IPA urges massive population ponzi

By Leith van Onselen

Right wing think tank, the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA), has urged Australia to throw open its borders so that it can reap the so-called economic benefits of a massive population. From The Canberra Times:

The Commonwealth government enforces a mind-boggling number of visas to control who arrives in Australia, and the obligations and restrictions they are placed under when they arrive.

…these claims and others, such as migrants adding to infrastructure congestion or milking the welfare state, still hold political sway is unfortunate, because tearing down the walls that are national borders would yield immense benefits for individuals, families and for all humankind…

The benefits accruing to individuals from less restrictive immigration controls should also prove to be substantial, with migrants able to work their way out of poverty in their freely chosen destination country and send remittances to family back home…

There is also plenty of upside for existing residents in countries that would open their borders, not least because migrants contributing to production processes would increase national production, thus raising material living standards for the benefit of all.

And the lobbyists agitating for governments to grab more revenue should salivate over opening the borders, given more people means a larger taxable base for funding the likes of economic and social infrastructure projects. Incidentally, with businesses forever crying out for more labour, having more people here, courtesy of immigration, should help with the development of extra infrastructure…

Australia proudly proclaims itself to the world to be an immigration nation, with the last two centuries most assuredly grounded in the influx of people from all corners of the earth. To truly honour those sentiments, we should relax our remaining restrictions against the inbound movement of people, even if no other countries follow our lead, and reap the significant benefits from doing so.

In 2006, the Productivity Commission (PC) completed a major study on the Economic Impacts of Migration and Population Growth, which debunked the IPA’s claim that existing residents would benefit from throwing open the borders to immigration.

Specifically, the PC modeled the impact of a 50% increase in the level of skilled migration over the 20 years to 2024-25 and found that it did cause real GDP to be 4.6% higher than would otherwise have been the case in 20 years time (more labour inputs equals more outputs).

The PC also found that real income per person would increase ever so slightly. That is, 20 years later real income per head would be 0.7%, or $380 a year, higher than would otherwise be the case.

But here’s the real kicker. According to the PC, “the distribution of these benefits varies across the population, with gains mostly accrued to the skilled migrants and capital owners. The incomes of existing resident workers grow more slowly than would otherwise be the case.

So, opening the spigots on immigration would make the existing resident population worse-off because they would earn less income than would otherwise be the case.

I’m sorry, but isn’t the whole point of public policy to make the living standards of the existing population better-off? And if so, where is the merit in opening the floodgates to immigration, given this would make existing residents worse-off?

Of course, the PC’s modelling also did not consider many of the other negative externalities from rapid immigration, such as the adverse impact on the natural environment arising from a bigger population.

I also very much doubt the PC’s modelling gave adequate consideration to the infrastructure required to meet the needs of a larger population and the greater demands on the Budget for services provided to immigrants and their families. These, of course, require higher taxation and charges paid by existing residents, not just by the immigrants. Moreover, any delay in providing the extra roads, public transport, utilities, schools, hospitals and housing will have significant negative effects on congestion, amenity and overall living standards.

As noted last month by The Australia Institute’s chief economist, Richard Denniss:

“Australia is one of the fastest growing countries in the developed world and our infrastructure isn’t keeping up. It isn’t keeping up now and hasn’t kept up for the last 10 years, and it’s not budgeted to keep up in the next 10.”

“What politicians are doing is every year they announce record spending on this and a new that, but what they don’t point out is that on a per person basis, per person we are spending less on health, per person we’ve got less access to transport, per person the reason the queues in the hospital keeps getting longer is because we are not building hospitals as fast as we are growing our population. They all know it, they just don’t say it”…

“If you want to double your population – and that’s our plan – we want to double our population – you have to at least double your infrastructure to maintain people’s standard of living… We’re talking schools, we’re talking hospitals, we’re talking trains, we’re talking roads, we’re talking police”…

“Population growth costs a lot… If you double the number of citizens then you double the number of teachers and double the number of nurses. It’s pretty simple math. But of course, you don’t have to double them if you gradually plan to lower the number of services. If you are happy for us to gradually lower the number of services in our health system, our aged system, if you are happy for congestion to gradually get worse, if you are happy for the amount of green space per person to decline, then you can do what we do. But the trick is at the moment is every budget – and all governments do this – every budget the minister says “I’m spending a record amount on health”. Well, of course you are, we’ve got a bigger population than we’ve ever had before. Every year has to be a record. But, their own data shows that on a per person basis, it’s just not keeping up”.

The final word on why a massive expansion of Australia’s population is very likely to lower living standards can be illustrated with a case study (h/t Mediocritas).

