Bartlett's Blog

Andrew Bartlett has been active in politics for over 20 years, including as a Queensland Senator from 1997-2008. This blog started in 2004 and reflects his own views, independent of any political party or organisation.

Democrats call to put the family back into migration

Moves to increase the business focus of Australia's immigration program will not work without accompanying family –friendly policies, according to the Australian Democrats.
The Coalition Government has made it much more difficult for families to come to Australia, Senator Andrew Bartlett, the Democrats' immigration spokesperson told the Migration Institute of Australia National conference, being held today on the Gold Coast.
"For skilled people to come here and contribute over the long term it is important that they can maintain their family links," Senator Bartlett said.
"One of the fundamental problems within the current immigration program is the shift away from family reunion to immigration only being viewed in a short term economic sense.
"In the short-term, business people bring money to Australia while parents, young people, people with disabilities or health problems cost money. But the real gains in migration are made over the long-term.
"Whilst initially the biggest budget benefits may come from the skilled stream, the long-term social benefits come from the family reunion and humanitarian streams. In the long term those migrants repay the initial costs, have a greater commitment to staying in Australia and becoming Australian citizens than those who apply on business visas.
"Those who apply on business visas find they cannot sponsor their families to come to Australia, and choose to return," Senator Bartlett said.
"Multiculturalism depends on families and the blending of traditions from migrant communities with the Australian way of life.
"The shift began with the introduction of the two-year waiting period for benefits, followed by limiting preferential family sponsorship rights to Australian citizens, the introduction of rigorous assessment of spouse and de-facto visas, the balance of family test for parents and the introduction of the English skill test for migrants.
"Many of these changes have been made with the support of the Labor Party," he said.
The Democrats strongly oppose the current limit of 500 parents per year in the parent reunion program.
Senator Bartlett said it was appalling that the Government continued to take applications for the parent visa category, which would in reality take forty years to be processed.

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Mini Posts

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    The recent announcement by the Larvatus Prodeo blog that they are ceasing to operate is quite a significant one. I don’t suggest it means the end of independent commentary online – as the last post on LP indicates, many of those involved will continue to do similar things in other ways. But, whilst not quite the end of an era, it is a significant signpost in the evolution of independent political blogs.

    (I know my headline to this post does say it’s the end of an era –  was going to say it’s the end of a blogging phase, which is probably more accurate but frankly makes a pretty lame looking headline)

    http://larvatusprodeo.net/archives/2012/04/10/larvatus-prodeos-last-post/
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  • The Ups & Downs of Ups & Downs – interview with Greg Atkinson

    I’ve mentioned before my liking for the 80s Brisbane band Ups and Downs. I got a chance to interview their lead singer Greg Atkinson on 4ZzZ FM a few weeks ago. They’ve released a compilation CD of 20 of their best tunes and played a gig in Brisbane earlier this month to promote and celebrate it.

    It was a fairly long interview, but I found it very interesting to hear the views of someone who has been active in the independent sphere of the music industry for so long about what has changed and what is the same.

    You can listen to the interview at this link.

  • Speeches to refugee rally + SIEV-X exhibition

    A local activist helpfully recorded speeches given by myself and by Julian Burnside at a refugee rights rally held in Brisbane last Saturday.  You can listen to them here and here. The rally was held to mark the tenth anniversary of the sinking of the SIEV-X.  353 refugees drowned when that refugee boat sank on the way to Australia on 19 October 2001.  There is a beautiful exhibition at The Studio on the ground level at the State Library of Qld this week, commemorating that anniversary. It finishes this weekend – I strongly recommend you try to get along for a look if you have a chance. The Library also has a screening of the documentary Hope on Friday October 28 – this film tell the story of Amal Basry, one of the few survivors of that tragedy.