Saturday, June 4, 2011

Italians show benefits of immigration, says Australian PM

I myself have the highest opinion of Italians and heartily agree with what my Prime Minister has said about them below. As well I might do: Italians are the heirs to TWO great flowerings of civilization: The Roman empire and the Renaissance. And to this day Italy is a powerhouse of culture. So it is NO surprise that Italian immigrants have made a great contribution to Australian life.

But when we look at illiterate Afghans and their primitive 7th century religion, we are at the opposite end of the scale. And it is mainly Afghans who are flocking to Australia as illegal immigrants at the moment. They are a disaster waiting to happen. They should be sent back to their native hellhole

There are undoubtedly many worthy Afghans but those who try to force themselves on Australia are ipso facto unlikely to include many of those

JULIA Gillard says the integration of Italian migrants in Australia shows the strength and the benefits of immigration to the nation.

The prime minister acknowledged the contribution Italian migrants have made to Australia at a dinner marking the 150th anniversary of Italy's unification.

Ms Gillard said thousands of Italians have made the "momentous decision" to sacrifice their home to journey across the globe and realise their hopes in Australia.

"But if Australia was a land of opportunity, it only came at a price," Ms Gillard said at the Italian National Day Ball in Sydney today. "Years of backbreaking labour in places like the Snowy or the cane fields, working two or three jobs, sometimes facing misunderstanding and discrimination. "But in spite of these difficulties, you held fast and saw Australia as it could be."

She said Australia changed for the better as the nation absorbed these migrants. "That is why we must always regard immigration as a source of strength," Ms Gillard said. "Because it renewed and enriched our nation at its core, precisely at the time when the world was opening up and our old insular habits could no longer be sustained.

Ms Gillard said the unification of the city-states into the nation of Italy in 1861 led the way for the prosperous, innovative European country of today.

"Friends, Italy has given many great gifts to the world: her culture, her food, her sense of style - but the greatest gift of Italy has been her people," she said.

"Around 60 million people outside Italy claim Italian heritage. "And for this gift, Australia will always give thanks."


More on the British immigration chaos

The former official in charge of a “shambolic” immigration system earned around £1 million in the five years she presided over it, it emerged yesterday. Lin Homer was earning £208,000 when she stepped down as chief executive of the UK Border Agency last year. She also received bonuses including one of between £10,000 and £15,000 despite the department being subject to regular criticism.

One MP said it was a case of “stuffing the pockets” of civil servants and rewarding failure.

Damian Green, the immigration minister, yesterday said it would take “years” to sort out the “shambles” the Coalition inherited from the Labour government.

He also signalled that there has been a delay in finding a permanent replacement for Ms Homer because “it is one of the more difficult jobs” in Whitehall.

It comes a day after MPs said tens of thousands of asylum seekers have been granted an effective amnesty because of the blundering service. More than 160,000 people have been allowed to stay as part of an attempt to clear a backlog of 450,000 cases, first discovered in 2006, while up to another 75,000 may never be traced because of the time lapse.

The Home Affairs Select Committee said the scale of those missing was “indefensible” while the high number being allowed to stay was "in effect to an amnesty".

Mr Green insisted there was no amnesty and that the overall grant rate for asylum had remained stable at around 40 per cent for the last six years. Asylum claims are at their lowest in 20 years, he added.

He said the Government "inherited a shambles", adding: "The immigration system, which was completely chaotic, is getting better. "Inevitably, when you are turning around as big a problem as this it is going to take a few years, but we can see measurable progress in the first year of this Government."

Keith Vaz, the chairman of select committee, said: “The problem with the UK Border Agency, which predates this government, is a lack of administrative control. “It is an administrative issue rather than a political problem and we would like to see it resolved so the government can meet the targets it has set out."

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Mr Green was also grilled on why there was still no new permanent chief executive of UKBA almost five months after Ms Homer, left. She left to become permanent secretary at the Department for Transport.

The minister said: “It is clearly, as everyone admits, one of the more difficult jobs in the public service and it is clearly essential that we get the right person for the job.”

But Mr Vaz said: “The minister has said the immigration system has been in chaos for years. “Yet the person in charge has been paid more than the Prime Minister and has just been promoted. “She and her colleagues have also been receiving bonuses. “They are stuffing these civil servants’ pockets with bonuses. It is rewarding failure rather than success.”

The committee’s report yesterday said the immigration department was "still not fit for purpose", in reference to a phrase first used by John Reid, who was home secretary when the backlog was discovered.

It also criticised the agency for not carrying out checks on all employers sponsored to bring in migrant workers and failing properly to follow up intelligence on suspected illegal immigrants.

The report said: "The net result is that a very large number of people remain in the UK who either have no right to be here or who would have been removed had their cases been dealt with in a timely manner."

Nigel Farage, leader of the UK Independence Party, said: "David Cameron has previously slapped down fellow Conservatives for daring to suggest an amnesty for illegal immigrants yet it appears this is exactly what is happening.

"In order to maintain an effective immigration system, those that have overstayed their visas and therefore have no right to legally be in the UK need to be removed, not covertly merged into society.

"The system is not working and with cuts to the UK Border Agency's budget, it can only get worse."


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