Jessica Irvine goes population ponzi mad

By Leith van Onselen

Jessica Irvine went population ponzi mad over the weekend, quoting various “experts” warning of economic Armageddon if Australia halted its immigration intake. From The Canberra Times:

…what would actually happen if Australia halted its immigration intake?…

“One of the key drivers of growth in the Australian economy has been strong population growth,” explains HSBC Bank’s chief economist, Paul Bloxham.

Australia’s quarter century of uninterrupted growth is due in no small part to a swelling population…

Slower economic growth is less of a problem if what is produced has to be shared among fewer people. But migrants add to demand in the economy, helping to prop up spending and incomes, says Bloxham. “The net effect is still positive”…

On average, new migrants lower the age profile of the Australian population and are more likely to be of working age…

With no new migrants arriving, there would be fewer working aged people to pay the income taxes needed to support an ageing population…

At the margins, traffic congestion might not continue to deteriorate as quickly if immigration was halted. But there’s no reason to believe it would get better…

Similarly, there would be fewer potential buyers of property…

HSBC’s Bloxham says the belief that ending migration would solve all the growing pains of Australian cities is a misnomer: “We have to keep building infrastructure to keep pace with the growth in the population. The better approach here is to find a way to build good infrastructure rather than slow down our growth prospects by limiting population growth”…

Export revenue from international students is worth more than $20 billion a year…

The chief executive of the Tourism & Transport Forum Australia, Margy Osmond, says halting immigration would hurt the industry…

Angela Julian-Armitage is a barrister and national president of the Migration Institute of Australia, a body representing Australia’s migration lawyers and agents… Without immigration, she says: “The skilled occupation lists would never get filled. Seeing doctors and nurses would be harder for everyone…

So there you have it: lower growth, a budget blowout, skills shortages and jobs put at risk. Proponents of halting migration should be careful what they wish for.

Why the false binary choice of zero migration or rampant immigration, Jessica? How about moderate immigration – you know, the kind that existed throughout the post war period until John Howard opened the flood gates in 2004?

Between 1946 and 2003, Australia’s population grew by 213,000 per year, which was manageable. However, between 2004 and 2015, Australia’s population growth was ramped-up to an average of 343,000, due to increased immigration. Worse, the Intergenerational Report projects that Australia’s population will grow by an average of 394,000 people per year between 2016 and 2055, representing a further expansion in Australia’s immigration intake and nearly twice the post-war to 2003 level of population growth (see below chart).

ScreenHunter_15215 Oct. 02 18.45

Why is such an expanded immigration program more desirable than the one that existed prior to John Howard opening the floodgates?

The arguments for ongoing high immigration, which come from the usual band of population boosters, also do not pass scrutiny.

While it is true that population growth has boosted overall economic growth (more inputs equals more outputs), the data suggests that it has made individual living standards worse.

As shown in the next chart, GDP per capita has plummeted over the past 12 years as population growth has surged. In fact, the 10-year annualised rate of growth has plummeted to levels not seen since the early-1980s and early-1990s recessions:

ScreenHunter_14846 Sep. 09 07.19

The next chart plots Australia’s per capita GDP growth over the 50 quarters since December 2003 (when Australia’s immigration intake was lifted dramatically) and compares it to the proceeding 50 quarters:

ScreenHunter_15216 Oct. 02 19.09

As shown above, Australia’s real GDP per capita has grown at less than half the pace since Australia’s immigration intake was lifted dramatically by John Howard.

The situation is just as bad when one considers the growth in real national disposable income (NDI) per capita. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, NDI is “considered a good measure of progress for living standards because it is an indicator of Australians’ capacity to purchase goods and services for consumption”.

Again, the next chart plots Australia’s per capita NDI growth over the 50 quarters since December 2003 and compares it to the proceeding 50 quarters:

ScreenHunter_14845 Sep. 09 06.50

As you can see, Australia’s living standards, as measured by NDI, have growth at roughly half the pace since Australia’s immigration intake was lifted dramatically.

What makes the above results even worse is that Australia has also enjoyed a lift in the terms-of-trade over the past 12 years, which has provided a tail-wind to NDI growth. To quote the Productivity Commission:

ScreenHunter_14847 Sep. 09 07.30
Growth in the population can increase the size of the economy but does not, in itself, increase output or income per capita. Growth of per capita income is determined by changes in participation (referred to as ‘labour utilisation’ in figure 2.2), labour productivity, the terms of trade and in net foreign income…

It is worth noting that in 2015 the terms of trade was still 26 per cent above the average level between 1960 and 2015.

The above data shows clearly that Australia’s expanded immigration intake over the past 12 years has not boosted material living standards for the average Australian. In fact, it has very likely had the opposite impact. And yet the Intergenerational Report has projected even higher migration over the next 40 years! What is the definition of insanity again?

Economic modelling from the Productivity Commission (PC) is equally alarming.

In 2006, the PC completed a major study on the Economic Impacts of Migration and Population Growth, which modeled the impact of a 50% increase in the level of skilled migration over the 20 years to 2024-25 and found that it caused 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.

However, “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.

Hence, according to the PC in 2006, opening the spigots to skilled immigration would make the existing resident workers worse-off because they would earn less income than would otherwise be the case.

Last month, the PC released more modelling, which also found that maintaining positive net immigration would boost economic activity in per capita terms by increasing the proportion of the population participating in employment. Although this boost would be transitory:

Assuming that net overseas migration (NOM) continues at the long-term historical average rate (0.6 per cent of the population), by 2060 Australia’s population is projected to grow to nearly 40 million, with NOM adding some 13 million people to the population.

The continuation of an immigration system oriented towards younger working-age people can boost the proportion of the population in the workforce and, thereby, provide a ‘demographic dividend’ to the Australian economy. However, this demographic dividend comes with a larger population and over time permanent immigrants will themselves age and add to the proportion of the population aged over 65 years.

The Commission’s economy wide modelling projects that with NOM continuing at the long-term average rate with its current young age structure, by 2060:

– real gross domestic product (GDP) per person is projected to be some 7 per cent ($7000 in 2014 dollars) higher than if NOM was set to zero. In practice, this result cannot be extrapolated — limits on Australia’s absorptive capacity in terms of economic, social and environmental factors mean the modelling results do not shed light on the likely economic impact of very high rates of immigration

– a higher employment to population ratio associated with immigration will relieve some of the pressure of ageing on government expenditures (as a proportion of GDP), and moderate wage pressures particularly in high growth sectors…

However, labour productivity is forecast to decrease under current immigration settings, as are real wages, versus a zero NOM baseline:

Compared to the business-as-usual case, labour productivity is projected to be higher under the hypothetical zero NOM case — by around 2 per cent by 2060 (figure 10.5, panel b). The higher labour productivity is reflected in higher real wage receipts by the workforce in the zero NOM case.
ScreenHunter_14902 Sep. 12 16.24

Thus, the PC’s latest modelling showed a situation whereby ongoing high immigration improves per capita GDP by 2060 by boosting the proportion of workers in the economy, but this comes at the expense of lower labour productivity and lower real wages. Moreover, the benefits on workforce participation would only be transitory, with the migrants themselves aging and dragging on growth after the forecast period.

