Fake Greens defend Sydney’s population ponzi

By Leith van Onselen

I have written previously (here and here) how the Australian Greens have shut down discussion and rational debate over population policy, in turn giving voice to divisive figures like Pauline Hanson. This comes despite population size having a direct impact on the Australian environment, which The Greens are supposed to care about, as well as housing affordability, infrastructure and overall living standards.

In November 2016, NSW Greens MP, Jenny Leong, penned a rant in New Matilda linking Sustainable Australia’s sensible call to moderate immigration with fascism [my emphasis]:

Throughout the election campaign, on any given day, there were literally hundreds of ‘satirical’ takes on Trump…

Whether it be cut together footage of Trump saying China on youtube, Tina Fey’s portrayal of Sarah Palin or, closer to home, mocking Pauline Hanson’s mis-statements or the Sustainable Population Party’s poster that blames traffic congestion on immigration, it’s time we considered the implications of this laughter…

If a revolution sounds like a whisper, perhaps the rise of fascism sounds like a joke. And as we probably would all agree, fascism is no laughing matter.

Trump’s victory as President – and Pauline Hanson’s recent electoral success in Australia – make it clear that we laugh at our own peril…

At the time I noted that Sustainable Australia’s poster actually called for “better public transport and lower immigration”.

I also ridiculed Ms Leong’s lack of understanding of basic math: that ramming 80,000 to 100,000+ extra people into Sydney and Melbourne each year, primarily via mass immigration, will necessarily worsen traffic congestion.

Yesterday, in response to this week’s Fairfax-ReachTel poll, which found that two-thirds of Sydney’s population believe Sydney is full and that its growth should stop, we got the following response from Jenny Leong:

We’re not “full.” We’re being failed.

At the last census, the electorate of Newtown had the highest density of any electorate in NSW, but this is far from a bad thing. Newtown, like much of Sydney, is a vibrant, bustling place and that’s what we love about it.

So let’s get real about the reason it feels “full” – it is not because of all the amazing people who live in our community, it’s because successive state governments have failed to invest in the services and infrastructure we need for our international city to thrive.

YES, our trains are crowded and our roads congested. YES, our classrooms are full and our hospital waiting lists dismal. YES, our green spaces are shrinking and we need more recreational playing spaces. But this doesn’t mean we’re full. It means we’re being failed by Gladys Berejiklian and the state governments before her who have let property developers make Sydney their playground.

I have been to countless community consultations since I was elected – and not once have I heard someone say ‘we are full’. The overwhelming call is always for an integrated urban planning approach that recognises that we can’t continue to add new dwellings to our wonderful city without also investing in more public transport, more schools, more childcare, more public spaces, more healthcare and community amenities.

Let’s seize this moment to call out the real culprits here – the Liberal Government and their failure to put our community needs first. This is not about closing Sydney’s “borders” and deciding who should and shouldn’t live here.

Let’s start working on solutions for a connected city that’s liveable for everyone.

We’re not full. We’re growing and we need to make sure the infrastructure of our city can keep up.

Here we have yet another iteration of the ‘better planning and more infrastructure’ solution to Sydney’s crush-loading. But if it was true, then how come it is never solved? Why can no government of whatever political party, in any fast growing city, get infrastructure or planning right?

It’s not like the State Governments of NSW and VIC have not been trying to keep up with population growth. As noted by Dr Jane O’Sullivan in a submission to the Productivity Commission:

A fiscal burden of more than $100,000 per additional person, or tens of billions of dollars per year, is a huge cost for the government to omit from its balance sheet of costs and benefits of population growth. The cost single-handedly accounts for all increase in government debt since the escalation of population growth from 2004. The Grattan Institute reported “unprecedented infrastructure spending by states and territories is largely responsible for a $106 billion decline in their finances since 2006,” and “after a threefold increase in capital spending over the last 10 years, states are paying 3 per cent more of their revenues in interest and depreciation.”

These figures are based on what has actually been spent. It is evident that expenditure has not been enough, with congestion mounting in transport systems, hospitals, schools, prisons, housing and community facilities.

You read that right: our governments have massively increased infrastructure expenditure and taken on more debt, but have still failed dismally to keep up with rampant population growth.

The end result is sardine packed trains, more time stuck in traffic, less affordable (and smaller) homes, schools and hospitals bursting at the seams,  increasingly costly infrastructure ‘solutions’, as well as a degraded environment (not to mention lower wages).

The situation facing Sydneysiders is destined to worsen as long as the federal government’s mass immigration ‘Big Australia’ agenda remains, with the NSW Government’s own population projections showing that Sydney’s population will balloon by a massive 1.74 million people (87,000 people a year) over the next 20 years, with almost all of this growth (1.53 million or 76,500 people a year) coming from net overseas migration:

Moreover, long-suffering Western Sydney residents will bear the brunt of the population increase while those that reap the profits will fatten their profits in the east at no cost:

This is pure class warfare.

Blind Freddy – but not The Greens it seems – can see the direct link between overly swift population growth, the environment, congestion, housing affordability, wages and overall living standards for lower income households.

What’s quite unclear is what The Greens stand for beyond more and more and more people?