Consider Norway versus Saudi Arabia:

  • Both had a huge boom from oil exports.
  • Both nationalised and built sovereign wealth funds.
  • The GDP of both nations has generally tracked closely for decades with a couple of oil-induced divergences including now (N $500 billion ; SA $746 billion):
ScreenHunter_8770 Aug. 11 08.31
ScreenHunter_8771 Aug. 11 08.35
  • Today, Norway consistently ranks near the top in surveys of happiness and desirability to live, unlike Saudi Arabia. Norway has arguably the highest living standards of any nation on the planet. This shows up in GDP per capita: (N $97,000 ; SA $25,000):
ScreenHunter_8772 Aug. 11 08.37

Does anyone honestly believe that Norwegians would be better-off had they adopted the IPA’s recommendations and opened the immigration floodgates?

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Unconventional Economist
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    • Correct, not much more can be added, other than that any vote for Liberal is a vote for this philosophy

    • Yes, simplistic, extreme right wing, boofheaded, get richer quicker policies for the 1950’s style white shoe brigade that still runs Australia.

    • Yes, the entire Liberal party, the National party, (probably half the landowning Labour party) everyone who reads the Murdoch press and everyone that is impressed with inflation of house prices as a way to get rich and fully believes that house price inflation is the same as genuine productive GDP growth. ie 75% of the population apparently.

  1. Surely saudi arabia population just increased due to imported bangladeshi workers etc

    This may have reduced mathematical calculations of wealth per capita, but I imagine it actually improved the living standards of the natives.

    • It would if those imported workers worked directly for me for $3 an hour like the Saudis. Except they must be trough an agency which charge me $40 an hour.

      • I think I’d like to be a rich saudi prince. Of course I’d be living in Knightsbridge London

      • rob barrattMEMBER

        Precisely. I worked in Saudi Arabia for sixteen months. To European workers, S.A. was known as the arse**** of the known universe. The only good thing it had going for it was the very low crime rate. You didn’t have to bother to ask for 20 previous offenses to be taken into account, the sentence was just the same….

    • Ever been to Saudi Coming? Thought not.
      I lived there for 3.5 years. The place is an alternate reality. On the surface it kind of looks like a western country – lots of cars and shopping malls – but scratch the surface and its a festering sore. Most Saudis live without much, except what they are handed by the government, while a few (the royals and the wealthy merchant families) are obscenely rich. The rich and the middle class are consumption mad, since there is bugger all else to do other than shop and pray. Sport? Too hot. Cinemas? Banned. Fun? Banned. Half the population is under the age of 15, hence the rate of population growth. As bad as the Saudis are, not even they do Bangladeshi child labour. So your population theory flies out the window. A percentage breed like rabbits, achievable when you have 2-4 wives locked in the house. Most of the men can’t even get a shag. Custom is a woman won’t marry unless the husband provides a house. Now given that most of the Saudi “workers” are employed by the government in make work, do sweet F.A. and are paid not a lot, that makes it hard to buy a house and get married. So it is the mainly the middle class and wealthier ones having multiple wives and loads of kids. The imported workers are all working for private companies. When I was there the population ratio was 3:1 locals over import. The imports were doing all the work. The locals barely turned up to work and still expect to get paid – and they do, because in this mushroom society the government (royal family) want them complacent and compliant so they can strip mine the wealth for themselves. If a local worked for a private company and didn’t come to work and you tried to get rid of him (no women working, except in hospitals and schools and segregated as much as possible) he’d stick his Mutawif cousin on you – nothing quite like having the Religious Police on your ass, a bit like the bikies in their own way, but without a sense of humour.
      Now with the price of oil in the toilet the economy is going broke, again. Happens every time. Plus, they are using more and more of their own oil in domestic consumption instead of earning foreign exchange. And they’re waging two wars – Yemen and ISIS. So the budget is in a real hole. They build grandiose projects and palaces yet don’t do maintenance. The place is shonkily built and falling apart. When it rains (infrequently) it is biblical. Everything floods because there is no stormwater drainage. Roads fall apart in hours, huge holes lurk under innocent looking puddles. The food isn’t fresh, all flown in and the live sheep we do send them end up bundled into the boots of cars and treated in the most hideous manner. Then there’s Chop Chop Square. Twice a week, heads and hands come off, the only entertainment in town for the baying crowd. Delightful fun for all the family.
      Still, the royals siphon off their royalty and take their graft in largesse) regardless of the state of the budget.
      The place is highly unpleasant in many ways, other than the heat, humidity, pollution, power brown/blackouts, water shortages, congestion, dangerous driving. They treat 3rd world workers like slaves, there is no law to protect them. Boss doesn’t pay you? Bad luck. Saudi is hugely restrictive on your ability to first get into and then out of the country. Want to leave the country? No chance, boss has your passport. A slave market.
      In the main the Saudis are horribly racist, sexist, narcissistic, selfish, greedy, venal, violent, corrupt, crooked, hypocritical, paranoid and mean. Met a few nice ones, rare though.
      Give me Norway any time.

      • I think you have all missed entirely the point

        The point is that comparing the relative GDP per capita of saudi arabia and norway is not an accurate reflection of the effects of immigration/population growth

        There are many factors beyond population growth that affect the difference in quality of life between the two countries

      • Get your hand off it Coming.

