Sustainable Australia Party dissects the population ponzi

By Leith van Onselen

Sustainable Australia Party (SAP) head, William Bourke, appeared on Sydney’s 2UE radio yesterday and gave a ripper interview discussing population growth – the “unmentionable elephant in the room” this election campaign.

Below are the key extracts. You can listen to the full interview here.

Radio Host: “Every problem we talk about. Surely it’s a function of more people wanting the services because we are jacking-up the population… And the worrying part is that it gets wound into the xenophobic attitude that we don’t want migrants. But it’s simply a matter of numbers. How many people can we accommodate in what is a massive cosmopolitan city [Sydney]. It’s not an issue of xenophobia or about immigration.. It’s simply a matter of how we can try and work out and accommodate the numbers of people that we have in this city right now… ”

“I’ve called it the issue that dare not speak its name this election campaign. Has Sydney reached its ‘tipping point’?”

William Bourke: “It is no doubt that it [population growth] is the unmentionable issue. It is the elephant in the room. It’s the everything issue. Population as John [host] describes affects every element of our lives: our infrastructure; our environment; our economy… At the end of the day it’s about quality not quantity. It’s about Sydney being better not bigger”…

“SAP is the only party from the political centre that is actually wanting to have a rational mature discussion about population. And fundamentally our population growth is driven by excessively high immigration of 200,000-plus per year. The long-term average we have had is around 70,000. And I think we have had a very successful immigration history in Australia at that average of 70,000. But when you just go up and up and up to 200,000, it’s too much and we need to lower immigration back to that average level”…

“We are very much for immigration. SAP has migrants of all persuasions in our party. We want to secure the sustainability of Australia’s immigration program going forward. If you lower immigration back to the long-term average, you will get better public acceptance of immigration. There won’t be this conflation with refugees, which is a tiny element of the overall intake – 14,000 per year. And we’ll secure immigration for the long-term at a more sustainable level”…

Radio Host: “Why won’t Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten talk about this?…”

William Bourke: “There is an agreement between Liberal, Labor and the Greens parties to not talk about this. To drive rapid population growth. It gives the image of so-called “growth”… If you have 2% population growth, you automatically get about 2% GDP growth. If you had a stable population, they would have virtually no growth in our economy”.

“[With lower population growth] those resources going into house, transport and manage an ever bigger population – those billions and billions of dollars going into the West Connex and the like – would be reallocated across a more diverse and prosperous economy into our small businesses, our factories, into our farms, into innovation.  At the moment it’s being sucked-up by housing, roads an city building. And it is really strangling the diversity of our economy and the long-term sustainability. It’s just a pyramid scheme to have economic growth based on population growth. It’s a bigger cake, but a thinner slice for the average person”.

Well said.

If like me you care about this issue. Vote 1 SAP in the Senate in the upcoming Federal Election.

[email protected]

Leith van Onselen


  1. St JacquesMEMBER

    Good interview but he should also have reminded the radio audience that GDP isn’t even a measure of income, only volume of product, and that what matters is income per person, and that has been heading down.

  2. Shut the gate.

    I heard Turnbull say “in today’s competitive globalized world”.

    Politicians did this to us.

      • Yes, multinationals were always going to capture LNP, but where’s Greens and Labor telling the electorate the truth?

    • nexus789MEMBER

      Turnbull clearly understands the impact of the polices underpinned by neoliberalism and globalisation. He like the rest of the deviant LNP sociopaths understands that these policies almost exclusivly enriche the 1% and screws every one else but they maintain the myth that we all benefit.

  3. most people are too stupid and will vote lab lib etc

    NOT ONE JOURNO has asked saint mal or uncle bill about their recent views on this

    • Journo’s work for Big business. They want even higher growth. We’re fking mad letting them do this to us.

    • 3AW host Mr Tom is also anti-immigration but he says MPs refuse to talk to him about it.

      Journalists did ask government and opposition to say something when AUS reached 24 million but they “declined to comment”.

