One of the most despicable anti-Australian policies of the Hawke-Keating era was the devotion to bring many unskilled immigrants into Australia under the guise of the 'Family Migration' Program to bolster Labor's standing with the ethnic lobbies. Whenever the global economy faltered the Labor Party pursued high immigration targets based on the 'family' program to bolster its re-election objectives. This earned the undying gratitude of the narrow range of families concerned (and those who spend much of their lives at CentreLink) but irritated the rest of the community who had to pay the taxes and got no immigration spinoffs. It undermined support for a legitimate immigration program based on securing well-educated immigrants who could get well-paid jobs and who could contribute intellectual and cultural talent to Australia. Hawke - not conservative politicians - created the problem of Pauline Hanson.
Bringing migrants to Australia who convey skill externalities, who at least speak basic English and who do not despise the democratic values of a civilised society makes a lot more sense than turning Australia into an irreversible social experiment. John Howard did a tremendous job of enlarging and reorienting the immigration program towards accepting those with skills.
Andrew Bolt makes some sensible criticisms of the current direction of Rudd-style migration policies. I share his concern with Labor's apparent commitment to maintaining high levels of immigration as the economy looks likely to weaken. This can only be done by expanding the import of unskilled workers and 'Family' migrants in the migration program. Rudd started off endorsing the skill orientation of the Howard immigration policies - although he lied his head off about the refugee program - which the Liberals had already expanded.
Bolt's observations remind us that, along with economic management, Labor cannot be trusted on immigration. Their record is appalling.
If the families of unskilled immigrants living in Australia wish to be reunited with their loved ones CentreLink might well consider funding their tickets home. Australia has zero obligation to accept family-based chain migration of the unskilled. None. In addition, seeking unskilled immigrants to meet short-term shortages is about as stupid and short-sighted a labor market program as you can imagine. Australia is an attractive destination and can insist on the best imnmigrant applicants available. Unfortunately admitting the riff-raff is just the sort of policy that will appeal to Labor since it expands a fair slab of their core constituency.