Judith Sloan: Cut immigration now

By Leith van Onselen

Slowly but surely the pillars supporting Australia’s high immigration program are collapsing, with The Australian’s Judith Sloan the latest to call for Australia’s immigration intake to be significantly wound-back:

High levels of immigration are obviously associated with a bigger economy. But the assessment of the economic benefits of immigration must be made in per capita terms and it is here that the estimated economic gains are in fact very small and are highly dependent on the model used.

The Productivity Commission thinks gross domestic product could be 7 per cent higher in 45 years because of our immigration program.

But let’s be clear, this is a tiny gain across a very long period. Moreover, no account is taken of the impact of immigration on congestion, environmental pressures or housing affordability.

…the annual (permanent) immigration program [of 190,000 excluding humanitarian entrants] is too high and has been for some time…

The reality is that the setting of the permanent migrant intake numbers is partly driven to suit the higher education sector. Selling courses and the potential for permanent residence in Australia is a much more attractive package than selling courses alone…

The Productivity Commission has already belled the cat on the astronomical cost of the contributory parent visa. For a sum just under $50,000 each, the parents of migrants are able to enter the country and, after a period, are fully entitled to every benefit available to those born in Australia, including the Age Pension.

The real cost to the Australian taxpayer is between $335,000 and $420,000 per visa holder. In net present value terms, this amounts to between $2.6 billion and $3.2bn for every annual intake of migrant parents. If Morrison were really serious about budget repair, he would be doing something about this scheme…

The bottom line is this: self-praise for our immigration program by the government is no recommendation. The number of planned permanent immigrants is too high and has been for some time — it should be scaled back immediately to closer to 100,000 a year. The list of occupations in short supply also needs to be reviewed, again with some serious scaling back required…

And as for the proposed temporary parent visa category, just don’t do it. We can’t afford it, it will cause resentment and it’s just bad policy.

Spot on. Since 2003, when John Howard first opened the immigration flood gates, Australia’s population has grown by a whopping 22% – way faster than other advanced English-speaking nations and 2.5 times the OECD average:

ScreenHunter_15563 Oct. 18 16.52

Moreover, this unprecedented growth is projected to continue for decades to come on the back of high immigration:

ScreenHunter_15215 Oct. 02 18.45

The effects of this immigration deluge have been felt clearly across our major cities where traffic congestion has worsened significantly and housing has become increasingly unaffordable.

While the Productivity Commission’s (PC) latest modelling on immigration did find that current settings would boost per capita GDP by 2060 versus zero net overseas migration, these findings need to be taken with a huge pinch of salt.

All of the modelled benefits are transitory since they come from improving Australia’s population pyramid as younger immigrants lower the average age profile of the population and increase the ratio of working aged to non-working aged (called a ‘demographic dividend’). However, as the migrants grow old they too will add to the number of retired people, thus requiring ever more immigration and an ever bigger population to keep the age profile stable (classic Ponzi Demography). To quote the PC:

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.

Labour productivity is also modelled 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

Therefore, the PC’s latest modelling shows 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.

Importantly, the PC cautioned that the modelled higher real GDP per person does not capture the negative externalities from immigration – such as greater congestion, reduced housing affordability, and environmental degradation – nor does it account for any distributional impacts.

On the last point, the PC’s prior modelling on the economic impacts of skilled migration, conducted in 2006, found that all of the benefits flow to the immigrants themselves, whereas existing Australian residents’ incomes are lowered through immigration – hardly a ringing endorsement.

Another thing Sloan could have mentioned is that since the immigration flood gates were jammed open in 2003, Australia’s per capita GDP and disposable income has grown at an anaemic rate compared to the previous corresponding 12-year periods (see below charts).

ScreenHunter_15534 Oct. 17 15.59 ScreenHunter_15535 Oct. 17 15.59

And this comes despite growth in the terms-of-trade being most favourable across the most recent 12-year period (see next chart).

