26 July 2010

Leadership debate touches on Australian immigration issues

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Immigration was a touchstone topic in Sunday night’s leadership debate between Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott in the lead up to the next federal election.

Australian Visa

The leading topic of the recent leadership debate was Australian immigration.

The debate between Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard and challenger Coalition party leader Tony Abbott fell short of a decisive victory for either although early opinion polls suggest Ms Gillard is on track to win the 21 August election.

Mr Abbot favours a major cut in Australian immigration numbers and pledged to turn back a rising tide of asylum seekers arriving by boat.

Following up his announcement earlier in the day that a future Coalition government would cut Australia's annual migrant intake from 300,000 to 170,000, he challenged Ms Gillard to do the same.

“We have nominated what we think is the right number for Australia going forward, and I challenge the Prime Minister to do likewise,” he said during the debate.

The Prime Minister countered that the government had already reduced the immigration intake to a similar figure, with further Australian Visa cuts in the pipeline.

"So the trick here, and I think that Tony should really reveal the trick, the trick here is Tony today has promised the Australian people what I'm already delivering to the Australian people," she said.

Around one in four Australians were born overseas, including the two leaders with Ms Gillard born in Wales and Mr Abbott London-born.

Most new migrants to Australia come from New Zealand, the UK, China and India.


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