Bill Shorten hurls immigration Hail Mary

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By Leith van Onselen

During last week’s break, I deliberately attempted to avoid the news in order to give myself a mental break. However, while sitting in a cafe reading about the Hawks AFL Grand Final victory, I came across the below article quoting the ALP Federal Leadership candidate, Bill Shorten’s, view that Australia’s immigration levels should rise from their already high level, which I found highly infuriating:

Australia should increase its immigration levels, Labor leadership hopeful Bill Shorten has declared, saying the next arrival could “be the next Albert Einstein or a good taxpayer”…

Speaking about immigration more broadly, Mr Shorten said Labor needed to re-state its support. Apart from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, everyone came to Australia by boat or plane, he said.

“I do believe the immigration levels can go up,” Mr Shorten said…

Immigration has been a plus for us and we should be certainly as a party being seen to be pro-immigration and pro increasing it, making sure people go to wherever it is sustainable for infrastructure and support, but we are an immigrant country and we shouldn’t ever hide from our destiny.”

Arguing that immigration levels should rise because one of those extra arrivals could become the next “Albert Einstein” is ridiculous. Someone arguing against immigration could equally argue that one of the extra arrivals could become a mass murderer or leader of a major crime syndicate.

Further, supporting an expansion of the immigration program just because Australia is an immigrant nation and it is “our destiny” is ludicrous. It’s not like Australia is currently running a tight immigration program – the level of immigration is already running at nearly twice the long-run average (see next chart)!

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No, the key criteria that needs to be met in deciding what level of immigration is suitable for Australia is: “will it improve the living standards of the pre-existing population”? If the answer to this question is no, then policy makers should not proceed with expanding the immigration level, or preferably should curtail it to a level that provides net benefits to the pre-existing population.

Below is an examination of the key issues pertaining to Australia’s current high immigration intake, which suggests that it is not unambiguously good for the economy and living standards, as suggested by Shorten, and that the intake should in fact be cut back to more sustainable levels. Most of these arguments have been articulated previously, so apologies if you have read them before.

Population growth and the economy:

Advocates of population growth argue that it is required in order to grow the economy and that, without it, growth would suffer, lowering overall living standards.

However, from a narrow economic perspective, population growth (immigration) is good only if it raises the real incomes of the pre-existing population (e.g. GDP per capita). While it is true that Australia’s high population growth over the second half of the 2000s boosted Australia’s real GDP (more labour inputs, other things equal, means more outputs), evidence is sketchy as to whether GDP per capita increased due to population growth. In fact, as the below chart shows, real GDP per capita has remained lacklustre since 2007, suggesting that while the overall economic pie has increased in size because of high population growth, everyone’s share of that pie has barely grown.

ScreenHunter_76 Sep. 11 10.15

Indeed, a big factor behind Australia’s world-beating economic performance since the GFC has been its strong population growth, which boosted headline GDP. Remove population growth from the equation, however, and you can see that Australia did in fact experience a recession in per capita GDP in 2008, with growth remaining lacklustre ever since (see next chart). Perhaps this is a reason why governments support strong immigration, since it inflates growth an enables them to claim that they are strong economic managers, even though individuals across the economy are experiencing minimal material improvement?

ScreenHunter_10 Sep. 26 13.10

Of course, we don’t know the counter-factual. Growth in per capita GDP might have been worse (or better) without such strong immigration. But the arguments for (or against) high rates of immigration purely on narrow economic grounds is inconclusive.

We need immigration to ameliorate the affects of an ageing population:

Another common argument from proponents of high immigration is that it is required in order to mitigate the ageing of Australia’s population.

The United Nations forecasts that the ratio of workers to dependents in Australia is projected to fall significantly over coming decades as the Baby Boomer generation retires en masse (see next chart).