      • Yep. What a disgrace. Journos work for big business, politicians work for big business, everyone works for big business. People wonder why I blame the Greens., it’s because they’re the only ones left.

        FFS, Greens may as well work for big business.

  4. Still no word on Greens population position?

    Isn’t there an election soon? Why aren’t they telling us every chance the devastating effects population has on the environment?

    • AndynycMEMBER

      The Greens really are the Watermelon party. It is a huge disappointment. For every 20 people who recycle, the environmental benefits are lost by one additional immigrant. I assume if they proposed such a position they would lose support from the self-flagellating.

      • Greens should be leading the debate with the left. Make it okay to question population growth. Go and have a look at yesterday’s MB population discussion. Beyond belief.

    • The Greens are a disgrace.

      They say nothing about the immigration rates.

      Nothing about urban sprawl.

      They probably want to ban shower heads with a flow rate more than 7L/min!

      Howard the bastard banned luxury showers – but we have desal plants now. Can we get government out of our bathrooms now?

      • You need a large shift spanner. Remove the shower arm. Look for a little piece of plastic with tiny holes. Remove this and dispose of. Optionally wrap plumbers tape around the thread. Refit and tighten shower arm.

      • I forgot to mention. You have to do this all with one hand whilst holding a blue mug in the other. Also jewerly must dangle from your arms during the task.
        And if you can’t do all this whilst wiggling your shoulders and waggling your head, then I reckon you should see it through and stick with the current shower hob for a while.

      • I can see where the problem is straight away – the policy as published on the Greens website and linked above has an element of nuance.

  5. wasabinatorMEMBER

    I’m very passionate about this is and did volunteer mail drops for this mob. Sadly the Aus voter is to neutered and apathetic. We now live in a fake country of takes and imported overlords. Every day the proportion of people who are genuinely patriotic and care for the future generation is being filled by those who just got here and all they care about is to get their mates and relos over here pronto. They are our future voting majority, we’re part critical mass n now. The only same thing one can do is move to a nation that hasn’t engaged in this new world order, or at least one of the capitals that hasn’t attracted as much population explosion. I made the mistake of “escaping” the insanity of Sydney with Melbourne. Bad move.

    • Exactly. We’ve passed tipping point. The traitor left have completely fcked Australia.

      Instead of opposing LNP, the left made it racist to even talk about population growth.

      There’ll ba price to pay.

    • Ronin8317MEMBER

      The visa quota for family reunion is 1500 a year for non contributory, and around 7500 for contributory. It is the 457 visa that is the culprit.

      • Absolutely. It is by far the invited skilled migrants causing Sydney to be gridlocked. The left should be opposing this but instead say nothing for fear of seeming racist.

  6. New, snap and foolishly pre-coffee migration policy. 3 categories, 1.) Lottery, you put your name in and hope to be selected, limited to 1/2 of total intake. 2.) Refugee intake, taken on a needs basis and unlimited within total intake. 3.) Rich list, buy your way in. Cost is 2x (2.5x for contingency) the cost of educating, training and otherwise assisting a refugee entrant or lowest socio-economic lottery entrant to become a productive member of society, limited to 1/2 of total intake.

    Probably more holes than swiss cheese, but probably simple enough to sell in an election and has an air of fairness to it, to both future Australians and current ones. Would need extra space for students and working which need to lead to PR somehow unless we plan yo fund our own unis somehow.

    • McPaddyMEMBER

      I don’t understand the drive to sell citizenship to the highest bidder. It’s just a manifestation of the slash and burn, sell the farm, loser country mentality we desperately need to eradicate.

  7. roylefamilyMEMBER

    I am number 2 on the Vic Senate ticket. I have been out campaigning. The feedback from the punters is good. The Party name change is very well received.

    • Get placards in the traffic.


      Vote Sustainable Australia

      Ffs. You blokes have been no where near aggressive enough.

      • They have done a bit of this, I have seen a lot of SAP ads “Sick of Traffic Congestion? Vote SAP” or something similar plastered over the telegraph poles around Burwood/Strathfield/Parramatta road. There is a lot of congestion in these parts, so I thought they were pretty well placed to get some people to notice. Hopefully it does.

