Former Labor leader, Mark Latham, gave a stirring speech yesterday at the Sustainable Australia party’s community forum, “Housing Affordability: An Honest Debate”, which was held in Sydney.
In the speech, Latham argued logically against the mass immigration ‘Big Australia’ policies endorsed by all of the major parties, which are making ordinary Australians worse-off and pushing-up the cost of housing in the big cities.
Below are some of the key quotes:
“I don’t think you need to be John Maynard Keynes to work out that if you lower the demand for housing by cutting the immigration program, you do something to stabilise the price of housing or even bring it down. It’s a simple proposition… Year 11 economics: the first thing they learn about is supply and demand….
What we get in Australia at the moment in the great debate about housing affordability is only half the story. Because just about the entire system… focuses on the supply-side. And there’s a big debate about how we can build more housing… But what about demand? Sydney has 80,000 extra residents per annum. Melbourne has 90,000. And it’s mainly fueled by Australia’s 200,000-plus immigration program each year. And per head of population around the world, we run the biggest immigration program in the West. In the Western World, we have the biggest immigration program per capita.
So wouldn’t it just be plainly logical to put the demand for housing as part of the equation when considering affordability?
So why the cone of silence?… Why doesn’t anyone talk about the common sense in bringing down the biggest immigration program to give some relief on housing prices and relief on home buyers?
Well, it’s a classic case of a convergence of vested interests… You’ve got the two main tribes of left and right agreeing they won’t discuss immigration, they won’t discuss a cut to population as a way of improving housing affordability. And then you’ve got more naked vested interests in the system.
You’ve got the left-wing attachment to open borders… they support Big Australia for that reason.
For the Labor and Liberal parties… a big migration program they weaponise for ethnic branch stacking…
The property and housing industries, of course, they want more people coming in as that’s more money as you build the houses and you develop the property.
Big retailers, they love Big Australia, as they get more people walking through the door to buy their goods – easy money. The financial sector, the home loans… The big advertising industry of course… they make money out of it.
The Department of Treasury in Canberra is very much pro-immigration and a Big Australia… because it’s a good way for Australia to achieve economic growth… Australia’s had 25-years of economic growth. But the truth is, in recent times, Australia’s growth has been sustained by the big immigration program. It hasn’t been sustained by productivity and competitiveness… We sustain our GDP figures artificially. Per head of population we are not going so great… Politicians love the idea of artificially inflating GDP figures, so that also sustains the Big Australia, big immigration program ethos…
So you see right across the political system advocates… Just look at the supply-side of housing, don’t look at the immigration… But in the outer suburbs, all this urban sprawl and congestion has made life dysfunctional in terms of getting around… There’s housing estates popping out of the ground like mushrooms. They’re everywhere. So there’s lots of supply, but it’s not keeping up with the demand. The fact that we are adding 80,000 people to Sydney every year is being driven by immigration… The inner-city Big Australia advocates have no idea about how dysfunction life is becoming in the outer-suburbs… This is a big drain on economic efficiency [as well as] social efficiency…
For people in Western Sydney, quite frankly, you leave home in the dark, you get home in the dark, they don’t see their property in sunlight for most of the year. These traveling times are horrendous. And the supply-side fetish of ‘just build more housing estates’ is making Sydney dysfunctional…
So the more sensible thing to do is find an immigration program for the people who live here… Have a ‘nation-first’ immigration program for the benefit of the residents of Australia. And that program would be defined on a big cut from 200,000-plus to about 50,000 a year… which would be a wonderful stabilising influence on housing prices, stabilise some of the urban sprawl and inefficiency, it’s a logical solution.
But because of all these vested interests – it really is a collaboration – screwing over people in the suburbs, we don’t even hear this part of the political debate, which is a dreadful shame”…
Brilliantly said, and aligns perfectly with what this site has argued over many years. I also recommend that you watch the 15-minute speech in its entirety, as there are plenty more gems demolishing the Big Australia agenda.
Tomorrow, I will post Dr Cameron Murray’s speech to the community forum.