Apr 20, 2017

Poll Bludger: 457 visa changes are naked populism

Immigration has continued to gain salience as an election issue over the last few terms, even as the sting went out of the boat arrivals issue, and Turnbull knows it.

William Bowe — Editor of The Poll Bludger

William Bowe

Editor of The Poll Bludger

Try as he might to dress it up with talk of "putting Australian workers first", it can hardly be doubted that electoral considerations were at the forefront of the Prime Minister’s mind when he unveiled an overhaul of the 457 visa system on Tuesday.

That the policy’s bite may not match Turnbull's bark in no way diminishes the significance of the populist shift in rhetoric on immigration -- a point underscored less than 24 hours later by US President Donald Trump, when he signed an order curtailing his own government's visa program for skilled foreign workers.

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