        Saudi population growth was internally generated and religiously motivated. An on steroids version of Costello’s baby bonus.
        The Saudis (like the Egyptians) think having a big family (state) is a good idea. In their case, needed to keep the evil Shia barbarians away from their oil. Silly thing is the Saudi military, although huge, would be put to the sword in no time by any well trained army. It is only the umbrella of yankee protection that keeps them safe. They’d have been far better off limiting their population (deserts aren’t that great for sustaining life unless you have desal plants) and enriching a far smaller population. But their desire for a mushroom society killed that off.
        The quality of life in Saudi and GDP per head is a direct reflection of that population Ponzi failure, magnified by oil wealth in extremis crossed with power hungry greed mongers. That’s a societal difference between Norway and Saudi. One values education and togetherness, the other a rabid clambering over everyone else for money and power.

      • Thanks for that….very interesting. Did you attend any of the family events on chop chop square? I heard the head continues to scream for at least 30 seconds afterwards.

      • I’d rather shoot myself in the head with a nail gun than watch that barbaric slaughter. I never went. The only screaming is the baying, capacity crowd.

        And the hypocrisy of it, given the trillions that have been thieved by the royals over the last 60 years.

        Apparently the victims are forced to “donate” a couple of litres of blood and are drugged beforehand to make them unable to resist. All part of the theatre to make it look like they had accepted their guilt, fate and the teachings of the Prophet.

      • notsofastMEMBER

        “They’d have been far better off limiting their population (deserts aren’t that great for sustaining life unless you have desal plants) and enriching a far smaller population”

        Who would it be better for?

        The people with the power and the money are mainly concerned about keeping the power and the money for themselves and if not for themselves then for close family.

      • To Notsofast (on the uptake)

        You say: Who would it be better for? The people with the power and the money are mainly concerned about keeping the power and the money for themselves and if not for themselves then for close family.

        Absolutely. If you don’t encourage a massive breeding programme of people other than your clan then you have less grief, less competition for the wealth and way more money, because you are not handing it out in bribes en masse – sorry, dispensing essential middle class welfare. That was my point in the initial post, hence the massive difference in GDP per head and quality of life between the lands of sand and ice.

      • Wasn’t the point of the post the IPA position that population growth = prosperity is bunkum, because if true, Saudi Arabia should be doing awesome whilst Norway should be something of an economic backwater given the similar starting points population and resource wise 50 years ago. That the opposite is true would suggest at best that prosperity and rapid population growth are unrelated, and possibly have an inverse relationship.

      • mdsee,

        No I didn’t read it! Since the headline is about immigration I assumed their pop increase was in relation to that. Lived in Bahrain for 2 yrs and wouldn’t touch the Gulf states given a choice.

      • Get my hand off what?

        I just don’t think that saudi arabia is a relevant or useful example of the perils of population growth

    • Saudi may have increased its pop, but I bet they weren’t permanent immigrants as the sub-cont “workers” are not there but on a temp basis only.

      • notsofastMEMBER

        Saudi Arabia has about 6 to 8 million non naturalised immigrants who will most likely return to their home countries at some point in the future. A relatively few lucky ones who have accumulated enough wealth would seek to migrate to another country where their wealth … er sorry, I miss spoke… their rights will be respected.

    • You imagine?

      Leith produces facts, data, cites studies undertaken on the topic, and you offer us your imagination?

  2. That bit about “Business forever crying out for labour” almost made me blow milk out my nose. Tell that to the thousands of car workers and others losing their jobs in SA, the WA FIFO workers and the blokes who are picketing the docks at the moment. The IPA are a bunch of not very bright ratbags who are just spouting propaganda and lies on behalf of the big end of town.

    • Mining BoganMEMBER

      Doogie Cameron grilling IPA types.

      CHAIR: Mr Berg and Mr Breheny, why should we give more weight to your evidence than to Mr Finkelstein’s and Professor Ricketson’s?

      Mr Berg: The IPA has strong views; I think it is backed by research evidence. I do not think that the Finkelstein review was as intellectually coherent as some have claimed it was, and I do not think it is the be-all and end-all of media discussion in this country. I do not know why we would raise that up to being the definitive statement on the free press.

      CHAIR: But strong views are not the basis on which to make deliberations; strong views are strong views.

      Mr Berg: Absolutely; and I would be happy to send you a copy of my book, which details at great length the evidence that we bring to bear on this discussion, which is a historical and philosophical grounding on the importance of the free press and the historical and current threats to it.

      CHAIR: Do you have a PhD in the media or something like that?

      Mr Berg: No, I do not.

      CHAIR: What are your qualifications?

      Simon Breheny: Director of the IPA’s Rule of Law project and Arts/Law student (Image via danbymp.com)

      Mr Berg: I have a Bachelor of Arts and I am doing a PhD at the moment at RMIT university.

      CHAIR: In what?

      Mr Berg: In economics.

      CHAIR: So you have no qualifications in the media?

      Mr Berg: In the media in general?

      CHAIR: Yes.