      • bolstroodMEMBER

        Richard what are YOU doing about it? All you seem to do is criticise.
        I think you are better than that. Get involved.

      • bolstrood. I’ll take that on. Fair call. I have considered it in the past but don’t know how to without compromising family and friends.

    • You need to join with the fishing shooting and farming party.

      Mass immigration means less land available for farming and shooting!

      • Hello, hello….hello. Anyone there?

        Same happened last election. Volunteered, and never heard from them again.

      • I’d say he’s stuck in traffic………and the satellite broadband network is overloaded.

      • Good work Richard.

        I stood in WA at the last election and when we went around again after the loss of votes fiasco we almost tripled the count, when other micros fall away.

        Go to and volunteer there.

        Congratulations and welcome to the team!

        Peter Strachan

  8. If History teaches us anything it should be that today’s Australian’s can only ever control the short term tendency of the Aussie population, Long term our countries population will be determined by others that have need of our resources. If you accept this premise than it follows that our most important decisions are those that effect the medium term or “transition” region.
    Will the transition be abrupt, or will it happen in a controlled planned manner? Will today’s Australian’s profit from the transition or will they pay the ultimate price for their tardiness and feet dragging?
    I know Australia has powerful friends that’ll always have our back and guarantee our right to occupy this continent UK, USA, China.
    Not sure what the long term Aussie game plan was for the first two (not even sure they ever knew) but I suspect the long term Aussie game plan for China involves Australia maximizing the availability and utility of our natural resources. We’ll only be free to implement our own plans as long as others believe that we’re doing the the best job that can possibly be done, when they loose faith in our efforts we may well loose something that’s even more important to us (hint: think our land or our lives)

    • AndynycMEMBER

      There is one answer to this hypothesis of future doom – nuclear weapons. I do not by your argument that this will be a forgone conclusion.

      • Not sure what you’re suggesting
        Do we Nuke someone else? Oh yea that’s gunna make them respect our wishes, showing them we’ve got a pair. Should work for about 30 sec before they respond in kind.
        Do we let someone Nuke us (cough cough Maralinga)
        Or do we Nuke ourselves? one for Sydney another for Melbourne, rest of the country can just deal with the fallout. solves a lot of issues and is definitely an abrupt and final / unarguable response but I’m not sure I really like the outcome.

      • Then why bother with this charade? Lets just lie down and invite in our new overlords. I will get my kids to start learning mandarin right away.

    • Ronin8317MEMBER

      The short term matters as well. It cost the NSW government 1 billion dollars for an extra 1100 classrooms, so the economic benefits from relaxing the rules to allow Chinese primary school kids to come here to study may not balance out even if they pay through the nose. Australia have to get infrastructure cost under control before we embark on any more population explosion. The model of government being ripped off by private contractors for building infrastructure is not working.

      • billygoatMEMBER

        As the quality of our universities fall we’ll have to import teachers/educators from China to instruct their own – on Australian public purse & subsidised private schools (I’m guessing)

      • Didn’t you get the memo: Inefficiency is the dominant form of Australian corruption.
        Lets do the numbers,
        Class Room for 30 kids = 60sqm + 40 sq m ancillary facilities (gyms, toilets, offices…)
        Total school building = 100sq m per class or about 4 sqm per child.
        OK at current Australian residential construction costs this equates to somewhere in the range $6K to $10K per student
        so 1100 class rooms at 30 students/ room = 33K students at $10K per student = $330M
        of course contractually we round it up to an even $1B, I’m sure the extra $660M goes to a good cause.

      • Hmmm interesting question, however for me a more interesting somewhat related question is:
        What was the primary motivation for Japan in establishing the Kwantung Army? or wait a minute was it the Kwantung Army that controlled Japan?

      • “Hmmm interesting question, however for me a more interesting somewhat related question is:
        What was the primary motivation for Japan in establishing the Kwantung Army? or wait a minute was it the Kwantung Army that controlled Japan?”

