Another economist challenges MB on mass immigration

By Leith van Onselen

Another economist has stepped up to the plate to challenge my view that Australia’s immigration program is way too high and is lowering Australian living standards.

In The Guardian yesterday, Tom Westland penned an article entitled “Australians are getting poorer – but it has nothing to do with immigrants”, which noted the following with respect to my interview on The Bolt Report earlier this month (watch interview above):

…other people have taken to blaming Australia’s high immigration rates for the slide. Leith van Onselen, for example, on the Bolt Report, noted that Victoria, which has seen the highest immigration rates in Australia, has seen the lowest per capita income increase in the country since the global financial crisis. Isn’t that evidence that immigrants are lowering our living standards?

The problem for Van Onselen is that he’s got his economics wrong, and he’s measuring the wrong thing. Changes in gross state product per capita – the indicator they’re using – can’t tell you anything about the impact of immigration on living standards.

It’s like comparing oranges in 2009 with a mix of apples and oranges in 2016.

Let’s call one group of people the “original” group – people who were already here in 2009 – and the other the “immigrant” group, who’ve moved here since then. Van Onselen compares the living standards of the “originals” in 2009 with the living standards of both originals and immigrants in 2016. This tells us nothing. What we want to measure is the change in the living standards of “originals” from 2009 to 2016 (and, if you like, the change for immigrants, but this would mean finding out what those were in their country of origin).

This is much harder to measure, but there is some evidence to suggest that if you did the analysis properly, it would change Van Onselen’s conclusions.

Data from the 2016 census shows that income for recently arrived immigrants in Melbourne is on average substantially lower than it is for Australian-born residents. This means that the recent arrivals will “drag down” the average, even if they’re better off than they were before moving to Australia, and even if they’ve had no impact on the living standards of those who were already living in Melbourne.

The academic literature supports the idea that immigration is not likely to make non-immigrants any poorer. Studies suggest that, on average, immigration has little to no impact on wages. On employment it’s much the same: the consensus of research is that, statistically, immigrants either create more jobs than they “take”, or that they have no impact on jobs at all.

Of course, there is one other legitimate concern people have: that immigrants are straining Australia’s limited resources. Our cities feel crowded and our natural resources are under pressure. But this is almost entirely Australia’s own fault.

We keep on spending billions of public and private dollars on white elephants like the Adelaide-Darwin rail line because we’re too lazy to do the analysis required to allocate infrastructure money efficiently, or because politicians ignore analysis when it’s done. We are bungling the way we manage our water system, and an economically sensible scheme to reduce carbon emissions was abolished after one of the most deceitful political campaigns in Australian history.

In other words, we are as a nation wasting our own resources through sheer political laziness and incompetence.

Punishing aspiring immigrants for this would be like burning a bunch of $100 notes and then complaining that we didn’t have enough money to give to charity. Blaming them for our problems also feeds the kind of doltish hysteria that we’ve seen directed at high-profile immigrants recently. The economy may be turning sour, but that doesn’t mean we have to as well.

Westland has done an excellent job misrepresenting my arguments around Victoria. My central argument in the Bolt report was that excessive levels of immigration are lowering Victorians’ living standards because of the impacts on livability (think traffic congestion, packed trains, smaller and more expensive housing, and environmental degradation), and these are not being offset by rising material living standards, whether measured by per capita GSP or some other measure.

Just look at the data. Melbourne’s population has rocketed by 1 million people (27%) in just 12 years, easily leading the nation:

Victorian GSP has barely risen since the GFC:

ScreenHunter_16221 Nov. 21 15.08

Real per capita state final demand has flatlined:

And real per capita wages & salaries have actually fallen by 5.2% over the past decade:

Meanwhile, other indicators of living standards that are not captured in the aggregate economic statistics have unambiguously gotten worse for Victorians. Economic and social infrastructure is becoming increasingly crush-loaded every year as excessive population growth continually outstrips capacity, leading to overcrowding on roads, public transport, and in schools. Housing affordability and rental availability has also deteriorated markedly on the back of the population deluge.

Westland’s argument “that income for recently arrived immigrants in Melbourne is on average substantially lower than it is for Australian-born residents” is itself an argument against ongoing mass immigration. After all, why import huge numbers of people that drag average income down and presumably pay less in taxes than the resident population, but at the same time exacerbate strains on infrastructure, housing and the environment?

Westland’s claim that “academic literature supports the idea that immigration is not likely to make non-immigrants any poorer” is highly debatable.

For example, the Productivity Commission (PC) in 2006 completed a major study on the Economic Impacts of Migration and Population Growth, which modelled the impact of a 50% increase in the level of skilled migration over the 20 years to 2024-25. The modeling found that the benefits from increasing skilled migration accrue to the migrants themselves and wealthy capital owners, whereas existing resident workers are made worse-off. Here’s the money quote:

The increase in labour supply causes the labour / capita ratio to rise and the terms of trade to fall. This generates a negative deviation in the average real wage. By 2025 the deviation in the real wage is –1.7 per cent…

Broadly, incumbent workers lose from the policy, while incumbent capital owners gain. At a 5 per cent discount rate, the net present value of per capita incumbent wage income losses over the period 2005 – 2025 is $1,775. The net present value of per capita incumbent capital income gains is $1,953 per capita…

Owners of capital in the sectors experiencing the largest output gains will, in general, experience the largest gains in capital income. Also, the distribution of capital income is quite concentrated: the capital owned by the wealthiest 10 per cent of the Australian population represents approximately 45 per cent of all household net wealth…

In a similar vein, the PC’s most recent modelling found that labour productivity is forecast to decrease under current immigration settings, as are real wages, versus a zero net overseas migration (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

Of course, the PC also noted in its latest report that there are other costs borne by incumbent residents from immigration that are not captured in the economic modelling:

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…

Increasing numbers of immigrants can adversely affect the quality of Australia’s natural and built environment unless governments take action to mitigate congestion and other pressures. Even with such action, there are additional costs for the community as environmental services have to be replaced with technological solutions…

Moreover, some environmental impacts, such as the recreational value of near empty beaches and the value of biodiversity, are hard to measure, let alone monetise. Yet, such considerations should be part of the broad cost-benefit assessment underpinning decisions on the long-term migrant intake.