ScreenHunter_15536 Oct. 17 16.01

When viewed alongside qualitative measures like traffic congestion and housing affordability, which have clearly worsened as the population has exploded, there is a strong case to be made that Australia’s high population growth strategy has very likely lowered individual living standards.

International evidence also does not support Australia’s high immigration program.

The next chart plots the change in per capita real GDP against population over the years 2000 to 2015 across the 35 OECD member nations (Australia is shown in red):

ScreenHunter_15572 Oct. 19 17.17

As you can see, there is no statistically significant relationship between the growth in the population and per capita real GDP across OECD member nations.

The next chart shows the relationship between population growth and labour productivity growth across the 35 OECD member nations over the period 2000 to 2015 (Australia shown in red), and again shows no statistically significant relationship:

ScreenHunter_15573 Oct. 19 17.26

The relationship between population growth and multifactor productivity growth, which is plotted below across 20 OECD member nations (where data is available) over the period 2000 to 2014 (Australia shown in red) also shows no statistically significant relationship:

ScreenHunter_15574 Oct. 19 17.29

Despite experiencing some of the highest population growth in the OECD, Australia’s productivity growth has been lackluster by comparison.  While this does not by itself suggest that Australia’s high immigration program has lowered productivity, it is nigh impossible to argue that it has raised it either.

In summary, the broad macroeconomic data – both domestic and international – does not support the assertion that Australia needs to run a high immigration program in order to drive the economy and increase living standards. In fact, given the considerable qualitative costs – for example, the degradation of the environment, the depreciation of natural resources and decline in individuals’ quality of life – there is significant cause to dial Australia’s immigration program right back.

[email protected]

Unconventional Economist
Latest posts by Unconventional Economist (see all)

Comments

    • LVO, good work on that presentation, but you have overlooked the 2 gorillas lined at arrivals customs up and about to enter the country. 1 is robotics and the other is intelligent software.
      Everyone agrees, that up to half of the workforce will be on the footpath in 10 years time.
      On a linear scale that is 5% increasing unemployment year on year.
      The disruption caused by the advance of technology is a number of times that caused by immigration. Once unemployment reaches 10% plus, the immigrants will be forcibly deported. Simple as that. Trump style (How about 13million known illegal immigrants in the USA, what has been going on over there)

      • The whole issue of technological change is so big it needs a campaign of posts to address it. It is true that most “jobs” will be erased, however at the same time the cost of these automated “jobs” will fall as well. What we are seeing is that the current system adapts by creating fake jobs to avoid the problem.

        A bad, but probable scenario is that we try to preserve “growth” and “stability” by continuing the population ponzi to feed a fake economy that is kept to appear like a late 20th century version that the politicians and economists believe they understand. A bit like the Hitchcock movie Psycho where Norman Bates keeps his mother’s corpse all dressed up like she is still alive. We will have the media spruiking houses and growth long after it makes any sense at all. When that illusion bubble pops it will be armaggedon.

      • WW the excessive immigrants beyond our sustainable population of 22 to 23 million, will have voting rights. There are million s of them and they will not deport themselves. Plus look at the effect of the the Intolerant minority (Nassim Taleb)
        We wont have the excuse of ‘illegals’. The motivation of the population increases by importation ibeggars understanding.

    • LVO just keeps hitting them over the head with data and evidence. Its the only way. Eventually he’ll beat them into submission.

    • Great article. Thank you for comments and posting Judith’s article. Spine chilling figures. Turnbull has been very very active in destruction.

      • GLO, when we start deporting immigrants, it wont be under a democracy, there will be some appointed leader, and they will call the shots.
        A democracy has allowed all this nonsense to develop.

      • A democracy has allowed all this nonsense to develop.

        No it hasn’t. Completely the opposite.

      • Turnbull has been very very active in destruction.

        Turnbull has hardly been involved at all. Most of the damage happened long before he was PM.