        Well the point there is that a motivated and strong force overwhelmed and peoples unable to resist.

        That lack of resistance, be it they were too feeble, such as China with the Kwantung army, or Aboriginal Australia against the British..


        Modern day Britain, infected with white guilt and unable to resist an invasion…

        says all that is required is to maintain the ability to resist.

        We have a very big body of water that aids us in this aspect.

        We will only succumb if we so choose.

    • China’s need for our natural resources has peaked. If they can get what they needed before, it’s seems vanishingly unlikely that they will need to put additional people here in the future, especially in the light of probable advances in automation.

      If the purpose of Australia is only to provide raw materials to the rest of the world, then the future is for far lower numbers here, not higher.

      • That’s taking a rather narrow perspective on China’s future resource needs.
        I’d start with the following:
        – Ensuring an adequate food supply. (look at the carb/fat/protien intake for average Aussie diet and compare this with the average Chinese intake)
        – Reducing the population density especially in Eastern China (might go hand in hand with the first point) but is important in it’s own right because of the follow on complications of guaranteeing fresh water supply, sewerage treatment and urban energy supply.
        – Controlling raw material supply at the source and securing supply routes (south China sea initiatives) for strategic reasons

      • – Ensuring an adequate food supply. (look at the carb/fat/protien intake for average Aussie diet and compare this with the average Chinese intake)

        Why on earth would China want to emulate the dietary habits of the west leading to obesity levels similar to Australia/ USA?

        The demographic sectors that need the most calories and other nutrients are adolescents and pregnant women, and they make up a far smaller proportion of the population in China than they do in Australia.

      • @Robert
        I’m gathering that you don’t spend much time in north eastern Asia.
        I’d suggest you look at the dietary changes that have occurred over the last 50 years in Japan, Korea and Taiwan.
        If the same magnitude of dietary change per person happens as China gains prominence / wealth, than the worlds agricultural producers will need to adapt on a massive hitherto unimaginable scale. I’m not suggesting that this change is sustainable, but I am suggesting that we’ll need to try to sustain it, and that decision will have far reaching consequences.

      • Recent data has individuals in China consuming 2990 kcal/day compared to Japan 2800 kcal/day
        Admittedly China seems to have been behind Japan on dietary fat/ day – 89g/ day compared to 90g/ day

        Even if we accept the notion that China will need more calories as they their population reduces than they did while it was increasing, how many people do they need to send over to replace or oversee our 400k agricultural workers in an environment of increased automation?

        If they completely displace the local workers that’s only 400k – more likely far fewer would actually be needed to merely control all production.

        A standing population of about 1 million from another nation would be more than sufficient to control our mines and farms, and if that’s the only use the rest of the world has for Australia, then the populations of the east coast capitals are completely redundant – if not an outright nuisance – and can be encouraged to whither away, if for no other reason than it maximises the availability of the farmed and mined goods for the motherland.

    • I seem to be the bad guy here for suggesting that this is a problem that needs to be managed on a medium to long term horizon.
      Today Australia is not managing the problem, far from managing it we’re are denying ourselves the tools to even attempt to manage the problem.
      In the first instance we attempt to settle most if not all new migrants in either Sydney or Melbourne, you dont need to be very smart to see that this solution has some obvious medium term short comings and is nothing short of laughable as a long term solution.
      I’m not pretending to have all the answers, far from it, but I am smart enough to see that our pretend solution is just pretend.
      I’d suggest there are possible solutions one might be to surrender Darwin to outside control and to allow other interested parties to manage the development of Darwin. That’d mean they manage the port development, rail development, road development, they create the needed housing, schools, parks, farms, airports etc etc. In the last 50 years I’ve heard a long line of Aussie politicians talk big about the development of northern Australia but never deliver anything but one more urban expansion of Sydney / Melbourne.
      All that I’m saying is that our failure (yes failure) will have longer term consequences. We are already paying a huge price through over priced Urban land and the way it’s going we’ll all choke on this mouthful. Already our most productive industries (as in those that actually produce something tangible)are closing down at an alarming rate only to be replaced by coffee shops. Indirectly this is the direct consequence of our collective failure to create new centers for growth within Australia.
      IMHO It’s not for the want of land but rather the want of will that we’re heading down what’s so clearly a dead end street.
      All adds up to a good short term solution with a lousy long term outcome.

