Why won’t Fairfax question mass immigration?

By Leith van Onselen

Following Friday’s release by the ABS of revised population data, which showed that Melbourne’s population had grown by an insane 127,175 (2.7%) in 2016:

And by nearly 1.1 million (30%) in the 12 years to 2016:

As well as the state Liberal Party’s warning of a congestion crisis and calling for a broad population debate.

The Age’s editorial responded with the following drivel yesterday [my emphasis]:

Melbourne is facing a decade of disruption. The $11 billion Metro rail tunnel project is transforming the inner city into a long-term construction site. While this will cause considerable inconvenience for many Melburnians, the creation of such transformative infrastructure is crucial to the wellbeing of all of us in a metropolis whose population is expanding by 300 a day – more than 100,000 a year.

The pivotal question is not whether the belated surge in rail investment is going to be too much to bear, but whether it will be enough. Slashing immigration would be a dreadful error – punitive, stopgap and robbing us of the benefits of migration. But we should be doing more than playing catch-up; we should be thinking bigger and planning far more urban and regional transport investment. Multiple train line upgrades and extensions are needed.

Rapid population growth has benefited the city, the state and the nation. But a failure by successive Victorian and federal governments to adequately plan and to invest in public transport has created Melbourne’s most pressing and profound problem: congestion. It costs billions annually in lost productivity and takes an untold toll on the mental and physical wellbeing of commuters, some of whom are spending several hours a day in gridlock. It is the biggest brake on the city’s economy, and has statewide implications, because Melbourne currently produces 100 per cent of the state’s economic growth – there is none in rural and regional Victoria…

So normalising Australia’s immigration intake back to historical norms – i.e. less than 100,000 people a year from 200,000 currently – would somehow be “punitive” and “stopgap”? How so?

As for “robbing us of the benefits of migration” what exactly are the benefits of “rapid population growth” to ordinary citizens? All 12 years of hyper growth has delivered to the residents of Melbourne (and Sydney) is traffic gridlock, crush-loaded public transport and schools, as well as more expensive (and smaller) housing. How are these “benefits”?

It’s not like Melbournian’s material living standards have been improving either “by rapid population growth”.

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, Victoria’s trade deficit has exploded as the 30% expansion of Melbourne’s population has dramatically lifted imports (think flat screen TVs, imported cars, etc), without increasing exports:

ScreenHunter_16225 Nov. 21 16.42ScreenHunter_16226 Nov. 21 16.42

With Melbourne’s population officially projected to grow by an insane 97,000 people a year (1,850 people a week) for the next 35-years, adding 3.4 million people to the city’s population (equivalent to 2.5 Adelaide’s):

With this growth to come primarily from mass immigration:

It is patently obvious that normalising Australia’s immigration program is paramount if Melbourne’s living standards are to be maintained.

Thankfully, The Age’s Editorial was treated with derision from most readers. Below are some highlights:

Blind Freddy – but not the propagandists at Fairfax – can see there is a problem, and that the solution is obvious.

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  1. A couple more comments for us:

    “I’m on the same annual income as I was ten years ago. Isn’t that the goal of flooding the labor market, to cause wage stagnation?

    I can not think of one positive thing that rapid population growth has done for me. It’s a scam for the big end of town.

    This editorial is appalling.”

    “Joe BloggsMelbourne,Jul 31 2017 at 10:51am
    Plus one. This editorial totally ignores the many negative consequences, including pressure on infrastructure, of the unsustainable population growth.

    I will be voting sustainable Australia at the next election.”

    • “I will be voting sustainable Australia at the next election”…

      We know Jacob… we know.

  2. did anyone catch Jessica Irviine on Q&A last night? it was a total bore, i switched the channel 1/4th of the way through and came back every now and then. talked about trump, islamic stuff, the republic debate… zZzZzzzzzzzz. this show is a a total joke. put Reusa on there he’d be better than most of these panelists.

    • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

      Yes I saw her,…she was very Underwhelming, a total light weight. I could have explained family trust structure 10 times better than she did,…it was grating and embarrassing to watch.

      Did you notice Mattieo Caravanie, say on his Italian dual citizenship, that his father was “Stateless” when he came to OZ and thus he could not be accepted as Italian by Italy.

      No mention of his Mum’s forgery,…is this a change of tack,…or is it old news?
      I’ve found the whole dual citizenship thing, a bit boring and haven’t been following it much.

    • What I do is, open the Q&A website a few days later and they actually hyperlink the questions that were asked! So I click on a question that is not about NDIS nor Gonski and the video skips to “our next question is from Ernest…”

      ABC Insiders is the real bore – 58 minutes of chin wag about glacial politics!

