Greens hose $40bn at Australian migrant retirement village

By Leith van Onselen

In an astonishing act of fiscal vandalism, the Australian Greens have pledged to make it faster and easier for migrants to reunite with their parents in Australia, vowing to clear the 97,000 strong backlog of migrant elderly parents seeking permanent residency in Australia.  From SBS News:

The party wants to cap increasingly ballooning wait times for permanent parent visa applications at 12 months and clear the application backlog – which is currently at around 97,000 – within three years…

“I’m appalled that the government is keeping people apart from their loved ones for years, and in some cases, decades,” Greens leader Richard Di Natale told SBS News ahead of the party’s Family Reunion policy launch in Sydney on Tuesday.

“I come from a close-knit Italian migrant family. I believe there is nothing more important than family”…

The “contributory” parent visa currently costs around $47,000 per person and has a wait time of roughly 45 months.

While the “non-contributory” parent visa grants holders similar privileges – and at roughly $6,000, is far cheaper – many applicants never receive the visa in their parent’s lifetime. If current processing rates continue, it is estimated the backlog for this category will take 30 years to clear.

The Greens say their plan will make both visas redundant.

Additionally, the party plans to review the “balance of family test”, which requires at least half the children or stepchildren of the nominated parents to be Australian citizens or permanent residents.

It also wants to allow humanitarian entrants who arrive on Australian shores by boat the opportunity to apply for family reunion visas.

The party said it would to invest $250 million over the forward estimates and $12.68 billion over the next decade to pay for the proposal.

May I remind the Greens that the circa 9,000 elderly permanent parental visas granted every year already cost Australian taxpayers between $2.6 and $3.2 billion in present value terms, or between $335 000 and $410 000 per elderly adult, with the cost rising over time as numbers increase. For this reason, the Productivity Commission’s (PC) 2016 Migrant Intake into Australia Report found that “the case for retaining parent visas in their current form is weak”:

“The contributory visa charge of just under $50 000 meets only a fraction of the fiscal costs for the annual intake of roughly 7200 contributory parents. And an additional 1500 parents make a minimal contribution. Overall, the cumulated lifetime fiscal costs (in net present value terms) of a parent visa holder in 2015-16 is estimated to be between $335 000 and $410 000 per adult, which ultimately must be met by the Australian community. On this basis, the net liability to the Australian community of providing assistance to these 8700 parents over their lifetime ranges between $2.6 and $3.2 billion in present value terms. Given that there is a new inflow each year, the accumulated taxpayer liabilities become very large over time. This is a high cost for a relatively small group.

Ultimately, every dollar spent on one social program must require either additional taxes or forgone government expenditure in other areas. It seems unlikely that parent visas meet the usual standards of proven need, in contrast to areas such as mental health, homelessness or, in the context of immigration, the support of immigrants through the humanitarian stream, and foreign aid.

Given the balance of the costs and benefits, the case for retaining parent visas in their current form is weak”.

The PC’s subsequent Shifting the Dial: 5 year productivity review doubled-down against elderly parent visas, claiming that their long-term costs to the Federal Budget are immense:

… parent visas, which provide a short-term benefit to the budget via visa charge income, but impose very large costs in the longer term through their impacts on expenditure on health and aged care, and social transfers. In previous work, the Commission estimated the budgetary costs associated with the 2015-16 parent visa intake alone to be $2.88 billion in present value terms over the lifetimes of the visa holders. By comparison, the revenue collected from these visa holders was only $345 million. Ten year estimates of the fiscal effects of the current parent visas would show a similarly stark disjuncture between revenue and costs, and would therefore provide the insights for a more informed policy decision on the pricing or desirability of these visa types than the current decision-making framework.

As explicitly noted by the PC above, “every dollar spent on one social program must require either additional taxes or forgone government expenditure in other areas”.

Given the cost of approving the circa 97,000 elderly parent applications would likely cost taxpayers between $32 billion and $40 billion in present value terms (using the PC’s estimated cost per adult), what social programs would the Greens like to see cut?

  • Shall we cut funding to schools and hospitals?
  • Shall we cut funding for infrastructure?
  • Shall we cut the Aged Pension and abandon raising Newstart?
  • Shall we cut funding to the NDIS?

The Greens obviously care more for the welfare of elderly citizens of other nations than they do Australian voters. Otherwise, why would the Greens support such egregious fiscal vandalism?