Westland’s next point that “our cities feel crowded and our natural resources are under pressure. But this is almost entirely Australia’s own fault…  we are as a nation wasting our own resources through sheer political laziness and incompetence” is delusional. It pins the blame solely on the supply-side, while altogether ignoring the fundamental demand-side driver of mass immigration.

Just look at the data: under Australia’s current 200,000 strong permanent migrant program, Australia’s population is projected to increase by some 400,000 annually – effectively adding a Canberra to the country’s population each year:

Meanwhile, Melbourne’s population is projected to increase by an insane 97,000 people a year (1,870 people a week) for decades to come:

Whereas Sydney’s population is projected to increase by 87,000 people a year (1,650 people a week):

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to work out that such extreme population growth will create all manner of strains on infrastructure, housing and livability in the major cities.

Given Australia’s governments have failed so dismally in providing infrastructure over the past 15 years of mass immigration, what makes Westlake believe that it can do any better over the next 30-plus years?

Besides, 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 becomes 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 with hideously expensive projects like the Metro Rail Tunnel, WestConnex, the F6 freeway extension, The Western Harbour Tunnel and Beaches Link tollway, and desalination plants.

Hence, running a high immigration program necessarily 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.

Perhaps Westland should read the PC’s November 2013 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 [since upgraded to 40 million]… 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

Westland would also do well to take a leaf from The Australia Institute’s chief economist, Richard Denniss, who has considered these issues and provided a sobering assessment of Australia’s high immigration program:

“Australia is one of the fastest growing countries in the developed world and our infrastructure isn’t keeping up. It isn’t keeping up now and hasn’t kept up for the last 10 years, and it’s not budgeted to keep up in the next 10″…

“What politicians are doing is every year they announce record spending on this and a new that, but what they don’t point out is that on a per person basis, per person we are spending less on health, per person we’ve got less access to transport, per person the reason the queues in the hospital keeps getting longer is because we are not building hospitals as fast as we are growing our population. They all know it, they just don’t say it”…

“If you want to double your population – and that’s our plan – we want to double our population – you have to at least double your infrastructure to maintain people’s standard of living… We’re talking schools, we’re talking hospitals, we’re talking trains, we’re talking roads, we’re talking police”…

“Population growth costs a lot… If you double the number of citizens then you double the number of teachers and double the number of nurses. It’s pretty simple math. But of course, you don’t have to double them if you gradually plan to lower the number of services. If you are happy for us to gradually lower the number of services in our health system, our aged system, if you are happy for congestion to gradually get worse, if you are happy for the amount of green space per person to decline, then you can do what we do”.

Or take a leaf from Ross Gittins (here and here):

…immigration carries a huge threat to our productivity.

The unthinkable truth is that unless we invest in enough additional housing, business equipment and public infrastructure to accommodate the extra workers and their families, this lack of “capital widening” reduces our physical capital per person and so reduces our productivity…

Lower immigration would help reduce a lot of our economic problems…

On Westland’s final strawman argument, I have absolutely no intention of “punishing aspiring immigrants” or “blaming them for our problems”. All I want is for Australia’s immigration intake to be returned to the sensible and sustainable levels that existed in the 100 years post Federation. Like I said in the Bolt Report interview:

“Instead of growing by one million people every 2.5 years, why not grow by one million people every seven years? That’s still a very generous migrant intake. And it brings us back to a level that existed for a hundred years between Federation and the year 2000 before it was massively increased.

“It seems like a very sensible compromise to take the strain off cities, livability, housing affordability, infrastructure, all those sorts of things. And we can still be a generous migrant country like we always were. We just have to slow down a bit.  It’s not rocket science”.

Only one economist here is putting forward an argument based more on ideology than evidence, and it ain’t me!

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Comments

  1. read that idiotic piece of his and thought “who is pulling your chain you dickhead?”

    I hope you posted a link in rebuttal in his comments section

    • Owen Jones also writes for The Guardian and generally refuses to mention immigration but when on a BBC 3 episode about immigration, Owen denied that there is a link between mass low-wage immigration and unemployment:

      https://youtu.be/nFrtZvGN9A8

      Looks like Jessica Irvine will fit right into The Guardian when Fairfax goes belly up.

      • Jessica Irvine won’t fit anywhere for very long as it seems she’s got into the food paddock again.

        Or she might be pork in up so she can write another book about losing weight. Or using it as a metaphor for private debt, perhaps.

      • DarkMatterMEMBER

        “Jessica Irvine won’t fit anywhere for very long as it seems she’s got into the food paddock again.”

        There goes another keyboard! Ima gonna need to get me a coffee proof one next.

      • It takes a very neurotic mind to see such things in children’s TV.
        It’s like they think children don’t pick their role models, but accept the single worst possible societal archetype as a reflection of themselves. If that’s the way your child thinks, then they need more help than TV can provide.

      • drsmithyMEMBER

        It takes a very neurotic mind to see such things in children’s TV.

        Heh.

        We’ll have to keep that in mind the next time someone here is complaining about ‘the war on men and boys’.

      • Joel, what do you look like with your gear off? I don’t see what it has to do with her writing.

      • drsmithyMEMBER

        Cool deflection/derailment smithy.

        I figured after someone started talking about her weight it was pretty much a free thread.

      • drsmithyMEMBER

        Drsmithy -don’t mock a pain you haven’t felt.

        What do you mean ? I’m an approaching-middle-age white man. I feel it every day !

      • Genuinely interested drsmithy, do you have a position inequality affecting men in western countries?

      • “We’ll have to keep that in mind the next time someone here is complaining about ‘the war on men and boys’.”

        If that ‘someone’ is using works of fiction to explain as an impedance to an individuals free thought and right to self-determination, then I’m with you.

      • drsmithyMEMBER

        Genuinely interested drsmithy, do you have a position inequality affecting men in western countries?

        You would need to be a bit more specific.

        If that ‘someone’ is using works of fiction to explain as an impedance to an individuals free thought and right to self-determination, then I’m with you.

        Sorry, I can’t parse that.

      • drsmithyMEMBER

        It’s a vague, leading, begging-the-question-fallacy question.

        What “inequality affecting men in western countries” are you talking about, how is it manifesting, and what is the evidence ?

