Major parties launch new population ponzi pillar

By Leith van Onselen

As if a decade of rampant population growth (immigration), clogged roads and public transport, unaffordable housing, and degrading public services wasn’t enough. Now both major parties want to double-down on the population ponzi by allowing parents of Australian residents to migrate here on five-year visas. From SBS:

The Coalition has promised a continuous five-year visa for parents of Australian residents, currently offered to only to those applicants on a case-to-case basis who have lodged a concurrent permanent parental visa application.

If re-elected, the Coalition will remove the requirement for these parents to have lodged a concurrent permanent parental visa application.

“The Coalition recognises that many Australians, including our growing South Asian and Chinese communities, face particular pressures through the separation of children from parents and grandchildren from grandparents,” Peter Dutton said.

“We want to help families reunite and spend time together, while ensuring that we do so in a way that does not burden Australia’s health care system,” he added.

In order to apply for the enhanced parental visitor visa, the applicants will have to buy private health insurance from an Australian insurance provider, and they or their sponsoring family will be required to pay a bond.

Unveiling its ‘Long Stay Parental Visa’ policy, the Labor last week promised a parental visa that would allow parents of migrants a continuous stay of three years. Labor’s proposal also has the conditions a mandatory private Australian insurance policy and a $5000 bond for each applicant.

Seriously, where is the economic benefit of allowing a flood of elderly people into Australia? They will add pressure to an already strained system and will not work, pay taxes, or contribute in a meaningful way to the economy.

Moreover, where is the additional federal government investment in hospitals and infrastructure to keep up with the expected migrant influx?

Sure, both parties will ensure that these migrants have private health insurance. But given that they would be old, and likely heavy users of health services, they will place upward pressure on private health insurance premiums for everyone else. Moreover, they would place greater pressure on health care professionals – both private and public – whose training is paid for, to a large extent, by the taxpayer.

Seriously, this rapid population growth and march towards a ‘Big Australia” must stop. Australia’s infrastructure, public services, housing affordability, and overall living standards are already under strain. And adding a whole bunch of old migrants into the mix will just exacerbate the decline.

If you care about this issue, Vote 1 Sustainable Australia Party in the Senate in the upcoming Federal Election.

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Unconventional Economist
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    • I will too, but knowing at the same time, it will just be a tiny statement. It will be one of the two majors who get to rule the roost, as always, and seeing that they’re both in favour of breakneck population growth we really haven’t got a choice nor do we have a say.

      I got one of those recorded polls on my phone last night, the one where you have to press the button for each answer – it was all about foreign aid, but I hung on and answered the questions, hoping I would be able to give my opinion on mass immigration, negative gearing or affordable housing in general. Of course, neither of those two questions were covered. I guess they don’t want our opinions on those trivial, inconsequential matters.

    • Me also this is ridiculous, young Australian’s already have to support an aging population and now this! Seriously this is why Brexit is happening. The young are over it. Being trampled all over.

      • Bear in mind that the elderly is the only section of China’s population that is expanding, so it’s the segment with the best hope of increasing the numbers of migrants.

      • Gen Y Home Buyer

        Actually if you look at the stats young people voted in favour of staying in, whilst the elderly voted for Brexit.

    • Just to reiterate one point I posted in the other thread. LNP proposal will be open to parents of all residents, even if they don’t qualify for queueing for PR. Also health insurance is not that expensive for them… Between $213 and $540 per month for couples cover.

      • Even StevenMEMBER

        UE is correct in that elderly joining private health insurance still puts a strain on the private health insurance system as there are massive subsidy transfers from the young (who claim virtually nothing) to the old (who claim a lot). Just another way the young in Australia are getting reamed. Disgraceful.

  1. The supposed economic benefit will be assumed to come from:

    increasing demand for health care professions
    supporting investment in the health care sector
    supporting construction and related jobs (hospitals, aged care facilities)
    supporting the housing sector
    supporting the economy in general
    supporting asset valuations
    supporting new investment
    etc. etc

    Jobs and growth. Forget anything else.

    There is a phenomenal amount of Asian capital now in this country holding real property. And that capital is going to increasingly dictate public policy

    • Absolutely correct. Our poor battling Tradies have to be able to take their only chance to get ahead by negatively gearing an investment property!!!!

    • Wish they would avoid the generational BS for a change and call it for what it really is, class warfare. Plenty of poor ‘boomers’, and I’m sure there are well connected gen Ys who will do just fine.

      • Agreed it’s class warfare at the highest level, it’s not about race or demographic it’s all about have and have not’s.

