Australia backs away from UN migration treaty

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, November 21, 2018
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Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Wednesday announced that Australia would join the U.S. and several European countries in abandoning the UN's Global Compact for Migration.

Morrison, who acted to prevent asylum seekers from coming to Australia by boat during his time as immigration minister, said signing up to the accord, which seeks to implement global standards for safe migration, would jeopardize the security of Australia's borders.

Peter Dutton, the man who succeeded Morrison as the minister for Immigration before being elevated to the minister for Home Affairs, accused the UN of deliberately undermining border security.

"Our government fought hard to clean up (the) border and boats mess and we aren't going to allow any international body to weaken our borders," he said.

Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne joined Morrison and Dutton in condemning the deal in a joint statement released by the trio.

"We do not believe that signing this agreement will add anything to enhancing our capacity to controlling our borders and managing our successful immigration program," they said.

The announcement came only days after Morrison flagged his intention to cut Australia's permanent annual migration cap from 190,000 to 160,000.

Speaking to Macquarie Media radio on Wednesday, Morrison said that the reduction would be accounted for in the 2019 Federal Budget if his government was victorious in the 2019 general election.

However, the Business Council of Australia (BCA), the peak body representing the interests of Australian businesses, on Wednesday said Australia needed "well-managed population growth" rather than immigration cuts.

BCA Chief Executive Jennifer Westacott told Fairfax Media that "we're ready to work with governments at all levels to seriously consider how we can manage growth more effectively, particularly by focusing on development in our regions to create new jobs." 

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