      • Drs Smithy, Turnbull was around the 50K parent/school child game, neg gearing upheld, the 75K gift to the Clinton Foundation to smooth way for the TTIP for a start..there is latest effort, the sell off of the ASIC records to corporate, and this past weekend
        comment from GetUp
        ” the Four Seasons luxury hotel in Sydney. Inside, behind closed doors, Prime Minister Turnbull and NSW Liberal Party elites were rubbing shoulders with corporate bigwigs and fossil fuel magnates.
        It was a rare glimpse into the mechanics of our rigged political system, where political and business elites make decisions out of the public eye – where people like you and me are denied a voice. ‘

  1. All the above makes perfect sense but we have a Treasurer quoted in the paper today as saying that while property in Sydney and Melbourne is becoming increasingly unaffordable it is, however, not overvalued.
    With such searing intellects leading our polity, what hope has policy debate.

    • All the above makes perfect sense but we have a Treasurer quoted in the paper today as saying that while property in Sydney and Melbourne is becoming increasingly unaffordable it is, however, not overvalued.

      That’s just the circular logic of “free market” zealots manifesting.

      “If someone’s prepared to pay for it, it can’t be overvalued. If it was overvalued, nobody would pay for it.”

      • ScoMo mentioned housing was unaffordable but not overpriced. Is our genius treasurer expecting ZIRP to make housing affordable without price increasing?

  2. ‘Moreover, no account is taken of the impact of immigration on congestion, environmental pressures or housing affordability.’

    AKA living standards. Staggering.

  3. The govt (either one of the two majors) will again be claiming in due course at budget time that Medicare has become too expensive, completely ignoring the fact that it was their policies that made it so. John Howard blueprinted and brought into practice the downfall of what once was a pretty great country early 2000s and subsequent “leadership” has been too afraid or too conflicted to bring about a much needed change of course. The floodgates have been open too long now and real damage already done, this cannot be reversed.

    • I’ve got to admit the more I see of the results of the Howard/Costello circus the more I wonder whether Howard was just another part of the great Soros óne world’ screw-up! The consequences for this nation must have been known in government and corporate circles through all this time…surely! So this is quite deliberate.

  4. Even StevenMEMBER

    I won’t be holding my breathe for politicians to take action. Still, progress is progress…

    Well argued, Leith. I can’t help but think your persistence on this is having an impact.

    • Yep, MB’s persistence is no doubt getting through in this long war. But I’d also think that people are now listening because its starting to become unavoidable in their everyday lives, everything from congestion on the road to hospital emergency rooms, to overflowing schools, to an accelerating explosion of homelessness in city streets and parks, etc, etc, etc. And then the next thought comes along – “and this is just the beginning!”.

      • I made a few visits to the local GP bulk billing super clinic recently. I was one of the few English speaking Caucasians there each time. The rest of the place was filled with Asians, muddle-easterners and Africans, all speaking different languages, and the typical wait time was about 4 hours. None of them looked particularly well off, and it seemed a prime example to me of the result of importing hordes of low skilled immigrants who then start to immediately consume the medical resources that I’ve helped create through paying my taxes for that last 34 years.

        The incredibly poor service, and the whole immigration back-story that drove it made me angry and sad. We simply *must* reduce our immigration rate.

      • straya is well on its way to becoming a dog eat dog country where only the rich get access to services such as what we have been used to in the past

  5. $50,000 for the contributory parent visa is insane – it should be priced at exactly what it costs us (i.e between $350,000 – $450,000).

    • A lot of the foreign “students” cheat on exams to come here so if degrees were not dumbed down – they would fail and be deported.

      It is fantasy to think that the 3rd world is full of skilled people.

      Thanks Gillard for dumbing down the degrees and being a complete liar about not wanting to be PM and not wanting a big AUS.

  6. This is heresy within Murdoch’s Oz. A follow up is necessary to see if she is a genuine apostate or just baiting the conventional view.

    • When the people you despise start singing from your hymn sheet, best to sit back, shut up and let them.

