Jessica Irvine: Throw open Australia’s borders

By Leith van Onselen

Last month, Fairfax’s Jessica Irvine penned a highly spurious piece championing high immigration and a Big Australia, which got comprehensively debunked on this site (see “Jessica Irvine goes population ponzi mad”).

Rather than learning her lesson, Irvine has returned today calling for Australia to throw open its borders to as many people as possible because “it’s the right thing to do”:

Economists have battled for some time to get their numbers straight to prove that migrants add more to the economy than they take. Recently they’ve honed their estimates.

In a report released by the government in September, the Productivity Commission estimated that, compared to closing our borders completely, Australia’s current migration intake, if sustained, will boost economic output per person by about 7 per cent in 2060 – worth around $7000 each in today’s dollars…

Take your pick of messenger, but the bottom line is clear: the total benefits of Australia’s migration intake to the economy exceed the costs…

Our ultimate goal should be to boost the wellbeing of citizens, not the value of their economic production. It matters if income gains are eroded by more time spent sitting in traffic, or having to pay more for a home, which clearly, they have been to some degree.

Again, however, that’s not an argument for halting migration, but for stepping up our efforts on urban planning and investment in critical infrastructure. We don’t tell children to stop growing because they’re busting out of their pants. We buy them new pants…

So let me be clear: we should keep our borders open to as many souls as possible because it’s the right thing to do…

If individuals decide they can best pursue their happiness by moving here and living in the most prosperous and peaceful nation on earth, who are we to deny them? Surely, they are right… it’s not the job of a politician in Canberra to decide how big Australia should be.

Irvine’s claim that “the total benefits of Australia’s migration intake to the economy exceed the costs” is simply wrong. If she had cared to look deeply into the Productivity Commission’s (PC) research on this issue, she would have figured this out for herself.

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 Jessica? 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.

Irvine’s suggestion that we should just build more infrastructure to cope with the greater population is also wishful thinking.

In already built-up cities like Sydney and Melbourne, which also happen to be the major magnets for new migrants, the cost of retrofitting new infrastructure to accommodate greater population densities can become prohibitively expensive because of the need for land buy-backs, tunnelling, as well as disruptions to existing infrastructure.

We have seen these diseconomies of scale time and time again. For example, projects like Melbourne’s now defunct East West Road Link was expected to cost 18 billion, whereas Sydney’s North West Rail Link would cost $8 billion. That’s an astounding $350 million to $1 billion per kilometre.

Hence, running a high immigration program becomes increasingly costly for existing residents. The huge infrastructure costs also force unpopular asset sales, increased debt borrowings and austerity – none of which is a desirable outcome.

In November 2013, the PC released its final report on An Ageing Australia: Preparing for the Future, which warned that total private and public investment requirements over the next 50 years are estimated to be more than 5 times the cumulative investment made over the last half century:

Australia’s population is projected to increase to more than 38 million by 2060… The likely population growth will place pressure on Australian cities… In response to the significant increase in the size of Australian cities, significant investment in transport and other infrastructure is likely to be required. This is true both within the cities themselves and for the links between regional and major cities. Policies will be needed to reduce congestion problems, and to ensure adequate infrastructure funding and investment efficiency…

Total private and public investment requirements over this 50 year period are estimated to be more than 5 times the cumulative investment made over the last half century, which reveals the importance of an efficient investment environment…
ScreenHunter_15679 Oct. 25 14.39

The report also warned that without such massive investment, multifactor productivity – the key driver of living standards – would fall:

With MFP growth projected to be 0.7 per cent per year under the base case, the remaining share of labour productivity is driven by the accumulation of capital. Given assumptions about the capital share of income, this study estimates that the capital/labour ratio would increase by around 1.8 per cent per year over the projection period, only slightly less than the long-run growth rate from 1974-75 to 2012-13 (figure 4.7).

ScreenHunter_15680 Oct. 25 14.45

The implied level of investment to drive such capital accumulation is large — estimated at around $38 trillion dollars over the projection period in constant 2011-12 prices (table 4.4). To put that in context, in the more than fifty years from 1959-60 to 2012-13, total investment in Australia has been around $8.2 trillion. While different assumptions about capital income shares, multifactor productivity growth and depreciation affect the projections, they all produce qualitatively similar outcomes: Australia will be buying and building a large amount of physical capital. Without the efficient allocation of that capital, the achievable labour productivity growth rate would be considerably lower.