      • There’s no policy to settle migrants in Sydney or Melbourne, that’s just where they choose to go. Reasons – schools/universities, jobs, established communities, property speculation, plus the congestion and high population densities are still nothing compared to back home.

        Just as China has distinct tiers of cities with property prices out of control in the Tier 1 of Shanghai/Beijing/Shenzhen/Guangzhou, Sydney and Melbourne stand out to immigrants as the places to be.

  9. When your country has the highest minimum wage floor in the World, why are you surprised that anyone and everyone (even Kiwis!) wants to get into Australia by whatever means they can? ie: US$30,791. If your country actually made whole heap of stuff, like say Germany who is being overwhelmed by immigrants to slot into their manufacturing base ( US$23,750) it might make sense. But it doesn’t….
    Hence two things appears to be coming (1) more immigrants and (2) lower wages. One isn’t going to happen without the other…..

    • Exactly. Do these idiots advocating population growth realize this? Notice the loudest advocates are rich? Wage falls and congestion or in fact any negatives don’t affect them.

      That should change.

    • Janet, the laws are not enforced so foreign “students” come here to work for 50c-$10/hour.

      They also bribe professors to dumb down Aussie degrees – thus making them retrospectively worthless!

      And then there are the 457 visa workers who get to stand at the front of the job queue.

      Lowering the minimum wage to $14/hour will not change anything – immigrants will work for $9/hour.

      • “Janet, the laws are not enforced so foreign “students” come here to work for 50c-$10/hour.”

        No, the law is not enforced. Even if someone complains to Fair Work about being underpaid the boss just get a slap on the wrist (if that) and made to pay it back. So why not exploit workers for all their worth?

  10. It is great to see the creation of the Sustainable Australia Party. Sustainability is essential for the survival of the earth.

    Current immigration policies are destroying Australia.

    I will be giving the SAP my first preference in the Senate. I hope you will also.

    • They normally get 2% of the vote. Yay.

      They could have done so much more. Ask for volunteers to placard traffic jams for example.

      • Because they explicitly changed the rule to prevent a situation like the AMEP from ever occurring again?

  11. drsmithyMEMBER

    SAP has a solid policy platform across the board (other than supporting the same-sex marriage plebiscite), especially for a young party founded off a single issue. Good luck to them.

    • Sustainable is not a single issue mate. It’s the issue.

      Note you had to criticize on the gay thing that matters to almost no one.

      • drsmithyMEMBER

        Sustainable is not a single issue mate. It’s the issue.

        No, it’s one issue of many.

        Note you had to criticize on the gay thing that matters to almost no one.

        Yes. Because it’s a waste of time and money on a plebiscite for what is a simple and trivial issue of gender equality in law.

        Congratulations on missing the point.

    • drsmithy,
      Population impacts and underplays everything. Infrastructure, agriculture, health, education, defense. Without understanding what the population is and what the dynamic is, there is little chance of formulating a sensible policy on any issue. Look around. Governments are just coping and not able to build a sensible plan because there is no firm number of clients. Its the Red Queen syndrome. Always running just the stay still. Until we stabilise population we will not make great progress.

      SAP sweats the big stuff. I don’t think it is any business of government who marries whom. All government needs to do is keep a tally! That is why SAP suggests that folks take their own advice on this issue, largely because it has no business being a government decision in the first place. Its a conscience issue

      • drsmithyMEMBER

        Population impacts and underplays everything.

        Well, most things. I don’t really disagree.

        However, it is not a causative – or even exacerbating – factor in many issues. Increasingly authoritarian and privacy-invading laws, corruption, free trade agreements, etc.

