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World in no hurry to board the Marrakesh Express on migration

United nations Secretary General

It just may be that peak globalism has been reached and the world is retreating. Rather than surrendering their authority to supra-­national bodies such as the UN or the EU, several governments are ­reclaiming their sovereignty at the urging of their citizens.

To illustrate this point, consider the UN intergovernmental conference that was held this week in Marrakesh, Morocco, the purpose of which was the adoption of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration.

The UN leadership declared the conference an outstanding success. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres claimed the “participation in this conference is a clear demonstration of the ­importance our global community places on the pursuit of the better management of international ­migration, through a co-operative approach”. He went on to describe the compact as a “road map to prevent suffering and chaos”.

While stressing the non-binding nature of the compact, the head of the conference, Louise ­Arbour, declared “the compact will remain the reference for all ­future initiatives dealing with cross-border human mobility. It is the implementation of the compact that will forever change the way the international community manages human mobility.”

But the critical aspect of the conference that Arbour didn’t mention in her victory speech was the failure of many significant countries to sign up to the compact, including Australia.

In fact, the US had pulled out of negotiations late last year. The list of other non-signatories includes: Austria, Italy, the Czech Republic, Hun­gary, Latvia, Poland, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Israel, Chile and the Dominican Republic. In Belgium, there has been so much disagreement about the compact that the coalition government effectively has collapsed.

It’s early days, but it’s possible that the high-water mark of globalism is behind us.

Having said this and after reading the mawkishly expressed, skewed and overbearing compact, the real surprise is that more countries didn’t baulk at signing.

The final version was belted out across 18 months of expensive consultations. But note that many ­parties who made suggestions to rework the document — to ­emphasise the importance of countries’ sovereignty, for example — essentially were ignored.

Last week, a spokesman for the US government summed up that country’s refusal to sign the compact by labelling it

“an effort by the United Nations to advance global governance at the expense of the sovereign right of states”.


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And the Belgium migration minister, who has since resigned over the compact, also noted pithily:

“It might not be legally binding but it is not without legal risks.”

The central aim of the compact is to convert illegal migration into regular migration, with all the ­assoc­iated privileges accorded to legal migrants.

“We commit to adapt options and pathways for regular mig­ration in a manner that facilitates labour mobility … with a view to expanding and ­diversifying availability of pathways for safe, orderly and regular migration,” it states.

Economic migration is seen as an inalienable human right.

In an extremely confused presentation, Guterres referred to ­declining fertility and rising life ­expectancy in developed economies as a rationale for the compact.

“It is clear that most developed countries need migrants across a broad spectrum of vital roles, from caring for elderly people to preventing the collapse of health services,” he said.

Why this would require an international compact is never ­explained. Individual countries are more than capable of sorting out the size and type of immigrants they require.

The compact then dives into equally dangerous water by stating that one objective is to “eliminate all forms of discrimination and promote evidence-based public discourse to shape perceptions of migration”. In other words, descriptions of migration that are not positive and fulsome should not be permitted.

And it goes on. “We commit to promote an open and evidence-based public discourse on migra­tion and migrants in partnership with all parts of society, that generates a more realistic, humane and constructive perception in this ­regard. We also commit to protect freedom of expression in accordance with understanding all ­aspects of migration.”

There is even reference to conforming with international human rights law. This could mean that a violation of this section by an individual or publisher may be regarded as an offence. If I state that migrants on humanitarian visas here are much more dependent on government welfare than other visa holders and Australia-born citizens, would I be guilty of failing to generate a “humane and constructive perception”? Similarly, if I point out that the economic ­benefits of migration are close to zero, at least in the short term, could I be charged?

There is also reference in the compact to the subjective concept of hate crimes. The pact urges countries “to enact, implement or maintain legislation that penalises hate crimes and aggravated hate crimes targeting migrants, and train law enforcement and other public officials to identify, prevent and respond to such crimes and other acts of violence that target migrants, as well as to provide medical, legal and psychological assistance for victims”.

If we look at the attitudes of ­ordinary citizens to migration around the world, it is clear that a rising proportion is opposed to high migrant intakes. Indeed, in many countries, the largest proportion of citizens would prefer ­reduced or zero migration.

In a survey conducted by the Pew Research Centre this year of 27 countries representing half of the world’s population — Australia was not included — a median figure of 45 per cent stated that they wanted migrant intakes to be reduced or cut to zero. Just more than one-third wanted the intake to stay the same and only 14 per cent wanted it increased. These figures mirror those for Australia.

The Australian government has its hands full establishing more sensible migration policy settings without having to comply with the internationalist UN brigade. There has been a staggering ­increase in the number of people on bridging visas in recent times and the number of Chinese ­nationals claiming asylum protection rose by more than 300 per cent between 2016-17 and 2017-18. In 2017-18 there were nearly 28,000 onshore asylum claims.

The fully committed globalist clique is clearly diminishing in number. In respect of the global migration compact, it was only those countries whose heads of government have clear globalist preferences and personal pro-­migration attitudes — think Germany, Greece, Ireland, France, New Zealand — that jumped at the chance to sign up to the ­compact. But there is clear evidence their attitudes are not in ­accord with the preferences of their citizens.

Recall embattled French President Emmanuel Macron trying to make some sort of dopey distinction between nationalism and patriotism last month to cause offence to US President ­Donald Trump. According to Macron, “patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism. Nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism. In saying, ‘Our interests first, whatever happens to the others’, you erase the most precious thing a ­nation can have, that which makes it live, that which causes it to be great and that which is most important: its moral values.”

The yellow-vest protesters surely would beg to differ. Is it ­really unexpected that one of the posters carried by the yellow-vest protesters in France last weekend carried the message Marrakesh: C’est Non?

The principal roles of a sovereign government are to protect the nation’s borders and to act in the best interests of its own citizens. To do otherwise is to invite internal dissent, something Macron is beginning to learn. There are lessons for other world leaders.




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