The bottom line is that running a high immigration program requires massive investment and costs a lot. Australia’s governments have failed dismally on this front, preferring to take the sugar hit from added demand while leaving the problems to be solved down the track on somebody else’s watch (i.e. never). Yet Irvine magically believes that the situation can be turned around and that Australia can easily accommodate the flood of new residents without straining infrastructure, the environment, or living standards.

Irvine’s claim that “we should keep our borders open to as many souls as possible because it’s the right thing to do” and that “it’s not the job of a politician in Canberra to decide how big Australia should be” is ridiculous.

It is first and foremost the job of our politicians to look after the interests of its residents. This necessarily requires setting the immigration program to maximise wellbeing of existing residents and basing it on a framework founded on evidence as well as community consultation and support. Again, to quote the PC:


With low and stable rates of natural population growth, decisions about the size of the permanent and temporary immigration intake amount to a de facto population policy.

The Australian Government’s judgments about immigration levels and population growth should be better informed by:

• a broad range of evidence which identifies, quantifies (where possible) and analyses the impacts of immigration and population growth on the wellbeing of the existing Australian community

• the Australian community’s values and perspectives on the importance of different impacts, that are well-informed by evidence

• the impact on future generations, incorporating a well-informed consideration of Australia’s absorptive capacity

• the effectiveness of policies that are best equipped to address these impacts. Enhancing the Australian community’s wellbeing is likely to be consistent with a range of immigration rates depending on the settings of many other complementary policies.


The Australian Government should:

• develop and articulate a population policy to be published with the intergenerational report

• specify that the primary objective of immigration and the Government’s population policy is to maximise the economic, social and environmental wellbeing of the Australian community (existing Australian citizens and permanent residents) and their future offspring.

Australia’s immigration and population policy should be better informed through:

• genuine community engagement

• a broad range of evidence on the economic, social and environmental impacts of immigration and population growth on the wellbeing of the Australian community

• a published five yearly review of Australia’s population policy. The Australian Government should calibrate the size of the annual immigration intake to be consistent with its population policy objectives.

Indeed, 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 ‘grow and hope’ position displayed by Irvine, which blindly assumes that mass immigration is beneficial, and maintains the current ‘Big Australia’ plan without first undertaking community consultation and gaining its support.

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Unconventional Economist
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  1. Does anyone know what all these new immigrants are doing to earn a living? The government may be able to throw open the borders, but who/what is providing the employment?

    • You name it, they’re doing it…..for a lot less, via a labour hire agency that’s still clipping the ticket.

      • matthew hoodMEMBER

        Have a close family friend who is a union organiser and he can’t keep up with signing up new members in this area. Once he shows them that they are well under the award and that he’s union can setup super to go with them anywhere in Oz and overseas, they alll sign up. I asked if he has trouble with the business owners, he said no once he show them how it levels the playing field by applying the law to both the big and small enterprises they are more than happy to allow him on site. The labour hire firms on the other hand can’t stand him making them pay the full rate to there workers.

      • On of the interesting things i have noticed from friends who have traveled to the USA is the surprising number of people who are employed on sub standard wages to perform functions that are automated here in Australia.
        Car park attendants for one. Here the cost of wages has made it cost effective to automate many functions that in the states it is not worth while becasue there is a constant source of cheap labor to perform it.
        So i would not be surprised as long as the labor gets cheaper in this country from unwarranted immigration then those people will funnel into menial jobs that in a earlier age would have been automated.

    • Um, foreigners on illegal wages are replacing Aussies on legal wages.

      Why do you think so many voters are unemployed?

      Why are wages shrinking?

      This is why I voted for SAP and ONP.

  2. > it’s not the job of a politician in Canberra to decide how big Australia should be

    Certainly, it’s not. It is up to the citizens of Australia to make this decision.

    • +1 The inherent stupidity of Irvine’s statement is breathtaking
      …and she claims to be an economist?

    • Bingo.

      Have a referendum on it. Or PM Howard said “we will decide who comes to this nation”.

      PM May seems genuine about cutting immigration to a sensible level.

  3. “We don’t tell children to stop growing because they’re busting out of their pants. We buy them new pants…”

    In Australia we chuck out the kids, and bring in new children who fit the pants.

  4. Where is the evidence that the environmentally sustainable carrying capacity for Australia is more than 25,000,000 residents?

  5. Actually Jessica, Australia is not “the most prosperous and peaceful nation on earth”. New Zealand is, according to this:

    I thought I’d discuss that with the young man who was sitting outside the video store this morning but when I read the cardboard sign tied around his neck with string “Homeless. Want work”, I thought better of it. More people, Jessica, is not this or any other unemployed/unhoused persons solution.

