Major parties agree to ignore population ponzi

By Leith van Onselen

On Friday, it was revealed in Fairfax that the major parties have agreed not to debate immigration policy this Federal Election, effectively shutting down discussion on the issue.

This comes despite an Essential Research opinion poll last month showing that the overwhelming majority of Australians do not support the high levels of immigration experienced over the past decade:

ScreenHunter_13128 May. 26 08.47

As shown above, 59% of Australians surveyed believed that “the level of immigration into Australia over the last ten years has been too high”,  more than double the 28% of Australians that disagreed with that statement.

Over the past decade, Australia’s population has grown at one of the fastest rates in the developed world and far above the historical average:

ScreenHunter_13730 Jun. 27 07.42

It was the sleight of hand of John Howard that originally mislead the Australian people on immigration. While Howard talked tough on the arrivals of boat people, he opened the backdoor to economic migrants arriving here by plane, leading to a giant surge in the levels of immigration and population growth.

How do I know this? Well John Howard admitted this obfuscation in a Radio National interview in 2014:

“Every country does have the right to decide the composition, the manner, and the timing of the flow of people. And that’s something the Australian people support…

One of the reasons why it is so important to maintain that policy is that the more people think our borders are being controlled, the more supportive they are in the long-term of higher levels of immigration.

Australia needs a high level of immigration. I’m a high immigration man. I practiced that in Government. And one of the ways that you maintain public support for that is to communicate to the Australian people a capacity to control our borders and decide who and what people and when they come to this country”

This obfuscation continues today, with reports that the Department of Immigration has ignored tens of thousands of cases of visa rorting by people arriving in Australia by plane.

Correct me if I am wrong, but when did John Howard ever articulate to the Australian people that the Government was going to dramatically expand the nation’s immigration intake?

From my recollection of events, Australia’s immigration intake was increased by stealth first under the Howard Government, then continued by the Rudd/Gillard Governments, and now under the Abbott/Turnbull Governments. There was never any community consultation on the issue or any national discussion.

Worse, the lion’s share of the population growth has poured into Australia’s two biggest and already most overcrowded cities: Sydney and Melbourne:

ScreenHunter_13129 May. 26 08.54

With Sydney and Melbourne, in particular, straining under under the weight of continual high population growth – think widespread infrastructure bottlenecks, rising congestion, and record low housing affordability – it’s amazing that the population ponzi has been ignored for so long.

The Greens, too, have refused to speak-out against Australia’s excessive population (immigration) growth, despite population size having a direct impact on the environment. Like the major parties, they have wrongly conflated the issue of immigration with boat people and asylum seekers, despite the overwhelming majority of new arrivals being economic migrants arriving here by plane.

The silence from all sides is amazing given immigration affects many facets of life, including:

  • whether you can afford a decent home a reasonable commute from work;
  • how long you spend stuck in traffic;
  • whether you can find a seat on a train, bus or tram;
  • whether there is a bed for you in hospital or a spot for your child at the local school
  • etc

Due largely to immigration, Australia is on track to double its population by 2050 to more than 40 million people, despite virtually no discussion or mandate for this dramatic change, nor any plan on how to cope with this growth.

Australia desperately needs to openly and maturely discuss the whole immigration and population growth issue, not shut-down debate, as our major parties have done.

The only political party that is willing to discuss this important issue is the Sustainable Australia Party, which is why they have my vote in the Senate in the upcoming Federal Election.

[email protected]

Leith van Onselen

Comments

  1. Brexit should have been Shortens advantage, instead it will ensure Turnbull wins.

    Where’s the point of difference between LNP and Labor? Labor can’t win on economic credentials (don’t argue, they just can’t), so why would anyone vote for them? With growing population we’re doomed anyway, so may as well vote LNP and be handed a small bit of wealth you can be clever with and squirrel away.

    All of Australia’s problems are caused by having no credible opposition to LNP.

    Fix Australia, first destroy Greens and Labor. They’re killing us.

    Don’t feed LNP by voting Green. Vote Sustainable Australia Party,.

    • CatherineMEMBER

      We don’t have a Sustainable Australia Party candidate, any idea what the next best option would be?