      • Anti-Fa.

        The left really have gobbled up their own arsehole in a full Mobius strip of Ouroboros irony.

        “Anyone who disagrees with our sanctioned “think” is a fascist who needs reeducation.” – Guardian.

        But seriously – you missed the main point – maybe you did, I am just too angry at the gullibility of the Guardians readers to thoroughly digest your response to this utter tripe – this utter wanker said it was impossible to measure the effect on incomes and wages because we do not know what the wages of the immigrants were before they arrived.

        This was his point regarding new migrants wages.

        That is the most extraordinary thing I have ever read.

        Its like bringing in all the wounded from Syria fixing up their gaping wounds and completely abandoning all existing Australians medical needs and claiming overall we have raised medical standards when you include the health issues of the Syrians.

        Mind blown.

        Economic refugees tripling their incomes offsets the domestic collapse of income by half.

        How can this be allowed to pass ? Seriously ? WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK ?

      • “TG heavily censors comments. Both LVO and I have been refused perfectly reasonable comments in the past because we are fascists.”

        This is one of the big factors most observable in US politics. The ‘left’ are pushing the middle away with their irrational insanity – to the only other option. The “Alt right” seems to be more of a left-repulsion phenomenon than a right-attraction phenomenon.

        The dead giveaway is in the name (which as far as I can tell is still a very nebulous term without clear borders): Alternative right . ie, “We(they) don’t want to be associated directly with neocons, racists or the other extreme right elements, but we sure as shit don’t want to be associated with the insane left.”

        Also, on another note, can you guys put up a “tip” button? I’ve posted a few heads-up (including this one in the food label thread) that you guys have responded to in post form. It seems awkward posting it on another thread though.

      • I posted a comment with a link to an epidemiological study demonstrating that rates of infectious diseases increase dramatically with high rates of immigration. Germany is currently experiencing a Tuberculosis outbreak with all the migrants flooding the country. It is very likely they will NEVER be able to remove it from the population now, it is far to contagious.
        sigh 🙁

    • GunnamattaMEMBER

      My thoughts entirely. I see his byline has ‘economist’ and ‘journalist’ and I couldnt help but think he is an Economist Journalist in the same way Derek Pringle was an ‘All-rounder’…..

      But the upside is that at last the Empire of Ponzi is starting to marshall something. These guys, (Burgess, Jess irvine and this Tom Westland fellow) are what students of middle ages Ottoman military strategy would recognise as ‘Bashi Bazouks’ – ill disciplined irregulars, who you load up with psychadelics and send off to get slaughtered and keep the opponent busy while the Janissaries (then former children of Christians trained up to do Sultans bidding, but presumably in this day and age children of levered up babyboomers trained up to do the Sultans bidding) get their act together.

      • Love the Derek Pringle reference Gunna. What an average cricketer. All round rubbish more likely. Similar to all rounder Mitch Marsh. Good bowler but feet of clay when it comes to the willow. Too many technical faults to be labelled a batsman. Hitter/slooger yes but test batsman. No.

        While i am here i want to declare my repulsion at the PC ‘batter’. Hearing Steve Smith refer to his ‘batters’ …. vomit. ‘Batsmen’ please. FFS

    • Pathetic article where the desired answer/leftist ideology leads the so-called “analysis”.

      • Typical selective analysis from an activist methodology that points to the sandstone cathedral while making argumentum ad verecundiam arguments. Thus anything disputing the argument must be ‘anti-intellectual’ and after reading some of the comments from the guardian article, made from othering right wing white nationalists said without a trace of irony. Because we all know that the height of intellectualism is trying to shut down debate with cries of blasphemy/xenophobia.

    • Leith points out; “Owners of capital in the sectors experiencing the largest output gains will, in general, experience the largest gains in capital income. Also, the distribution of capital income is quite concentrated: the capital owned by the wealthiest 10 per cent of the Australian population represents approximately 45 per cent of all household net wealth”. That is thankfully far from the inequality measure that exists in the USA, but if it is measurably moving in favour of the wealthiest 10% it surely should be a measure of real concern to all fair minded Australians.. Is a comparison available Leith, say from 2004, when the twin benefits of negative gearing plus capital gains discount for residential property investors began to ‘kick in’ ?

  2. So that muppet admits that immigrants come here to work for $9/hour:

    “the 2016 census shows that income for recently arrived immigrants in Melbourne is on average substantially lower than it is for Australian-born residents. This means that the recent arrivals will “drag down” the average”

    More cognitive dissonance.

  3. The growth lobby are getting very defensive and must be feeling the pressure coming up with these twisted bullshit arguments directly aimed at you Leith. Great stuff demolishing them too.

    • The louder the protest …… The drums are beating.

      But how do we get the muppets at the ABC and other MS Bogan media to cover this topic? Seems impossible.

  4. stagmalMEMBER

    did anybody e-mail him this rebuttal or stick it in the comment section of the guardian article? it’s brilliant, but ineffective if its just left here in the wilderness of MB. we need to be getting this message out there. i’ll email it to him myself.

    • I have tweeted a link to the author and suggested that in the spirit of public debate the Guardian should link Leith’s response to his article.

      Not holding out much hope.

      You get a feel for the mindset from some of the supportive tweets. Apparently, the purpose of immigration is to improve migrant welfare. No doubt the theory is that reducing the quality of life in Sydney or Melbourne does not matter because they will still be better than the migrant’s home countries for a bit longer.

      No wonder the virtue signalling version of “Big Australia” wants to limit any real debate and smear anyone who does. If they actually explained their logic to the general public they would not be given the time of day.

      The irony is that if those guys are serious about a Big Australia they need to adopt a corporatist / statist approach (per the 20th century) to commandeering resources so they can be applied to accommodating very high population growth rates.

      No doubt the corporate sponsors of Big Australia would love that but it doesn’t fit well with the general self image of the “do Gooder” variant that generally specialises in organic, Lo Fi fair trade, distressed linen etc.

      If we are going to have a Big Australia and very quickly a bit of honesty from the progressive promoters of the idea as to what it will take would not go astray.

      Blaming the average Australian for the Big Australia spruikers inability to deliver the resource allocations required is more than a bit rich.

