Under its new leader Tony Abbott, the Australian Liberals are calling for a national debate on the level of immigration into Australia.
Kevin Andrews, the Liberal Party's new spokesman on families and community affairs, has called for an end to the Labor government's "big Australia" policy. The Age reports:
"Senior Opposition frontbencher Kevin Andrews has called for a debate on slashing Australia's immigration from 180,000 people a year to a ''starting point'' of just 35,000. In his first interview since returning to the shadow cabinet as spokesman on families and community affairs, the former immigration minister questioned the ''blithe'' acceptance of projections that the population will hit 35 million by 2050…
Arguing that Australians were deeply concerned about problems such as urban sprawl, overcrowding, traffic snarls and dwindling water supplies, Mr Andrews challenged Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's advocacy of ''a big Australia''. ''If you look at the 2008 data, you would need about 35,000 immigrants on top of births to replace the population (for that year). So I say the starting point should be replacement levels of population, then ask what additional population we need so the country can be economically and otherwise sustainable and growing,'' he said."