457 scams and system corruption in Australia
This is a huge scandal with far reaching serious National consequences and implications. The following represents my personal view on the 457 visa scandal and its ramifications. The recently exposed corruption is the last bit in the jig saw puzzle of my understanding. I cannot "prove" much of what follows, it is supposition not fact, but I believe that I am fairly close to the overall truth.
See also: Napthine complains that population growth outstrips job growth.
What I think is this This scandal, has huge far reaching serious National consequences and implications. With perhaps more serious consequences that anything we have previously seen in the history of the Nation.
1. The nub of the matter: There has been serious corruption involving Department of Immigration and Border Protection(DIBC) employees. (Fact)
Question 1. Why were the allegedly corrupt perpetrators allowed to return to India (with the loot)?
Question 2. Why has there been no obvious DIBC or Government response to internal reports of serious mismanagement going back to 2008?
Further background details here http://www.theage.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/visa-fraud-suspects-fled-after-wiring-1m-overseas-20140807-3dbmu.html and below http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/breakfast/journalists-uncover-rampant-visa-fraud/5657050
This corruption does not come as a total surprise to me (or to DIBC). Corrupt procedures in the immigration industry have become almost standard procedure within the industry, and an essential and an accepted component of attaining the immigration numbers required. This is compounded by the impossibility of enforcing any compliance measures. In short, there has been tacit acceptance of corruption to further immigration goals. This is the problem.
I am suggesting that DIBC and this Government wish to close down publicity and Public discussion of this issue. (The previous Labour Government was equally culpable, and therefore they can be expected to support any cover up measures). Both major Parties have had involvement in misusing and abusing the immigration system for their own narrow advantage, mainly political, and over many years (decades), in ways which they would prefer the Public not to know about. (a more serious version of the recent Labour Government approach to HSU fraud and corruption issues).
This misuse may be of the types exemplified by the Slipper/Comcar/winetour or the Labour mates/Obeid/NSW Coal mine licences, (which though serious are fairly inconsequential in the long term, however they do set the tone) . Or they may be more serious, such as those they would be individually be held to account for, if matters became public, say through a Public or Judicial inquiry. Governments will avoid this at all costs (as with the HSU and Liberal party cash donation issues).
Put simply, I believe that there has been widespread political misuse and abuse of the immigration system mainly for political ends; but possibly also for other corrupt reasons, including financial corruption.
A test of Government intentions and its integrity will be whether there is a purposful response to obvious corruption within the Public Service. Similarly, whether the current 457 visa integrity Review (http://www.immi.gov.au/pub-res/Pages/reviews-and-inquiries/skilled-visa-programme.aspx) will address the corruption issue, and Government's possible response to this.
2. How did the current situation arise?
I suggest this started in about the mid to late nineteen eighties , when population boosting by immigration was introduced by PM Hawke (in 1985, after about 2 years in office) to boost immediate economic growth, (1989 had the highest immigration number since the World War). It is possible that Hawke was unaware of the longer term implications of his actions, but I doubt that his advisors (Treasury and the Public Service) were unaware. Perhaps, he was advised to ignore the long term consequences. Similarly the case with PM Fraser and the Vietnamese Boat people issue of the 1970's. Perhaps his only thoughts were "humanitarian".
Perhaps our Leaders were like that.
But once embarked on this National growth trajectory it became self perpetuating. (see also references below.)
This informal policy was picked up and enlarged by PM Howard (assisted by the resources boom) and later by PM Rudd (Big Australia) Governments.
It was a magic pudding policy, wherby benefits could be obtained ( and prizes bestowed) at no immediate, or only minor short term, cost. The perfect political formula. Since the major fiancial and social costs would be delayed for many years eg infrastructure and health/age care. Thus all the major costs were medium to long term and would be carried by others in the future (pass the parcel), and could safely be ignored in the short term.