      Mr Berg: I am a published commentator on all sorts of things.

      CHAIR: A commentator—

      Mr Berg: No, I understand—

      CHAIR: I am asking about your professional base. I am not asking whether you are a commentator; we know you are a commentator. Mr Breheny, what about you? What are your qualifications?

      Mr Breheny: I am currently a university student; I am studying arts and law at the University of Melbourne.

      CHAIR: Arts and law—good on you; that is great….

  3. TailorTrashMEMBER

    This would be great for Bangladesh ……..we could really improve their life style if all 56 million of them were free to come to Australia ……..what a great idea
    ……….and the economy would really gain from all those lovely slums we could build and rent out ……I wonder if these people at IPA have ever been out side of Australia ….(their holiday to Bali notwithstanding )

    • notsofastMEMBER


      Instead of having few hundred thousand living a life of luxury, 10 million living a middle class lifestyle and 160 million living in dire poverty in Bangladesh.

      you would have

      a few hundred thousand living a life of luxury, 10 million living a middle class lifestyle and 100 million living in dire poverty in Bangladesh and most of the 56 million in Australia living in dire poverty.

      Immigration to the developed world (if it still exists) from the developing world is not going to make a dent in global poverty let alone even remotely solve it. It isn’t even going to significantly change the situation in the source countries.

      • TailorTrashMEMBER

        I agree ….my comments were cynical tounge in cheek ……and I agree we would have virtually all 140 -170 mil living in slums in poverty in Australia and we would join them ……..IPA have no idea ………..Europe is getting a taste of what open borders brings ……and that is only going to get worse

    • notsofastMEMBER

      And while talking about Bangladesh, it is worth pointing out another trend with many countries around the world.

      The 2011 Bangladesh Census reported a population of 142.3 million. This Census is considered a work of fiction. Population estimates (based on other factors including food consumption) at the time were expected to be between 160 and 170 million.

  4. Importing wealth and displace our youth.
    Gone the days of upward mobility.

    This is the population Ponzi.

    Signed off by the baby-boomer PM.

    Another wonderful baby-boomer self-centred abomination.


    Populate to perish, it’s people that we need.
    Suffocated cities why on earth are we indeed.

    Populate to perish, we need to grow and grow.
    More and more for less on tap, kids future truly blown.

    Populate to perish, it’s not what used to be.
    A healthy living standard please return just let it be.

    Populate to perish, choke a strangled system.
    Push the bounds of services no pollies up to listen.

    Populate to perish, the for-camp overstate.
    The cons of this insanity do grossly understate.

    Populate to perish, the norm now 10 to 1.
    Of applicants per job just watch despair now full of run.

    Populate to perish, with budget-less alert.
    Watch for rising welfare, jobs are scarce you can assert.

    Populate to perish, none of this makes sense.
    5 mill jobs in firing line in 10 it’s just non-sense.

    Populate to perish, where are the fricken jobs.
    With jobless rate on increase it’s taxpayers ripe to rob.

    Populate to perish, banks can sell more debt.
    Pollies turn a blind eye vested interests all are set.

    Populate to perish, no funds, bottomless pit.
    Grand master plan to burden kids with massive debt.

    Populate to perish, crowded stinking mess.
    Congestion on the cards aspire China one’d guess.

    Populate to perish, it’s perish bankers need.
    Sell the debt enslave us all it’s profits that they feed.

    Populate to perish, more to bring us wealth.
    They tell us this we see not this it’s bs with hidden stealth.

    Populate to perish, demand will rise you know.
    Look at actual outcome, living standards low.

    Populate to perish, so small will be the pie.
    Ration, rotate labour round, your new poor life is nigh.

    Populate to perish, a dumb visionless wit.
    We want our kids to suffer and live in utter shit.

    Populate to perish, soup kitchens everywhere.
    Food stamps beggars traffic jams, bewildered numbing glare.

    Populate to perish, 2 plus 2 is 8.
    Boomers intellect, of which youth should be irate.

    Populate to perish, you wonder rising crime.
    Closing distant future, revolution please now time.

    Populate to perish, no referendum here.
    Pollies bankers vested interests public that they fear.

    Populate to perish, fight against the slur.
    Unduly coined as racist, we should fight and not concur.

    Populate to perish, with kids in mind we fight.
    If pollies choose to turn blind eye then out them, stand and fight.

    Populate to perish, who consulted us?
    No mood guage of people, assume there is no fuss.

    Populate to perish, lab libs they’re all to blame.
    All parties want is grow big Aus shout populate to shame.

    Populate to perish, they need replacement votes.
    From those that know no different pollies snigger and they gloat.

    Populate to perish, we must all love the crowds.
    Blame all current pollies, youll live in shoebox house.

    Populate to perish, consume at faster rate.
    Resource use beyond its use and live in declined state.

    Populate to perish, Aus lucks now fast run out.
    Courtesy dumb parties bankers boomers with all clout.

    Populate to perish, employers market no?
    No improvement needed worker glut to reem and blow.