      But writing from Canberra no doubt makes the problems of the world little more than exercises in good intentions.

      As the author responded to me when I drew his attention to Sydney’s 300+ construction cranes.

      “I don’t see why anyone should care how many cranes are in a city. tbh ”

      https://twitter.com/tomwestland/status/889822601303826432

      Says it all really.

      • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

        “If they actually explained their logic to the general public they would not be given the time of day.”

        This.

      • Keep up the good work. Can’t believe he didn’t get it about the cranes, that’s a powerful graph.

      • Well said pfh
        His response re the Darwin/Adelaide railway line is also instructive. By definition it is a white elephant as compared to supplying more water to have a bigger population in Melbourne. Now I don’t want to debate this particular railway line but the economic principles need to be considered. In this bloke’s view nothing that might be aimed at rejuvenating or expanding industry, based on the resources available, that is externally facing would ever be worth doing. While expanding Sydney and Melbourne by building dog boxes to house low paid migrants is ALWAYS the way to go.
        The FACT is that this latter process just results in more debt, both government and private, more foreign debt as a result of producing nothing in exports and blowing imports sky high, and requires us to sell more of the country to foreigners – including said dog boxes for the migrants to rent. This means nothing to this bloke.
        Now it is not his fault particularly. That IS the sort of economics that is taught at all universities. It is the model followed by everyone in Treasury and the RBA. It is the model of every Bank economist. It is the model so enthusiastically pursued by Harry Triguboff and Hardly Normal.
        How do you fight this s..t when it is taught by every economic school in the Anglo-Saxon world? The Economist is full of it and the cries in the wilderness that this is ending in disaster now are still few and far between.

  5. Good rebuttal.
    And it’s nearly 5 Million unskilled migrants in the last decade 2006-2016.
    Here are some views on the real economic & social impact, and the solutions needed.

    Firstly it’s not just 2.5 million migrants in the last decade. That is just the (mostly unskilled) migrants on citizenship, refugee or permanent residency grants in the last 10 years with over 83% (1.7 million) crowding into Sydney or Melbourne. Adding to our welfare, healthcare, aged burden and lowering the standard of living.

    You need to add onto that another 2.5 million temporary or tourist visas here only to work illegally, repay the foreign agent procurer loan debt in organising the fake pretext visa and access to also snag a PR and being in more like them.

    Temporary visa holders 2.1 million.
    And even higher 87% concentration in Sydney & Melbourne.
    Increasing at a rate of 5% year to year.

    https://www.border.gov.au/ReportsandPublications/Documents/statistics/temp-entrants-aus-31-dec-2016.pdf

    Have a good read. Look at the visa categories.
    And there on the link is the country of origins.
    In 90% of the case the migrants are coming from a much poorer lower socio economic source and bring little or no wealth / most come in heavily indebted to foreign criminal agent procurers organising exorbitant loans / fake funds and visa pretexts along with rampant Fake ID so they can work illegally in the foreign run blackmarket & vice rackets..

    Ask yourself this question – where do they all live in Australia and how ?

    Almost all are unskilled / in fact 96% are unskilled. (The 457 skilled fraction is less than 72,000 of the 457 total incl partners dependents and again only a tiny fraction of the temporary visa 2.1 million total).

    These are third world migrants, only here to work and unskilled, often illiterate in their home country language.

    * Students’, the vast bulk of which are doing very low level 8 year old English or 14 year old high school courses dressed up as certificates or diplomas, only small fraction are doing genuine high level specialist post graduate education.

    * NZ back door (over half now on a NZ Special Category Visa are actually non NZ born, coming in the back door via the NZ transit stop.

    * Then add in working holiday racket (most in the cities or on a labour supplier fake farm work, the farmer taking payment from the labour services supplier for visa churn or extension).
    *
    * Spousal, bridging, protection and other visas widely rorted.

    Tourist visas.
    Add on another 400,000* tourist visa long stay or repeat visa here, usually an Asian or Indian only to work illegally.
    (*The ABF estimate is 5% fraud of 8 million tourist arrivals – including 1 million mainland Chinese here for family or long stay ‘holiday’.

    Then add on another 70,000 overstayers and you get easily get to over 2.5 million temporary & tourist visa holders living here.

    =>There is real picture – 5 million mostly unskilled mostly third world migrants now in Australia in the past decade.

    Drilling into the 2.5 million temporary & illegally working visitor visa holders.

    2.5 million primarily third world, unskilled migrants also with an 85% or so concentration in Sydney and Melbourne. (Rural and remote pop is actually in relative decline).

    Well over half the nations renters of 4.8 million (ABS).

    Occupying at least 400,000 or so dwellings (at 6 per dwelling which is probably conservative), paying some $24 billion or more a year in rent.
    Of which at least $16 billion is cash in hand sublet bunk & mattress share, no tax to usually a foreign criminal landlord as their business here.

    Economic impact.

    The 2.5 million migrants in the citizenship and permanent residency grants are 15% to 30% lower than average Australian income levels depending on the migrant ethnic group showing the impact of the unskilled mix. 3 times more likely to be on welfare & are aged with high dependency on health care services.

    And the temporary and tourist visa holder ‘economics’ are economically ridiculous.

    The 2.5 million temporary & tourist visa holders & overstayers …bring in less than $4.3 billion (declared funds ABF, Tourist Australia)

    They form a $105 billion mostly underground illicit economy – Fake ID, cash in hand is the norm.

    They remit back to their foreign criminal agent procurer over $36 billion via onshore and offshore money flow (world bank 2016, Austrac and Western Union 2016 remittances study).

    A negative -$31 billion or nearly -2% of GDP.
    The most economically destructive migrant guestworker program of any OECD or other country on earth.
    Pure economic & societal madness.

    Social impact.
    • Housing / subletting cash in hand property bubble. The foreign owners of property participate in massive rackets of lead tenancy, subletting in room bunk and mattress share – almost every part of Sydney and Melbourne has this racket.

    It’s a $24 billion industry in itself and the core reason why we have a housing bubble in Sydney & Melbourne – the foreign owner can pull $110,000 plus cash tax free out of an old established 2 bed unit or small suburban dwelling in subletting.

