Jac Nasser the latest oligarch to defend mass immigration

By Leith van Onselen

Retiring BHP chairman, Jac Nasser, gave a speech yesterday to The Australian’s Competitive Advantage Forum whereby he strongly defended Australia’s mass immigration ‘Big Australia’ program. From The Australian:

Mr Nasser said he was keen that Australia remained open to migrants as, like the US, the nation was built and developed by overseas-born workers…

“I’m the son of an immigrant who served in the Australian Air Force in Lebanon in the 1940s … Australia has given me great opportunity and a great start to my career”.

“I do agree that unemployment and underemployment is an issue … if we are serious about addressing the skill shortage in this country then immigration is just as important and developing talent locally”…

“We are at a tipping point right now and the decision that we take will determine whether we continue as a great country socially and economically, or if we retreat and become one of those countries that are in the game and then drop out.”

What elites like Jac Nasser need to realise is that Australians as a whole (MB included) support a sensible immigration program that is compatible with the economy, environment, and infrastructure. However, what we don’t support is being force fed hundreds of thousands of migrants each year, mostly into Sydney and Melbourne, in the process clogging-up our roads, public transport, schools and hospitals, making housing increasingly expensive for the younger generations, and pushing down wages.

Immigration is a bit like salt. A little improves the dish, but too much destroys it. And running a permanent migrant intake of 200,000 per year – more than twice as big as the long-term average and even higher than during the mining boom – makes little sense when there is significant spare capacity in the labour market (and record low wages growth), there is appalling congestion in the major cities, and housing affordability is woeful.

When elites like Jac Nasser champion immigration they are not doing so for the benefit of Australia, no matter what they think. They are essentially defending the huge upside to capital owners of having lower wages, higher asset prices and broader if more shallow demand.

It is a form of class warfare that lowers ordinary workers’ living standards, raises resentment in the community, and runs the risk of driving a backlash against the very immigration and multiculturalism that Jac Nasser champions.

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  1. Immigration is like fluoride in water – too much is lethal. It literally is.

    USA, Mr Jac? USA did not dumb down its degrees for the sake of mass low-wage immigration. AUS did, otherwise a great chunk of foreign “students” would not get admission.

    Over 28% of AUS is foreign-born. What % of USA is foreign-born? What % of Britain is?

  2. Know IdeaMEMBER

    He is talking his own book and should be largely ignored by the populace. Why would amy thinking person conclude that he has anyone’s interest in mind other than his own and the organisation he rode in on?

    • Why would a coal digger need immigration?

      Ditto Gina Rinehart and Andrew Forrest.

      457 visa staff on “$2 a day”, sure, but why must they be given an Aussie passport?

  3. You imply that ‘Australians as a whole’ don’t support the current level of immigration clogging up the place.
    Yet the latest Lowy survey had 53% agreeing that the current level of immigration is about right or too low with 40% saying it is too high.
    The proposition that cutting immigration (unless its Muslim a la Trump) will lead to electoral success may not therefore be correct.
    I agree with just about everything that you say about immigration but suspect that the general population has still to be persuaded, especially as the MSM appears to generally just accept that high levels are a ‘good thing’.

    • Go read any comment section of any recent article pertaining to immigration and there are wall-to-wall negative comments strongly opposing the current ‘Big Australia’ policy. 99% of people that I meet also think the current levels are far too high (admittedly I live in Melbourne). I’d trust these indicators over some loaded poll question any day of the week.

    • Yet the ALP and LNP had nothing to say when AUS reached 24 million people.

      Only Bob “Sydney is full” Carr had something to say.

      Why was there outrage when Rudd said on TV “I want a big AUS”?

      Why was the immigration bait and switch invented by Howard in 2001?

      Britons voted for Brexit to stop Eastern Europeans from coming over – as if Aussies think differently to Britons.

      3AW radio host Tom Elliott has been anti-immigration since he got a microphone! He has probably written anti-immigration articles in the Herald Sun too.

      There is severe overcrowding and a great chunk of immigrants are on illegal wages – thus pay no income tax at all but use taxpayer-funded services like trains and schools.

  4. Jac is the bloke who did not pick any future trend when he was head of Ford and was effectively sacked and when Chairman of BHP presided over massive value destruction. These failures for the Australian economy have a massive cheek to pontificate to us minions.

  5. Might seem like a silly question BUT:
    What do you imagine most Aussie workers will be doing in 20 years time?
    How about 30 years time?
    Lets face it most Millennials will be very luck if they’ve even paid off their mortgage before 2050, so it’s kinda important to understand what jobs they’ll be doing.
    I’ve done this exercise several times and always come the conclusion that Australia / Australians can’t get there from here.
    Another 20 years of the same stupidity we’ve seen over the last 20 years will see the quality of life in Australia absolutely decimated.
    To prosper in the second half of this century our Human capital must become our most valuable asset….with that in mind, how do we get there, I suspect targetted immigration will be an essential part of any successful transition plan now before you tell me how you’re all for immigration just less of it, consider who it is that you’ll get less of and what impact that might have on those that you’d really like more of.
    There’s no doubt about it managing immigration is a difficult task, but lets not make it an impossible task, just because we can.

    • Robots will do a great chunk of the jobs and I bet Jeremy Corbyn and Bernie Sanders would embrace universal basic income. No idea about Shorten.

      Gillard did not even give out a $500 electricity bill help cheque to each poor voter and thus Abbott was able to win the 2013 election.

      A) foreigners need not be given the cheques, B) businesses need not be given the cheques, C) high income Aussies need not be given the cheques

      PM Shorten must immediately remove the job search requirements of Newstart – ALP and LNP are hell bent on giving the jobs to foreigners anyway

    • Relevant Stakeholder

      “What do you imagine most Aussie workers will be doing in 20 years time?
      How about 30 years time?”

      Emigrating or rebuilding the country.

    • Much the same as now. Being cosmopolitan and sophisticated McApartment serfs working McJobs with manicured hipster beards and tatts to show how unique and enlightened they are.

      • Yep that’s probably the right answer, now what if we want to maintain our standard of living.

    • What most in the developed world do not understand or are not prepared for is that today’s standard of living will decline in the coming decades for the majority of people. It matters not what policies are instituted from here on out, as, when you’ve lived beyond your means, as we have for so long, payback time eventually arrives. In fact most government and monetary policy has been geared, for the past two decades, to preserving the high standard of living we’ve enjoyed for so long. Only vast accumulation of debt has sustained our lifestyles. Eventually, that which is unsustainable will end.

      Labour is a commodity and in a globalised world there will necessarily be convergence between 1st and 3rd world wages … and that convergence won’t necessarily be confined to a rise in 3rd world wages.