Most importantly, the PC explicitly cautioned that higher real GDP per person does not capture the negative externalities from immigration, such as worsening housing affordability, infrastructure bottlenecks, and environmental degradation. Nor does it account for any distributional impacts. Hence, policy needs to take a broader focus that improves “community wellbeing”:

While the modelling suggests that the Australian economy will benefit from migration in terms of higher GDP per person, whether migration delivers an overall benefit to the existing Australian community will also depend on other factors, including the distribution of those economic benefits, and the broader impacts of immigration, notably the associated social and environmental impacts…

High rates of immigration put upward pressure on land and housing prices in Australia’s largest cities. Upward pressures are exacerbated by the persistent failure of successive state, territory and local governments to implement sound urban planning and zoning policies…

Urban population growth puts pressure on many environment-related resources and services, such as clean water, air and waste disposal. Managing these pressures requires additional investment, which increases the unit cost of relevant services, such as water supply and waste management. These higher costs are shared by all utility users…

Immigration, as a major source of population growth in Australia, contributes to congestion in the major cities, raising the importance of sound planning and infrastructure investment. While a larger population offers opportunities for more efficient use of, and investment in, infrastructure, governments have not demonstrated a high degree of competence in infrastructure planning and investment. Funding will inevitably be borne by the Australian community either through user-pays fees or general taxation.

Hardly sounds like a slam dunk for mass immigration, does it? Quite the opposite in fact. If you want traffic congestion to get worse, to pay more for utilities and housing, and to see the environment get degraded, then continue with current mass immigration settings.

The Migration Institute of Australia’s argument that mass immigration is needed to fill skills shortages is also highly spurious.

First, analysis from the Department of Employment shows that Australia’s skills shortage “remains low by historical standards”.

Second, there are big question marks over whether immigration can alleviate skills shortages anyway?

That is, if Australia imports a whole bunch of workers to alleviate, say, shortages in construction, these workers will inevitably increase demand in other areas (e.g. for various services), thus creating shortages there. Australia could then import a whole bunch of workers to alleviate shortages in these areas, but then they will increase demand for housing and infrastructure, thus increasing shortages for construction workers. Dog meet tail.

The sustainable solution, of course, is to better utilise Australia’s existing workforce, where spare capacity is at high levels (see next chart).

ScreenHunter_15217 Oct. 02 19.30

Third, worries about Australia running out of workers due to an ageing population are misguided given the rise of robotics and artificial intelligence, which threatens to replace many of today’s jobs (see here).

The Migration Institute of Australia also could not have picked a worse example than doctors and nurses to make its point. Australia is already way oversupplied with medical staff, due primarily to widespread visa rorting, which has helped cause a blow-out in Medicare rebates. For this reason, the Health Department is now looking to remove 41 health roles from the official skills shortages list (see here for details).

Finally, complaints that cutting immigration would damage the education and tourism industries are disingenuous. Is Australia selling education/tourism or permanent residency? If it is the former, as it should be, then there is nothing to worry about. Further, why has Irvine only worried about the impact on exports and not the massive blow-out in imports as these new migrants huddle in Melbourne and Sydney, work in mostly unproductive (and non-tradable) services jobs, and buy a whole lot of imported items like flat screen TVs, cars and the like, thus blowing-out the trade deficit?

Moreover, Irvine has conducted classic “selective analysis”, only looking at the sectors that would be damaged by easing immigration not the sectors that would benefit. The obvious change ignored is that lower population growth takes pressure off house prices, interest rates and the currency. Thus the Australian dollar falls more quickly than otherwise helping cushion the post mining-boom adjustment as tradable sectors become more competitive more quickly, spreading the benefits much more widely than just the “citizenship export” sectors. Lower population growth also lifts productivity and income by decongesting cities and, over the long run, shares the depleting national endowment of resources over fewer people, also ensuring higher income per capita.

MB has for a long time called for a frank and honest national conversation about population policy, which focuses on raising the living standards of the existing population. Not the current ‘all growth is good’ position displayed by Irvine and her ‘Big Australia’ cronies, which blindly assumes that mass immigration is beneficial, and seeks to maintain current high immigration settings in the absence of community consultation and support. Irvine’s contribution is so one-sided that it brings to mind a much better piece she wrote several years ago about rent-seeking in the economy:

Australia is in the grip of a rent-seeking epidemic and the rent-seekers are winning. Sure, seeking special protection and privileges from government for one’s own industry is a long-standing tradition among Australian business. They used to seek tariffs on imported goods and other protectionist shelters. Today, they mostly seek ways to pay less tax.

The thing is, all government interventions in the economy create winners and losers. But often it is a small group of potential losers that have the self-interest and resources to mobilise against the changes, while the winners, for example the millions of consumers who benefit from lower import prices under trade liberalisation, are disparate and not as inclined to organise in favour of the change.

Rent-seeking destroys economic efficiency. Dollars invested in rent-seeking, through lobbying or advertising, represent a loss to the economy – focused, as they are, on shifting the distribution of existing profits, rather than creating more profit.

Every dollar spent on rent-seeking is a dollar less reinvested in expanding business or investing in new technology. So this new outbreak of rent-seeking not only duds taxpayers out of money, it threatens our future wages and living standards, too.

Yet her selective analysis of the population issue is a classic case in point, only referencing the narrow winners of high growth in the short term, including her employer Domainfax Media, while ignoring the losers, the rest of us, over the long term.

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  1. GunnamattaMEMBER

    As the credulity of the Australian population gets ever more stretched on the subject of migration the beneficiaries of Australia’s migration on steroids approach to economic policy are starting to get the idea that it is being substantively questioned.

    Jess Irvine has outed herself recently as a business journalist who didn’t get GDP growth. She now returns as a business journalist who can’t see the economy past a daily hit of extra bums on seats, and who has outed herself with this piece as someone who isn’t so much a business journalist but an intellectually shy spruiker for whatever lobby requires one. And one with some major comprehension issues at that.

    Population Junkie sees giant star goat ending life on planet unless immigration bong goes round some more

    This is what would happen if Australia halted immigration

    Crowds thin in international airport arrival halls. Visa processing offices fall silent. Refugees must seek a new safe haven.

    Australia has closed its doors.

    What next?