      • I’d even vote for one of the anti immigration red neck parties. Hanson in the senate.

        We need population on the discussion table and if we’re forced to vote for these clowns we will.

        I’d guess more than 50% of Hansons vote will be a protest vote.

      • CatherineMEMBER

        My husband said just last night that he was going to vote for Hanson, I cringed at the thought, my biggest fear is that it will be like the Brexit aftermath and we will all be labeled as Racist Xenaphobes as opposed to regular people that want a reform.

      • I agree Catherine, but what choice do we have?

        Labor and Greens won’t oppose population growth, this will get it on the table. My guess is Greens would have to change tack and say we still bring refugees but cut skilled migration.

      • notsofastMEMBER

        Catherine, If Australia wanted to limit its population to 26million it shouldn’t have voted the way it did in 1996 and since. The massive growth in private debt since means that Australia’s population through immigration needs to continue to grow at about its current rate for the next decade or so. Anything else would result in a financial apocalypse that will threaten Australia’s economic wellbeing and indeed its ability to control its own borders. People need to recalibrate how they think about good financial management from their government.

    • notsofastMEMBER

      “All of Australia’s problems are caused by having no credible opposition to LNP.”

      I disagree. Many, but not all, of Australia’s current problems are caused by having no credible opposition to the Neo Con consensus in Australian Politics. Some, and I think this will be increasingly so in the future, of Australia’s problems are due to the extremely troubled world we live in. What ever we wish for or however much we would like too, we cannot divorce ourselves from this extremely troubled world.

  2. As someone who lives in a relatively high density part of Sydney (Rhodes), I think immigration is a good thing especially when coupled with level headed town planning. Of course it would be nice to get a seat on the train, or to be able to afford a bigger flat, but those things simply won’t happen without population growth to drive the development of new transport infrastructure, and the supply of high density developments etc.

    P.S. I think Brexit is a scary example of short-sightedness taking hold. I understand people’s struggles/fears about immigration but don’t think closing the drawbridge is ever going to be the answer.. In many cases the problems are always closer to home.

    P.P.S. It’s nice to finally post here after a longtime lurking. I guess the crazy political / economic upheavals of the last week finally convinced me to post hehe.

    • “Of course it would be nice to get a seat on the train, or to be able to afford a bigger flat, but those things simply won’t happen without population growth to drive the development of new transport infrastructure, and the supply of high density developments etc.”

      Kipron. Those investments would not be required in the first place if it wasn’t for the rampant population growth.

      Seriously, this is ‘tail wagging the dog’ stuff: importing more people so that you can build the infrastructure to cope with the population influx caused by importing more people.

      The bigger issue is: how does all this rapid population growth raise the living standards of the existing population? Give that Australia pays its way in the world primarily by selling off its fixed endowment of mineral resources, and that more people means less resources per capita, then I fail to see how it does. Especially when combined with the strain on infrastructure and services.

      • “Those investments would not be required in the first place if it wasn’t for the rampant population growth.”

        I will be the first to admit that I’m no expert on this, but doesn’t it work both ways? How many of the desirable free standing homes in suburban Sydney would have ever been built were it not for the post-war population boom (and in large part due to immigration)?

        It seems reasonable to me that infrastructure will always lag somewhat behind population growth, but also that the infrastructure of today is mainly in response to the population issues of yesterday. For example I would love to see high speed rail along the east coast (or even just between Sydney and Penrith) as this could do a lot to improve the liveability / appeal of more distant commuter suburbs. But ironically it can’t happen until there’s a critical mass of people to really justify it.

        • We’ve had 12 years of rampant immigration. Still waiting for the “lagged” infrastructure.

          Also, I don’t know about Sydney, but Melbourne hasn’t added any rail expansions since the City Loop was completed in the early 1980s. In the meantime, the population has skyrocketed. Again, still waiting for this “lagged” investment.

      • UE, possibly Rhodes is a bubble (in more ways than one? Heh). But certainly in our area PPP has enabled vital new community ammenities (parks, community centre and the Bennelong bridge) so it can happen.