ScreenHunter_77 Sep. 11 10.33

However, the argument that Australia can avoid (rather than delay) population ageing is spurious. The issue of an ageing population will need to be addressed at some point irrespective of the level of immigration. Simply importing more workers to cover the retirement of the Baby Boomers only delays the ageing problem, pushing the problem onto future generations. Further, what will be the solution in 30 years time when current migrants grow old, retire and need taxpayer support? More immigration and an even larger Australia?

While the current population growth rate of 1.8% seems fairly benign, due to the powers of compounding, such a rate of growth is clearly unsustainable over a long time frame (see next chart).

ScreenHunter_78 Sep. 11 10.40

While the above chart may appear facetious, as population growth could be curtailed at some point in the future, the fact remains that there will always be vested interests pressuring governments to expand population growth in the face of an ever-ageing population. Hence, boosting immigration to overcome an ageing population is no solution at all.

Population growth, infrastructure and productivity:

A big negative of high rates of population growth is that it places increasing pressure on the pre-existing (already strained) stock of infrastructure and housing, reducing productivity and living standards unless costly new investments are made. Indeed, controversial investments like desalination plants would arguably not have been required absent population growth.

Further, when infrastructure and housing investment fails to keep up, it places upward pressure on inflation, requiring higher interest rates, which can then damage productive sectors of the economy. These dynamics were explained in detail in a 2011 speech by the Reserve Bank of Australia’s Phil Lowe (my emphasis):

Currently, housing-related costs – including rents, utilities and the cost of building new dwellings – account for around 20 per cent of the CPI, the largest share of any single group. Broadly speaking, the housing component of the CPI shows the same general pattern as that in underlying inflation, although the recent moderation is less pronounced (Graph 6).

A couple of factors are important in explaining this general pattern.

The first is that the large run-up in Australian house prices that was driven by the adjustment to low inflation ended in late 2003. When the housing boom came to an end, building cost inflation came down and growth in rents was subdued for a few years. These outcomes helped hold down overall inflation rates during this period. But by 2007, the cycle had again turned, with building costs rising more quickly and growth in rents accelerating. This faster growth in rents reflected the changing balance of demand and supply in the rental market, with strong population growth coinciding with relatively slow expansion of supply.

The second factor has been utilities prices. During the middle years of the 2000s utilities prices were increasing at an average rate of 4 per cent, which was slightly lower than that in the previous few years. Then from 2007, utilities price inflation accelerated sharply. The proximate cause was the regulatory decisions allowing double-digit price increases, partly to help fund infrastructure investment, particularly for the distribution of electricity. But a deeper cause was the low levels of investment in previous years, which meant that the capacity of the system to distribute electricity had not kept pace with the growth in demand, particularly during hot weather.

While these developments in rents and utilities do help explain the particular dynamics of inflation over the recent cycle, they also demonstrate that when the economy is operating up against supply constraints, all sorts of prices – and not just the price of labour – start rising more quickly.

A 2011 report by New Zealand’s Savings Working Group also supported the notion that high levels of immigration tends to put upward pressure on inflation and interest rates:

A country with a rapidly growing population needs to devote resources to building more roads, schools, shops, houses, factories and so on than a country with a low rate of population growth. In a country with a relatively low national savings rate, rapid population growth will put sustained upward pressure on real interest rates and, in turn, the real exchange rate, making it harder to achieve the per capita income gains that people (and the government) aspire to…

Further, given the tight constraints applied to the supply of land for housing, less immigration might also have left New Zealand less exposed to the damaging house price booms experienced in the 1990s and the last decade.

Population growth, natural resources and the environment:

Ongoing high population growth places additional strain on the natural environment, causing greater environmental degredation, increasing water scarcity and pollution, and making it more difficult for Australia to reduce its carbon footprint and meet international pollution reduction targets.

A related concern is that Australia earns its way in the world mainly by selling its fixed mineral resources (e.g. iron ore, coal, natural gas, and gold). More people means less resources per capita. A growing population also means that we must deplete our mineral resources faster, just to maintain a constant standard of living.