      • hamish,

        By attacking the rorts that boomers have, that isn’t attacking those boomers who aren’t doing so well. I haven’t seen anything posted here by MB that would hurt those less well off regardless of what generation they’re from (okay, except for their original support for Hockeye’s Entitlement Budget).

  2. Yet another support for housing. These migrants will either purchase houses or will provide free childcare services to their grandchildren so that both parents can work and thus support houses prices. All hail the house price sacred cow!

  3. The more I read the more I get depressed. What’s next, advocating a second official language for the nation?

  4. Stephen Morris

    “Seriously, where is the economic benefit of allowing a flood of elderly people into Australia? They will add pressure to an already strained system and will not work, pay taxes, or contribute in a meaningful way to the economy.”

    Leith, as I have tried to explain to you on a million occasions, “elective” government does not govern for the People as a whole but for for powerful minorities.

    This is the essence of the Gilens and Page study. Elective government (the US model in their study):

    a) typically enacts the policy preferences of (at most) the wealthiest 10% of the population; and

    b) occasionally enacts the policy preferences of well-organised minority pressure groups whose preferences in turn do not reflect those of the majority.

    Even if Sustainable Australia did win a Senate seat (and the new Senate voting system is designed to ensure that most minor party votes exhaust without effect) it would still have no effect on policy.

    I hate to sound like a squeaky wheel, but the only way real change can be effected is through a long term campaign to switch from “elective” government to Democracy.

    If you’re going to go to effort of fighting, at least fight for something that could actually make a difference.

    – – – –

    p.s. Those who are intending to vote for minor parties – and who want their vote to count – should number ALL boxes above the line. ALL preferences above the line will be counted, not just the first 6.

    Given the size of the Senate ballot papers the best way is to count the total number of boxes first. If they go from A to (say) AL, then that is 26 + 12 = 38 boxes. Choose the first 6 parties that you want and number them from 1 to 6. Choose the LAST parties you want (typically this will be the major parties which will probably win anyway) and number them backwards. Then fill in the remaining numbers in between.

    Simply filling in 1 to 6 for minor parties will probably see your vote exhaust unless one of those parties wins a quota. (Even then the remainder of the vote would exhaust because it is highly unlikely a minor party will win two or more quotas.)

    • “Leith, as I have tried to explain to you on a million occasions, “elective” government does not govern for the People as a whole but for for powerful minorities.”

      It’s getting harder everyday not to come to that conclusion.

      • Stephen Morris

        Leith, “the system we’ve got” is the system that makes voting for Sustainable Australia a “pie-in-the-sky” exercise that will change absolutely nothing.

        It is true that the chances of changing the existing system are small. But these things do happen. Look at the Progressive Movement in the United States in the late 19th century. It managed eventually to introduce Democracy into about half of all US states. And Democracy has been introduced in all the German Laender. It can happen . . . . occasionally . . . but only if The People try.

        The chances of changing the policies produced by the existing system (if they are policies much desired by politically powerful pressure groups) are absolutely zero.

        So which is the better bet??

      • Stephen Morris

        And as the BBC has just announced the success of the Brexit referendum, may I just add that it could never have come about if people adopted Leith van Onselen’s defeatist attitude to change.

    • Stephen, are you saying if you want the minor parties to count, vote above the line? I thought it was below the line?? And number all, not just 12??

      • Stephen Morris

        The advice from the AEC is as follows:

        “To vote for Groups of candidates above the black line on the Senate ballot paper consecutively number the boxes for above each group in the order of your choice from ‘1’ to at least ‘6’.

        “You can preference more than 6 Groups, but should preference at least 6 Groups.

        “By voting in this way, you are preferencing the individual candidates within a group in the order in which they appear on the ballot paper.

        “The legislation has a ‘savings’ provision for above the line votes and if the voter has marked the number ‘1’, or a ‘1’ and any higher consecutive number or numbers, their preferences will be counted until the exhaust.”

        For the Queensland Senate ballot paper there are 38 groups and a small set of ungrouped candidates. To vote for the ungrouped, it seems necessary to fill in [some] squares below the line because they don’t have a box above the line.

        Apart from them, one can number all the boxes above the line. In this way the vote will eventually be used. If one votes for just 6 or 12 minor parties out of the 38 groups, there is a risk that none of them will reach a quota (and a very high chance that none of them will reach more than one quota). If that were to happen, the vote would exhaust without ever having contributed to electing a candidate.

  5. adelaide_economistMEMBER

    Oh god. Yet another boondoggle using the public’s lack of understanding to get stuff through.