    Nearly half of Australians say they want to ban Muslim immigration and the Treasurer, Scott Morrison, warns “it would be foolish for anyone to deny that there is concern about immigration in Australia”.

    But what would actually happen if Australia halted its immigration intake?

    Just imagine that, eh…..all those arrivals halls – all available for use as backdrops to the next terrorist film, maybe we could have a remake of ‘On the Beach’…….

    The first thing one would note about the opening Stanza is that there is a mighty big difference between asking questions about Australia’s level of immigration intake – and over the last decade it has run at 4 times its 30 year average, it has been at higher per capita levels than it was in the gold rush era, and currently has Australia with one of the highest levels of foreign born residents in the OECD, with more than ¼ (about 28%) of all Australian born offshore – and suggesting it end entirely.

    We find ourselves wondering if Jessica lives in a binary world where the choice is between there being 300 thousand per annum or nothing whatsoever, and then to ask if anyone, anywhere, has actually suggested that?

    Of course Jessica doesn’t actually suggest anyone anywhere has actually suggested ‘closed its doors’ because absolutely nobody, nowhere, has. About the closest she comes to that is suggesting ‘nearly’ half the population would like to ban Islamic migration – and for those wondering Islamic immigration is so small that little actual data is available – it isn’t asked of migrants, and the Islamic population of Australia currently makes up a whopping 2.5%, with migrants from Lebanon and Iran more likely to be non-muslim, and the majority of Indian migrants more likely to be Hindu (a recent news article on it is here [sorry for referring to the Rupertarian]-

    So the distance from nearly half of Australian wanting an end to Islamic immigration to a total ban on immigration of the type to silence arrivals halls is a stretch of Pinocchio’s nose achievable only with conspicuous use of psychotropics. Nearly half of Australia wanting to end 2% of its migration intake has become the basis for considering a total end to immigration– that is a 98% reality discrepancy Jessica has. Intellectually, Jessica is laying a big steaming turd on anyone reading her piece right there.

    To help with the seasonal adjustment required she works in ScoMo’s acknowledgement that there are questions to be asked about migration, from last week, seemingly as additional ballast to the idea that cutting immigration back to zilch has some real prospect. Alas she doesn’t get anywhere near indicating awareness that ScoMo warned anyone caring to listen that Australia needed to keep immigration up (and it was reported in about every last skerrick of the media – is Jessica in the same dimension as us?). That steaming turd she laid earlier has become journalistic diarrhoea.

    Such is the mindset of the ‘journalist’ serving you this bilge, and the editorial processes of an organisation which would claim to being Australia’s ‘quality’ press. It’s the sort of bullshit which could reasonably drive people to take a geek at the Rupertarian stable.

    Is Jessica really positing that running immigration behind only Luxembourg or Switzerland (home of tax avoiding oligarchs and EU bureaucrats) is the only alternative to having no immigration at all?

    Population growth would halve

    Net overseas migration – arrivals to Australia minus Australians departing – accounted for more than half of the growth in the Australian population last year. Of the 326,100 people added to the population count, just 148,900 came from so-called “natural” increases – births minus deaths.

    The remainder, or 177,100, came through more people migrating here than departing. This pace of migration has actually slowed in recent years after hitting a peak of 315,700 in 2008 – the year the global financial crisis washed up on our shores. A clamp down on foreign student visas and slackening business demand for skilled migrants explains the recent fall.

    Well she has a point here. Cutting back on immigration will require us to cut back on net population growth, unless we all go out and breed prolifically. Those currently breeding only account for about half our population growth.

    Now the lack cognitive awareness paraded before you in the first stanza as an inability to reconcile two binary potential alternatives to any actual phenomena in the contemporary world unless we extrapolate the desires of ‘nearly’ half of Australians to end the circa 2% Islamic immigration into a complete immigration ban, and a fairly overt parallel universalism in adding context to our current treasurer in regard to his openly stated thoughts on immigration, now becomes an a hyperspace button’s degree of separation from the experiences of ordinary Australians.

    But before we get to those ordinary Australians let us pose the question to ourselves…… ‘why do we want population growth?’ Do we want it to have more competition for a car park when we go to the cinema? Do we want it to have more bodies in our military? Do we want it to juice sales of baby foods, kitchen appliances or [yes let’s say it] real estate? Or do we want population growth because it signifies a society which is secure enough and prosperous enough to motivate people to want to have more children live in it? Is the population growth the people of Australia want a number on a population stats sheet or an experience people want children to experience?

    Jessica implies that our population growth will more than halve the moment we end immigration, but she wonders not about why we want population growth and doesn’t dignify the reader with any substance about why population growth would be desirable – and her conceptual limitations as a commentator on contemporary Australian economic issues are [again] laid bare right there. It is as though population growth is like motherhood, it just is good, and there is no need to quantify it or extrapolate it in any way back to….anything.

    It is a shame she didn’t at least take a peek down the motherhood angle because she may have come to some ideas about why people have children, and from there the factors dissuading people from having them – starting firstly with inhabitants of modern developed economies having fewer children when under economic stress, and secondly with higher female education levels generally corresponding to a lessened procreation level. And from there she may have come to the idea that an awful lot of Australians are so massively in debt, and having so tenuous an employment situation as to make the question of whether to have children or not one of do they reduce their own living standards by having children? Or will having children mean they are likely to hand over to those children a reduced quality of life in comparison to that which they have?

    From there, as a business/economics journalist, she may have come to some thoughts should we be trying to cultivate an economy where people want to have children because of the quality of life and opportunities they can share with those children, rather than to juice the stats so as to bullshit those children already out there as to the quality of economic experience they are experiencing.

    Alas, an opportunity missed.

    Economic growth would falter

    “One of the key drivers of growth in the Australian economy has been strong population growth,” explains HSBC Bank’s chief economist, Paul Bloxham.

    Australia’s quarter century of uninterrupted growth is due in no small part to a swelling population. “That makes us quite different to a lot of other countries across the world who have got the challenge of population growth that’s slowing, or shrinking, like Japan.”

    Slower economic growth is less of a problem if what is produced has to be shared among fewer people. But migrants add to demand in the economy, helping to prop up spending and incomes, says Bloxham. “The net effect is still positive.”

    The third innings sees Jessica using Bloxo as a human shield. He says that our economic growth will take a creaming if our population growth comes back into the realms of magnitude we have averaged over the last thirty years – maybe 70- 100k or so per year – and he may have quite a point there – and notes that population growth makes us different to Japan, inter alia, amongst those nations experiencing declining population. That is all OK if we take the world as a simple statement of trivial fact without asking about why or the implications of the fact.