Bill Shorten presumes that ongoing high population growth is beneficial to both the economy and living standards, and then ridiculously supports his stance by claiming that one of these immigrants could “be the next Albert Einstein” and that Australia is “an immigrant country”, therefore immigration levels should be increased.

However, were Shorten to objectively examine the facts, he would quickly discover that the case for a high level of immigration is anything but clear-cut and that the living standards of pre-existing Australians may actually be erroded.

As argued previously, while I believe that Australia could probably support a substantially larger population with improved policy settings and investment, like many Australians, I don’t hold much faith in our political class or policy making processes, which have time and again proven to be deficient in providing adequately for the pre-existing population (let also tens of millions more people), or that a substantially larger population would improve living standards anyway.

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    • Exactly the same. The parties are just Coles and Woolworths.

      The parties just want unfettered growth to feed their corporate masters. The big corporates get all the growth dividend without any of the cost of infrastructure.

      What an ar&e Shorten is – doesn’t engage with the public on any of these issues and just comes out more spin.

      • On top of that you have growing unemployment and wankers like Napthine wanting to restrict the urban growth boundary to push up property prices.

        Immigrants now are in fact a threat to Australian workers in a number of ways,

        First, they will put ever increasing pressure of all resources such as water, power and help push property prices up

        Second, they will displace a local person, and undermine wage growth because many work below minimum wage. This is nasty because locals are not stupid enough to work for peanuts yet they are told they are lazy if they don’t in unskilled and now even skilled jobs, so bargaining power is going out the door, and bosses will prefer this cheap labor to line their own pockets because they know they won’t complain about their rights.

      • These labor hacks are such a bunch of rank hypercritical knobs. They have good incomes, private health and private schools – they couldn’t give a flying f&ck the rest of the population has hit the wall on unfettered growth.

        Just another bunch of aristocrats, tied to nepotism and doing what aristocrats do.

  1. Einstein – what we’d give for even a tenth of one in Parliament.

    What infuriates me about the immigration argument is the suggestion that we wouldn’t be the magnificent cultural kaleidoscope we are today without it e.g. restaurants etc. Very true, but this does not support the need for further expansion of population without the necessary infrastructure. Is this culture simply going to disappear if we turn the taps off for 10 years, whilst we play catch up in living standards?

  2. It might sound like a nice plan to our ‘leaders’, but what worked in the past won’t necessarily work in the future. With rising unemployment, gridlocked roads and unaffordable housing, migrants may reconsider their desire to move here. But I don’t expect to hear anything remotely intelligent out of Shorten/Albanese or Abbott on this subject (or any other for that matter).

  3. One wonders whether the majority of our politicians are B-graders, incapable of thought. I struggle to understand the motivations for their decisions. Is it personal greed (investment properties and the like), or are they just stupid, or have the Chinese managed some kind of mind-control that works on our politicians for several years? None of them are making decisions which consider any kind of long term implications.

  4. As infuriating as the glib motherhood statements about population growth are, the bit that infuriates me the most is that we are told by our political leaders it is prudent economic management not to “fix on a number” for pop growth.
    Then the Kouk comes out a few day later and says pop growth is going to continue growing at 400,000 p.a. and we should get used to it. Why?
    Who decided increasing the pop by 400,000 p.a. was a good idea?
    How about we return to 200,000 p.a. until the chronic housing and infrastructure shortage is fixed?
    Wouldn’t that be more prudent?
    What is it about population policy that motivates our politicians to throw caution out the window and adopt uninformed high-risk strategies?
    How about we have an open and informed discussion on the numbers instead of glib motherhood statements from our leaders?

    • “How about we return to 200,000 p.a. until the chronic housing and infrastructure shortage is fixed?”

      I used to be in favour of a high immigration intake until it became clear to me that our politicians have no ability or interest in ensuring that our infrastructure keeps up with our population growth.

    • +1 it’s not about immigration it’s about the infrastructure constraints – schools hospitals housing – even things like pools and sporting infrastructure.