    • Lol. This is where I wonder which way FaIrfax and Guardian will swing – ordinarily automatic response would be to oppose anything Ms Sloan said (for no other reason than it was Sloan or Murdoch press or Cat Files). Will watch with interest.

      • How will the Murdoch media respond to Ms Judith. Looks like Sonia Kruger has been gagged after she pointed out that Japan has very little immigration.

    • Did she get her drivers licence for the first time because her public transport was too crowded? Not the first I’ve seen that’s for sure.

    • SchillersMEMBER

      Jason, Judith Sloan has skin in the game on this subject, having been a commissioner at the Productivity Commission around the time the Howard government commissioned the report Leith refers to: Economic Implications of Migration and Population growth. You might not agree with her party polical stance on many things, but in this area she knows what she is writing about.

      http://www.pc.gov.au/inquiries/completed/migration-population

    • Sloan is loathsome, but it makes a nice change for someone writing on immigration to be specific about the level they’d like to see, with an actual number (rather than ‘a level similar to what was common in the past’ In the ’70s when it was higher than it is today in gross figures or the ’90s when it was unusually low due to the ‘recession we had to have’).

      Also her figure seems sensible at 100k

  7. Some people have called me small-minded for this, but how do we think we can keep growing our population by a city the size of Canberra every year in a largely arid continent and with the uncertainty (but likely to be bad!) of climate change going forward. It’s all good to sing kumbaya, open borders etc, but it’s our descendant’s lives we’re threatening.

    • By the same token, how could we get away with NOT taking in a significant number of environmental refugees when islands start disappearing beneath the waves. Especially since we’re either directly (through coal stations/mining) or indirectly (through selling coal) causing so much of the CO2 in the first place?

      • As has been said many times on this side, conflating our humanitarian refugee intake with our mass skilled migration program is a mistake. I agree there is a role for refugee intake. My issue is with the former and encouraging moral hazard in large countries such as India/China to not address their too large populations by giving them an exit valve. No wonder humanity is wiping out species left, right and centre!

      • If you think us taking on millions of people onto this arid continent with shite soil will make a jot of difference to other parts of the world, I’ve got a bridge to sell you Kipron. And if you think our immigration policy has anything to do with Christian Charity and not the vested interests of the Big End of Town…..you’re either a paid up troll or a….

      • I can assure you I’m no troll, and certainly not a paid one. I have a real job (which I better get back to!).

      • The best way to help Pacific Islanders would be to provide free family planning technology. Fertility rates on many of the ‘threatened’ Islands is way too high at over 5 in some cases. Overpopulation presents a much bigger threat to the islanders than any change is sea levels.

    • Ok, do some research on the ‘demographic momentum’ It is after all 30% of our growth in actual numbers.

  8. slash immigration to less than 30k or so a year and tie it to an ethnic status quo, i.e the ethnic makeup of immigrants should reflect the ethnic proportions of australia where they realistically can, preferably from a census date several decades prior. also reduce to an absolute minimum migratory intake from islamic, african and other problematic populations those considered from these groups should be heavily vetted. eliminate all population boosting policies at home.

    • “preferably from a census date several decades prior”

      But not from a census date several centuries prior.

      • Mining BoganMEMBER

        How hard is it to come across a copy of the 1786 census? That Brandis chap won’t even let anyone have a squizz at his work diary.

    • US greencard system works this way, it takes country of origin and keeps a queue for each – very easy to implement & will be effective. Just need a capped number on top of that additionally. My view is skilled immigration is a sham and should be replaced with a limited number of 457s where salaries need to be more than 120K(or even 150K) and the only path for someone to get to residency and eventually citizenship.

      • Amit,

        The US also has a massive undocumented migrant population. In last decade this was largely from Mexico but increasingly Mexico is dropping away and undocumented migrants are arriving from further a field, India, China and the future it will be more Africa.

