Supporting Settlement: Balancing Obligations with ‘Putting Australia First’
This paper draws on the findings of an evaluation of the Settlement Grants program. The evaluation was guided by six key questions relating to the program’s appropriateness, effectiveness and efficiency, to assess whether it had achieved its intended outcomes. While there were some suggestions for improvements, there was a strong consensus among clients, service providers, policy makers and peak organisations that the Settlement Grants program fills an important role in the range of services it makes available to humanitarian and other eligible migrants.
This paper reflects on the evaluation findings to critically examine how they tally with recent shifts in political rhetoric on immigration to Australia, reflected in the Prime Minister’s recent pronouncement about ‘putting Australia first’. Subsequent political developments include a review of the skilled worker visa program and citizenship reform, including more stringent English language requirements. It will discuss how Australia’s obligations under the United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees mesh with ‘putting Australia first’.