    • Tell him to move south. 2.8% unemployment rate here. I’m sick of waiting 20 minutes for my KFC because they cant find staff to man the store.

      • 2.8%? Must be the KFC on Camp Street then, opposite Trevor Rogan’s Macca’s and Fergus Sparry’s Fergburgers….

  6. “If individuals decide they can best pursue their happiness by moving here and living in the most prosperous and peaceful nation on earth, who are we to deny them? Surely, they are right… it’s not the job of a politician in Canberra to decide how big Australia should be.”

    So anybody…in the whole fucking world…who wants to move to Australia should be allowed to do so, without regard for the effect this will have on the current population? And it’s *not* the job of politicians to control immigration?? Huh???

    This woman is both mad and dangerous. How can someone in her position possibly think these incredibly delusional thoughts and promulgate them in her organ?

      • adelaide_economistMEMBER

        Probably this. Her unconvincing transitions from ‘buying a house is hard’ through ‘renting is fun, I’m good with it!’ and now probably to ‘I bought and really need to avoid the inevitable next round of redundancies’ have been fun to watch but I wouldn’t be setting my economic policy by anything she says.

  7. The problem is, if you throw open the borders, then people will swarm here. That was the lesson, like it or not, when Rudd relaxed border policy. The growth in boat arrivals was exponential.

    It doesn’t matter what unemployment is doing or how high the cost of living and accommodation is. If you throw the borders open you will get more than a million a year here easily. Sydney and Melbourne would become giant slums within five years.

    And the idea that we owe the rest of the world a living just bemuses me completely.

    It’s interesting that at the same point political parties in Germany (and not just the far right) are talking about border control and boat turnbacks because they can no longer cope with the flow of migrants from Africa.

    • My brother, recently returned from a tour of Laos, Thailand and Vietnam remarked that the single ambition of every person he spoke to there – without exception – was to emigrate to a first world country.

      Throw open the borders?

      Please welcome the entire population of Bangladesh (pop 156m, GPP pp $US 957) who would enjoy a higher standard of living, while trashing ours.

      The debate UE keeps calling for is sorely needed.

      • You sound like one of those people that fears and is is prejudicial towards Australia’s lost children, who are just trying to find their way home. Jessica and I will pray for you in the drumming circle.

    • The growth in boat arrivals has nothing to do with our border policy. Our humanitarian intake has remained more or less consistent for the last decade, except for one spike in 2012-13 which was due to the Syrian refugee crisis. Might I remind you the cause of the Syrian refugee crisis and the heightened instability in the Middle East over the last 5 years was caused by the power vacuum created by the Iraq war which we fought in with our allies. Our actions have far reaching consequences. You’ve got blinders on.

      Our preoccupation with boat arrivals has been political constructed. It’s a wedge used to divide the population and distract us. And damn it’s really worked. Our refugee intake has remained largely unchanged, while our skilled intake has more than doubled since the 2000s.

      • You’re right on all counts- and I agree completely that we should look at the whole immigration intake and not just refugees.

        Nonetheless Rudd relaxing the policy was, intentionally or not, an experiment in what would happen if we had something like an open borders policy. The growth was exponential.

      • @ajostu – mate what are you talking about?

        Rudd’s relaxed humanitarian policy was ending offshore processing, which was a stain on this country. No spike in refugee intake off the back of that policy which was introduced in 2008. The only spike was in 2012-13 for reasons I mentioned above.

        As for him relaxing general immigration policy and increasing skilled/family reunion intakes, this was a trend started in the Howard years. Howard pretty much tripled the yearly skilled migration intake from the time he took office to the time he left. Yes it kept growing under Rudd, and then kept growing under Abbott etc etc. So the increased net migration intake has actually been supported by both major parties, although it started under Howard. And continued under Gillard then Abbott.

        The only difference is that Rudd had the compassion and courage to change the conversation around refugees for the positive and end offshore processing, which was used by Howard to as a wedge to confuse the electorate and maintain power, while still boosting migration numbers behind the scenes. So there is little difference between Labor and Liberal on immigration policy, except on the political opportunism of the Liberals who will happily demonise refugees and make their lives a living hell to distract us.

        Sorry mate, go look at the numbers, they don’t lie. Don’t believe everything the telly or The Tele tells you. Too many people do, and that’s how you get 5 PM’s in 6 years, 49% of the population wanting to ban muslim immigration, and the xenophobia rife on this website at the moment.