    Populate to perish, let’s tell our kids a lie.
    That living in shoeboxes so befits them in the sky.

    Populate to perish, why this is such an ass.
    Boomers to accommodate so open gates on mass.

    Populate to perish, job exploitation cast.
    More candidates for less on show, full time thing of the past.

    Populate to perish, let’s stuff this country good.
    We all can live like canned sardines like pollies think we should.

    Populate to perish, don’t just accept defeat.
    Of lowered living standards, or trains youll never seat.

    Populate to perish, don’t look us in the eyes.
    And voice that growing numbers is so great it’s just a lie.

    Populate to perish, perish yes we will.
    From soup kitchens to homelessness, it’s just a given till…. We don’t take this anymore.

    Perish the thought.

      • Oh yes… The verbage. I suggest you chinwag with a like-minded individual who gets aroused at the polysyllable candy that you embarrassingly espouse, only to advertise with such pridtine clarity your total disconnect with the common man….remember them?

        There’s something called emotional intelligence mr skippy that finds it’s way to people who attempt to communicate on a wavelength that is conducive to productive understanding. Do some research… I’m sure you have plenty of spare time.

        “Skippy…….I see not another truth. I only see what engrains my false beliefs. My ego is such that the ejaculate that so freely flows out my orifice, designed to impress, has only further cemented my person as a true representation of the elite baby boomer generation.

        Skippy….And as expected, dare I say it, true to form, make no mistake about the unequivocal intent to stand firm to the principles that us elite adhere to and hold our privileged heads with pride. We will, with vigour, reject claims of our major role in the demise of our society, and the continuation in common vein.”

        Skippy Boomer Elite…
        Rot, that you will, and not a moment too soon.

        And I quote.

  5. I think there might be a bit more at play in Norway vs Saudi Arabia than just population growth…

    • Of course. That’s why in the original post I specifically said: “There are many reasons why living standards are so much lower on average in Saudi Arabia than Norway”. But the elephant in the room is population.

      Breeding (and/or high immigration) is not a guaranteed path to prosperity and it is deliciously ironic to see a right-wing think tank suggesting otherwise given the following:

      “Mao Zedong, predecessor of Deng, encouraged population growth. He held true to his Marxist faith, believing in maximum economic growth and modernization through the proletariat. Mao pioneered for the peasant masses with the ideal of “two hands to feed one mouth,” and never foresaw the magnitude of overpopulation as a problem. In August 1958 Mao Zedong proclaimed, “Our views on population should change. In the past I said we could manage with 800 million. Now I think 1 billion would be no cause for alarm.” Mao even gave special benefits to women who bore many children, called “model mothers.” He also believed that larger numbers equaled a superior threat to any opposing countries so that even if a massive group of people perished in a nuclear attack, a large fraction of Chinese would still remain. China’s population of 542 million in 1949 expanded to 947 million in 1976, the year of Mao’s death. This was a remarkable 395 million increase in only 27 years. When Mao died, he left the responsibility of resolving the population problem, which he had heavily pioneered for, to his successors.”


      The disaster caused by the “two hands, one mouth” policy, championed by naive left-wing Mao and naive right-wing IPA (how ironic) led to the One-Child Policy, a horror in many ways in its own right, but a completely rational response given the problem at hand.

      This isn’t rocket science. When there is a limited pie then when the number of mouths increases, there is less pie for everyone. Only if these new mouths come with hands that can contribute to the making of more pies can the situation be turned into a positive. In the case of population growth through immigration, this means skilled (or rich) immigrants. In the case of population growth through birth, this means a good education system. In both cases, skills (or wealth) and education mean nothing without business opportunities.

      In other words, this about QUALITY not QUANTITY. Simply increasing quantity demonstrably does NOT correlate with an increase in quality.

  6. Open Borders is an admirable altruistic ambition, unfortunately one that would prove very difficult to manage from political and economic perspectives

    The political is obvious, scratch below the surface and most remain very close to tribal roots. Enough said. Economically, open borders in welfare states like our own, invite swamping by those seeking comparatively generous taxpayer supported incomes. Two very basic but very real impediments.

    Immigrants have made Australia what it is now – a place so many want to ‘protect’ or ‘ not change’ – so I’d say overwhelmingly, immigration has been a massive positive. Provided we ensure adequate infrastructure and open minds, immigration will likely continue to bring its magic to our shores.

    • 3d, you make me sick. You don’t have an altruistic bone in your body, your only aim is slave labour. What you want is a M.E. immigrant solution for Australia. Paying $16 ph for a cleaner hurting you, is $200 pm more you?

    • 3d,

      Where did it come from? From you pretending (“Open Borders is an admirable altruistic ambition…”) to even think you know what altruism is! Immigration for you is cheap labour, that’s it.

