Australia

One Nation's Malcolm Roberts wants migration rate more than halved

File: Malcolm Roberts with party leader Pauline Hanson. Source: AAP

One Nation candidate for the Senate Malcolm Roberts has called for the yearly intake of skilled and family migrants to be more than halved.

Australia’s yearly intake of skilled migrants and their families should be radically cut to just 70,000, according to One Nation’s top Senate candidate in Queensland.

The current cap has been set at 190,000 since 2011, but the actual intake fell to its lowest level in a decade under the Coalition government during the past financial year, with just 163,000 permanent arrivals.

Mr Roberts will lead the One Nation ticket in the Senate in the party’s traditional stronghold state of Queensland at the next federal election, which is due to take place by May.

He was ejected from parliament earlier in the year when the High Court found he held a dual citizenship, in breach of Section 44 of the Constitution.

Party leader Pauline Hanson has a six-year term and her seat will not be in contested.

One Nation is known for its anti-immigration policies, but will need to compete with rivals like Katter’s Australia Party, whose members have called for a public vote on a potential return to the White Australia Policy.

“I have done the research in detail but that's what we're going with, but I'm not making this a party issue and there are others who say - around 70,000, which is a zero net,” Mr Roberts told the LibertyFest conference in Brisbane on Saturday.

Pauline Hanson
Pauline Hanson.
AAP

Mr Roberts said he wanted immigration, not “colonisation”. The former senator was speaking in a debate titled: “Immigration, how to draw the line.”

The One Nation candidate, once Senator Hanson’s second-in-command, is not the only prominent politician to call for cuts. Government backbencher Tony Abbott was vocal in calling for a cut during the previous Turnbull administration.

In a recent interview with SBS News, immigration minister David Coleman flagged new visas to bring migrants to regional areas but did not hint at any changes to the annual cap.

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