    But then Jessica, who we can only assume was having a bad day, utterly fucks up something as simple as using a quote from Bloxo – like how hard can that seriously be? She serves us this ripper – which goes to the very heart of why Australia needs to ask very serious questions about its immigration intake – ‘Slower economic growth is less of a problem if what is produced has to be shared among fewer people.’ Did Jessica at any point ask if the average reader out there may be thinking that Australia has a slowing economy, and may move on from that conceptual point to ask why we are running immigration at eye glazing multigenerational highs in the face of that? Did she wonder what the fuck Australia produces and if we require more people to produce that? Did she wonder (if only for a moment) whether that may have some sort of bearing on Australians thoughts about immigration? (and not just Islamic immigration?). More Bloxo tells us that running higher migration in the face of a weakening economy – like shooting a line if you don’t feel like going to work – will give us a positive effect.

    Now we must, regrettably, attribute some failings to Jessica, no matter how much we’d like to shaft Bloxo with them. It is her piece, and we can only assume that she chose to use his comments. Again we find ourselves coming back to the idea that it may be better to address the malaise and put in the work to create a worthwhile economy than to juice the stats in order to tell the ambient readers that immigration is somehow making things OK (or even better than they may otherwise be). Would we expect a half decent, or even a moderately pathetic, business journalist to ask a hard question about our economic path, or would we expect a bottom of the barrel exhortation to pull another bong and face the bigger reality somewhere down the track? Could Jessica or Bloxo get that anything they write ultimately comes to this question?

    An interesting sideline to bring in about here is that the NAB have come out with some charts within the last week as reported on by David Scutt at Business Insider here (This epic chart pack from the NAB reveals recent trends in Australia’s population – which quite obviously Jessica hasn’t clapped eyes on. For those interested note

    Our current rate of population growth has us right up there with Saudi Arabia, Philippines, Turkey Malaysia, Mexico and Indonesia. Do we want to adopt their living standards as our aspiration?

    Why would we be looking at increasing population without increasing births? Is there an economic development narrative which explains this?

    And yes, if you live in Sydney and Melbourne it is highly likely that Australia’s immigrants are living right near you. There is nothing wrong with that but it is worth asking if you, or they, or indeed anyone in those great cities of ours, are doing something which adds to national income or are simply spreading about that national income being added by someone somewhere else?

    Our workforce would age quicker

    The median age of all new arrivals to Australia last financial year was 26.5, according to Australian Bureau of Statistics. This includes temporary and permanent visa holders. The median age of the entire Australian population was 37 years.

    More than two thirds of Australia’s annual migrant intake arrive on skilled working visas. While family reunion visas make up a large part of the remainder, they include children as well as grandparents.

    On average, new migrants lower the age profile of the Australian population and are more likely to be of working age.

    Jessica next limbers in with some age stats. All plausible enough. From there we come to 2/3 of migrants coming on skilled working visas – without for a second asking about the basis of the need for those ‘skilled’ working visas (not to mention 457’s) and asking whether the visa system has been rorted. Then we get an assertion about migrants lowering the age profile (without any numbers to back that up) and absolutely nothing suggests any relationship to the rate at which the workforce ages. Bringing in adult migrants actually just increases the ageing problem down the track and means that even more immigrants need to be brought in at some later point – even if the economy doesn’t need them or there isn’t an economic narrative explaining a need – it is all, literally, a population Ponzi scheme.

    The federal budget would blow out

    With no new migrants arriving, there would be fewer working aged people to pay the income taxes needed to support an ageing population.

    There may be some cost savings for government in helping new arrivals, particularly refugees. But Australia’s annual humanitarian intake is only 13,750 a year – less than a tenth of total migration. Most migrants to Australia contribute to the workforce, given our skew towards skilled labour, and pay significant taxes.

    Earth calling Jessica ………. the Federal budget has already blown completely out of the water.

    Jessica may not realise it but when she says there would be fewer people to pay income taxes to support an ageing population she means the economic head Australia has stuck up its economic arse when it comes to pension reform, assets of Australia’s aged (let us insert houses here too shall we) and taxes (both paid, and unpaid due to SMSF’s economically bullshit concessions such as Negative Gearing and Capital Gains – and that is before we get to the taxation of corporate Australia and its subsidiaries in Panama or marketing arms in Singapore) which needs to be addressed with economic reform .

    Jessica loads in some assertions about how much taxes migrants pay (do they pay more or less than ordinary PAYE Australians – now there is a question Jessica!), and the cost of the refugee program – but the only number she gives is the number of the humanitarian intake.

    She certainly doesn’t go anywhere near adjusting the entitlements the aged are entitled to as a means of reining in that budget blowout! ……

    A little bit of perspective on Australian budgets

    Australia’s budget has been blown clean out of the water with the immigration it already has, and the immigration programme it is currently running is aggravating that budget blowout.

    Roads would remain crowded, housing expensive

    At the margins, traffic congestion might not continue to deteriorate as quickly if immigration was halted. But there’s no reason to believe it would get better.

    Similarly, there would be fewer potential buyers of property. But tax incentives remain that promote excessive speculation on housing, and foreigners are still able to purchase property in Australia without actually migrating here. Furthermore, builders could simply respond to less demand by building fewer new homes.

    HSBC’s Bloxham says the belief that ending migration would solve all the growing pains of Australian cities is a misnomer: “We have to keep building infrastructure to keep pace with the growth in the population. The better approach here is to find a way to build good infrastructure rather than slow down our growth prospects by limiting population growth.”

    Jessica next wings in ‘from the margins’ with some ambient thoughts (completely unbacked by any sort of data or numbers) about road usage and immigration. But she does neatly observe that we do have taxation settings which promote real estate speculation and suggests that this will continue , and, even worse, that builders may ease back on the building if they don’t have the prospect of immigration hordes to ensure demand for their product – without considering for a moment that removing some of those may be the way to go, and may be a way to create the sort of economy which could encourage people to want to have children (to boost the population numbers if that is important) and GDP (ditto) and that flooding the nation with additional bums on seats which don’t do anything which contributes to additional national income is just making the problems she refers to worse. She dances around the same issue in noting that foreigners can buy real estate here without migrating here (and indeed can leave it completely empty) without squaring the logic circle.

    Bloxo is wheeled out again to state the obvious insofar as the immigration we have run over the last 15 years now needs considerable infrastructure investment, without for a second twigging to the idea that Sisyphus would have found something appealing about the concept of building more infrastructure to bring in ever larger numbers of people.

    Education and tourism would suffer

    Export revenue from international students is worth more than $20 billion a year to the Australian economy and is today our third biggest export after coal and iron ore.

    Tourism also supports the jobs of nearly one million Australians. The chief executive of the Tourism & Transport Forum Australia, Margy Osmond, says halting immigration would hurt the industry.

    “Particularly for the Chinese market, holidays, education and long-stay family reunions are a big reason for them to come here, stay longer and spend more in our economy,” says Osmond.

