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‘Slap in the face’: Immigration Minister slammed for response to open letter from angry Aussies

Australia’s Immigration Minister Andrew Giles is under fire over his response to an open letter warning about “astronomical” migrant numbers.

Migration Watch Australia, a group campaigning for affordable housing for young Australians, sent the letter to Mr Giles on Wednesday asking him to hit pause on immigration after Labor brought in 737,000 people in 2023.

But Mr Giles’ only response was to block the group on Twitter, where the open letter went viral.

One Nation Senator Malcolm Roberts said: “Constituents asking questions blocked by a minister of the Labor government.”

“Is this the transparency and accountability Anthony Albanese promised?”

Other Australian social media users slammed Mr Giles’ actions as “an absolute joke” and a “slap in the face”.

“We’ve reached a low ebb of politics if politicians can’t even accept a letter without blocking the sender,” one X user wrote.

“I’m a lifelong ALP voter but am seriously considering changing my vote as the ALP ignores the housing crisis by adding demand through huge immigration,” another said.

The open letter slammed the Albanese government for bringing in “astronomical” numbers of migrants while homelessness is rising.

“The effects of this policy – combined with decades of large migrant intake numbers – are now being felt everywhere across Australia,” the open letter said.

“Wages are at 2009 levels, rents are up 20%, house prices have grown 40-50% in 10 years, and birthrates have fallen.

“Thanks to you, your party, and a succession of other governments, the lucky country is now the country of the working poor.

“We once had the highest living standards in the world.”

Mr Giles was appointed as Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs in June 2022, two decades after acting as a solicitor representing 433 asylum seekers trying to enter Australia on the MV Tampa – an episode which led to the establishment of Australia’s offshore refugee processing policy.

He was then criticised over a Victorian Labor event in November 2022 where Indian migration agents paid $1000 for tickets for access to Mr Giles.

“We were pleased to note that Minister Giles admitted that the Australian visa system is not working as his government would expect,’ wrote an Indian community member on Facebook.

“He is committed to improve the system and bring many changes in visa processing.”

In May 2023 Prime Minister Anthony Albanese signed a controversial deal with Indian PM Narendra Modi easing visa rules for Indians, who are already Australia’s fastest growing immigrant group and 3.1% of the population.

Mr Giles faced calls to resign late last year over the release of dozens of criminal asylum seeker detainees, including paedophiles and murders, after a landmark High Court decision that ruled that indefinite detention was unlawful.

 

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