Australia ‘should raise immigration levels’

One of the candidates vying for the leadership of Australia’s Labour Party has declared that the country should be looking at raising immigration levels rather than cutting them.

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Bill Shotten told ABC TV’s Q&A programme that “I do believe the immigration levels can go up.

No doubt tomorrow I will get the hate mail from people who say ‘You don’t understand’. I do understand. Immigration has been a plus for us and we should be certainly as a party being seen to be pro-immigration and pro increasing it, making sure people go to wherever it is sustainable for infrastructure and support, but we are an immigrant country and we shouldn’t ever hide from our destiny.”

Mr Shotten’s main challenger for the party’s leadership, Anthony Albanese, stated that the country’s immigration levels should be more flexible.

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“You shouldn’t have a fixed number,” he said. “You need also to make sure that we get the infrastructure issues right and you also need to make sure that you have proper settlement programs, proper linking in terms of employment and skills and opportunities so that you have a successful migration system rather than being fixed on a number.”

The Labour party, under the leadership of Kevin Rudd, were ousted from power at last month’s general election, with the party taking an increasingly dim view of immigration towards their last few months in government.