    Private health insurance does not cover the costs of those who have it! It’s almost inconceivable that a significant proportion of these elderly (who will disproportionately require health care due to (a) age and (b) a lifetime of substandard access to health care) will not end up draining the public system.

    Just like Australians who don’t give a toss about public health care because they have private health insurance, they will soon discover that when you get – really sick – you will be back on the public system pronto.

    Not to mention that besides direct health costs, the Australian taxpayer subsidises the training of doctors and nurses – regardless of whether they end up working public or private – to a huge extent.

    What’s amazing is that this stuff is being put out days before an election… and still it gets almost zero public attention. Are we really ready to sacrifice the nation completely because we *think* it will keep house prices buoyant? It seems so.

    • We all need to get behind an anti immigration political party and have Bernie Sanders style fundraising.

      To hell with Collins Street.

      Maybe make an ad that goes viral – and distributed freely on social media.

      • the everything issue

        Sustainable Australia are calling for lower immigration, from 200 000 back to the long term (twentieth century) average of 70,000 per year. They are not ‘anti immigration’.

    • Are we really ready to sacrifice the nation completely because we *think* it will keep house prices buoyant?
      It would seem so.
      All I want to know is where is the Risk analysis,? we all understand what the reward is (hint: Higher House prices) but at what Risk?
      Frankly I’d get laughed out of any business meeting if I only presented the possible up-side of a given Investment idea / portfolio without some accurate estimates of total cost and a detailed analysis of Risk. Yet it seems that the Aussie populace care only about the housing upside, no one cares about the cost / risk side of the equation. I guess this makes some sense if you’re in effect saying I’ll take the benefit and You guys can have the risk.
      Known in some circles as the @#$% you I’m OK investment strategy.

      • Also known as neoliberalism, nasty strain of which prevalent in current Libs.

        Labor are more hamstrung by their worst progressive tendencies (i.e. not to appear racist), but I suspect also by the fact the construction unions would tacitly support this, despite the fact their members are probably the most vocal about the “yellowing” of Australia.

      • “I want to know is where is the Risk analysis,? we all understand what the reward is (hint: Higher House prices) but at what Risk?”

        It is an interesting, isn’t it. Still, when i start asking myself questions like that I have to constantly remind myself that we are different! We’re part of the superior race of housing demigods. We are not affected by economic cycles, excessive debt or even reality! When you accept these facts you don’t need to worry about risk.

    • I am a doctor in the public system and agree 100%.

      Another point to be aware is that an uninsured non-resident who turns up at an emergency department gets full treatment irrespective of whether they can or will pay. If they are sick enough (e.g. having a heart attack) they go to the top of the queue and everyone else waits. The costs just end up on a growing list of unpaid and uncollectable debts on a health department ledger. Now from my perspective as a doctor, this is as it should be, but from a public perspective it just reinforces comments above.

      The public system is already clogged. The government will never admit this but to keep up Sydney needs to have broken ground on three new teaching hospitals just to keep up. These take about 7 years to plan and build, and cost about $1-2 billion each to build, even before thinking about running costs. As of now, none are even in the planning stage.

      I find this depressing and I am one of the beneficiaries because it guarantees me a job for life! How should everyone else feel???

    • Even StevenMEMBER

      Yes. The pressure on private health insurance will be immense. This will drive up premiums, which will drive up discontinuance/downgrading, which will put pressure on the public system (and the taxpayer).

      It is an immigration ponzi indeed. Let’s see if the journalists pick up on this (if they even understand it).

  6. “rampant population growth (immigration), clogged roads and public transport, unaffordable housing, and degrading public services”
    Not to mention increased environmental degradation

  7. This will be very popular. This calendar year the number of Chinese telling me their reasons for migrating to Australia to gain access to our (from their perspective) unbelievably generous social security has dropped off, but in 2014/15 I was literally stunned at the number of people in Beijing who were telling me they wanted to migrate to Australia to: (1) retire because of our social security (several just wanted to get residency then come back to China and work, then go to Australia after the end of their working career around 50-55 years as people retire early here, because they straight out admitted they couldn’t make money in Australia and knew they couldn’t work in Australia in a professional capacity, these people were usually 35-45), or (2) they wanted to migrate to Australia because of the social security because China doesn’t have any – it does, but no one believes they’ll get any money when they retire. The middle class Chinese attitude to Australia is ‘like wow you guys GIVE people money to buy a house??? AND you PAY people to have children???’. Nothing could be more culturally nirvana to Chinese than free government money to buy a house and have children!!! Best society on the the planet! Popcod, you’re telling me Australia has serious social and economic problems??? Haha, yeah right! I don’t believe you, free money for houses and children, you are so rich Australia, you are heaven on earth!