      Unfettered growth supports the oligopolies and the unions that feed off them – the parties support these interests only. Everyone else can go whistle.

  5. Bill Shorten has also avoided the unfortunate realities of what would happen to our “imported Einstein” … let’s see.

    Most of our tech industries have been thrown under the bus, so our hero might have to begin by stacking shelves in woolies or working in a bottle shop.

    The rental market feeds the all consuming fire economy, so most of his income would be sucked up in rent. The RE agents would assume that far from being the next Einstein, our valuable new immigrant was a sub-human – being a “renter” and they would make sure he knew his place.

    New Einstein would be unable to raise any funding to pursue his ideas because all the investment money is riding on real estate. Indeed, unless his great intellect could be put to use on HFT or electronic trading, the market may decide he is best employed as a taxi driver.

    If New Einstein does have any sense, Australia may be a brief stopover on the way to somewhere else.

    Various governments (and the people who let them get away with it) have spent decades building a narrow, greedy, self serving society of petty landlords and corporate spivs. The idea that while pandering to that dysfunctional monstrosity, a magic solution in the form of a genius immigrate may just pop up and fix everything is purile – and that is being generous.

    The labor party appears to be intent on re-inventing itself as …. nothing. Between them and the smug, entitled silvertails of the Liberal, its hobsons choice.

    • + 100K. Very good and sensible comments. Don’t know why our politicians can’t see it.

      We need some new blood and ways of thinking in politics. And slightly higher IQ’s as well.

    • Never heard of Hobsons choice before now. Good description.
      Perhaps rebadge it Laberals Choice.
      As for our potential new Einstein – welcome to a totally rigged housing system.
      However, if the said Einstein however arrives cashed up s/he can immediately start gaming the virtual tax-free system created by the connivers for the wealthy.
      I remember at the peak of RE stupidity a few years ago there was a renovation show on MSM that showed a brain surgeon renovating for profit rather than practice his trade in saving lives. There was more money in it. Amazing place Australia, dumbs down the smartest!

  6. More people to rule over is a default setting for most politicians, more power, more share of the world pie.

    Labour in particular benefit traditionally receiving the lions share of the new immigrant vote.

    Reminds me of the UK scandal, when the Labour Party admitted to opening the immigration flood gates to ‘rub the Tories noses in it!’

    Ask the average UK citizen if they think their standard of living has improved due to recent immigration.

    Worse than that it appears to have encouraged the sort of unsavoury nationalism we had fought so hard to extinguish elsewhere.

  7. Accelerating population growth has nothing to do with sustaining an aging society as you rightly point out. An increasing number of immigrants will age and retire from paying tax, then what? Increase 1.8% to 2.5% or whatever?
    Norway has 1/5 the population growth of Australia.
    Is it really that difficult to arrange a stable socio-economy based on income producing enterprises rather than growth for the purpose of increasing the number of people taxed? Feeding the FIRE economy should not be on the agenda. Let the parasites feed off themselves.
    Labor has laid it cards on the table – Rudd with his Big Australia push in 2010, followed by recent sell-off of large chunks of land in the Ord region to foreign interests, only for him to come out a week before the last election and mouth the words that he is concerned about foreign investment.
    I see part of the solution is in looking at successful small population growth economies (Northern Europe) and then making explicit how infrastructure here will tie into growth frameworks and then actually following through on verbage.
    I do not see Labor having any role to play in the near future. As for Liberals, zzzzzzzzzzzzz.

  8. Yes, I heard Bill say something similar on Q&A. The second he uttered this statement he instantly lost my vote and no doubt most of Western Sydney.

  9. Extending DarkMatter’s comments, even if we selectively picked Einstein’s (this is ironic because I remember a few years back when hairdressers and cooks could get a PR but a PhD couldn’t), what good does it do him or the economy?

    1) We are slashing education and research funding.

    2) Our socio-political culture rewards RE speculation over anything else.