  9. Great stuff again UE!

    “”The Productivity Commission thinks gross domestic product could be 7 per cent higher in 45 years because of our immigration program.””
    Luckily, according to the Productivity Commission, there is no limit to the foreign debt we can run up over the next 45 years and , despite the necessity of selling off assets like mines businesses and farms to foreigners, we will NEVER EVER run out of assets to sell to support GDP!!!!! This despite the fact that a large proportion of most sectors are already foreign owned.

    I mean seriously! What is wrong with the economics profession? I guess it is that after 60 years of preaching BS in universities none of the current crop can smell it at all?

  10. I think the (somewhat related) comments from Scott Morrison this morning are an indicator of how government will handle this. If anything we will not cut immigration, but rather, we will build our capacity to accommodate more people. This is a good thing IMO, it means we can maintain the GDP / cultural benefits of population growth without sacrificing living standards.

    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/scott-morrison-puts-states-on-notice-over-house-prices-20161023-gs8ngm.html

    • Cultural benefits of population growth?
      Australia is already the most multinational/multi-cultural nation on the planet. 26% of us were born overseas and about 48% of us were either born overseas or have one parent that was born overseas. Any more multi-cultural and Australia will be a colony.

      • “You say you are not a troll …. just a dill then”

        This is the third time you’ve aimed one of these jibes at me. Please spare a thought for our poor struggling NBN and stop wasting valuable bandwidth with your insults.

      • “So what are those cultural benefits?”

        There are many. Greater foreign investment and tourism, greater diversity in art, architecture, foods and lifestyles, better social ties and political relationships with our countries in our region and globally. More opportunities for our youngsters to travel abroad too.

    • Yeah righto Kipron. We haven’t built our capacity to accommodate the last 12 year’s mega-growth. What makes you confident that the government will build the necessary infrastructure to accommodate future mega-growth?

      Your cognitive dissonance on this issue is amazing. Join the dots.

      • “What makes you confident that the government will build the necessary infrastructure to accommodate future mega-growth?”

        If it smells like profit, they will build it. Remember, we had a housing bubble in the 1890’s and still managed to move beyond that somehow. What we have today would be considered “mega-growth” compared to back then, but it still happened.. Somehow we built train-lines, airports, entire new cities out of the ground.

        Hell, economics will take us to mars one day. Just because you can’t see it right now doesn’t mean it can’t / won’t happen.

        • So Kipron, you are really just a “grow and hope” guy that believes that everything will turn out fine, even though all the current evidence suggests otherwise.

          Melbourne hasn’t added a new rail line since the 1930s (Glen Waverley Line). But don’t worry folks, it’s coming. I promise (close eyes and pray).

          Delusional much?

      • I would have a good answer for that, but I’m too busy reading about an American election on a Korean phone. :p

    • When does the growth stop Kipron? That’s the answer the Ponzi proponents can never answer. 50 million? 100M? 200M? The demographic crunch has to come some time because Australia’s poor soils, variable climate and fragile ecosystem can only support so many people.

  11. Sloan points out the connection with the education sector here….

    I can’t remember who it was (someone on MB?) that said that the primary role of universities is property management. I liked that line so much I use it with a lot with academics when discussing the current status of universities.

    One of the things you notice with the unis is how much they’ve invested in student accommodation over the last decade or so. For example all the dogboxes on campus at UNSW, really quite astonishing.

    I was chatting with an academic at a G8 uni who said that they’d just gone to the uni’s long term planning sessions, and they were expecting that everything would be pretty much hunky dory (increasing students, increasing revenue) into the forseeable future. That was their SWOT analysis. Scary.

    If the government caves to public pressure and scales back immigration, the unis are completely unprepared for the knock-on effect on demand.

    That’s why no government has done it so far. But if the immigration-is-bad meme takes over, they’ll change tack. Even if they personally believe high immigration is better for the country, it’s still more important to get re-elected.


    • I was chatting with an academic at a G8 uni who said that they’d just gone to the uni’s long term planning sessions, and they were expecting that everything would be pretty much hunky dory (increasing students, increasing revenue) into the forseeable future. That was their SWOT analysis. Scary.

