Australian prime minister foreshadows cut to ‘migration settings’


Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra

Scott Morrison has flagged the Australian government will respond to public
pressure and cut the immigration cap, saying he has heard “loud and clear” the protests of Australians about overcrowding in the biggest cities.

“They are saying: Enough, enough, enough. The roads are clogged, the buses and trains are full. The schools are taking no more enrolments. I hear what you are saying,” Morrison said in a speech in Sydney on Monday night.

“That’s why we need to improve how we manage population growth in this country.”

Morrison said he would “move away from top-down discussions about population to set our migration intake caps.

“I anticipate that this will lead to a reduction in our current migration settings.

“This is to be expected since our current permanent intake is almost 30,000 a year below our current cap [of 190,000]. So we will look to make an adjustment as we go forward in to next year and this should not be surprising.”

When federal treasurer, Morrison was reluctant to yield to the strong pressure from the right in the Liberal party about immigration levels, although the government was actually reducing the intake in practice, while the cap remained unchanged.

But as prime minister he has increasingly been reacting to the mounting community pressure on the issue, while foreshadowing a comprehensive population policy, including the involvement of the states.

In his speech, Morrison argued the economic benefits of immigration – including temporary migrants.

But he said that far too often planners had treated population “as one amorphous blob”.

“That doesn’t work for Australia. We’re too big and diverse. Talking about average population growth is like talking about our average rainfall. It fails to recognise the different experiences and outlooks of different cities or regions.”

Morrison repeated his plan for a discussion with the states and territories about local population growth, although the Commonwealth would always retain responsibility for determining the overall intake.

The conversation should be “grounded in data, economics and community sentiment”, he said.

“A responsible population discussion cannot be arbitrarily about one number, the cap on annual permanent migration. It is certainly relevant, but you have to look at what sits behind those numbers.

“For a start, more than half the people who become permanent migrants are already here on temporary visas.

“To contemplate our permanent visa settings would also require upstream changes to how many people are coming in on temporary visas as well. The implications of this need to be understood, including by state and territory governments.”

Morrison said changes must be done in a way that ensured states wanting more people were not disadvantaged and that there were mechanisms to send new migrants to where there were jobs and services.

“Managing population change is a shared responsibility, involving all levels of government,” he said.

“It is the states who build hospitals, approve housing developments, plan roads and know how many kids will be going into their schools in the future.

“The states and territories know better than any what the population carrying capacity is for their existing and planned infrastructure and services. So I plan to ask them, before we set our annual caps.

“The old model of a single national number determined by Canberra is no longer fit for purpose.

“While the benefits of population growth are widespread – in terms of economic growth and a more skilled and enriched society – the pressure points are inevitably local and varied.

“It’s about getting the balance right and understanding there is variation between our cities and regions. So we need a more targeted and tailored approach to conversations about population.”

Morrison said he was writing to state and territory leaders for their input, and putting the population issue on the Council of Australian Governments meeting agenda. The council meets on December 12.

The states’ population plans would “feed into the setting of our migrations caps and policies for next year, ensuring that migrations is finally tied to infrastructure and services carrying capacity”.The Conversation

Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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Check your Google security settings, receive 2GB of free Drive storage


Gigaom

Here’s an easy way to get 2GB of Google Drive storage: In the next week, head to Google’s security checkup page and follow the instructions. On February 28, Google will credit your account with the additional cloud storage space. The security checkup takes less than 5 minutes to complete, and it’s simple — it asks you what your backup email address is, whether any recent account activity is odd, and to review the various apps you’ve given Google account permissions to (there are probably a lot.) Sure, 2GB of additional Google Drive space isn’t a ton (you get 15GB for free), but you probably should review your security settings anyway.

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Facebook: Email Outrage


  1. Facebook just doesn’t learn. If there’s something that Facebook should know by now it’s that the social network’s users don’t like things being forced upon them and having their settings changed without notification and permission. Yet despite this, Facebook has done it again and changed everyone’s default email setting to that of a Facebook email address. Poor form Facebook, poor form. It really annoyed me to find it so today, but thankfully I have processes in place that should warn be of such Facebook ineptness before too much harm is done. Not so for all, so hopefully this story will bring awareness to others, as well as providing information as to how it can be corrected.

Johnny Hunt expresses urgency about Great Commission


Encouraged by attendance exceeding 8,600 registered messengers on the first day of the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting June 23 — twice as many as he expected — SBC President Johnny Hunt said there is a “sense of urgency” among the brethren, reports Baptist Press.