        Seriously if you’re unfamiliar with it, the Bennelong bridge is a real triumph for the Homebush Bay Area and a good example of what is possible in terms of good planning. http://architectureau.com/articles/zero-car-bridge-in-sydney-opens/

      • @UE -“The bigger issue is: how does all this rapid population growth raise the living standards of the existing population?”

        Exactly ! Trouble is the wise & all knowing Elite WANT to lower the wages (and by extension living standards) of Australians to make us competitive on the World stage! It’s deliberate & they do know what they’re doing. It won’t effect them or THEIR standard of living. They can’t be HONEST about it because being strung up might be the least of their problems.

    • LachlanMEMBER

      Would you please explain why you think immigration is a good thing? And what you think the appropriate number for it between zero and infinity is? And why you think adding yet more demand for transport and housing will spark a supply response when the past ten years of ultra high immigration has failed to do so? And why high density development is a good thing? Do kids not need backyards to grow up in?

      And could you be slightly less delphic about what the “problems … closer to home” might be?

      • “Would you please explain why you think immigration is a good thing?”

        Well the building that my partner / I live in would probably not exist, were it not for immigration (or at least healthy foreign investment). Also my partner is a Brit so they can’t all be bad.

        “And what you think the appropriate number for it between zero and infinity is?”

        This is definitely beyond my ability to answer, I’m afraid.

        “And why you think adding yet more demand for transport and housing will spark a supply response when the past ten years of ultra high immigration has failed to do so?”

        I think population drives housing, it’s inevitable, and happening now (so many cranes!). Being 32 years old, I have of course felt frustrated by the “NIMBY” types that have for so long prevented any kind of development in this city. But I’m glad to see its changing, though could be changing faster.

        “And why high density development is a good thing? Do kids not need backyards to grow up in?”

        High density is the way of the future, at least that’s my feeling having spent a few years living in Japan. Believe me you haven’t seen anything yet.

        I tend to think that kids will do more growing up in parks, than in backyards, but this is fine. They might even make some friends.

        • Sure Kipron. Population growth is driving housing: both prices (skywards) and construction (skywards). But it certainly is not driving a commensurate investment in infrastructure and services. Hence, rising congestion and falling living standards.

          There is no justification for the rampant immigration that we have now – neither economically or socially (given they are virtually all economic migrants, not refugees). It should be lowered to one-third its current level, as was previously the norm.

      • High density is the way of the future

        So here is our fundamental point of disagreement. You say: This shall be. And you might be right. But I don’t think it’s necessarily a desirable outcome. In theory, under perfect conditions, I can see that high density could provide comfortable and uplifting places to live. But conditions are rarely perfect. Usually far from it. The evidence before me (and like Leith I am in Melbourne) is that developers are simply far too willing to maximize profits at the expense of providing all the things that would make high density work. Like quality acoustic insulation. Storage space. Spaces to entertain friends. Useable private open space (i.e. not a windswept balcony jammed full of ugly air-conditioning compressors). And that’s before we get to the other necessary ingredients for successful high density like upgraded roads and public transport infrastructure and public open space. Ingredients that someone has to pay for long after developers have privatized all the profits to be had.

        My experience is that we do high density appallingly badly in Australia. Each new development proposal seems determined to plumb new depths of awfulness. We certainly aren’t doing it well enough to use it as a justification for importing a couple of hundred thousand people a year.

        Oh, and your comment about kids and parks is nice. I hope you realize you’ve just volunteered to walk them there and provide constant supervision for, realistically, the first 7 or 8 years of their life.

    • As someone who lives in a relatively high density part of Sydney (Rhodes), I think immigration is a good thing

      Nonsense.
      I’m pleased to hear that someone enjoys living in a high density part of Australia. In my opinion we should try to create many excellent high density areas FOR THE PEOPLE WHO WOULD LIKE THAT TYPE OF LIVING.
      We should not however destroy the many areas where low density living used to work well for many people. Sadly they have been destroyed in one way or another. Australia has abundant land. We need not force people into high density living if they would prefer lower density living. I currently prefer lower density living, but would like both options to be open to me (at affordable prices) so I can pick and choose to suit my situation in life.

      You mention that you like immigration. That should be discussed on its own merits. There is no need to have high immigration to create great high density living. In fact we should get the building part right first, before doing the immigration part.