    •Creating massive indebtedness for Australians trying to purchase a property that does not have 10 or 15 third world migrants paying for room share bunk beds.

    •Major rorting of negative gearing, cash in hand sublet income not declared, (53,000 foreign owners with multiple properties and another 183,000 ‘Australian PR’ non Austria born with 2-5 properties rorting the tax breaks on falsified rental income, which cross checks with over 400,000 ‘ex- Australian’ dwellings now being used in temporary visa migrant subletting rackets.

    • Education – we have dropped 10 places in world education rankings, exposing the whole education system is now corrupted and prostituted as a ‘pretend education’ offered to allow third world migrants to work here and secure a PR to bring in the rest of their burden. Our filter is set to unskilled and amoral illegally working intake.

    • Transport & infrastructure- totally overloaded with little or no contribution from non tax paying illegally working visa holders.

    • Social & living standards – Sydney and Melbourne now a vast patchwork of unassimilated migrant slums.

    • Vice and crime. Is now not only run and managed by foreign criminal elements, but is almost exclusively resourced by third world temporary or tourist migrants procured and housed by their foreign criminal syndicates for that lucrative illicit income.

    •Evidence of systemic foreign money laundering and corruption in our housing market.

    • Real Wages / fallen in any measure.

    • Cost of living increases way above wages growth.

    • Unemployment 1.1 million Australians unemployed and 1.1 million seeking work.
    There’s billions more cost impact.

    And standards of living and life expectations of Australians.

    Established and new housing is now totally saturated with third world migrant as sublet renters – the prices soar and are even more unaffordable.

    But Wages and real incomes (and education to get a job) are in decline making it even worse for Australian or recent migrant arrivals.

    • Homeless at now record levels.

    —-

    We have record migrant intakes in PR and citizenship then exacerbated by literally the same number again of temporary and tourist visa holders.

    This is literally dragging Australia down economically & socially to third world housing levels of squalor and poverty for everyone.

    Something has to snap and that is a complete shutdown and wind back of the temporary and tourist visa rackets.

    The solutions needed.
    We are stuck with the 2.5 million new citizen and permanent resident intake as a mistake and burden we have to pay for.

    But we can do something about the 2.4 million temporary & illegally working tourist visa holders.

    •Remove or at least enforce visa conditions in work rights on all temporary & tourist visa holders.

    •Massive fines / jail for those found employing or using tourist visa holders for domestic purposes or black market & vice..

    •Enforce and inspect declared funds.
    Full payment of courses in advance.

    •No part time courses under 40 hours attendance a week.
    •Remove all students that a not post graduate genuine university level.
    ELT 5.5 before any entry.

    •Health checks by onshore Australian government doctor on arrival.

    •Track & trace ‘income’ and remittances.

    •No onshore pathway to PR. Make a condition of entry this can only be applied after completion of any course and when back in their home country.

    •Track and investigate who is living where and who is exactly paying rent to whom,. Make ATO and Crime Commission examples of the foreign run bunk & bed share industry criminals.

    This will exit out very rapidly over 1 million or more people in Sydney or Melbourne living in breach of visa conditions, housing usage, illegal & vice employers, and the whole foreign run corrupt visa & sham education and other industries around it.

    =>The Temporary & Tourist Visa categories are the place to start.

    80% or more should not even be in the country, only here to work illegally, secure a PR and drag in the rest of the third world burden.

    It’s time for a Royal Commission, (not a referendum) into this entire migrant visa farce

    • stagmalMEMBER

      your posts here are definitely underrated mike. the i always read them and appreciate the effort you put into writing and emphasizing this important stuff.

      anyone caught employing illegal workers should be given 10 years hard labor and their assets seized. we’d see a drying up of the illegal labor market almost instantaneously if we implemented this kind of draconian legislation.

    • Agreed that a Royal Commission is required to get to the bottom of this malarky. If what you say is true, it is an absolute disgrace!

    • Dude, a royal commission is just going to recommend more red tape.

      We used to have red tape around 457 visas in 2008 and it took 6 weeks/months to get a 457 visa then – but they were still issued and foreigners were still given good jobs instead of Aussies. What we need is to slash the official immigration rate and charge $100k upfront for each 457 visa. We should also ban the wives of 457 visa staff from working here – USA does this with H1B visas.

    • Let’s just hope a Royal Commission doesn’t end up recommending privatising the visa approval process

    • brian560MEMBER

      Excellent article, and as an ex ABF fraud investigator, you are right on the money. The whole visa process is a farce.

    • Excellent work Mike. Thanks for these eye opened stats. You should consider writing a guest article here on the subject.

  6. Good on Leith as he seems to be getting to the boosters, now the fight has to be taken to the Labor party.

    However, why do these people want high immigration, they aint gonna make money from it so why be boosters? The only reason I can think of is ego, i.e. The boosters are all affluent and well connected at the centre of their world, that is until they step outside of Australia and find out how insignificant we are in world affairs. This irks them coming from godszone so high immigration is a way to cover up that insignificance i.e. “Everyone wants to come here cause we’re so great…..YAY US!” I think this will be harder to dislodge than any economic argument.

    • DarkMatterMEMBER

      The answer to this is that immigration offers the certainty of change. Governments have become incapable of doing anything that will cause change – they mostly try and maintain the status quo. Flooding Australia with people means the future will be different, and that has appeal even if the future is worse.

    • However, why do these people want high immigration, they aint gonna make money from it so why be boosters?

      Because they don’t realise or experience its negative effects. I’ve had as many dispiriting conversations with people who think 457s for people to work as kitchen hands or student visa holders working in excess of their 20 hours is okay because they “do jobs Aussies wouldn’t do” (which tend to be jobs I did whilst studying) or that mass immigration is okay because it means being able to eat food that is different as I have had conversations with folks who think we’re on the cusp of the imposition of sharia law.

      There’s a middle ground, one where we return to the idea that parliamentarians are elected to represent the interests of their constituents, and ought to make policy decisions on the basis of what is best for the people who are already here.

      • drsmithyMEMBER

        I’ve had as many dispiriting conversations with people who think 457s for people to work as kitchen hands or student visa holders working in excess of their 20 hours is okay because they “do jobs Aussies wouldn’t do” […]

        And why do they think this ?