    • Every engineer worth his salt knows the value of borders, using terms such as “modularity” or “encapsulation”. Open borders in engineering terms may seem appealingly efficient and simple at first, doing away with all the costs of transitioning through “borders” but it quickly turns into a clusterfuck as problems can’t be identified and isolated and simple problems becomes critical system failures at the drop of a hat. As the system grows in complexity, an open system eventually becomes completely non-functioning and has to be thrown in the bin and restarted from scratch (employing modularity / bordered regions).

      Nature also has this figured out, which is why all living systems are compartmentalised from the macro to the micro, be it a tribe or a mitochondrion. Your body spends a large share of its energy simply maintaining membrane potential (borders) and that’s not by accident.

      Taking it down even lower to straight physics. Pockets of low entropy cannot exist without boundaries. An open thermodynamic system with no borders reaches equilibrium as entropy is maximised. It is the pockets of low entropy that make life interesting. Universal equilibrium is actually referred to as the “heat death of the universe” by physicists.

      Risk management and specialisation my man. “Open borders” people simply don’t get it and for them to learn the hard way through experience means a great deal of unnecessary suffering for others. Borders have costs but it’s often far more costly in the end to get rid of the borders.

  7. bolstroodMEMBER

    And here we are spending $billions to keep the hoards out.
    Didn’t the IPA check with Peta before they published?

  8. Isn’t it astounding that a nation of 5 million people with little or no population growth for the last 60yrs can have such a sustainably high standard of living.
    Norway must annoy the hell out of the population boosters.

    • Probably annoys the hell out of SWF proponents more. A SWF and decent oil prices manna from heaven. But $50 oil will takes some gloss off.

  9. Without commodities wealth to bribe people, and a strong currency to provide top remittances for migrants to send home to their families, how does the IPA propose to keep the ponzi afloat?

    We’ve always been second or third best choice for migrants after at least the US – we’re on our way to being thirtieth or fortieth best choice or even worse, and the way TFR is trending, there will fewer and fewer migrants to go around in the future.

    Time for a new, post-pop-ponzi plan

    • notsofastMEMBER


      With global population now at 7.3 Billion (if you believe the figures) , which is expected to hit somewhere close to 10 billion (even with significant reductions in fertility rates) by 2050, and with most those people being extremely poor I can’t see there being any shortage of people wanting to come to Australia. Yes they might not have the skills and the wealth that Australia would like, but they will be people just like you and me, who have rights and who will need to have those rights respected.

      • They want to leave where they are, yes, but with a growing list of countries with a stagnant or declining population trying to attract skilled workers from a shrinking list of countries who are still growing their population, there will increasingly be strong competition for their services.

        Yes they might not have the skills and the wealth that Australia would like

        If they don’t have marketable skills what are they going to do when they get here? Unskilled labour is basically dead in this country – it’s not the seventies when someone could get off the boat and walk into a production line job with no English, literacy or numeracy.

        In the meantime, if everyone’s so eager to come here, why has NOM fallen after the government loosened immigrant skills requirements?

      • notsofastMEMBER

        Stat Sailor,

        “In the meantime, if everyone’s so eager to come here, why has NOM fallen after the government loosened immigrant skills requirements?”
        People are still coming in large numbers from low average income/high population/poor levels of infrastructure countries. Its typically from the high average income/good levels of infrastructure countries that immigration to Australia has significantly fallen.

        “If they don’t have marketable skills what are they going to do when they get here?”
        Live in the informal economy, survive as best they can and hope for a better future. You only need to look at the UK and US with their undocumented migrant challenges to understand how the people in these unfortunate situations get by.

        And as the number of people rising out of poverty in many of these low average income/high population/poor levels of infrastructure countries increases there will be no shortage of people looking to move to a high average income/ good levels of infrastructure country like Australia to improve their prospects and their children’s prospects.

      • Funny you should mention the US, where the number of illegal immigrants from Mexico in particular is in decline, in part due to a big decline in Mexican fertility, and partly due to greater prosperity within Mexico.

        Note that that is not simply the number of illegal immigrants making the trip which has declined (the flow) the number of illegal Mexicans living in the US has also declined.

        If the US is losing the power to pull from as close as Mexico are we really going to be pulling people in in great numbers?

      • notsofastMEMBER


        The stagnation in the number of undocumented migrants in the USA from Mexico is more about significantly increased monitoring of the US-Mexico border making unauthorised crossing much harder. Also the many millions of undocumented migrants from Mexico in the US, the difficult and uncertain situation for them in the US combined with improving conditions and incomes in Mexico is also a significant factor in pulling those already in the US back to Mexico to help balance the flow of the many that are still managing to make the trip.

        The undocumented migrant challenges in the US are already shifting from those who have entered the country via unauthorised means to those who have over stayed their visa’s. As this shift happens Mexicos (with 120 million people with their increasing GDP of about 10,0000 per capita) relative closeness is going to become even less relevant over time.

      • 30% of that growth to 10 billion is the demographic momentum, more people living longer, and it is not likely that the aged will want, or can emigrate to Australia.