    Shutting the doors to New Zealanders would also hurt reunion visits from that country, which remains our biggest source of inbound tourists at 1.3 million visits a year.

    “Overall, there is a tourism benefit from being perceived as an open, multicultural and welcoming country,” she says.

    Jessica now wheels out the Chief Executive of the Transport and Tourism forum – who chimes in with some motherhood statements (not about whether motherhood is good or not or whether people are more inclined to become mothers when they don’t think they are raising children for poverty or debt serfdom) about Chinese tourists staying longer if they visit relatives living here – is anyone suggesting we boot out people who have already migrated here? Jessica then breaks out the magic mushrooms to warn about what would happen to New Zealand based tourism if we shut the doors to Kiwis – and one really must wonder what she had been snorting to consider that possibility.

    Jessica doesn’t lay a glove on the whole idea of education wearing an impact from reduced (or ended) immigration. But if she were to she presumably wouldn’t have gone anywhere near the concept that our education sector is effectively a backdoor through the visa system and that it has been marketed this way to foreign nationals for a number of years – to the point that it has largely trashed the reputation of Australian educational qualifications – and that this isn in large part the reason behind some (much/most?) of the $20 billion a year in education revenues she floats into the piece.

    It’d be harder to find a doctor

    Angela Julian-Armitage is a barrister and national president of the Migration Institute of Australia, a body representing Australia’s migration lawyers and agents, who in turn represent both migrants and businesses looking to hire migrants.

    Without immigration, she says: “The skilled occupation lists would never get filled. Seeing doctors and nurses would be harder for everyone. A lot of businesses would have to close. Universities would collapse without international students’ income. We would have a rapidly diminishing taxation base to fund the running of the country and the ageing population, and – most of all – Australians who married a non-Australian overseas could not bring in their new spouse.”

    As if it hasn’t been a bad enough day, Jessica reaches the nadir at the end when she brings in Angela, with a direct pecuniary interest in exhorting higher levels of immigration, to tee off, and even then Jessica fluffs it. Dear Jessica, would the skilled occupation list exist if we ended immigration? Or would we abandon immigration (assuming that there would be some logic in doing this) and leave the skilled occupation immigration lists there to remain forever unfulfilled? Does Angela (or Jessica for that matter) think it possible that we could train a few extra specialist ourselves to fill in supply shortages for whatever specialists we lacked? Does Angela think it possible that even if we ended immigration (assuming that this were desired) we could still enable some mechanism for Australians finding love offshore to bring their beloved to Australia, or does Jessica think that if we ended immigration then we would tell the increasing number of Australians heading overseas that once they hitch themselves up offshore then they may as well hand in their passport? How credible is that? Jessica? What planet are you on?

    So there you have it: lower growth, a budget blowout, skills shortages and jobs put at risk. Proponents of halting migration should be careful what they wish for.

    So there you have it…….

    A Business/economic commentator who extrapolates a potential end to all immigration from ‘nearly’ half of Australians wanting to end Islamic immigration (circa 2% of Australia’s immigration intake) who is incapable of asking why we want population growth, and what purpose is served by it.

    She then distinguishes herself (ostensibly an economic/business journalist) by blowing her ill thought out contentions out of the water by quoting Bloxo – of all people – to the effect that slowing economic growth may be done better with fewer people clinging to the lifeboat, and remaining unable to question taxation settings encouraging real estate speculation, or distorting outlays towards older Australians from a rapidly ageing taxpaying base (let alone a range of taxation concessions).

    This is before we get to assertions unbacked by data vested interest being quoted to support a contention and a bucketload of palsied bull.

    Jessica Irvine ought to look herself in the mirror and ask ‘Why am I a journalist’, ‘Am I a good journalist?’ or ‘Am I writing utter bullshit?’

    There is no escaping that this piece is utter bullshit

    • I am guessing she acquainted herself with the numerous editorials Fairfax has run in the last five or so years praising a Big Australia and stuck to the script with a bit more jargon and the Bloxham/Osmond duo thrown in for good measure. As I have said before I stopped spending any money on the Age newspaper or online because of its editorial policy in this regard. Also significant in my concerns is the way Fairfax reports stories regarding school overcrowding, hospital waiting lists, road congestion, real estate prices and rents, public transport crowding, our infrastructure deficit and others. Never once when any of these problems are discussed is the overarching problem of rampant population growth mentioned as a major cause of all these problems. This sort of insult to the readers’ intelligence and the obvious editorial edict to journalists in the news’ sections that high rates of population growth can never be discussed as a cause of all the problems I listed, is something I refuse to pay a cent for. I encourage others to also not spend money with them. It does appear that either journalists are under instructions to never report the problems of population growth or if they do, it is sub-edited out of existence as part of editorial policy. Pitiful state of affairs when I look at my best of The Age year books from the late 70s and early 80s, it was actually a newspaper back then, with writing of a high standard.

    • Give yourself to the Moron Side. It is the only way you can save your charts….. Yes, your thoughts betray you. Your feelings for them are strong. Especially for… population charts. So, you have population charts. Your feelings have now betrayed them, too. Jessica Irvine was wise to hide them from me. Now her failure is complete. If you will not turn to the Moron Side… then perhaps she will…

    • Nice evisceration Mr Gunnamatta. I like the way you write!
      Irvine appears to have presented us with the informal logical fallacy of a false dichotomy, and then tried to stick it up as a reasoned argument. Sadly it seems to be stuck up with dried up Clag, used Band-aids, and $2 shop electrical tape.

    • “Did she wonder what the fuck Australia produces and if we require more people to produce that?” Right Gunnamatta.

      Zero immigration, for reasons I have previously given, is the optimal.

  2. How good, I am up late, I logged on to MB and there is a riposte to the Ivine drivel that so riled me earlier in the night. The impression I got from reading it is its either current high rates of migration or none at all. Those are the two options presented by the young Irvine. The possibility of a significantly reduced program was not considered. What happened to her career at The Telegraph that she had to return to Population Growth Herald? Never mind, the article was drivel and as I recall one thing she did not discuss if we halted migration was the effect on our environment. Not a word, reminds me of when I met Di Natale the day before the election and asked him how a purported environmental party could support the highest rate of population growth in the developed world. He sidestepped my question and started going on about building infrastructure. Seems then that population growth has no effect on the environment. I know because I read Irvine and I met the Leader of the Greens and he did not think the subject was worth including in his response when I asked him about it. Just build the infrastructure and no worries. Very reassuring then. Something else I did not see mentioned was rents. Not a word about rent prices, only Bloxham’s dubious claim that house prices would not go down if we had zero migration. That was a very interesting theory as Irvine was saying economic growth would go down. But somehow that would not affect house prices.