      What is their plan to increase student numbers given the student age population in their largest source of O/S students (China) are guaranteed to decline significantly over the next 20 years, and the other Anglophone countries are working harder to attract Chinese and other O/S students?

      • +1
        We compete for OS students and the growth rates for Chinese students into the USA far outstrips our growth rates.
        An unaffordable option Australia is becoming.

  12. I’d like to see data in the second chart, Australian Population Change, presented as % population change rather than raw numbers.

    I suspect that % population change now is less than during the 50s, 60s & 70s.

    Population change is not as big an input in to falling living standards as failure to make productivity gains in recent years.

    • Percentage movements are misleading. Nature sees the actual number of new feet and measures how heavily they stand on the planet.
      For instance, the global population growth rate has fallen from over 2% pa in the 1970’s to about 1.1% today. Hooray you might say but in numbers, population today rises by 80 million pa, which is at least 30 million more every year than in the early 1970’s.

      • When it comes to environmental impact, I fully agree.
        When it comes to economic measures, I think the high population growth has lowered living standards is misleading to say the least. Lack of productivity growth, lack of infrastructure spending, change of tax system to reward owners of capital rather than workers…. these and many other things are bigger contributors to our falling standards of living.

      • So if that is the case Avid Chartist, we should all move to Lagos and enjoy the benefits of rapid population growth there! I am struggling to identify any nation or place that has produced a better quality of human life through rapid population expansion.
        Population growth overwhelms any and all efforts to build infrastructure to cope while retrofitting an existing built environment is more costly than planning for growth at the beginning.
        Western Australia has been struggling to build the infrastructure needed to support its rapid population growth, which rose to over 3.2%pa at its peak, while state revenues have not matched that task. The end result is a state is deep debt. It would be good to bring all the supporting infrastructure needed into existence, but that is not the way it works. Its the Red Queen syndrome. Running flat out (to keep up with population growth) but not even standing still. Quality of life has gone backward because of rapid population expansion. Rising housing costs, longer commutes on congested roads and overcrowded public transport, along with rising noise, water and air pollution, loss of biodiversity and animal habitat while an ever expanding human footprint over once arable land leaves the community less resilient to exogenous shocks.

      • World population growth peaked in gross numbers in about 1989 at just over 90 mill and has been falling ever since.

    • “I’d like to see data in the second chart, Australian Population Change, presented as % population change rather than raw numbers”.

      % population change is highly misleading. It’s the numbers of people that matters to the environment, carrying capacity, infrastructure, and living standards.

      By your logic, once Australia grows to 40 million, current population growth won’t be a problem because it will nearly halve in percentage terms.

      “Population change is not as big an input in to falling living standards as failure to make productivity gains in recent years”.

      We are told that Australia’s high immigration program boosts productivity. Where is the evidence?

      • I agree with the concluding paragraph of the article and it’s main thrust, that high immigration is not going to boost our living standards. But I don’t see any evidence presented that high immigration in itself actually lowers our living standards on any economic measure. Throwing the environment in to the mix in your comment when it’s barely mentioned in the article is a bit of a stretch.

        I find it curious that high immigration is deemed the number 1 culprit when lack of productivity growth, lack of infrastructure spending, change of tax system to reward owners of capital rather than workers…. these and many other things are bigger contributors to our falling standards of living.

        • “I don’t see any evidence presented that high immigration in itself actually lowers our living standards on any economic measure”.

          Sure. It’s hard to separate specific drivers. But there’s certainly no evidence that it boosts material living standards either.

          You have conveniently failed to mention the qualitative drivers of living standards: e.g. traffic congestion, housing affordability, environmental amenity, natural resource endowment, etc, which are all unequivocally made worse through high immigration.

          “… lack of productivity growth, lack of infrastructure spending, change of tax system to reward owners of capital rather than workers…. these and many other things are bigger contributors to our falling standards of living”.

          High immigration makes all of these things worse. It amplifies the underlying policy failures for no apparent gain. So why do it?