    3) Our enumeration system is completely broken (and uncompetitive). Why go to uni, get debt and have no job security when you are better of driving a taxi or doing laundry in the mines.

    4) There is no encouragement of enterprise here either from the government or the community.

    5) He is better off coming here on a 457, making his money and going back. Using said money he will start up some enterprise in his homeland (more common than you think).

    Having said that, Oz surprising still punches above its weight but for how long?

  10. Leith van Onselen states: “The key criteria that needs to be met in deciding what level of immigration is suitable for Australia is: “will it improve the living standards of the pre-existing population”?

    Oh, I get it. So every poor, starving person in the world; the children enslaved; the refugees seeking refugee; all the sick and poor – are not welcome to migrate to Australia unless they can help the big, fat people already living here poke their noses even deeper into the trough.

    Is that what most Australians want?

    • That’s a ridiculous straw man argument. Of course Australia should maintain (or even increase) its humanitarian intake, which is a tiny proportion of the overall immigration intake. But this certainly doesn’t require the 240,000 strong program undertaken currently, which is more than double that of a decade ago.

      • notsofastMEMBER


        Australia has one of the highest humanitarian immigration programs, on a per head of population basis, of any country in the world. A program which I fully support. Even if Humanitarian Immigration levels are reduced from the current 20,000 (which I personally support) to the old level of about 14,000 (an LNP election promise which I don’t mind if they don’t deliver on), only Sweden and Canada in the developed world have consistently had humanitarian immigration levels above Australia, on a per head of population basis.

        The humanitarian immigration program in Australia is very significant by any comparable measure. And no I’m not referring to the biased numbers that some people quote which ranks countries on Refugees. Even the UNHCR acknowledges that their statistics on Refugees cannot be used in this way to compare countries because of the significant differences in how different countries treat refugees and that not all humanitarian immigration is included in the UNHCR refugee numbers (not surprisingly the UNHCR only includes people who meet the strict definition of a refugee in their refugee numbers).

    • prosperity,

      When you allow a dozen or so of the individuals you describe above to camp in your backyard, do let us know.

      Sanctonious twaddle like this gets the contempt it deserves. Leith is only stating what is clearly sensible.

    • notsofastMEMBER

      Yet your happy for the one who is to be PM to increase immigration but be silent on the issue?

      Bill Shorten should at least be given marks for being honest about what is in store for us.

  11. Is there anyone in Canberra that isn’t pro high immigration? Shorten had lost my vote before he had even finished the sentence. As far as i’m concerned this idiot country is doomed and the poor old, “soon to be wiped off the face of the Earth” Aussie has nowhere to turn. Our “leaders” just keep piling in the immigrants while selling the farmland off to foreigners, F twits.

    • Every time I hear the politicians tell us something like “due to population growth, we will have to get used to higher density housing” it reminds me of Animal Farm. The leaders telling us ‘like it or shove it’.

  12. This is why I find both major parties despicable.

    As noted on MB recently, George Orwell put it best:
    “The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.” – Animal Farm.

    Labor truly has surrendered its role as the advocate of the poor and lowly paid if this is current leadership philosophy.

    The next leader of the ALP has an opportunity to differentiate his/her party from the opponents by proposing

    a) Future immigration levels will be tied directly to our levels of infrastructure and housing resources

    b) Companies which hire immigrants on 457 visas kick the tin by paying a 12.5% surcharge on top of whatever salary they are providing. This money could be plowed into our education and training systems to create AUSTRALIANS who can fill our labour requirements.

    BUT that seems unlikely.
    Tweedle Dee vs Tweedle Dum on the immigration debate.

    Both parties compete to flex muscle on the asylum seeker issue even while the REAL threat to our standard of living arrives in far greater numbers through Kingsford-Smith and Tullamarine airports.

  13. Cmon guys,

    Its not just our pollies,this sites own Gunnamatta went all “The Guardian” on me when I expressed similar sentiments to Leith only months ago. The left are so pavlovian when the subject of cutting rampant immigration in this country is raised. Racist, Racist, Racist. Oh please.