    • Shocking response by Mr Di Natale. I just wonder what is the point of the bloody Greens?

      They did nothing for the homeless between 2010 and 2013, nothing about urban sprawl which causes environmental destruction, and nothing about negative gearing.

      Little do they realise that if we cut the “student” visa intake we can close the offshore detention centres and save a heap of money.

      These are the type of schools many “students” come from:

      • That was the conversation, we had, admittedly not lengthy, there were a lot of groupies around at the pre poll booth. In any case I never hear them make a public statement or speech in parliament about the issue either.

  3. The Greens are full of the smug with government tax-payer funded jobs in their inner city green leafy town houses and investment properties chanting, up yours, homeless bastards.

  4. I find Domainfax to be unreadable these days, especially after the departure of Michael West. Here’s hoping for a quick death of Domainfax.

  5. shocked to see this coming out of Irvine, she usually writes well?

    comments are disabled. wonder why…….

  6. Adding 314,000 people a year means that you need to build a city 1 and a half times the size of Hobart.. every year.

    (Otherwise you may just be creating the conditions for slums and declining productivity due to congestion, youth unemployment etc)

  7. Young OK: Otherwise you may just be creating the conditions for slums and declining productivity due to congestion, youth unemployment etc

    That’s not a flaw of the program, that’s a feature.

  8. Would be fascinated to see a macro forecast for the next decade, say, where net immigration is capped to nil growth. I may be missing the point of so much emotion in the posts here and elsewhere on this blog on immigration into Australia now that the merd is starting to blow back.
    Sorry folks I just get a lot of sense of blokes crying in their beer and then the beer goggles in full focus on the comely figure of La Hanson.

      • Yes Mr Mangles. Unfortunately one of the real gaps for this website is the lack of editing. So flicking through on the phone means there needs to be a some editorial control on the part of the site’s owners let alone Gunnamatta if real engagement is intended. I feel this is unrealistic for a couple of blokes in their spare rooms despite the generally high quality of their attempts to bring data to the argument.
        However I don’t shy away from my point that an emotional response to immigration ends up with otherwise rational people in the embrace of Hanson, Farrage, Le Penn et al.

  9. Just remember, when Fairfax finally realise Gittins is too senile to continue, this is his replacement.

  10. St JacquesMEMBER

    The proper place for Ponzi scheme promoters is jail. Just ask Bernie Madoff and Charles Ponzi himself. But there is no denying that Oz has become not much more than one vast Ponzi scheme. Congratulations to its elites in achieving this fine condition. Any ideas on how to get off, boofheads?

  11. I like Irvine. She usually makes a lot of sense, but that piece was a shocker. Not because of what she argued for (you can make a case for high immigration) but because she argued it so badly.

    Everyone has bad days at the office. I’m going to forgive her, but I hope it doesn’t happen again soon.

    • It’s possible you haven’t been paying much attention to her output of the past year. She’s realized it’s much easier to join the cheer squad.

      • I read her stuff and she while she is no Martin Wolf, she is usually pretty good. This was just pure brain fart. Maybe she was concentrating on the footy while she was writing.

      • losif, Jessica has turned to the Moron Side…. I have seen a security hologram… of her… bankrupting FHBs…. She was deceived by a lie… we all were. It appears that the Governor is behind everything, including the GFC….. After the bankruptcy of Ross Gittins, Jessica became his new apprentice.

  12. Where are the new industries, jobs and vision of the way forward? Is this the vision of growth?

    • Exactly!! Pretty depressing for Jessica. You spend all that time and effort getting a Journalism Degree and developing a career only to be reduced to producing propaganda pieces.

  13. I’m not sure what message to take from Jessica’s article.. ‘Keep pumping population growth, or we’re screwed’? How reassuring!

    • GunnamattaMEMBER

      OK Willy Nilly

      I would buy that. If someone were to come out and say ‘we need to maintain immigration at nose bleed levels because a load of natives are about to start passing on in their droves, and there is a need to have high immigration for economic development, sustainment reasons’ then that would be (all things considered) OK by me. What many here have an issue with is the complete lack of substance buttressing the pro uber immigration intake level. As Leith says, lets have the dicsussion, lets get the data out there, and lets look at the current narrative and work out what needs to change. I doubt it will be only immigration, but a vast load of regulatory and economic policy settings as well. And lets get right away from bullshit ‘journalism’ of the type the Irvine piece is a classic example of, which festoons our media

      • The two biggest causes of low fertility is education of women and economic prosperity (the demographic paradox).

    • WN,
      Currently, births less deaths run at about 155K pa. If NOM was zero, ie immigration = emigration, population would continue to rise for decades but as the demographic profile matures, eventually, deaths would rise to meet an increasing number of births, maybe at around 300K pa.

      By then, Australia’s population would be at least 3 million more than today. (currently rising by 1 million every 3 years with mass immigration). The question then is what is a sustainable population for Australia, given its finite arable land, limited fresh water and other finite, non renewable resources. What level of population would deliver the optimum outcome for quality of life, remembering that the economy is a man-made construct operating as a subset, within the natural environment?

      One sure thing is that an ever expanding population will reduce quality of life for all but the wealthiest 1% of our population. Sensibly, Australia could follow Japan as population gradually reduced, leaving the community wealthier per person and with a more resilient and sustainable footprint in the continent.

      • ABS projects Australia to reach 300k deaths pa between 2041 and 2056.
        Under NOM=0, births would drop almost from day one (half of all Australians have at least one O/S born parent), so natural increase would go below zero before we reached 300k deaths, possibly as soon as in 20 years.

      • Eventually? Deaths have already started to rise and the we have had fewer, yep fewer births now three years in a row.

      • Uh huh, the last three years. And what has changed in that time that might be making younger Aussies curtail their babymaking? I’ll give you a hint willy, the years of peak fertility are in the same age bracket as FHBs. facepalm!
        I’m not for putting a end to immigration, I’m not even for a policy of zero-net migration (yet). But the notion that we need high immigration just to maintain a stable population is a furphy. We could quickly return birthrates to replacement (or above), we’ve done it before. What it would take, is the political will to redirect the resources feeding the FIRE sector and its population-ponzi symbiote to affordable housing and growth in the real economy.

      • LabDrudge
        Houses were affordable in the late 70’s and yet the fertility rate dropped below replacement, not long after women entered the workforce. It is not that easy to increase fertility as many govts have found out.

  14. Leith,
    I’d like to see GNI per capita after extracting the top 1% or top 10% (ie for all put the wealthiest 1% or 10%). Is that possible or easy to find?

    A measure of household wealth per person for all but the wealthiest 10% would be cause for a revolution I suspect.