  13. And the benefits of per capita growth in incomes or wealth (if such occur on an average basis or gross basis) must also be balanced out against:
    1. will it be growth in REAL, AFTER TAX AND TRANSFER PAYMENT incomes?
    2. are we talking about how it affects only the citiizens and existing permanaent residents. IE can we have average growth but with most existing citizens worse off?
    3. is it a sufficient growth to offset non-financial costs like waiting lists for services, congestion, scarcity of other resources and benefits like open space, recreation space, dilution of resource wealth of the country over a greater number of people, need for higher density living, more crowded schools and universities and costs imposed eg for translation services
    4. are there a large group of existing citizens who become worse off because they are denied opportunities/jobs/education that they would otherwise gain. For example, how many young Australia citizens have been denied the opportunity to become doctors because we have imported doctors from other countries and similarly for other professions and trades. Displacement of existing citizens from higher paid jobs also ought be taken into account as a cost.

  14. For a sum just under $50,000 each, the parents of migrants are able to enter the country and, after a period, are fully entitled to every benefit available to those born in Australia, including the Age Pension.
    The real cost to the Australian taxpayer is between $335,000 and $420,000 per visa holder. In net present value terms, this amounts to between $2.6 billion and $3.2bn for every annual intake of migrant parents.

    I wasn’t aware of that. Is that true?
    I think it is time we sound the warning that Aussie’s will not be honouring illegitimate deals such as these. As a voter I will vote to stiff the old foreigners and deny them pensions and deny them free medical care.
    I will vote to stiff our foreigner creditors. The money was not lent to benefit me, and I will vote to not pay it back.
    I will vote to stiff our foreigner land owners. The sale did not benefit me and I will vote to reclaim their asset any way that suits me.

    These foreign bastards are making deals that they should realise are unfair to Aussies. They come and buy our best houses, put their kids in our best schools – displacing Aussies. They buy our farms and won’t let us buy theirs. They run mercantilist low currency manipulations and kill our industry and hook us on debt. They should expect a backlash.

    I see no reason why the pension age and medicare access should be based on years in Australia or taxable hours worked. The govt has already changed my pension elegibility age. Why not make a few changes that will effect these foreigners who are overburdening our system?

    • Don’t worry, this is a democracy, you’ll never be given a chance to vote on such issues. The foreign bastards are doing what foreign bastards can only be expected to do, it’s our fellow countrymen who are to blame.

  15. what the hell does multiculturalism have to do with tourism. who the hell comes here to look at chinese people

  16. And meanwhile in the real world our NOM is down 33% from its peak and still falling and all while our natural growth starts it rapid decline with more deaths and fewer births. Just saying….

    • In the 1980’s and 90’s, NOM ranged between 40K and 120K pa, averaging about 75K pa. Recent NOM of 281K is four times that longer term average. Births minus deaths last year were 146K, with twice as many births as deaths.

      Why are you so concerned about slower population growth? Isn’t expansion by 327K pa enough for you? If Australia doubles is population, there will be half as much of everything per person. It turns out that rainfall and arable land are not expanded by increasing population, quite the reverse in many cases.

      • willy’s point is that there is a very low probability that Australia’s population will double from here, regardless of our immigration policy – and that it will require a significant increase from current NOM for it to happen and then maintain the population at that level.

      • Robert,
        All previous attempts at forecasting Australia’s population growth and actual numbers over time have proven to be hopelessly below the actual outcome. How will this change unless there is some move to stability?

        It may take 25 years before births and deaths move to be equal, meanwhile unless immigration is hauled back, population would continue to grow. Even if total population growth was reduced to 1%, population would still double in 70 years.
        Why would anyone want to pursue that outcome? What possible benefit could it bring to Australia? How would doubling the nation’s population improve quality of life? Wouldn’t an Australia of 50 million be far less resilient to exogenous events?


      • All previous attempts at forecasting Australia’s population growth and actual numbers over time have proven to be hopelessly below the actual outcome. How will this change unless there is some move to stability?