    • Dont know what instance you refer to there chief.

      While I dont particularly like racism, I dont particularly like using immigration to hold aspiring home owners to ransom.

      While I may be pavlovian left, Chodley Wontok at least had the decency to openly put his finger on the sore point.

      My view on the migration real estate nexus would largely be encapsulated by —-

      I dont mind how many people come in or dont come in. I think that the impact of how many people are coming in, not coming in, or putatively coming in (through buying RE either without appropriate visa, or buying RE just to get a visa) should be both monitored, reported publicly and managed. I think that infrastructure and housing for however many people are coming in should be a clear responsibility of government. I think that not planning and ensuring that such infrastructure and housing is in place is irresponsible. I think that running immigration at high levels without openly addressing the impact of that is irresponsible. I tend to the view (without being particularly dogmatic about it, and accepting that there will be a range of views) that migration should probably be reduced from its current levels until such point as those in power be prepared to level with those in the country already on the impact of continued high levels of migration.

      I would further add that running high levels of migration simply to build up the population size makes no sense whatsoever.

      I also think that bringing more people into this country without being able to clearly articulate a viable and meaningful medium and long term economic future, and articulate a high immigration desirability against that narrative, is utterly spurious.

  14. Mr SquiggleMEMBER

    There was a lovely little statistic that I found in a document this site linked to a few weeks ago. (Department of Welfare – in brief).

    The percentage of Australians borne overseas is now 27%.

    However, for Over 65ers, the number borne overseas has risen to 37%.

    The more migrants we have, the more old people we need to support. We don’t have to wait to 2050 to see what its like, we have that situation now.

    • Yes but couldnt that represent people who moved here in their 20s years ago and are now aged?

      • Mr SquiggleMEMBER

        That’s exactly what it represents.

        A migrant who moved to Oz aged 25 takes only 40 years to reach age 65.

        A non-migrant (born in Australia) takes 65 years to reach age 65.

        Migration is a head-start in the aging process.

  15. I don’t like high migration policies any more than you guys. However, it’s a dog eat dog world out there. You gotta work with the system.

    Sensibly invest in real estate. Not in a silly way, not off the plan, not over extending yourselves, not expecting a short term gain.

  16. You all had a chance to end these high levels of immigration a few weeks ago by voting for the Stable Population Party. If you didn’t vote for them you have no right to complain. This is what you voted for.

    • Taking such an approach is not enamoring people to vote for your party. Based upon the name alone, rightly or wrongly,I heard people in the voting room outright mocking the SPP name. Perhaps there isn’t great enough of a cross section of the voting population that understands the policies.

      • Do people want the red carpet treatment or something? Maybe the SPP should start offering some middle class welfare bribe. They offered a fix to this madness, I actually find you lot more infuriating than the likes of Shorten, whinging all the time about house prices and immigration, when you know full well nothing will ever be done about it by the major parties. At least he’s just trying to say what the powers that be want to hear.

        For those who want to know more:

      • Thanks for the feedback Yorrick.

        Unfortunately, SPP narrowly missed the boat in achieving federal registration for the 2010 election when there were something like half the parties and population was a much hotter topic. During the 2013 election, we were effectively buried as people were spoiled for “choice”.

        The name has certainly attracted some ridicule – no doubt some suggesting the party was trying to put everyone in stables 🙂

        It is certainly very hard without a huge budget to get the party’s policies into the mainstream and as you say the idea of a stable population is alien to many and very unpopular with the small proportion who benefit for the short term from ongoing population growth – that it ultimately undermines their wealth is probably not obvious.

        The name has certainly also attracted claims that the party is xenophobic/racist or calling from population controls.

        That we are about stopping the manipulation and working in situ with other countries to improve their quality of life is all too often lost.

        Any feedback is always welcome.

  17. I did vote for the SPP. Sadly more people up here in Queensland gave preferences to nutbag minority parties. Maybe we deserve the government we have.