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Leith van Onselen


    • Don’t 10% already vote green. Whatever the %age of new arrivals that want family reunion will vote green and maybe that goes to 20%. It’s just what commies do Mr P. And with our water reserves at 50% we’ll all get to enjoy the restrictions that are coming. It’s across the board, jobs, services, housing, the future of our kids. People seem to be blind to the big picture…not the neolib globalists though. Profess to be green then wreck the planet.

  1. “This is Madness”

    THIS IS THE AUSTRALIAN GREEEEEENNSSSS!!! …. as they kick the future of Aussies over a cliff.

    • Diana TodMEMBER

      Yep – lost my vote. Just proves they don’t have a green bone amongst them. Socialist left the lot, and to hell with the climate and environment – and all current Australians.

  2. DingwallMEMBER

    The problem is no one ever seems to challenge them ….. for example, where are they on Q&A or similar getting torn to shreds? If they were on Q&A the audience would be stacked with migrant families and the morons from the far right whose only argument really is racist (as opposed to the other arguments labelled racist that actually are not). No one seems to provide, or be enabled to provide, rational, visible opposition to the incessant idiocy of our political parties.

    • Exactly. I have switched off from Q&A recently. I just couldn’t take it any more and it was leaving me groaning more often than not.
      In your example you could not ever expect the Q&A producers to invite say Bill Bourke from Sustainable Australia.

    • Diana TodMEMBER

      So, so true. The Guardian runs an article on immigration – but ends up predictably depicting anyone’s opinion that numbers are to high into a racist slur. What hope is there for rational debate on the carrying capacity of this already wildly overpopulated, dry, infertile, water-poor island? None!

    • triageMEMBER

      You need to get Jenny Brockie from SBS to do an Insight show about it. It may well end up stacked in favour of letting the elderly foreigners in but at least she would make sure credible contrary voices were given a hearing. Insight is the grown-up version of Q&A.

  3. The Greens are idealistic idiots. Always have been. Only difference between then and now is that under Bob Brown they at least stood for something. Now? Rudderless virtue signalling morons lurching haphazardly from one gross act of virtue signalling stupidity to the next.

    • 100%
      I think most people think they are a harmless minority part. But if Bill GetsUp in a few weeks time, the Greens will take this to a whole new level and there may not be anything that can be done about it.

    • IMO Fake Greens have turned into career politicians. The virtue-signalling an attempt to sure up votes and political careers. They even have ex-bankers in the party.

    • thefatgeneralMEMBER


      One of my pet peeves is when I see a program/argument for solar panels (6000 schools to have them installed…which are conveniently shut over the summer peak).

      Sure, have solar panels-but if you do put them in the desert where they’ll get far more sunlight, can be connected by a transmission line and can be installed at scale. Any proposal to put them up on buildings/houses etc is purely virtue signalling

  4. I don’t see Greens Party politicians as just idiot but harmless ideologues. They are actively trying to harm me and my family for the benefit of foreigners. They are my enemies.

    • this is the context one must use in today’s political environment because we have a political parties who openly advocate for policies which disenfranchise their own people.

    • nexus789MEMBER

      Not just the Green numbnuts but most of the parties have declared war on the Australian community by favouring useless third world foreigners that have contributed nothing and their arrival forces down real incomes, destruction of amenity, increases congestion, collapse of public service, etc. Read a couple of articles that point to impending water availability issues for Sydney and Melbourne.

      • Diana TodMEMBER

        I take exception to the phrase “useless third world migrants”. In my experience most are decent, hard working people just trying to improve their lives. The fault lies squarely with labour and liberal politicians who lazily use huge immigration to prop up an economy that would otherwise fall over- and will, regardless. Shame on them – but shame too on those who scapegoat migrants. Sustainable Australia make this very clear in their policy. It is simply that Australia is FULL and must stabilise it’s numbers.

    • @DianaTod the same third world migrants who are arriving here at demographic replacement levels and demonstrate their strong in-group preference by congregating in certain areas of Melbourne and Sydney and the same ones who terrorise working families for their hard earned possessions, are you talking about those third world migrants?

      • nexus789MEMBER

        That person lives in la la land. It’s irrelevant that some might be what she says and that’s not my experience. The overall impact of these ‘people’ and idiot government policies is growing congestion, loss of amenity, emerging ghettos, etc. Now we have warnings about declining water storage. Uncontrolled and ‘chain’ migration is turning into a slow motion disaster.