  8. 43 years of below replacement fertility and not likely to change into the future.
    NOM down now approx 37% from its peak.
    An ageing Oz voting bloc will not allow an increase in our NOM
    Deaths to double as the boomers depart the home planet. ( Buy IVC 🙂
    All of this means very low population growth, as it should be.

    • lol that’s what you said three yrs ago.
      Meanwhile back in the real world, Australia has added another 1,000,000 extra residents to its population.

      • 3 years ago annual population growth was 390k,
        Now it’s 330k and still falling. If we keep up that rate of change to population growth, we’re only 16 years from starting to go into decline.

      • Yeah, while the numpties convince each other there is no problem we’ll work out where to put the next million extra residents

  9. What sort of rubbish comment is this?!
    MB moderators, bloody wake up to the sh$t that is being written on your blog. Letting such comments slip by is a show stopper when it comes to sharing some of your best work. Such a shame…

    • paulF. I have just viewed the comments on this post and agree with you on this one.

      However, please note that we don’t have moderators and only occasionally view comments. Do you honestly believe that Dave and I have time to check every comment that is posted on MB? When would we ever get time to research and write articles?

  10. likely just bought herself another investment property, or her boyfriends a developer.
    well done you

  11. Irvine has now abandoned any pretence of analysis and is now arguing on the basis of the “Vibe”.

    Not up to politicians in Canberra to decide our immigration levels ? Well, if your starting point is that politicians in Canberra are supposed to reflect the wishes of their electorates, then it is very much up to Canberra to enact an immigration policy in line with the wishes of the citizenry.

    But if we’re setting policy based on the Vibe, well then …

    Hands up who wants their cities to become even more dense and congested with each passing year, with infrastructure solutions nowhere in sight ?

    Hands up who wants an Australia that is 50% Chinese/Indian ethnic origin ?

    Nope, didn’t think so.

      • If you read between the lines of many Domainfax or ABC news articles, that’s precisely the message they are trying to portray.

      • Sounds great right up until the race riots or government/corporate mandated quotas. People assume that a bigger Australia is a bigger version of the Australia they grew up with + some new food.

    • Me too. That culturally diverse range of food and $2 widgets I can get from the three hundred identical shops at my local strip is just amazing.

    • notsofastMEMBER

      “Not up to politicians in Canberra to decide our immigration levels”

      According to Section 51(i) of the Australian Constitution its the job of the elected Federal Parliament to make laws in relation to immigration. That includes immigration levels.

      • Don’t be comin’ round here stirring up trouble with this ‘parliament is sovereign’ ‘let’s have the rule of law’ malarkey.

  12. adelaide_economistMEMBER

    She’s completely compromised at this point. I think it’s just been more obvious because we saw her enter the world of journalism, have a few moments of lucidity, a bit of ‘to and fro’ in the apparent ideology and then in recent times a complete convert to extreme neo-liberalism. That’s the price of keeping one of the (remaining) jobs as a regular journalist in today’s Australia.

    Her argument is weak as though, and much like her pathetically shallow arguments for unfettered trade recently (think of the $10 toasters, never mind the mass unemployment), designed as filler around the real estate articles. Chucking in a highly stylised (and denuded of context) one sentence estimate from the Productivity Commission counts neither as as thoughtful or convincing.

  13. Virtue-signalling like this happens on the basis of what, exactly? They are truly just modern day Pharisees.

  14. I’d cut Irvine some slack due to her youth, but she should be producing much better than that dross. It is one of the laziest, unsubstantiated comment pieces I’ve read for some time, and that’s saying something. Utter bullshit. She should be embarrassed, but won’t be.

    Any residual doubt that Irvine is maybe just naive or dense rather than driven by an agenda has been blown away.

    • adelaide_economistMEMBER

      Indeed. Was it Sam Dastyari who prior to his fall from grace noted the massive influence of our major corporates on all policies? It’s actually interesting that of all the dodgy pollies in this country he was made an example of.

  15. Gen Y Home Buyer

    It’s a fine argument from Jess, assuming that we started making bigger pants 20 years ago and continued to increase the size. I’m not sure how many Xs there would be in the size of pants required to contain all the bulge in Sydney. X(x 100000)L ?

    But let’s face it, those responsible for making the pants haven’t made the pants, they’re not going to make the pants either.