      • notsofastMEMBER


        Much of the growth to about 10 billion people through to 2050 is due to the demographic momentum of the high numbers of youth that exist in the world today having one or two children when they reach child rearing age. If people start to live a few years longer or even a decade longer, it isn’t going to change the 10 billion figure much, the population of the world by 2050 will still be more or less 10 billion. Note the same can be said if peoples life expectancy around the world decreases by the same amount.

    • The ‘population ponzi’ is not simply from ‘high immigration’* while if low population growth is good for an economy, who are the nations and why does Norway way have significant immigration? (*when temps are conflated with permanent immigrants)

      Most of the world’s national populations are stabilising and will be driven not just by ‘immigration’ but also by improved education, health care and low fertility rates, i.e. ageing population living longer (bravo!), thus leading to a new population growth ‘Ponzi’ ‘problem’.

      When one speaks of ‘rights’, what is the relevance, to pay increased taxes?

      If infrastructure, stagnation in younger or working age populations will lead to declining tax take, and infrastructure, unless everyone is up for significant tax increases (or like a former NSW Premier who campaigned against immigration due to supposed impact upon infrastructure and environment, who then went on to approve several toll ways while PT suffered….)

      All very well to (want to) believe in correlations between negative proxy issues and ‘immigrants’, but you will want to be aware of your rights as an Australian when the share of ageing cohort increases the ‘population Ponzi’ further, and is too viewed as a ‘problem’ in a need of a ‘solution’, e.g. a Kaiser Wilhelm Institute? 🙂

  10. Is it correct to call the the IPA a right-wing think tank? I would have thought they’re more free-market libertarian zealots.

    • Are they even a ‘Think Tank’?

      They are more a PR organisation for their backers (Fossil Fuel Industry, Tobacco Industry, Murdoch, Big Business).

      Here is the fundamental basis for their policies/papers ‘What will make my backers more money? If it is at the expense of the Australian population, then it is an even better policy/paper’.

  11. Cost IndexMEMBER

    In all sincerity, what is the IPA’s ideological grounding? Of course, there’s what I understand, but it doesn’t match what I see being demonstrated.

  12. “objective classically libertarian ideas with modern pragmatism.” LOL. That is just verbal masturbation.

    “the ones I’ve heard tend to speak in this way.” Nah, they’re just like 3d.

      • C.I. Sounded like you’d been reading a book you picked out of the $2 bin, but since you asked (So what would make you feel better hearing then mate?), to near that all members of the IPA went off a cliff together in a bus; no survivors!

        You want a good idea what the IPA stand for, read Skippy just below.

      • Cost IndexMEMBER

        So death to them all then? Yes, I can appreciate Skips writings, not being a member I also have no need to spruik nor defend them. My original premise was to seek further understanding from different sources, you know, to avoid confirmation bias and all that jazz.
        All books end in the “$2 bin.” So what book would you have me read from? The book of Dennis?

  13. The Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) is a right-wing, corporate funded think tank based in Melbourne. It has close links to the Liberal Party of Australia, with its Executive Director John Roskam having run for Liberal Party preselection for a number of elections. Following the 2007 federal election defeat for the Liberal Party, The Australian’s journalist Christian Kerr noted that a new group of federal Liberal politicians were “receiving support from former Howard government staffer John Roskam” at the IPA.[1]

    The IPA key policy positions include: advocacy for privatisation and deregulation; attacks on the positions of unions and non-government organisations; support of assimilationist indigenous policy (cf. the Bennelong Society) and refutation of the science involved with environmental issues such as climate change.


    The IPA is a non-profit company, which has a restricted membership of 54 people. It was established in 1943 by G. J Coles and a group of businessmen based in Melbourne who appointed Charles Kemp as the first director. From the outset, it had close ties to the Liberal Party under its leader Robert Menzies. Australian journalist Paul Kelly argues that the IPA’s C.D. Kemp was “probably the principal architect of the original Menzies platform” (“The End of Certainty: The Story of the 1980s”, p. 47).

    The IPA was not influential again until the 1980s, when C.D. Kemp’s son, Rod Kemp took up the leadership. Rod Kemp transformed it from a conservative organisation to a neoliberal one, funded mainly by major corporations groups, and pursuing a pro-free-market, pro-privatization, pro-deregulation and anti-union agenda.

    According to Cahill (2004: 210) members of the IPA executive from 1976-1984 included David L. Elsum, Hon Vernon Wilcox, Sir Frank Espie, Douglas Hocking, Sir Wilfred Brookes, James Balderstone, Hugh Morgan, Peter Bunning and Charles Goode.

    Throughout the 1980’s the IPA’s primary focus was on issues such as economic policy, privatisation and industrial relations policy. It also dabbled in a few broader issues such as the role of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and the role of churches in public policy debates. It wasn’t until 1989 that the IPA began to pay any sustained interest to environmental issues. Since then it has campaigned against the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol, promoted the use of genetically engineered crops and defended the logging of native forests.