  15. No wonder we have lower births, high debt levels. Just like Japan. If you graduate with a 40k student debt, then battle away to get a mortgage, you’re lucky to be in any position these days before age 35 to consider kids if you want to provide well for them. I know so many Uni mates who have either immigrated or have no kids in their 40s. Huge house costs are having social consequences. It’s not good for everyone.

    • Russell,
      You are correct about costs rising as a result of rapid population growth. However, Australia’s fertility rate at around 1.85 is very high. There are two births for every death in Australia, resulting in net organic growth of around 155,000 per annum. So even with no NET overseas migration (about 70K migrants pa) population will still continue to expand for decades.

      • 1.85 is below replacement fertility. Has been like that since 1976. You are ignoring our looming death bust as deaths double 80 years after a baby boom.

        “In 2014, Australia’s total fertility rate (TFR) was 1.8 babies per woman, a decrease from the 2013 TFR of 1.88 babies per woman, continuing the declining trend of the past five years. Since 1976, the TFR for Australia has been below replacement level. That is, the average number of babies born to a woman throughout her reproductive lifetime (measured by the TFR) has been insufficient to replace herself and her partner. The TFR required for replacement is currently considered to be around 2.1 babies per woman. The TFR reached a low of 1.74 babies per woman in 2001 before increasing to a thirty-year high of 2.02 babies per woman in 2008.”

        “There were 299,697 births registered in Australia in 2014. Just over half (51%) of all births registered in 2014 were male babies, resulting in a sex ratio at birth of 105.1 male births per 100 female births. The number of 2014 birth registrations was approximately 8,400 (2.7%) less than the number registered in 2013 (308,065). In New South Wales, approximately 9,400 less births were registered in 2014 than in 2013. This was the main reason for the decrease at the national level.”

      • W-N,
        Not ignoring those stats at all. Well aware and embracing them. People are making logical and informed choices to limit fertility, which is still well above OECD average.
        Recent increase in fertility from close to 1.7 in 2001 came in response to the baby bonus nonsense and also on the back of higher immigration of demographics from places where fertility is generally higher.
        Australia’s population cannot continue to grow for ever. It must stabilise and even fall if our quality of life is to be preserved. If we double again to 50 million, there will be half as much of everything per person.

      • Note…
        “In 2014, Australia’s total fertility rate (TFR) was 1.8 babies per woman, a decrease from the 2013 TFR of 1.88 babies per woman, continuing the declining trend of the past five years. Since 1976, the TFR for Australia has been below replacement level. That is, the average number of babies born to a woman throughout her reproductive lifetime (measured by the TFR) has been insufficient to replace herself and her partner. The TFR required for replacement is currently considered to be around 2.1 babies per woman. The TFR reached a low of 1.74 babies per woman in 2001 before increasing to a thirty-year high of 2.02 babies per woman in 2008.”

        The baby bonus has zero effect as the age of first births rose to over 30.

      • W-N,
        Thanks for your observations.
        Australia’s net births minus deaths saw population expand ‘organically’ by 145K during 2015
        despite its lower fertility rate. The theoretical replacement fertility rate of 2.1 applies to a mature, condom shaped demographic profile, rather than the more pyramid shape seen in Australia.
        Organic growth will continue for decades, until deaths equal births and as you say, deaths will rise and birth numbers will decline slowly under the influence of a steady state number of women at childbirth ages and hopefully, further reductions in fertility rates to OECD averages, offset by births by younger immigrant mothers, many who will be wanting more than 2.1 children!

      • Yes there is a bulge, but to the extent that there are many more people in the breeding age group in that bulge than in the dying age group, the asymmetric shape (pyramid) results in ongoing population growth for a couple of decades.

        Housing now costs 8-12 times average annual income in major cities, whereas in the 1970’s, an average house cost about 4 times average annual income. Since the housing industry, which is a very inefficient use of capital, remains such a large part of the economy, any shortage of housing that might lift costs and prices has been exacerbated by rapid population growth, which underpins the whole negative gearing and concessional taxation regime, that renders housing an investment good rather than a basic item for accommodation.

  16. “As you can see, Australia’s living standards, as measured by NDI, have growth at roughly half the pace since Australia’s immigration intake was lifted dramatically.”

    Out of curiosity, is the plot showing NDI or the growth in NDI (I.e. first derivative?). A flatline in NDI is obviously not good, but a flatline in growth is perhaps not quite bad (so long as growth is still positive).

    In any case, is it appropriate to blame this all on immigration? The flatline in NDI growth also tracks with the end of the mining boom, there’s a suspicious dip that looks to correspond to the GFC too.. What was NDI growth looking like back in the late1960’s/ early 1970s when immigration temporarily spiked to a level even higher than what it is now?

    Though my gut instinct is that Irvine is ultimately correct, I agree the arguments in the article are not terribly convincing. It doesn’t make sense that a government willing to completely switch off immigration (as if!) would leave all the other related policy settings intact (negative gearing, etc.).

    It would be awesome to see MB actually play devils advocate against its own narrative, and test if there’s any way in which some of Irvine’s arguments might hold water.

    • “Out of curiosity, is the plot showing NDI or the growth in NDI”

      Actual NDI.

      “In any case, is it appropriate to blame this all on immigration?”

      Of course not. But it is hard to argue that mass immigration is making us better-off.

      “The flatline in NDI growth also tracks with the end of the mining boom”

      The terms-of-trade is still way above its long-run average. That is, the commodity boom is still a tailwind to NDI growth. Without it, the picture would be even worse.

      The earlier episode also included the early-1990s recession.

      “What was NDI growth looking like back in the late1960’s/ early 1970s”

      The data does not go back that far. However, the 1970s was almost as bad on per capita NDI growth (see this chart).

      “Though my gut instinct is that Irvine is ultimately correct…”

      Why rely on your gut? How about you examine the data and use logic?

      • Hi UE, thanks for clarifying, yes definitely good to look at numbers.

        Looking at the more recent (red) NDI curve, it looks to be increasing at a rate approximately 3% per year for the 32 quarters leading up to the flatline. By comparison immigration is only increasing the population by something like 1.5% per year. No doubt my calculations could be more precise, but it seems like immigration cannot explain the change in NDI growth?

      • Of course immigration is not the only factor, Kipron. Never said it was. But it is next to impossible to claim that it is boosting the economy in per capita terms with numbers like these. They are poor, whichever way you look at it.

        And then there’s the other externalities not captured, like increasing congestion, reduced housing affordability, and environmental damage.