The "magic pudding" approach was only achieved because of a refusal to conduct essential economic analysis and risk asessment. There was no critical examination of the justifications. Successive Governments, Ministries and Departments and the Media (including our fearless ABC) have done everything possible to avoid essential analysis; in fact they have impeded and disrupted analysis, partly through using selective inquiries, with predetermined conslusions and favourable terms of reference.
This approach has been very successful, aided by energy surpluses and low energy costs at the time, (boosting productivity), and apparently cost free in the very short term.
This process was supported and promoted by the overwhelming power, dominance and influence of the combined business/media (a Business/Government/Murdoch/ ABC/media combination) gives pro growth policies an unstoppable and huge advantage. Most of these parties obviously or indirectly stood to gain from this growth.
Unfortunately this developed into a ponzi immigration scheme, simply because once started the scheme had to be maintained at levels sufficient to maintain its limited benefits and avoid its disadvantages.
In the process, and as an adjunct to this, Governments have allowed, perhaps encouraged, DIBC to become an immigration factory, and not an impartial Public Service Department to safeguard the Public interest. In fact quite the opposite. This process has incidentally created the perfect conditions for official corruption.
An early example of political abuse of the system might be the actions of Liberal Politician Philip Ruddock who as a backbencher, and later as a Minister, managed to persuade immigration Authorities to boost Lebanese migration into his electorate. Possibly his main intention was for a political advantage ( 'buying' loyalty) in a marginal electorate, but allegations of financial corruption also were raised later in respect of "payments" for visas.
About 9 million people (60% increase) have been added to the population since 1980 (14.6 Million)much of this by immigration.
Thus about half the national wealth (eg Resources and existing infrastructure) has been given away in that time to overseas persons, with a further 50 % to be given away in the next 20 years or so. Incredible. So that in a period of about 50 years about 75% of the original total of National wealth (eg. resources and infrastructure) will have been distributed to overseas citizens. And for what?
Many of these new persons are now approaching retirement or old age with major cost implications for health, welfare and aged care services. This financial burden will become increasingly unaffordable in its present form. ( The Treasurer and PM are aware of this, hence the budget panic).
The Australian Public are not blameless in this, but most have been indoctrinated into new thinking; many have apparently done well from the situation, unfortunately most believe that it can go on forever and that they can hold onto their gains forever. Sadly not.
Many put too much store in the honesty of Government, and the Public Service and our Media.
Unfortunately the media, including the ABC (the last bastion), was so busy dancing to the Government tune that they forgot why they existed.
3. What are the consequences?
Well, firstly all the local benefits were for short term gains (mainly political) or to the overseas migrant beneficiaries of these actions.
However, the national consequences are long term. All Australians will be affected, not just for 10's of years, but for 100's of years and possibly for millenias ahead, by, for example, huge public expenditures as yet unacknowledged, a broken economy and intergenerational poverty and misery.
Poulation growth now appears to be uncontrollable, for political and economic reasons. Regarding the political reasons, too much power has been conceded to interest groups and marginal electorate minorities). Governments might like to do something, but the Public and interest groups, will not allow it, ( eg the current situation where even modest budget changes are impossible).
To change the current rate of population growth and immigration levels to the levels required in the shortest possible time frame, would seriously affect the whole economy and the immediate loss of some industries (eg Overseas Education, which would collapse overnight without a favourable PR Based visa system , Shopping Centres and Retail shopping, and City Unit Development). I cannot think of a single Industry that will not be impacted. I cannot see any Government choosing, or being allowed, to do this.
So they, and we, are doomed if they do, and doomed if they don't.
The best we can hope for is modest amelioration; any actions are 20 to 30 years too late for even modestly positive outcomes. The die is cast, irrevocably.
On any sensible assessment, Australia will find its current population overload impossible to manage into the future, in every way imaginable. (eg principally Food, Climate and Energy security; employment, education, health, welfare being secondary problems). Risk Factors such as cultural diversity and security will also be relatively minor issues in the overall problem, but will become totally unaffordable and unmanageable in any conventional sense.
http://www.abc.net.au/tv/populationpuzzle/immigration.html and book: Critical years in immigration