  18. The UK Labour Party under BLiar adopted a similar approach to immigration as Shorten. Surrepticiously, under the cover of Shortens aruments above, UK Labour endeavoured to alter the voting demographic by allowing unfettered immigration – the object being to increase the Left vote. This was projected to occur due, among other things, to the generous welfare enticements afforded immigrants. The public only became aware of this after Blair left office and Govt documents were scrutinised and the the concealed plans were discovered. Too late , the damage already done.

    Large parts of the UK are now a multicultural nightmare. The rapid immigrant intake brought with it all manner of cultural and security related serious problems. Not to mention chronic overcrowding in certain areas.

    A vote for Shorten’s Labor will be a vote for something like the UK’s Midlands. Better give that some thought I would say.

    • notsofastMEMBER


      Actually our politicians have little control over immigration. We might like to think they have and even they might like to think they do but at the end of the day our immigration levels are largely determined by the people who we have sold our country too. The global elites. If our politicians don’t do the right thing on immigration then the elites will pull on one of the many leavers they have on our economy or in the media.

      If you don’t like large scale multicultural immigration then you will just have to learn to suck it up.

      • There may be some truth to that notsofast.
        It certainly doesn’t help though that so few are across the endless problems created by high population growth policy and continue to put their votes behind the major parties and/or vote informally.

        If on the other hand, the idea of a stable population (even if it goes by a different name) does get the majority support, we at least have a common, unifying position. While it may be rough for a time, it’s not hard to envisage the alternative as being much rougher.

  19. notsofastMEMBER

    Well, all I can say is that at least Bill Shorten is being honest with us.

    A bit like Kevin Rudd was being honest with us when he explained his 35 million big Australia policy. Anybody who honestly analyses the situation must see that this is where we are invariably headed too.

    I guess its also far that our politicians don’t like to talk about the things they have little to no control over.

  20. Mad as batpoo!
    As our natural growth drops to perhaps to zero or even negative over the next 2.5 decades as our deaths double (boomers departing the home planet), what anyone is really saying is that we must accept a double or even a treble increase in immigration. Not going to happen! Will anyone accept 450,000 or 600,000 net immigrants per year? As I said, mad as batpoo!

    Back of envelope – to get to 40 million by 2050, from our 23 million, we will need to add 17 million over 28 years, or approx 607, 142 per year. Now lets say we have a natural growth (2013 to 2035) as 2.5 million (2013 at 150k, 2104 at 145k, 2035 at 50k etc to 2050) that means we would need to add 14.5 million net immigrants or approx 518K per year. Yep, not going to happen! What politics is this actually about? It certainly is not about reality or even possibility!

    • notsofastMEMBER

      Yes it is as mad as bat poo. But we should have thought about this before we racked up $750 Billion in net foreign debt and $2.2 Trillion in Gross foreign debt.

  21. Indeed, a new migrant could be the next Einstein… or he could be the next Tony Abbott, from ole’ London town.

    Or she could be the next Julia Gillard, from Wales (the old one).

    God, have mercy of us all (native and imported alike)

  22. A growing number of old people is constantly used as a scare tactic except nobody mentions that over time old people die solving the retiree bulge fairly naturally. If I have it correct the demographic bulge we have coming up is a result of the post war baby boom from 1945 to 1960. Now that means by 2040 the bulge should be starting to seriously diminish and by 2060 all but a few of those baby boomers should be dead.

    it seems to me by importing people in their 20s and 30s now we are greating an even bigger aging bulge starting around 2060. Madness.

    As to how to resource an aging demographic well seeing our economy revolves around endless growth it is now too rigid to bend around the 20 years or so of spending on elderly health care and home care for that bulge.

  23. Bill made this statement when questioned about asylum seekers. I suspect he thought we’d think he was being kind and generous when in fact all he was doing was trying very hard not to address the specific question as he has no desire to change the existing approach on that question.