        No – Howard and Costello examined the figures from the ABS, which were totally correct and made a decision to change them. That is, in 2002, the ABS correctly projected (not forecast) what would happen if NOM and TFR continued at the same level, and Howard and Costello made large scale policy changes to change both, with rather more impact on the NOM front.

        Willy is not saying that 50 million population will be better for us – he’s saying that it will be harder for us to get there than it looks when you see population growth around 2009, and that that is a peak of population growth we are unlikely to see again.

      • I am simply pointing out the facts. To correct you our most recent NOM was 180,800 people, not 281K. Best to stick with the actual data, rather than not I think.
        http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/[email protected]/allprimarymainfeatures/BCDDE4F49C8A3D1ECA257B8F00126F77?opendocument

        I do not support a big Australia, however the data that I research certainly does not show us moving in that direction. Certainly we would have to double or treble our NOM over the next few decades to compensate for the dramatic fall in natural growth that will occur. Deaths are not predictions, they are projections.
        The ABS has changed it methodology several times and Leith knows this very well, yet he continues to present data like it has been a consistent method of calculating population growth. It has not. In fact even presenting a chart like the AU Pop Change chart he has done is incorrect and misleading, due to the changes in methodology. Even the ABS point this out.

        A good argument must start with the actual true data, not bias data based on a narrative.

        “15 The ABS introduced the ’12/16 month’ rule for calculating NOM in September quarter 2006. Consequently this point marks a break in series and NOM estimates from earlier periods are not comparable.”
        http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/[email protected]/Lookup/3101.0Explanatory%20Notes1Mar%202016?OpenDocument

        “An improved method for calculating NOM was applied from September quarter 2006 onwards. The key change is the introduction of a ’12/16 month rule’ for measuring a person’s residency in Australia replacing the ’12/12 month rule’. This change results in a break in time series and therefore it is not advised that NOM data calculated using the new method is compared to data previous to this.”
        http://www.abs.gov.au/Ausstats/[email protected]/0/72998BF081BECAE5CA2577FF0012082F?OpenDocument

      • Willy,

        Yes. Sorry that was my typo. Of course NOM was 181K last year, not 281K, which explains the total being 327K after adding 146K of ‘natural’ increase. but before accounting for other short stay visa types, which could be many more people.

  17. The intellectual midgets (politicians) that infest Canberra have baked in a collapse and when it comes they will have no clue what to do. Morrison is a profoundly nasty piece of work.

  18. The parent visa- what a disgrace! Subsidising immigrant parents? How stupid. Always wondered by the average age of immigrants was so high. Surely bringing in grandparents doesn’t do much good for the already ageing population. Time to clean up our own backyard first.

    • Maybe an aging population isn’t the bad thing that we have been told?

      Society is largely held together by intergenerational interdependence and nothing supports this more than the close relationship had between grandparents and grandchildren. Not only will giving parents of migrants a viable path to migrate, I believe make Australia stronger, more able to withstand the headwinds that are heading towards it but it is also the humane thing to do. Of course this needs to be balanced against cost but it is important to point out that the equation is not as simple cost of caring for aging parents versus what they pay to get their visas. It is much more complex than that.

      • I agree that an ageing population is not necessarily a bad thing.
        Intergenerational interdependence is on the decline and is not coming back due to housing affordability issues.
        However, I do believe that adding the burden of additional ageing parents from abroad onto the shoulders of the young generation is not acceptable.
        Using population growth as a tool for economic growth is a farce. We have used this for the last 10 years and it has been a disaster for the masses.

  19. Leith
    Your AU Pop Growth chart is wrong IMO.
    The projections you have would require a massive increase in our NOM and given what I hear around the halls, it is accepted that the public, as an aging voting bloc, will never accept that.

    • That isn’t Leith’s population projections, that’s the official Australian Government projections. Sydney and Melbourne are have similar charts for population growth (flat line high above historical average going out to forever) by State and Local Governments.