    • Strange Economics

      The GDP doesn’t increase much after a couple of kids. But the GDP per kid drops, as you stack them in triple bunks, reduce holidays, share one Ipad, etc. Not much new infrastructure money around Im afraid. If the government spent enough infrastructure for the extra million people in Sydney, then the profits for the big companies 1% from migration would evaporate.
      Or Perhaps remove a few tax dodges for the high income beneficiaries to pay for new pants, like CGT discount on the migration pushed boom on properties.


  16. Oh yes! I just love the congestion on the roads in the morning, and I can’t wait for a complete gridlock! And besides, there’s still plenty of room for growth in property prices – we’re still a long way behind Hong Kong, so until we have the world’s no. 1 housing bubble, I just won’t be happy!

    After all, it’s the right thing to do to pack as many bodies into our cities as possible AND to lower our living standards to the lowest common denominator – all the best countries are doing it.

      • They let Australia into Eurovision. Clearly the first step for further EU inclusion. After all, they have to find fresh peasants to replace the ones that are voting to leave.

  17. How many more native species is it ok to lose to accomodate Ms Irvine’s “as many people as possible” population policy?

  18. Ah Jessica Irvine…the Dr Jekyll and Sister Hyde of Australian economics reporting. The flippety floppetty style of logic she has displayed over the years has long had me questioning why I even bother now and again to read anything from the msm.

    • What if … just what if… what if she’s not real – she’s actually a “Journalism Bot”?

      Dunn – dunnn dunnnnnnnn!

  19. One way to look at it would be to think of it as compulsory charity to those who are less well off than ourselves.
    It’s the Christian outlook on life
    In fact all of our immigrants ought be from refugee camps in areas where there are refugees with the highest likelihood of death if they did not flee.
    Sure you can make it conditional to acknowledge Australian values, democracy, womens rights and to learn language (but only the English language, not Swahili like could be done for the language test under the White Australia policy) etc but not to such an extent that people are really limited.
    Do unto others etc…..
    So when she says its the right thing to do, I believe there is a sound Christian basis to her assertion.
    But I disagree for selfish reasons and acknowlege that I am preferring one nationality (Australian) over every other, which is a presently acceptable form of racism if nationality is race.

    • From the Book of Kravitz:
      Let Love Rule
      Open your heart to global oneness
      Lets live up to the ideals of Esperanto

      • Acceptable or racism?
        Should I have said legal?
        Or should I deny that preferencing by nationality is racism because so many citizens of most developed countries are descended from immigrants to that country and so technically often of different races to the people of that nation whose families have been there for 5 or 10 generations or more?
        Or am I confusing race and nationality completely because most Europeans although having differences are all of one race ie Caucasian
        Can I hate Italians without being racists because they are not a race, but merely a nationality?
        Is it racial discrimination (in ordinary english meaning) to discriminate on nationality?

      • I am as confused as you explorer, what I have experienced, and what learned from last Friday is
        Race wise
        That if you criticise any race except white you are racist,
        If you criticise only white people you are an intellectual who can do no wrong
        Nation wise
        If you criticise the UK, Australia or the USA you are a self righteous politically correct genius who can do no evil
        If you criticise China you are racist scum no matter what you have said

  20. It always amazes me that some economic commentators appear to be immune to what has happened with uncontrolled immigration. At the moment Australia seems to have lost control of its borders with regards to those buying up Visa’s on the Black Market and coming hear by plane. But take the UK as an example, a recent article by “Open Democracy” shows that due to open door immigration the UK is sleepwalking into ethnic seggregation. In a period of 10 years many English cities and town now have white British people moving from majority to minority population (as low as 18% in some towns). Even the left leaning UK think tank – Demos has done a report on this and they have termed it ‘white flight’. Do economic commentators have no understanding of the negative social and personal impacts of high immigration. Surely a selective permanent immigration programme based on skills and other points would be better for our country than our current sub class visa system.

    • kiwikarynMEMBER

      Look to South Africa for a model on gated white communities. The irony of the motherland becoming like one of the colonies rather than the other way around.

      • Wily Nilly is this your “very controlled immigration programme” (1): The large number of immigration corruption allegations referred to the commission has prompted Senator Nick Xenophon to call for Australia’s anti-corruption measures to undergo major reform (See ABC report) (2) “Corruption and crime syndicates threaten Australia’s border security”. Confidential Department of Immigration files show widespread fraud and illegal migration committed by people flying to Australia is being unchecked while the government focuses on boat arrivals, a Fairfax Media report claims (See SBS report) (3) Massive migration fraud by plane arrivals to Australia ignored. A corrupt Immigration Department official and her husband helped run a $3 million criminal migration racket involving more than 1000 fraudulent visa applications. Fairfax Media can reveal that Reetika Ajjan and her husband, Jeetender, were able to flee Australia three days after immigration and federal agents raided their home (see SMH report). Really ,a very controlled immigration system?

