments have managed to negotiate for us. I am not even that keen on privatising electricity.

    “…and the belief that migrants are a net drain on society.� Nowhere can you find that assertion., though you are happy to assert the contrary. I am pointing to a way of improving the outcome from the present, regardless of whether we presently enjoy a net gain.

    It is simply not true that being sceptical about the benefits of immigration and wanting to get a better deal is right wing. High migration rates are actually supported by bug business and the libertarian right. Traditional blue collar ALP voters are not nearly as enthusiastic. You seem really keen to categorise people as right or left. Thinking people sometimes surprise you by their combination of belief. By way of contrast, nothing you have ever said on this blog has surprised me.

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