      • St JacquesMEMBER

        edit: Kip, how simple minded are you? Correlation is not causation but this blog has gone into the nitty gritty since forever. There are many complicating factors between the two data series. A hint, productivity began to flatten out more or less in line with the massive surge in immigration. But it was mostly CAPITAL, NOT LABOUR, PRODUCTIVITY that stalled. Why? Partly because of the mining investment bbom which at that stage was not yet productng, but in large part because capital was being diverted into unproductive property speculation. The point of the immigration boom was to sustain that property bubble and the financial speculation and banking profits behind it. Over time, that must mean that earnings from productive investment stagnate even as population surges. I hope I’ve made this simple enough for you. also the surge in mineral prices until the last few years, drove up Australia’s income (rising terms of trade windfall) through pure luck and hid our stagnating CAPITAL productivity. But now with mineral prices falling (terms of trade falling with it) our income is sliding and the weak (capital, not labour) productivity produced by a land speculation economy is being exposed.

      • St JacquesMEMBER

        And by the way kip, what I said is oversimplified, there are many other things like the consumption boom sucking in imports and borrowings, to pay for them and selling assets to foreigners (future income forgone) and the need to spend and invest more in infrastructure etc to maintain living standards, etc, etc, but all that makes things even worse than I described.

  17. And what about looking at whether existing Australians are better off on a REAL PER CAPITA basis?
    And what about taking into account all the unrecorded costs that are imposed on existing citizens in terms of increased travel times, less seats on trains and buses, road congestion, diminution of our mineral and agricultural wealth over a greater populations, loss of outdoor play area for children, cramming people into smaller and smaller units, rapid chewing up of all capacity for future growth?

  18. Original JohnMEMBER

    As much as I hate the direction this country is taking, if you look at everything our successive governments have done, this article is correct. Our economy is geared towards high immigration, not innovation. The logical arguments against high immigration are sound but the government has seen the future and KNOWS that they are screwed unless they sell everything and let the highest paying immigrants in. I was astounded at the cheering for the rapidly growing healthcare sector over the weekend. Will we open our borders up to a grey invasion to capitalise on this sector and the vast wealth accumulated globally with this demographic?

    Simply put, Jessica may or may not agree with what she has written, but the unfortunate facts of the political direction this country is taking makes her conclusions accurate. The real question is: does the wider Australian population care about high immigration and if so, what will they do about it?

  19. As a young, recently married engineer in my early thirties, the prospect of deteriorating GDP per capita/lowering standards of living (and a dire outlook generally) in this country make me not want to bring child(ren) into the world…. and thus feeding a self-perpetuating cycle of the perceived ‘need’ to boost immigration levels even higher to compensate, which will in turn further lower standards of living for the every day man and so on…

    How to ruin a country for the benefit of a select few vested interest groups? you bet! and don’t dare question immigration levels, you RACIST!!!!

    • Late 20s here, and sadly have been an antinatalist for a long as I can remember.. I wonder if my attitude would be different elsewhere?

  20. We are full up. Past our 23 million.
    We are full up with doctors. Thank you.
    That is well known. We have too many graduates now of our own with placement difficulties because of competition from imports from countries which need doctors.
    Sick of the lies.

      • I thought the PC was pro Oz immigration policy with some minor exceptions – rise of temporary immigration and efficacy of business migration?

      • The PC is pro some immigration (as am I), but wants a full scale national population strategy emphasised on boosting the well-being of the existing population (see here).

        In other words, exactly what I have argued for over several years.

      • The graph says that Norway has a better immigration policy than AUS.

        28% of AUS is foreign born while only 12% of Norway is. So I would absolutely love to have the same immigration rate as Japan or Norway!

    • Room for improvement though, one report showing:

      70% refugee/humanitarian intake having no job five years post arrival
      83% refugee/humanitarian intake dependent on welfare five years post arrival
      60% refugee/humanitarian intake poor English skills five years post arrival

      84% skilled migrant intake in employment

      50% family migrant intake in employment

      Perhaps a revision of incentives to release groups from welfare dependency including ESL requirements, limits to length of dependency etc.

      I’d also be happy for some kind of fee or charge to migrate to Australia, say at least equal the $10k people smugglers apparently used to charge.

  21. SchillersMEMBER

    Looks like Jessica Irvine’s piece (of work) has been deleted from the online editions of the Age and SMH.

  22. Australias wealth per capita = Resources in ground / population.

    Net exports = resources exports – ( everything else X population )

  23. People.
    The Australian government is not listening.
    It has no intention to listen about population growth and cap immigration.
    No matter how loud you scream, we have politicians that are hellbent on selling our children out.
    Be angry.
    Don’t vote for these morons.
    We need a new system plain and simple.

  24. Let’s see how Hanson performs. Will she maintain her anti-immigration policy or succumb to the typical temptations of professional politicians. No more labour/ liberal/ greens for me. If more independents can be elected with anti-immigration views then there may be a chance. But so far the Ponzi party are the clear winners. The growing population is my biggest concern for the future of this country. We are importing a lower standard of living. A larger pie with smaller pieces. If you are average income earner with 2-3 kids, I would be worried about your future and more importantly that of your kids.

      • Thanks Peter

        I joined the SPP in 2010 and certainly vote for them given the opportunity.

        Have been disappointed in the general apathy of the population to take this issue to the polls considering that the majority of Australians disapprove of the current high 3rd world rates of population growth.

        I do get a sense that there is “boiling frog syndrome” in our society. People sense that their conditions are becoming more uncomfortable but are not protesting. The longer they wait the worse it becomes.

        Thanks for the link.


    • You are very welcome.
      I stood for the party in WA, then SPP in 2013/14 . Interestingly and quite positively, when we had to go around again because of the vote SNAFU, SPP almost tripled its vote and nearly a whole class of students at the Bunbury campus of Curtin Uni voted SPP because they asked me about policies and took the time to absorb it all. This shows that when the message gets through, even groups that might ordinarily be considered Greens, will vote for change.

  25. KatharineMEMBER

    This was also in the SMH. So far they haven’t published the letter I wrote in response:

    Jessica Irvine is mistaken when she claims that halting immigration would lead to economic distress because of accelerated immigration (This is what would happen if Australia halted immigration, Oct 3). While a sudden halt could have some deleterious effects in the long run we’d manage very well.

    Recent research demonstrates this. Take for example the ABS population projection series 56. This has high life expectancy with both men and women living on into their nineties, a fertility rate of 2.0 and nil net migration.

    This leads to a stable population by 2061.

    If we apply current age-specific labour-force participation rates to that population, 45 per cent of the total population would be in the labour force in 2061. This is lower than the 52 per cent in 2013, but that was while most baby boomers were still in the labour force, and the proportion of children was lower than in the past.

    Ms Irvine can take heart from the finding that 45 per cent in the labour force in 2061 is the same figure as in 1978. It is also higher than in the prosperous 1960s. Then only 42 per cent of the population were in the labour force.

    See “The ageing of the Australian population: triumph or disaster?”, Centre for Population and Urban Research, Monash University, 2014

    Sincerely Katharine Betts