  21. 1000 words on population policy and not one mention of what a prudent sustainable population is.
    Funny how the population boosters never want to talk numbers

    • The Greens policies have always been a paradox. Open borders and environment protection. Welfare for everyone with no tax revenue.

      I am sure if you attend one of their meetings and passively smoke enough cannabis it will all make sense.

    • The pollies in charge of keeping the population ponzi going have screwed the pooch by letting the infrastructure run down. The refugee bait and switch worked for a little while, but the leaks of public sentiment against population growth are beginning to build into torrents, and we’ve probably passed the point where the public mood can be assuaged without a big drop in population growth coupled with at least the appearance of fixing the infrastructure problems.

  22. I wonder who she’s been co-opted by to write this stuff? Given there have been legitimate voices beyond Hanson now questioning the immigration intake it was inevitable there would be push back coming from the other side.

    Jess being one of the first cabs off the rank gives the media the opportunity to look like they’re leading the debate, however in weeks to come we’ll likely see her further backed by a few more heads of industry groups and dubious think tanks.

  23. Hey Jess, Can we build that new sewerage treatment works next to your place?
    No? I thought not.
    How about some public housing?
    No? but it’s the right thing to do

  24. Pathetic, vacuous, population ponzi propaganda from The Age. If she could point to how massive immigration over the last 10 years has made Australia a better place for the incumbents then maybe they’d be some point to the article, but even her powers of fantasy weren’t up to that. At least she didn’t mention exotic cuisines.

  25. There are at least a billion people, probably more, who would leap at the chance to come here. What could possibly go wrong? The left have truly lost the plot.

    • Agree, but Jessica isn’t a leftist – she’s a globalist, which encompasses former left preoccupations by substituting those concerns with a Gender Studies/Postmodern analysis that poses no threat to transnational trade and investment structures. Left and Right are dead. Its postmodernism v. Western Enlightenment (currently Brexit/Trump/alt – right/ and whatnot)

  26. Perhaps we could import some Americans?

    43 million of our citizens live in poverty. Fifty-six million are enrolled in Medicare. We have lost 5 million manufacturing jobs in the last 16 years. Median income is up just 3% in the last 16 years, while the median new home price has almost doubled. Ninety-four million people are not in the workforce, with 15 million of them actually unemployed (though the official number is only 8 million).
    You get the picture. It’s not pretty. The US debt rose by $1.6 trillion last year…

    and it goes on…..

    • I doubt that many Americans are going to be enticed to come and live in our freedom-hating, high taxing, high regulation socialist nightmare.

  27. reusachtigeMEMBER

    As long as they’re good looking I reckon the more people the merrier. Up goes relations AND house prices. Perfect!!

  28. TailorTrashMEMBER

    Looks like Jessica got a memo from uncle Harry via the advertising department ………got some slow moving shitbox stock that needs shifting ……..we need to do a bit of “demand creation ” work ……get to it you journos and start preparing the punters

    • notsofastMEMBER

      Maybe, like many who voted for One Nation, people just want to see the value of their property investment go up?

  29. Brilliant article, Leith. It really explodes Jessica Irvine’s nonsense. I am adding the link to my favourites for future arguments with population boosters.

  30. We need to reduce population growth in an orderly way or nature will do it in a disorderly way.

  31. “Australia’s current migration intake, if sustained, will boost economic output per person by about 7 per cent in 2060”

    This is the pinnacle of crazy. How does Jessica know anything about economic output in the distant future (+44 years) of 2060? Its this sort of simple minded linear extrapolation of half baked economic ideas that gives economists a bad name. She says such dumb things.

  32. Jesus H fucking Christ is Nick Boulkus writing under a pseudonym now? Let’s import some fucking journalists for a change

  33. “It’s the right thing to do”?
    What a stupid reason. All these overpopulated nations bursting at the seams created their own problems. And now they want to destroy our nation? Go stick it.
    When will Luxemburg, Lichtenstein, Norway, Switzerland start ramping up immigration?
    Time we took a break rather than continue on this stupid path.
    Pauline Hanson has gone rather quiet on this matter? Already sold herself out?