      I want to skip to the journalists Andrew Probyn and Laura Tingle talking. They should have a hyperlink to be able to skip to that segment.

      • Probyn’s been elevated at the ABC but his deliveries on 7:30 aren’t great. He’s better on paper.

    • Yeah I saw her educate Tony Jones on Discretionary Trusts. Confidently explaining that it wouldn’t make sense to make a distribution out of the Trust to an individual above their tax free threshold. That’s the key to being a good senior economics journo, you have to be confident in your arguments even in the absence of tedious research and careful analysis. It’s all about confidence.

      • “”That’s the key to being a good senior economics journo, you have to be confident in your arguments even in the absence of tedious research and careful analysis. It’s all about confidence.””

        …and pretty much where about half of all Fake News comes from.

        Ignorant fools educating even bigger fools that are even more ignorant.

    • That show is only any good if you have a bit of a loose cannon like Jacque Lambie, it’s been so boring this year.

      Poor old Jess just wants to be a celebrity economist. Why not. The next Ross Greenwood or something. Probably pays enough to scrape into a half decent Sydney house. Honest work sure as shit ain’t gonna cut it.

  3. Meanwhile, you’ve got this in the New York Times:


    “Australians are increasingly concerned about China’s growing influence in the country. Chinese money is being funneled to politicians. Beijing-run media outlets buy ads in Australian newspapers to promote the Communist Party view on local and regional issues. Chinese companies are buying Australian farms and natural resources.
    The push extends to Australia’s universities. Chinese agents are said to monitor Chinese students and report on those who fail to toe the Communist Party line. And in another troubling trend, many of the 150,000 visiting Chinese students are importing a pro-Beijing approach to the classroom that is stifling debate and openness.”

    The ADF is pointless – seriously, why bother? The Chinese know very well how to conquer a small country like Australia, and it doesn’t require a single shot to be fired. The ADF is Australia’s Maginot Line.

  4. There is one columnist in NZ who is being published by her Fairfax employer, who is saying the right thing – these are in the print edition too (Dominion Post):



    NZ’s problem seems to be much greater even than Australia, so maybe it needs to be this bad before you will see Fairfax allowing anything to be said.

    • migtronixMEMBER

      “Now that earning figure has been dropped to $41,500, but migrants would still have to stand down for a year after three years of working in NZ.

      Federated Farmers immigration spokesman Chris Lewis says the minister’s changes haven’t gone far enough and will mean that migrants, who have been trained up on our farms, will have to leave, and other countries will benefit from their training.”
      . God f#cking damn it there aren’t enough chairs in this world for me to throw, or vases to smash. NZ40k is called skilled? And these fucktards are actually talking about retaining the trained slaves, but not you know, training and paying the locals more. The West is a greed infested moralless hell hole happily skipping into a non gender binary robo surveillance matrix. I want off.

      • Yep. Why the hell can they not train Kiwis/Aussies for the job?

        Why are the wives of 457 visa staff allowed to work here? (the wives of H1B visa staff are not allowed to work in USA)

        11 years ago, I saw job ads in AUS that said “must be an Aussie or Kiwi to apply”. Which was good – why import 3rd world passports to do the job when A) Aussies know about AUS and B) so many Aussies and Kiwis are looking for a job?

        Why the hell did Gillard give 457 visas to KFC? If they want to hire burger flippers and for some reason do not wish to hire an Aussie, they can import a Kiwi to flip burgers. The fact that they want to import staff from the 3rd world should have rang alarm bells.

        Are 3rd world degrees better? No. Are there lots of KFC outlets in India? No. Are the wages in the 3rd world much, much, lower? Yes! So that is why you want to import burger flippers from the 3rd world!

    • I wouldn’t say NZ’s problems are greater. Sure, your immigration is much higher at the moment (esp in Auckland). But Australia’s has been higher when measured over the past 15 years.

      Still, thanks for the links.

  5. migtronixMEMBER

    “because Melbourne currently produces 100 per cent of the state’s economic growth”

    There’s your gigantic failure of planning right there, not more hell for hellbourne! Sweet baby f#ckn Jesus what is wrong with the brains of journalists in the f#cking country?

  6. Australia , give thanks to the sweet migration levels Melbourne attracts – a real blessing to the future of this great country.

    Voting for a sustainable Australia should, correctly, mean voting for higher net migration growth rates – that’s what Australia needs. All else being equal, long-run economic prosperity is primarily a function of productivity gains and population growth – gotta understand that, for our own good.