  5. Q. “The Greens obviously care more for the welfare of elderly citizens of other nations than they do Australian voters. Otherwise, why would the Greens support such egregious fiscal vandalism?”

    A. Because they cannot constrain the extent of their ideologically-driven agenda. That’s because there is no effective tension with reason within their party – that has been deplatformed and eradicated by shrills. The Greens cannot be too free with the truth, because the answer is most certainly that they do care more for people in foreign countries as they view the common Australian as white, elitist and racist.

    Ideological capture of any flavour (Left or Right) will ALWAYS go too far. Ideology does not seek critical review or to test its basic assumptions, instead it seeks only to apply its “truth” as a one-size fits all policy.

    I’d love to vote for a real environment party, but unfortunately The Greens are irrational and dangerous as they have become wedded to the appeasement of the narrow self interest of their supporter base dressed up as social policy. They are also the drop in centre for resentful immigrants with an axe to grind. Many a Pakistani taxi driver with an engineering degree is quite certain that racism is the reason why they did not get the job of their dreams. The Greens are happy to tell them that they are 100% correct. As such The Greens have become a party that thrives upon division and hatred forged upon racial identity, skin colour and identity politics that seeks to undermine the nation state.

  6. If you don’t really believe in borders and think we are one happy, global family entitled to reside wherever we like this policy is coherent.

  7. “Shall we cut the Aged Pension and abandon raising Newstart”

    This. Not necessarily a cut. Just not being raised to keep up with inflation.

    Fake left too mathematically inept to realise that if you open up the borders to people who are more inclined to go on welfare than work, the net result is a dilution of welfare payments.

    • Problem is there is so many parties eligible for last spot that it’s hard to pick who should go dead last.

  8. Mining BoganMEMBER

    Australia is not keeping families apart. The kids leaving home chose that road. They have a choice to be reunited if they want.

    The Greens are economic and environmental numpties. Damn them to hell.

  9. “The party said it would to invest $250 million over the forward estimates and $12.68 billion over the next decade to pay for the proposal.”
    There should be a competition for the most idiotic use of the word “invest” in a political media release during the course of the election ….
    There should also be another competition for cynically keeping your batshit crazy proposals out of the forward estimates then piling on the spend after that. This reminds me of Rudd’s plan to develop the top end a few years back.
    Thirdly did they say $12.68bn? Imagine if the PC costed it accurately!

  10. GramusMEMBER

    The Greens are on their way out already and the sooner they die the better.

    • I agree. They are rapidly becoming irrelevant. The more stupid their policies the quicker this will happen. I expect them to be hammered in this election, So this actually fantastic policy.

  11. This is ridiculous. My parents migrated here, one in 1951 and the other in 1965. I met my onily surviving grandparent when I was three, l don’t remember it. Tough luck. It never entered my head that my grandparents should have had a right to come here. My parents were thankful with just being welcomed to. Australia, that was enough for them. But l suppose its the age of entitlement, so The Greens think its no longer enough for modern day migrants. Get their parents here to take advantage of my taxes, although they spent their life paying tax in another country. Aided and abetted of course by SBS who just seem to be a mouthpiece for A Big Australia and migrant benefits to the moon

  12. AndrewMEMBER

    My disabled brother was incredibly lucky to get full time care. Many others are not so lucky. Now they need to navigate the massive suckhole that is the NDIS. Where is the 40bn in care facilities for the dsiabled in Australia?

  13. ChristopherJ

    The right policy is to give all new Aussies a first class ticket back to parents. One way. Much, much cheaper to reunite the poor souls

  14. kiwikarynMEMBER

    You could turn it into a new export industry! Only accept elderly parents who are so geriatric that they require a nursing home, then charge them $500 a day (or more, whatever is the going rate for profitable homes), plus the cost of all their medical care, no government subsidies, and the children are responsible for meeting their parents financial obligations. Just think of all the jobs this will create in aged care! Not to mention the stock prices of aged care providers.
    (somehow, I suspect this policy would see a substantial reduction in the number of applications from migrants wanting to bring their parents over)

    • John Howards Bowling Coach

      Small issue there, the leading provider Aveo is a scumbag corp owned by a Hong Kong national I believe. So I doubt they pay any tax meanwhile ripping off all the customers.