Up until 1989 Australian immigration policy was based on Ministerial discretion. This gave the executive the power to decide policy without review either by parliament or the courts. But during the 1980s the context changed. Many more would-be immigrants were already on Australian soil on a temporary basis and, if they were rejected, they could appeal to the courts. Ministerial discretion was hard to defend in court and selection criteria were progressively widened by court judgments. The Hawke Government compounded these difficulties by a number of unwise policy decisions. By 1996 the immigration program that the Howard Government inherited lacked a clear economic rationale, was dominated by family reunion, brought in many migrants who needed welfare support and was open to fraud It was also unpopular. The Howard/Ruddock reforms sharpened the program's economic focus, reduced the size of the family-reunion component, restricted new migrants 'access to welfare and increased the program's integrity. The new Government also took a firm stance on border control and tried to limit the role of the courts. Many of these reforms have been controversial but, by 2002, immigration was much less unpopular than it had been in 1996.