    Present contra “arguments ” [ not really arguments = they just focus on infrastructure/etc/etc/other obvious elements that any year-12 can articulate ] are empty ; it’s a case of attending to the investment challenges of migration, not abandoning the concept that has inherent economic appeal.

    Put another way, a myopic, nationalist, protectionist ideology inhibits economic growth, we all know that [ or do we, actually ? ]. This anti-net migration “argument” of many is empty, unconvincing fundamentally and weak economically.

    Lets focus, please [ also to the bloggers ] on the potential long-run economic benefits of correctly handled net migration gains – this aspect is dis-appointingly absent from those supposed ‘economists’ – yes we all know the stats about migration and the infrastructure-sapping negative effects .

    A proper economist would also know that economic prosperity is strongly linked to population growth. So they/he should also give some fiqures on the benefits of migration gains over the long-run … show us the empirical evidence of the gains – because, trust me, that’s what is an IMPORTANT driver of growth … population gains.

    Come now “economists” , do your work properly : all else being equal, long-run economic prosperity is primarily a function of productivity gains and population growth – you should know that is what the experience has been, overwhelmingly.

    • migtronixMEMBER

      “All else being equal, long-run economic prosperity is primarily a function of productivity gains and population growth – gotta understand that, for our own good.”..

      Tell the Swiss and Japanese how poor they are Funky, or tell the Nigerians, Ethiopians, Somalis, Zimbabweans how rich they are and there’s no need to move to some poor, dying low population hell hole

    • Wow. That is sarcasm or astroturfing.

      So why is it ok for Japan to have a shrinking population?

      AUS is an exporter of hydrocarbons (like Norway, Qatar, Kuwait) and rocks (coal, iron ore, bauxite). How is the importation of exam cheats and visa frauds a good thing?

    • Nothing like some FIRE sector economics first thing in the morning!

      Like a thick smear of Vicks Vapor rub applied below the nostrils.

      If you are quick you can get gets amongst those negative nancies reading Age editorials as well.

    • reusachtigeMEMBER

      I’m totes with you man! Boosting population is great for booming house prices and keeps wages down really low so as to boost profits. It’s a win win for everyone!!

    • JunkyardMEMBER

      Fail. Strawman.No one suggested “abandoning the concept”. Why misrepresent the argument, and then do a lot of vague hand wavey stuff? Is there anything more specific you can point to in relation to your argument?

    • I’m assuming that you are being sarcastic. But in case you aren’t, I’ll bite.

      “A proper economist would also know that economic prosperity is strongly linked to population growth.”

      What about per capita growth? That’s what matters. Why expand the economic pie if everyone’s share of the pie does not increase and it creates a whole bunch of negative externalities? This is the crux of the issue.

      • To be fair, UE, have you demonstrated that the per capita output will actually decline in the long-term?
        We all get the obvious “pie being shared” theory.

        • Population growth (immigration) has minimal impacts on GDP per capita (positive or negative). But it does negatively impact various other aspects of life, which are not captured in GDP. These include congestion, housing affordability, and the environment. It also can reduce the incomes of incumbent workers (as shown clearly in the PC’s 2006 modeling).

          So why persist with mass immigration? Where are the benefits for ordinary residents?

      • UE – You persist with theory … I asked you to “demonstrate” = show me the empirical EVIDENCE, say, of other countries, over the longer -term.

    • One almost wonders how we were able to avg. almost 5% annual growth behind the tariff wall in the 28-29 yrs post WW2. Well in excess of the growth achieved under the Keating nightmare (in per capita terms also).

      • ” This afternoon I’d like to focus on the important topic of long-run economic growth. I call it important because living standards, as measured by income per person, are inextricably tied to long-run growth. Over time, even small differences in growth can translate into large differences in average income per person ” :https://www.clevelandfed.org/newsroom-and-events/speeches/sp-20151015-long-run-economic-growth.aspx

        ” Real U.S. GDP growth is driven by two engines: the growth rate of the labor force, plus the growth rate of output per worker (productivity) “: https://www.hussmanfunds.com/wmc/wmc170403.htm

      • ” The remarkable success of Western economies in the past 200 years is therefore associated
        with strong population growth. Yet population growth is problematic if it outpaces increases
        in productivity (Gamble, 2014) ” : http://speri.dept.shef.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Brief7-the-relationships-between-economic-growth-and-population-growth.pdf

        UE … refer the ” income per person ” … “are inextricably tied to long-run growth ” + also see the drivers of growth = Hussmanfunds.Com above.