        Because their local Rupertarian has expended a great deal of effort convincing them that kids these days are greedy, lazy sods who want to sit around playing computer games all day and go straight into a high-paying job out of Uni.

      • I’m in my mid 30s and these are conversations with people who are younger than myself, talking about jobs they don’t want to do…

    • Why do they want high immigration?

      Because they don’t want to be seen as racist. Or to see themselves as racist.

      The question might as well be: “do you want to be like Pauline Hanson?”

      • This. Pure and simple. We simply must allow untrammeled immigration because it would be racist not to.

      • SoMPLSBoyMEMBER

        Agreed that this is the primary reason. The secondary reason is it supports the popular investment property ‘market’ which has supported the big 4 banks.

    • I think so. A lot of the work I did when younger (I’ve worked in kitchens, had non-checkout supermarket jobs, done menial construction work and sat behind the counter at servos) are now where a lot of student visa or 457s rorters find themselves working.

      I don’t think a 20 year old me would be able to find that sort of work today…

  7. “… we’re too lazy to do the analysis required to allocate infrastructure money efficiently, or because politicians ignore analysis when it’s done.”

    Or because the level of investment needed to keep up with runaway population growth is beyond any government. Hence why they tend to ignore the problem and kick the can down the road. We’ll have to basically double our capital stock over the next four decades just to keep up. Why? What is the point of any of this? So smug clowns like Westlake can revel in their own virtue?

    Overloading our cities and degrading the living standards of current and future generations all for some giant virtue-signalling exercise isn’t noble, it is moronic.

    Westlake likes high immigration for ideological reasons. We get it. I just wish people like him would stop trying to couch it in moralistic or economic terms. It is intellectually dishonest in the extreme.

    • DarkMatterMEMBER

      “… we’re too lazy to do the analysis required to allocate infrastructure money efficiently, or because politicians ignore analysis when it’s done.”

      That is an excellent argument for halting immigration until we can fix our broken political and economic system. Surely this amounts to the author shooting himself in the foot?

    • sirdrab
      Even when they do analysis it is based on false economic principles as per my post above. Evaluations, in our debt ridden economic world, need to be assessed with a great deal of emphasis on the external account. Of course a realistic value for the A$ would obviate the necessity for this sort of emphasis. The answers would be obvious.

  8. LOL, I’ve only just watched the Bolt Report video and had to good laugh at the censorship e.g. around the 7:25 mark we had “This is what is actually driving a lot of political discontent that is really destroying the Governments, first labour and now (inaudible/cut/censored)”. Also the gem at the start, around 0:20 where Labor is blamed for the current high rate of immigration despite the previous government opening the gates. It is obvious both major parties are supporting this and I have no idea why Melburnians aren’t out on the streets – maybe they’ll wake up once the AFL season/distraction is over….. No hand on, cricket will be in swing by then…..

      • I wasn’t accusing you guys of censoring anything, it seems maybe the Bolt Show either cut it out or Andrew realised he was about to critisize the current Government and proceeeded to mumble incoherently!

      • Stewie GriffinMEMBER

        I think you are being very generous towards an academic honours student whose been bashed over the head with a dictionary in describing him as an economist.

  9. It’s certainly something to behold, how much the guardian cosies up to bankers and developers.

    Furthermore they could sell their mass immigration wishes if they simply came up with grand plans for infrastructure. But they just virtue signal with one eye on their inner city properties and holiday houses.

    I am sick of being governed by my inferiors. Bunch of two bit arts degree idiots.

    • St JacquesMEMBER

      I love history and have read a bit of philosophy, but you’re right about two bit arts degrees idiots, they fall for deliberate staw manning like this, the clueless clowns, because they have !. no basic understanding of physics, 2. the humanities have had all the rationality and common sense in them that would help anchor people in the real world have been destroyed by anti-rational cults in the universities like post-modernism and the like. Just think of this fool’s implicit premise; that you can constantly inundate a society with immigrants with no ill effects upon the shape of the economy and the bargaining power and living conditions of its workers. It flies in the face of the most elementary understanding of physics or even plain common sense. Why can he get away with this nonsense? Because 1. he doesn’t state it up front and just makes it an issue about supplying infrastructure etc (ie, it’s our fault we can’t handle the flood coming from the collapsing dam) and 2. it goes to the heart of orthodox neoliberal/neoclassical economic theory, where the “free market” operates in atimeless, frictionless eternity, where it is always somehow in magical equilibrium. To put it in plain terms, the idea implied here is good old “Says Law” from the nineteenth, ie, the workers create their own demand, and it all happens instantly and frictionlessly – in physicists terms, there is no room for friction, ie, entropy. It is stark raving lunacy and the person acting out of “common sense” who relies on experience of “the real world” is absolutely right to treat this with the same contempt as astrology or voodoo.

      • It’s astonishing that half the power in the west is controlled by people who’s greatest achievement is reading Proust and other so called high brow books. If we ever want to see a civilised west again they simply have to go.

      • “where the “free market” operates in atimeless, frictionless eternity, where it is always somehow in magical equilibrium.”

        The neoliberal thing is trotted out a lot. Given the mess justifiably so. However at the heart of it all is the treatment of “money”
        So before I got to the free market as being wrong I’d adjust your quote a little
        where the “money” operates in a timeless, frictionless eternity – a perpetual motion machine where it is always somehow in magical equilibrium.
        Now, unfortunately or most, this statement includes pretty much all the modern economic theories Money doesn’t operate in a magical world of just money. It operates in a world of limited resources and of human beings.
        This bloke that somehow we can just magically keep printing money with no consequences and no debt. He devises no other way of paying for anything. So any money we spend that is not our own currency will be debt that will have to be paid by future generations or by the sale of assets to get the alternate currency. Then the problem becomes that as soon as we let A$ loose in THIS economy we incur almost immediately, save for any tax gathered, almost the same amount of debt in the foreign currency.
        I guess it is all a bit complicated for The Guardian…..best not to think fellas eh?

    • DarkMatterMEMBER

      We see this in the media more and more. People have an ability to construct word soup and rebuttal ping pong which far exceeds their ability to reason. Pulling apart the word soup inevitably ends up being tldr.