      • LachlanMEMBER

        In fact we should get the building part right first, before doing the immigration part.

        Hear hear.

    • @Kipron4747 ” I think Brexit is a scary example of short-sightedness taking hold.”

      I totally disagree – It’s YOU who are short sighted if you can’t see the damage already done to Citizens.Rebuttal below says it well – – Its from an excellent article:
      A Stunning Email About Brexit Vote As Elites Panic And Global Collapse Edges Closer
      http://kingworldnews.com/a-stunning-email-about-brexit-vote-as-elites-panic-and-global-collapse-edges-closer/
      Snip:
      “The problem areas will not just be in the economy but also on the world political stage. The elite are not pleased with Cameron that he gave the British people a democratic vote on the question of the country’s EU membership. Political leaders know that it is very dangerous to give the people the option to decide on any important issue. Only the Swiss people have this right and exercise it frequently. In most countries the elected government take all the important decisions without consulting the people. And in the EU it is even worse than that because most of the binding decisions for all member states are taken by unelected and unaccountable officials. And the European Court of Justice stands above all member states’ judicial systems.

      The majority of the British people rejected having their sovereignty given over to Brussels. They have also made it clear that they don’t want to be forced to accept the EU rules on unlimited and uncontrolled immigration, which if continued will destroy the fabric of the U.K. and the rest of Europe.”

      • “I totally disagree – It’s YOU who are short sighted if you can’t see the damage already done to Citizens”

        What have the Romans ever done for us!! :p

        While not being an expert, my understanding is that immigrants do play an important role in keeping the NHS functional in the UK. Also the EU-contribution to climate change policies is of benefit to everyone. Perhaps the emission testing guidelines could have used some more work. 😉

        In any case, before blaming everything on Brussels it might be worth remembering that they contribute some good too.

    • blacktwin997MEMBER

      Hey Kipron,

      I think immigration is a good thing especially when coupled with level headed town planning. Of course it would be nice to get a seat on the train, or to be able to afford a bigger flat, but those things simply won’t happen without population growth to drive the development of new transport infrastructure, and the supply of high density developments etc.

      Did you seriously not pause for a bit of a think in the the middle of writing that?

      • Yes, but perhaps I am barking up the wrong tree here..

        I guess I just feel that Sydney is still in a transitionary phase towards becoming a properly global city. Much like a teenager, it can / must keep growing even if it seems overly obnoxious at times.

        Not too long ago I was on a relatively crowded train on the Epping line and overheard two Sydney Rail fellows mention that the crowding will get a good deal worse while the North West Rail link is being constructed (and all the ensuing disruption that will cause). Obviously I’m not looking forward to that, but it’s the price of progress and on aggregate, we will all benefit in the end.

  3. Australia should leave the AU so we can control immigration properly. We will then be known as STRALIA instead.

    • notsofastMEMBER

      You can’t have both control of house prices and control of immigration. Unsustainably high house prices require unsustainably high immigration levels.

      In Stralia immigration levels may be more important than house prices but in Straya house price is king…

  4. I will certainly be putting Sustainable Australia Party NUMBER 1 when I vote in the Senate.

  5. One Nation are promoting a zero population growth policy. Seems that the major parties are playing into One Nation’s hands by not talking about immigration. If One Nation do well, the same parties who refuse to discuss immigration levels will be complaining about One Nation a lot.

    • One Nation are promoting a zero population growth policy.

      Good policy.
      For that reason alone I will be placing One Nation before all of the major parties. If enough voters do likewise then the message will get through.

      example how to vote:

      1 – Sustainable Australia Party
      2 – Affordable Housing Party
      3 – One Nation
      4 – Family First
      5 – Greens
      6 – Labor
      7 – Liberal

      Make sure you put all three major parties last but in the order you like them. Do not leave off the major parties or your vote could exhaust and not count for the least despicable major party (in my example the Greens).

  6. We need to find out where UKIP get their funding from.

    And use that source to fund an anti-immigration party in AUS.

    Geert is funded by anti-Islam groups in USA. If that is what it takes, then so be it.

    • There is no need to worry. We had a decade of 1-2% and than we,ll have a period of few years of minus 3% or so, once bubble bursts and we become poor.