Migration to Australia hits decade low, seen as boost for prime minister

The fall will benefit Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who has seen right-wing lawmakers such as Pauline Hanson win favor with voters after linking rising immigration to record house prices, denting support for the government. (AAP via AP)
Updated 13 July 2018
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Migration to Australia hits decade low, seen as boost for prime minister

SYDNEY: The number of permanent migrants to Australia has hit a 10-year low, thanks to tougher scrutiny of claims, home minister Peter Dutton said on Friday, as the government tries to soothe angry conservative voters who threaten its re-election prospects.
The fall will benefit Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who has seen right-wing lawmakers such as Pauline Hanson win favor with voters after linking rising immigration to record house prices, denting support for the government.
The tougher oversight meant that just under 163,000 people were approved for migration between July 1 last year and June 30, said Dutton, the minister of home affairs, a fall of 10 percent from the previous 12 months, and the lowest in 10 years.
“We are looking more closely at the applications that are made, making sure that we’re bringing the best migrants possible into our country,” Dutton told Australia’s Channel 9.
The immigration scrutiny aims to ensure applicants have real education qualifications and legitimate ties with people approved for Australian residency, he added.
“There has been a widespread feeling that there has been too much migration, so this will help the government,” said Rod Tiffen, an expert in government and international relations at the University of Sydney.
The stricter oversight began last year when Australia scrapped a temporary work visa popular with foreigners, lengthened the wait for citizenship, added a new “Australian values” test and raised the standard of English language use.
With an election less than a year away, Turnbull continues to trail in the polls, though the Australian newspaper’s latest Newspoll pegged the government at its best support in two years.


At least 11 wounded in Somalia Al-Shabab claimed attack

Updated 23 March 2019
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At least 11 wounded in Somalia Al-Shabab claimed attack

  • Authorities have not said if there are any deaths in the attack
  • The extremist group is fighting against foreign influences which they see as heretic

MOGADISHU: At least 11 people were wounded when gunmen set off explosions and stormed government ministries in Somalia’s capital Saturday in an attack claimed by the Al-Shabab extremist group, police said.
“There can be others inside but we have so far collected eleven people wounded in the attack,” said Abdukadir Abdirahman Adan, director of the Aamin ambulance service in the capital Mogadishu.
Police say the assault began when two explosions were set off near the ministries of public works and labor.
Gunmen entered the buildings following the blasts.
“The security forces rescued many of the staff from the buildings and they are still engaging some gunmen who managed to enter the building after the blast,” said security commander Ahmed Adan.
It remained unclear if there were any deaths in the attack.
The attack was claimed by the Al-Shabab extremist group, which is fighting an armed insurrection in Somalia against what it sees as heretic and foreign influence.
Attacks that use a combination of bombs and gunmen have become a hallmark of the insurgents.
Earlier this month, at least 20 people died in an attack in Mogadishu which saw Al-Shabab extremists battling security forces for nearly 24 hours.
The group also claimed responsibility for a March 7 car bombing near a restaurant in the capital that killed four people.