        SAP sweats the big stuff. I don’t think it is any business of government who marries whom. All government needs to do is keep a tally! That is why SAP suggests that folks take their own advice on this issue, largely because it has no business being a government decision in the first place. Its a conscience issue

        My point is that this is a trivial and simple issue of equality before the law. A plebiscite is a gigantic waste of time and money, that will provide little more than a vehicle for a particular group of bigots to engage in vitriolic trolling and bullying. The law was changed to exclude same sex marriage with barely a debate. It can – and should – be changed back as easily.

  12. Gen Y Home Buyer

    I volunteered and handed out SAP flyers at transport stops this week. Don’t just vote, volunteer!

    • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

      Ive just recently joined the labor party, but they wont be getting my senate first preference.
      (Can that get me kicked out? ?)

  13. ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

    I was Voting Green in both houses.

    But have gone ovet to labor for the reps but was going to stay Green for the Senate.
    Not any more.
    Go SAP!

    • The Lefty greens support the lowest intake Richard,….not the liberal party brother, a party who cant wait to ramp up numbers to drive down all our wages and get a pat on the head by their big business bosses.

      Yes, I know that. That’s why I blame the Greens for knowing it’s wrong but say nothing. You’re not going to stop Liberals being Liberals. Essentially they’re greedy disgusting people.

      Greens apparently being good people should be screaming “stop population growth”. So, I blame Greens.

      • The big population ramp-up started in 2003 with Costello’s baby bonus and massive immigration which peaked at over 250,000 pa. Total annual growth peaked at over 400,000 pa. A new Canberra worth of people and infrastructure every year!
        The Rudd government put the Howard policy on steroids and drove population, pushing growth by 5.4 million people since the 2000 Olympics.
        The Greens said nothing, except “look at the refugees”, who are a distraction on this issue, making up about 4% of total population growth! Meanwhile we now have 11 jumbo jets full of immigrants arriving in Australia each and every week. Madness!

        Population growth is good for the 1%, who can pay to get fresh air, quiet suburbs and holiday homes, education and healthcare, while the wages of their workers are kept in check by competition for jobs and the value of their negatively geared housing portfolio continues to rise, and will face concessionary capital gains tax should it be sold. Life is good!

  14. FiftiesFibroShack

    Good luck SAP. If you can get population and infrastructure being mentioned in the same sentence you’ll have done a good job.

  15. reusachtigeMEMBER

    Everyone needs to vote for the Liberal party so that we can have great economic management, more valuable housing and increased profits. This is an economics blog now isn’t it?

    • I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again… Reuse is a golden god! They need to take a cast of him (nude of course) and make a bronze statue in Martin Place that Ayn Rand would weep over. I’m not sure what it would be called… perhaps ‘omniscient perfection and hot to boot’.

  16. No-one has mentioned the property spruikers, but I guess it is obvious to the MB audience: Rouse Hill is the new Castle Hill, Camden is the new Liverpool, Liverpool is the new Bankstown, Bankstown is the new Parramatta, Parramatta is the new CBD, etc. Years ago I even heard someone say “Cowra is the next Mudgee”. That’s when I really started to worry.

  17. In order to stem the tide of immigration, the attractiveness of Australia has to disappear. It is as clear as day that the major two muppet phucks of parties have no intention to contemplate population control as their vested interests rely on avoiding it at all costs. Why the fuck vote for this???
    We need a housing bust to decimate and frighten off Chinese illegal investors and sock it to a cohort that thought it their god-given right to outbid youth at auctions to secure their next property investment.
    We need to stamp out political correctness and tell would-be oppirtunists that Australia values its youth more than them, so don’t even think of abusing our laws to your advantage or our pissweak foreign investment review board etc etc.
    Enough is enough.
    Since the ideal ain’t gonna happen of good governance and prioritising the security of high living standards for our kids through measures such as population policies and tighter immigration measures, natural events must occur. So bring on a bust in our economy so we do away with the political spin and bullshit we see now. The sooner this country gets a huge blow of pain, the sooner the urgency can be revealed and tackled, albeit reactively.
    Toughen up Australia if you truly give a shit about your children.