CANBERRA -- After going as hard as possible on refugees, especially boat arrivals, to the point of banishing them to punishing Pacific islands, the Coalition has turned the force of all its political rhetoric and legislative -- and regulatory -- armoury onto foreign workers.
But make no mistake, this is a wider Turnbull Government visa crackdown focusing on "social cohesion" that was first leaked in November with warnings it could actually increase violent extremism.
"Australians first"? Malcolm Turnbull's visa changes would affect just 8 per cent of current 457 holders https://t.co/r7sYMC1Naa— James Massola (@jamesmassola) April 19, 2017
The fresh abolition of the 457 visa -- to be replaced by two new tighter temporary skills shortage visas -- is, according to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, all about "Australia first."
And for thanks, cartoonists and graphic meddlers have festooned Turnbull with a crop of "America first" Trump hair.
But, this is not just about jobs -- although Turnbull would love you to remember Bill Shorten, when Employment Minister, was is the "Olympic champion" of handing out 457 visas to foreign workers.
Labor is the nominated target, and or course, the party to beat at the next election. However, this is the Turnbull Government attacking from the right, to the glee of Pauline Hanson's One Nation party, and this foreign worker crackdown has been revealed less than a day after its late day Facebook announcement as being light on detail and just the start of something much more.
"Changes to citizenship will also enable our migration program to contribute still further to our social cohesion while enhancing our security," Turnbull flagged on Wednesday. "Australia must continue to attract people who will embrace our values and positively contribute, regardless of nationality or religious relief."
Yes, a broader set of migration measures are on the way, with a focus on "social cohesion".
And Turnbull left it to a footy analogy.
"If Australia is a football team, our migration program is the way we recruit the best players," he stated.
Well, you know, sport brings people together.
"This is important for temporary visas, vital for permanent residency and citizenship," the Prime Minister said.
"Citizenship must be valued and we're making changes to-so-the practices and principles of those obtaining citizenship are consistent with our cultural values."
The Turnbull Government has for months been examining a visa overhaul, including the mandatory granting of a new provisional visa before a person can be granted permanent residency. A sort of "provisional migrant".
The original Fairfax story reported that eight new visas were being considered.
Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has confirmed more are on way.
"I have seen speculation in relation to that," he told Sky News. "There are other measures that we are working on." "There is a sound argument in my mind that people need to demonstrate if they are coming to Australia they need to abide by Australian laws. They need to abide by Australian values. They need to integrate in the Australian community."
"And I think they are measures that need to be taken before people take out Australian citizenship."
Note the repetition of Australian.
The changes to #457 program announced by Turnbull is all spin and no substance when it comes to putting Australian jobs first #auspol— Maria Vamvakinou (@MariaVamvakinou) April 19, 2017
And according to the Greens, this measure is just about a government trying to save itself.
"Anytime this government is in trouble, which is most of the time, it resorts to this kind of hard line nationalist rhetoric," Acting Greens Leader Scott Ludlam told Sky News.
"There are these vague allusions to Australian values without the Prime Minister ever being clear that they fundamentally violate what I would consider to be Australian values.
"As for the specifics, I guess like everybody else, I think we will wait to see what the government actually has in mind."
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