    Right now there is huge fear of social and economic instability in the medium term future in China. Many middle class professionals have no faith in the future of China. This change in policy will be jumped on. I feel sorry for the old people though, I’ve spoken to several people who have the parents out in Australia and in general they are unhappy if they are living in areas who are basically not overwhelmingly Chinese, the parents really, really miss China and would be much happier there. That generation does not transition well to Australia (or anywhere else, even Beijing if they move from their home towns to follow their children), but, you know, family…

    Anyway if it is a Chinese married couple that’s up to four oldies for two middle-aged people who are hopefully employed and paying tax. The issue is not so much who is paying for their care (though even with insurance the Aussie tax payer will still pay through wear and tear on the system etc), it is also usage of resources because that means to keep access levels the same we need to have more hospital beds. So where is the paired policy to increase hospital numbers? These people will speak NO English (that generation doesn’t speak any English), so how will they access healthcare services? This generation is also extremely suspicious of western medicine, they will want to use Chinese medicine as much as possible.

    BTW, the ATO really needs to get their hands into all the wechat businesses selling to China from Australia, weetbix sells for AUD 40 a big box these days over here!

    • What their simplistic thinking doesn’t realise is that the money government gives out for house purchasing is dwarfed by the increase in house prices and the stamp duty & capital gains tax it gets back…

      Also I don’t know why would foreigners be even remotely interested in Weetabix… It tastes exactly the same as the cardboard box it comes in.

      • Soggy cardboard as my Dad says. It’s a bit of a mystery why they are buying weetbix as they don’t like tasteless food, but the Chinese will buy anything safe and foreign, the concern about food safety is that strong (and rightly so unfortunately). Is Sanitarium listed on the stock exchange? It could be the next Bellamys or Blackmores…

  8. ceteris paribus

    I am appalled by Australia’s lazy population Ponzi growth but equally appalled by the suggestion to exclude extended family. We can’t just grab people as permanently settling labour units or robots without consideration of their human needs, such as the wholesomeness of family connection. For heaven’s sake, an economy is to serve people, not vice versa.
    We need to factor family in upfront in the immigration assessment process. A lot deeper thinking and planning is needed on this complex issue.

    • The bus driver can bring in his parents – he just needs to pay the fee.

      But after stealing a bus driving job from an Aussie, he wants more handouts!

      • Jacob, why don’t you direct your anger at the pollies, not the individual who’s not responsible for the politics.

  9. Disgusting. And to what benefit are all these useless greys going to be to our nation? Wasn’t the whole notion of immigration for bringing in the youth who would pay for the boomer’s retirement? So what happens when we end up with millions of boomers who never contributed a dime to the nation, but add heavy loads on our health system. These people will no doubt find all the ways to milk the system anyway, it’s already widely known they scam all the private insurance premiums (eg. get some free sunnies and claim it as “prescription glasses”), so private insurance premiums will skyrocket as will private hospital waiting lists. So goodbye to one of the only reasons to bother with private health insurance and hello to “Medicare has become too expensive, whocouldanode, so all you entitled mugs need to pay heavily for it”

    This is code for: Get out now, for anyone who isn’t a rent seeker.

    • adelaide_economistMEMBER

      Yes it’s interesting that the kneejerk justification for ponzi levels of immigration are people who blithely mouth ‘ageing population!’ even as Productivity Commission figures for years have shown that you could barely dent the ageing even with very high levels of immigration.

      Now we’ve abandoned that and are bringing in those who cannot and will not participate in the labour force so one might ask (if there was any rationality left) what happened to the justification that this was to manage an ageing population.

      The answer of course is that the true driver for this has never been the stated aims (first to counteract ageing and now apparently humanitarian concern about separated families).

  10. The example they used is disgraceful.

    An Indian in Adelaide who drives buses and does not want to pay the fee for bringing in his parents!

    Like no unemployed Aussie in Adelaide is willing to drive buses? Of course many are!

    Kick him out.

  11. The LNP and ALP both are fully aware that they can do what they want as long as they can maintain house price growth. Without that growth they will have their decisions dissected and measured fully. We already have the entire MSM prestituted, and no doubt most of those own or are buying houses.
    The housing ponzi will continue until a truly major world event.

  12. I think UK will exit but if not IMO there is plenty of evidence that many are very much over the status quo!

  13. If Company Directors must work for the best interests of a company – even if that goes against their best interests – why are politicians not held to the same standard?