      • I don’t even read it anymore. A quick skim over a about two seconds. Such a waste of energy consuming it then having to pick it apart and recover a logical mind.

  10. Persoanly I thought the – fork was stuck into it – [Syd – Melb] when they were endlessly reported [MSM] as being the most livable city’s in the world.

    It never fails…. its like the kiss of death…

    Disheveled… don’t know how many places I’ve seen that once word of mouth or reported as being great, end up going down the tubes once big piles of money show up, and their service staff.

  11. Charles Ponzi

    High levels of sustained migration leads to population displacement. Genocide is a crime.

    Article II: In the present Convention, genocide means ANY of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

    (a) Killing members of the group;
    (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;*******
    (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; ******
    (d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; *******
    (e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

  12. SweeperMEMBER

    Don’t know about his originals v arrivals claim however I think he is right that immigration isn’t depressing wages/employment. Evidence on this is that immigrants stimulate labour demand at least as much as they add too supply. This is why the comparison with Aldi entering the supermarket market was not a great one. Aldi competes for fixed no. of consumers. Immigrants simultaneously boost the consumer/labour demand side (fixed labour/lump of labour myth). Compare real wages/employment in Germany v Greece or Germany v UK post GFC, then compare their the net migrant intake.
    I also think the decline in services has mostly been self inflicted. With the exception of Rudd stimulus 1, and the gun buy back, I honestly can’t think of a planning/economic policy over the past 34 yrs which hasn’t been a complete cock up. Privatisations (CBA, Telstra, CSL…), PPP infrastructure, toll roads, NBN, defunding/privatisation of health education, murray darling plan. This is the neoliberal outcome though; involve the private sector in “market solutions” and everyone except the private partner will be worse off. Watch 4 corners to see the success of the market solution in the Murray darling: Commonwealth earmarks $13b to buy water rights from irrigators (which they got for free anyway), when most of bought back rights are excess allocation anyway, then don’t adequately monitor the irrigators usage or infrastructure, allow stockpiling and speculation because it’s “market driven”.

    • I disagree. Allowing employers to recruit from a global pool of labour, rather than domestically only, necessarily reduces workers’ bargaining power and wages growth.

      The whole point around jacking-up skilled migration during the mining boom (as argued by the Treasury, the RBA, and employer groups) was to alleviate skills shortages and prevent a wages/inflation breakout.

      • SweeperMEMBER

        Only if the immigrants don’t have same workers rights as incumbents. But isn’t that an IR issue? As in just give them and enforce the same rights. If they have same rights I can’t see how it automatically depresses wages.

        Also; add to my list: privatisation of pension system (super), privatisation of energy, freezing investment in public housing, freezing investment in public transport…
        Can anyone name a planning policy over past 34 yrs which has actually benefited the public?

      • SweeperMEMBER

        Also my understanding is the mining program was to meet certain skills/shortages not to hold down general wages/prices. The RBA was given that job and did it by crushing the economy with Aussie dollar at $1.10

      • SweeperMEMBER

        That’s my point. Immigration isn’t holding back general wages/inflation. And if the supply side effect was actually greater than demand side effect that is a demand management problem for the RBA. ie not baked in by immigration.

    • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

      Its both Sweeper.
      I’ve seen first hand, certain construction trades wages transformed in a downwards direction, from the domination of those trades by certain new arrival groups, that have access to a largely unempowered, underpaid workforce of questionable legal status (eg, student visa holders working 60-70 hr/week, when the legal max is 20 hrs for them)
      The 7elevens and Domino’s scandals are only the tip of the iceberg.

    • “..I also think the decline in services has mostly been self inflicted..”

      I think you need to unpack your use of the word self inflicted.

      Are you arguing that the average Australian is responsible for the neoliberal propaganda of the last 40 – 50 years?

      My recollection is that they were assured that their betters….the technocrats and social democrats and the minions of capital had reached agreement that there was one single pathway to rising prosperity.

      I quite like busy cities and have been arguing for build baby build for years but I think it is quite clear that until we turn back and win the war on neoliberal ideology – and we are still arguing where to start – immigration must be greatly reduced….probably back to 70,000 per year.

      For starters our competitiveness is still fundamentally undermined by unproductive capital inflows and private bank credit creation.

      Plus It will give the Big Australia crowd something to work towards.

      Deliver on infrastructure and the other prerequisites for productive population growth and we will allow more in each year.

      • Sweeper,

        Keating lost in a landslide in 1996. According to your logic that means the Australian public rejected wholesale the Keating agenda. Especially as he only skated into government in 1993 on the back of the cake baking efforts of professor Hewson.

        If you really want to blame the electorate for anything it would be electing a Howard and re-electing him 3 times. You always go soft on Howard. You realise John Stone had little time for him?

        But as I said when it came to electoral support for neoliberal ideology – we are really talking about a victory for the middle classes who hijacked all sides of politics and did a great job of TINA.

        Certainly did not help that the residual of the left largely forget that the first and worst privatisation was public money.

      • HadronCollision

        Sweeper – bit of a narrow focus there old mate

        Anyone not 18 at the 96 election is not to blame.

    • drsmithyMEMBER

      Evidence on this is that immigrants stimulate labour demand at least as much as they add too supply.

      Not sure I see how that is implicit.

      Surely it would not be true if the majority of immigrants are working for relatively low wages and/or prepared to accept a relatively lower standard of living ?

    • Sweeper,

      Sorry, but your comment on wages is bs. Talk anyone whose worked on a mine site and they’ll tell you. You can’t pay lower than the award but most companies contracting on site have an EBA significantly above award. In comes company B with 457 workers who get the award, which can be some 100k pa difference from a site EBA.

  13. I don’t get what this guy is saying re apples and oranges and GDP per capita between 2009 and 2016. Australians in 2009 were also apples and oranges, they include migrants from 2002.

  14. St JacquesMEMBER

    Doesn’t have an effect on wages? Apparently all these people are instantly employed, and have no effect on local labour, especially in the lower end service jobs like retail and hospitality, I mean stuff like kickbacks are not happening at Seven Elevens and other servos, where all the young Aussies have virtually disappeared from in the last ten years and real wages aren’t declining, specially in The Ponzi State, Victoria. Yeah, right mate, you F W

  15. His argument basically runs like this: We could manage high immigration if we had proper planning. We do not have proper planning. But, we should have high immigration anyway. This is equivalent to a young couple saying: We could raise a child if we were not addicted to drugs. Unfortunately, we are addicted to drugs. But, we should have a child anyway.