      • migtronixMEMBER

        @Reincarnation that population growth was endonic not exogenous – and the last 50 years of tech expansion against population falls would seem to invalidate the previous 150 year experience…

      • Mig,
        The data does not allow/cause/offer the opportunity to discriminate between the sources of population growth = how can you , therefore. Also, your ‘seems’ is not science – mine is.

        Say my name, say my name …. I’ve been cremated because of …

        Hi, Jelmech, Brenton and JasonNMan, and others….. FMG = going to my target .. gosh, I’m good

      • migtronixMEMBER

        I’ll tell you how Reup

        “Between 1999 and 2011 net migration was the main component of population change in the UK” between 1899 and 1911 it wasn’t…

      • Mig, yes that’s true, but that’s not *sufficient* to cause/allow you to discriminate between different economic impacts of two sources of the population growth = the study is absent as regards effects of different sources of population growth.

      • migtronixMEMBER

        Aaaah yes you are correct Reup, but logic does. Population growth in Africa has been rampant, no growth just more problems, in fact, they’ve only been able to maintain that pop growth because of advances in the west and our subsidises/reparations….

  7. ‘we should be doing more than playing catch-up; we should be thinking bigger and planning far more urban and regional transport investment. Multiple train line upgrades and extensions are needed.’
    That isn’t even relevant. Who could argue with thinking big? Empty platitudes of deflection. We as a nation *should* be doing lots of things but governments have displayed next to zero inclination or ability to even play the unwinnable catch up game, beyond tax farming opportunities, let alone thinking big on infrastructure and planning. Meanwhile people have to live with the reality why the legacy media pontificates about what *should* be done.

    • migtronixMEMBER

      Not only have the politicians failed miserably but the media have failed miserably to hold them accountable – and on top of that gaslight us by calling us ignorant racists. It’s unbelievable to watch the mind control get repeated out people’s mouths back at you, just as Mining Bogan described yesterday. I pointed out west CBD is like 80% Asian and got called racist, so then I tweet pictures from Woolworths at QVI and got called racist for being right. It’s unbelievable.

      • Talking to people is hopeless imo. Logic and plain speaking is ineffective. Memes and Molotov cocktails like Brexit and Trump have been the only success so far. Even though they haven’t achieved anything for us they did at least land a few blows.

      • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

        “I pointed out west CBD is like 80% Asian and got called racist”

        How did you know, they were all Asian?,…Mmmm

        I don’t even notice that kind of thing,…being the Modern, Progressive, Renaissance man/Plumber, that I am.

        If I was to ever accidentally make a similar sloppy observation (it’s about 90%in Sydney),…I would quickly redeem my self by pointing out how wonderfully it is to see,.. multiculturalism and diversity so alive in our city!
        No doubt our Indigenous Australian brothers and sisters, felt the same, 100 years ago, walking up George St,…along the Queen Victoria building, looking in at all the exotic food stalls and being filled with the wonders of Multiculturalsim, surrounded by a technicolour multitude of Capitan Cook Cunt diversity everywhere they looked.

        Ya just gotta learn how to feel the love, embrace it and toe the line mig.

    • Replace “thinking” with “spending” and see how little such an argument gains traction in the community. Thinking is free. This is what is so frustrating, this problem isn’t because we have an imagination deficit, just the opposite in fact. The high immigration dreamers need to show us how they can not only maintain our living standards, but provide growth in such things as wages and productivity, all while the population is exploding.

  8. This country is run by scum for scum. Most voters are scum, most of gen y are scum, most boomers are scum, most of gen x is scum. There was a transitional period during the 90s, from Australians to scum, the 2000s showed the raw and shocking metamorphosis, like that scene in The Fly, since then we’ve settled into some sort of gutter dwelling miscreations, defiling our inheritance, and spending our days searching for our lost humanity, putting on flimsy and transparent facades, attaching ourselves to mobs and tribes of nauseating caricatures and stereotypes, in an attempt to hide what horrors we’ve become.

    • my take Owen – for what it’s worth – I spent most of the 80’s living os. When I returned to live in Oz I was struck by the changes (to scum like behaviours as you say)……..so, yeah. The transition got entrenched in the 90’s…….

      Now – sit back and watch the inevitable play out…..and work to protect yourself

      • Most of which coincided with the Howard-Costello era.
        Then we had the 2008 GFC followed by The Dudd.

  9. casewithscience

    In terms of proportional increase in population – isn’t Perth winning?

    Sorry, I forgot. Perth doesn’t win at anything.

    Kind Regards