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Settlement Services International today congratulated the Australian Senate for rejecting Pauline Hanson’s move to hold a plebiscite on Australia's immigration levels.

Yesterday, the Queensland Senator’s private members Bill to hold a plebiscite to gauge the public's views on the number of migrants allowed to live and work in Australia was defeated 54-2. 

SSI CEO Violet Roumeliotis said the Senate rightly saw how misguided Senator Hanson’s proposal was.

“SSI welcomes a public conversation about population policy and migration in Australia,” she said, “but population and migration policy should be informed by analysis of the economic, social and environmental costs and benefits of growth for the wellbeing of the Australian community, not by a plebiscite.”

Ms Roumeliotis said, “Australia is a successful multicultural society and this is a key part of our identity as a nation, making Australia a destination of choice for business, work, study or tourism.

“We are recognised internationally for our success in the settlement and integration of migrant communities and for our strong social cohesion. Our multicultural policy has also promoted the economic advantages of a culturally and linguistically diverse population.”

Ms Roumeliotis said migration provided a net benefit and contributed to Australia’s economic growth, addressing the challenges of an ageing population by attracting migrants who were younger, more skilled and educated.

“Any conversation about immigration or population needs to be balanced, informed by the facts and recognise the value of our multicultural society. It should not try to blame migrants or divide our society,” she said.

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