    • No, it’s different because it’s acceptable to tell a couple addicted to drugs that it’s not ok to have a child, but it’s NEVER acceptable to say you should lower the rate of immigration as that is always seen as racist.

  16. Just beats me how any thinking person can miss the point that Leith is making.
    Honestly how can any company or society possibly grow if the process of growing requires additional resources, you’re loosing the battle before you even fire the first shot it’s simple logic, so why can’t educated people understand this?
    Maybe the answer to this riddle lies in moderating our Rate-of-Growth, Is it easier to grow at 1% pa than to grow at 3% pa?
    At 1% pa growth the population doubles every 70 years whereas at 3% pa growth doubling occurs in just over 23 years.
    We all know that it is absolutely impossible for Australian’s to make and execute important Infrastructure decisions more often than once in their life time so it stands to reason that 1% growth is the maximum possible for Australia. We’re simply incapable/incompetent of growing any faster, enough with discussions cap the rate of growth of population that’ll give us the breathing space to improve our capability/competency and the rest will be good for us and the process cathartic.

  17. Real State Final Demand might have flatlined but Real Estate demand has gone to the moon! It’s nothing but boom times for go-getting property investors!

  18. From the Guardian article ‘immigration has little to no impact on wages. On employment it’s much the same: the consensus of research is that, statistically, immigrants either create more jobs than they “take”, or that they have no impact on jobs at all.’
    The ‘consensus’ provided is two links to the same think tank, the IZA World Of Labor. Google ‘iza world of labor open borders’ and one example is ‘Should all national borders be lifted? That’s the question posed by IZA World of Labor Editor-in-Chief Klaus F. Zimmermann in a recent article for the Huffington Post, arguing that such a move would have a positive effect on both productivity and the alleviation of poverty.’ https://wol.iza.org/news/politicians-economists-and-commentators-debate-open-borders‘. But as long as it’s ‘evidence based policy’. Because one can always find the right evidence to fit the policy and anything else would be ignoring evidence.

  19. As someone pointed out in the comments his ‘consensus of research’ led back to an open border think tank.

    • Bingo. Yet another global socialist with little respect for democracy.

      ETS link to housing affordability…. *facepalm*

  20. When assessing an article, you need to look at the journal and its target audience. The Guardian has obviously chosen to target the far left, feral Greens and their fellow travellers. This article fits perfectly the group think of these sectors, hence from the Guardian’s perspective it is simply what their readers want. The sad thing is that truth and legitimate journalism becomes collateral damage.

  21. “Data from the 2016 census shows that income for recently arrived immigrants in Melbourne is on average substantially lower than it is for Australian-born residents. This means that the recent arrivals will “drag down” the average, even if they’re better off than they were before moving to Australia, and even if they’ve had no impact on the living standards of those who were already living in Melbourne.”

    So the lower wages being earnt by immigrants in a high immigration era, won’t flow through to the general community? This guy’s a clown.

  22. Cameron Murray has chimed in:

    “I’m pretty sure the arguments boil down to you each having two different points of view, then both sides finding evidence to support it (which is totally normal, by the way). As you said:

    “I am not going to try to address the implied moral logic of van Onselen: that the criterion upon which we ought to judge immigration policy is the welfare of incumbent residents. As it happens, I think this is a deeply unethical social welfare function.”

    This is the crux. I know enough economics now to know that you can get just about any answer from a attempts at technical assessments of marginal welfare effects. So let’s leave that to the side. Let’s stop pretending technical assessments will provide an answer or change minds.

    I personally think this ideological different is strange, and am curious as to your ethic viewpoint. For example, if you think nations are a useful organisation institution, and democracy is a useful way to offer some checks on power structures in a nation, surely you imply support for judging national policy based on welfare of residents, as that is the underlying rationale of the democratic nation-state.

    If you don’t, then you open up some puzzles. For example, if you are a instead a global welfare maximiser, start sending ships to collect the most needy people from Bangladesh, or the drought-affected regions of Somalia, South Sudan, Tanzania, Mozambique etc., and bring them over. It’s the easiest way to do it. Or just send them free food and equipment. Our policy settings, and most individual choices, are completely unlike the choices of a global welfare maximiser.

    In any case, any policy position apart from complete open borders is a defacto population policy. The question is whether the benefits outweigh the costs (to whoever, based on your ethical view) at an immigration rate of 200,000+ per year, or whether the net benefits are higher with a rate <100,000 per year. Judging by the comments and my experience talking to people from all across the country, the common view is that the benefits are more apparent with lower rates.

    If we take some counterfactuals for a moment, consider if this debate was happening in the early 2000s when the immigration rate was about half what it is now. I assume you would argue that higher is better. I have no idea what Leith would argue, since I don’t think he thought it was an issue back then.

    Then immigration doubles. You, I assume, would still be happier with a higher rate. Leith, now sees it as a problem.

    Let’s double the rate again (to half a million a year). Would your position change? I suspect not. I suspect, again, that this argument is really about conflicting underlying moral and philosophical viewpoints.

    Anyway, my feeling is many of the policy failures you discuss are also much easier to remedy with lower rates of immigration.

    Lastly, if you genuinely want higher immigration you should be ignoring this debate and not fuelling the fire, since there is massive popular support for lowering immigration back to pre-2006 levels, and the more it is in the media, the more politicians will have to respond to this groundswell.”

  23. I just voted in the local mayoral election (Port Macquarie) and then at the local Coles Dr Gellspie had his men handing out National information. I stopped and spoke with ‘Sam’ and the Nationals are very worried about ON and feel they are the victims of the coallition arrangement. Sam said that there was a lot of support of PHON and that is what people are saying to him.

    There seems a possibility of a very real rift in the coming weeks months.
    Bring it on !

  24. “We’ll have to keep that in mind the next time someone here is complaining about ‘the war on men and boys’.”

    If that ‘someone’ is using works of fiction to explain as an impedance to an individuals free thought and right to self-determination, then I’m with you.