Hunt attributed much of the interest at this year’s meeting to his Great Commission Resurgence initiative. In a news conference following his re-election to a second term, he also addressed questions ranging from his opinion of controversial Seattle pastor Mark Driscoll to his view of Calvinism among Southern Baptists.

“I feel there’s a lot of energy in the halls,” said Hunt, pastor of Atlanta-area First Baptist Church in Woodstock. “Everybody’s talking the same talk: ‘We need this Great Commission Resurgence.’

“We are saying times have been desperate,” Hunt added. “Now I really do sense fellow Southern Baptists are saying we need to get serious.”

Asked about Driscoll, Hunt responded: “I don’t know him, never met him. A lot of young men like to follow his blogs and podcasts. It’s just been interesting.”

Referring to motions from the floor placing Driscoll and the network he founded, Acts 29, in a bad light, Hunt said, “[T]he entire premise of being a Baptist is sort of thrown under the bus when you start telling someone who they can or cannot fellowship with.” He said it is a matter that it should be left to the conscience and the priesthood of the believer.

About church methodology, Hunt said the SBC is a “great family fellowship” using varied methodologies which provide a healthy balance.

Hunt said it might be that some of the perceived tension across generations of Southern Baptists is rooted in several things, including methodology, dress and music.

Encouraged by what he said is the turnout of younger Southern Baptists, Hunt said, “[I]f we can move beyond our perceptions” and begin to “listen to heart of some of these young leaders,” Southern Baptists might be encouraged “to catch their passion.”

Hunt relayed his experience at a recent International Mission Board appointment service in Denver where 101 mostly young missionaries were sent out, with the “majority going to extremely hard and dangerous places.”

“With that type of commitment to Jesus Christ that they’re willing, many of them, to write their will before they leave with the understanding some of them will probably never return, I have a very difficult time spending my time talking about their jeans, whether hair is spiked or colored” or their musical tastes, Hunt said.

By building relationships with younger leaders, “if we see some areas of concern, at least we have earned the right to speak into them.”

On the continuing banter between Calvinists and those critical of the doctrine that attempts to describe God’s work in salvation, Hunt said the debate has raged for more than 400 years and is part of Baptist history.

“We have wonderful men and women on both sides. I think the Baptist tent is large enough for both,” he said.

Asked by a reporter if an invitation was made for President Barack Obama to address the SBC, Hunt said he knew of no such invitation.

But Hunt, the first known Native American SBC president, said, “I feel like we will have a resolution to really honor our president, especially in the context of being the first African American to be elected. We have much to celebrate in that.”

Hunt said he had ample opportunity to invite Republicans to speak, “but we felt that would send a wrong signal because we wanted to send prayer support to the new president and we are mandated to pray for our president.”

Speaking to proposed federal hate crimes legislation that some say could infringe on biblical preaching, Hunt said he was not overly worried as long as pastors “stay in the context of preaching biblical truth. And if the day comes that we would be imprisoned for the proclamation of the Gospel becoming that much of an offense, we would join about two-thirds of the rest of the planet.

“God forbid that I would travel to the Middle East to encourage those already in hostile settings while at same time being afraid to proclaim the message that I encourage,” Hunt said.

Returning to the Great Commission Resurgence, Hunt answered a question regarding media access to the meetings of the proposed GCR task force. He said media presence would be “counterproductive because we want people to be at liberty to share their heart.”

It could be “embarrassing where we’re just seeking wisdom,” Hunt added, “but we would love to have any and all of you at the meetings and as soon as it is over we’d be delighted to share what we came to by way of context.”

Hunt said he has “no desire whatsoever to touch the structure of the SBC and the truth is, I couldn’t if I wanted to. It would violate policy.” Hunt said perhaps more clarity in his early statements about the GCR document could have helped ease fears of drastic change.

Even if the GCR task force were rejected, traction already has been gained by efficiency studies at the Georgia and Florida conventions and at the Southern Baptist mission boards, Hunt said.

In responding to the first question asked at the news conference, Hunt predicted if the GCR were to pass that evening, he likely would name the members of the task force June 24 and it would include several seminary professors, a college president, an associational director of missions, pastors of churches of varied sizes spanning the country and ethnically diverse members.

“I don’t have all the names so I’d probably miss some,” Hunt said. “But I’d be quick to say it will be a very fair committee.”

Report from the Christian Telegraph