    More recently, the IPA has been the driving force behind the establishment of a number of new non-profit front groups, including the Australian Environment Foundation – which campaigns for weaker environmental laws – Independent Contractors of Australia – which campaigns for an end to workplace safety laws and a general deregulation of the labour market, and the ironically named Owner Drivers Australia, which campaigns against safety and work standard for truck drivers.

    Australian Prime Minister John Howard, in a speech to the IPA justifying the 2003 Iraq War, commented that “the Institute has played a role in shaping, as well as articulating, our nation’s values.”[2]


    Skippy…. its a MPS mouth organ which is neoliberal to the core…..

    • Cost IndexMEMBER

      So, did a bit of digging. Sourcewatch; Looks very wiki, but isn’t…

      To elaborate, from Wikipedia about CMD and Sourcewatch;
      CMD has investigated and reported on donor-advised funds, referring to such donations as “dark money.” According to the Capital Times, CMD does not pay as much attention to the dark money that exists on the left, and is itself a recipient of anonymous donor-advised funds via the Schwab Charitable Fund.[14]
      CMD sets the editorial and security policies under which SourceWatch operates.[28][31] Unlike Wikipedia, SourceWatch does not require a “neutral point of view.”[32]


      The whole tone of the CMD article is subtly but oh so selective in areas to highlight. So you to, have selectively posted this, rather than from a more objective point of view like Wikipedia. To achieve what aims? Very disingenuous, I’d expect more.

      • Yet at the end of the day you have not refuted but attempted a poorly constructed slur…

        Skippy… ooooh democracy… the anti totalitarian ethos…. scary….

      • Cost IndexMEMBER

        Don’t attempt to take the moral high ground mate, In this case, you obfuscate. “Sorry, deflection from the first comment followed by more of the same, whilst trying to spin a narrative wrapped around an agenda will do that to you” – Skippy. Works both ways.

      • I’m not the one moralizing mate…

        Skippy… just following the money which attempts to quantify T or F by its own gravitas, f*&% wit….

  14. I speak to more “foreigners” every day than the average Aussie speaks to in a decade. What worries our Asian friends is our corrupt court system. Some of the idiots appointed as judges and magistrates are clearly disturbed individuals. People won’t take risks if they know the cards are stacked against them.

  15. Skippy,
    After reflecting on comments I made, I feel compelled to give you an apology. I am sorry for the venom with which I directed your way. I have used you and others as a target of my outrage, and it is not achieving anything other than a vent. I suppose I was trying in some small way to publicise to all what I see happening to Australia, and that I am so outraged (more than ever before in my entire life) with how we are governed, and what impact this is currently having on our living standards (especially youth) and most importantly for how my adorable children (all kids), and youth will experience life in the coming decades in Australia. When I hear politicians speak, I say to myself, surely the majority of Australians see what I see viz.the ridiculous lack of intelligence advertised, the vested interest, the self-centredness, and it really saddens me that we have such an impoverished level of political intelligence in our political system, in addition to a complete undersupply of good people in politics that truly represent the average person and yell from the rooftops, the average person’s desires.
    I am at a complete and utter loss as to what I can do with the limited time I have. I on average, sleep maybe 4-5 hours per night, and send emails off to politicians, the media etc. to grab attention. Its the only thing I can do at the moment I feel. I support 5 people with a single income. I work over 60 hours a week in 1 profession, have been doing night study for over 2 years now concurrently to achieve a second profession so I can transition into that (since my current profession is being outsourced and I will lose my job in a couple of months). But I find what time I have to do this because I just dont have the ability to be more active, which is what I truly want to do, since I know I can, even if it is all I am adept at, I can demolish these politicians with my tongue and embarrass them beyond expectations…. I just need to become more politically literate I presume. I have been highly educated Skippy, even though that may not show, but I am the first to admit I am not a scholar of history or politics. As I see it however, that is not the ingredients Australians are looking for in our leaders. They want people with conviction, courage, vision, compassion, priorities aligned with their own, and what is in the best interests of our futures as a country. We are a trainwreck at the moment, so obviously the system is broken. No matter how much academia you throw at the current state, it does not seem to matter. What people like I do have is passion, a true connection with struggling people. The only vested interest I have is the future of my 2 girls and son, whom are very very young (4,5,6). It is that driver that I protest with rage my absolute pure disgust at what is happening to the country I was born with. I will go to my deathbed fighting all the way for a better future for youth and my kids, and noone will stand in my way to represent them and their future. I wish I could say the same for those in politics. One day, when things settle down for my little family, I will do more. Anyway, I am truely sorry for that outburst. Skippy, all I wish to do is to make current state and future better for those most vulnerable, not the exact opposite, which is what is happening before our very eyes.
    It is not rocket scientists we need, it is intelligent, connected people in politics that TRUELY represent us. I could not believe what I was watching last night, and the complete disillusionment I felt. Tony Abbott having a press conference on a decision not to have marriage equality. Meanwhile I thought, 5 people have probably committed suicide in the same time as this stupid press conference was going on about the decision to have 2 men on a wedding cake. Our politicians have no vision.