There is a way for The Greens to once again become a genuine “green” party as well as ensuring social justice concerns are met: follow Dick Smith’s (and Sustainable Australia’s) plan to increase Australia’s humanitarian intake (currently 14,000 people per year) while cutting Australia’s economic intake (currently around 190,000 people per year) to 70,000.

This way, The Greens could achieve two goals: significantly reducing population growth and saving the environment while also being a good and caring global citizen.

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Comments

  1. I have been to countless community consultations since I was elected – and not once have I heard someone say ‘we are full’.

    lol. Because you live in an ivory tower, Jenny.

    I am surprised she did the ecologically irresponsible thing (buy an ink and paper version delivered by diesel truck) instead of holding up the iPad version.

    When will the Greens call Portugal and Japan “ray cyst” for having shrinking populations? And every other nation that has a slower immigration rate than AUS?

    • the_bystanderMEMBER

      Because turning up to a meeting of leftists and telling everyone that you think our high immigration levels are a major contributor to these problems is TOTALLY not going to result in jeers from the crowd and a swift lecture from Leong about how you’re a racist…

    • I live in Jenny Leong’s electorate. When I moved here Newtown was a haven for artists and musicians, a patchwork of ethnic communities of working class backgrounds and student share houses. Redfern (also her electorate) was a very large aboriginal community in the tens of thousands – now only 300 remain and they’re about to be evicted to make way for new apartment towers.

      A typical Newtown terrace now sells for upwards of $2m to a wealthy Chinese family who will use it to accommodate their child close to Sydney uni, or a wealthy North Shore type who can no longer afford the prices in Mosman. Local schools all performing well though thanks to the extremely high socio-economic advantage of residents. Few artists or musicians live in Newtown any more though they do still commute in from suburbs further south. Ethnic communities, are selling up and the cheap and cheerful family owned restaurants are being gradually replaced by chains.

      But no-one ever complains because whoever has remained owned their own house and is now seriously wealthy, and all the povs have been pushed out.

      • “A typical Newtown terrace now sells for upwards of $2m to a wealthy Chinese family who will use it to accommodate their child close to Sydney uni, or a wealthy North Shore type who can no longer afford the prices in Mosman.”

        Yes.

    • Jacob, you need to calm down and think before writing your comments. Otherwise people like Ms Leong will cherry-pick to use as “evidence”. There is no doubt a portion of the populace who would gladly have the same level of immigration as now as long as it was from Europe or the US/Can/NZ. These are the xenophobes and pointing it out to Ms Leong that she should pick-up a dictionary and actually learn the proper definition would be a constructive comment.

      • JasonMNan, Britons voted for PM Cameron because he promised to get immigration down to 100,000/year or less. And that was because there was and is a tsunami of immigrants from low-wage Eastern European nations who can come over in unlimited numbers because in 2004 the low-wage nations were admitted to the EU.

      • Jacob, red herring much? Britain´s problems come from the other >50% of migrants (and growing) who study and stay, or simply come in a plane and stay. Britain was not the only one that had the Polish plumber and Romanian driver coming. The difference was that the base was much higher on account of Britain rorting the system prior to the early noughties accessions. Your argument is like blaming Kiwis while ignoring the 457 rort system or the visa for degrees.

      • JasonMNan, you have no idea about mass immigration into Britain.

        Foreign “students” are told to leave Britain within 6 months of completing their course unless they get a high paying job. Foreign “students” in AUS can stay on indefinitely and work in 7-11 for $10/hour. They can even bring their wife over from day one – which means the wife takes an entry level job as a receptionist and throws an Aussie receptionist onto the unemployment scrapheap.

        You may not realise that Britain remaining in the EU = Eastern Europeans being given free access to British schools while British kids miss out! Aussies states are doing this too – letting kids of 457 visa staff study in schools for free!

    • Quote from Highrise Harry:
      “Yeah, saw Jenny’s reaction to Sydney’s overpopulation problem. Thought it was brilliant; called her immediately and said “You go girl, keep it up sweetheart.” Made a donation to her re-election campaign. We need people like that supporting continued sensible growth like we’ve seen in vibrant Newtown for the past decade. I put her in touch with Reusachtige too.”

    • JL is just another socialist who’s too pea-brained to realise that, in actual fact, socialism and fascism are but one degree separated.

      Never mind! When you’re a SJP, you invent your own reality.

      • You miss the point. The parallels have to do with government say in and control of citizens’ lives. Not to mention control of the economy’s productive assets.

        If you stand back and open your mind for a fleeting sec the similarities are actually quite chilling.

        Never mind though, if you’re a socialist, you’re morally superior to everyone else, so all is well ! (Oh, and you get to highlight to everyone else what their faults are). Ain’t life grand ..

  2. Well maybe Sydney is not full, but perhaps someone needs to press the pause button until the policy failures can be fixed and the situation(traffic congestion, overcrowding, hospitals, schools, etc.) Is brought under control.
    That is the logical action. Not to keep cramming in more people while there is obviously no plan on how to plan!
    Perhaps if it is necessary to score political points instead of doing something useful, then you advocate more fuel for the fire. The cornerstone of Australian politics: try to make your opponents look like they are failing(which they are…)

    • With the greatest respect, policy failures go hand in glove with politics at whatever level.

      Elon Musk has more chance of successfully settling Mars by 2020 than there is of these policy failures being attended to

      • I sadly have to agree. This is why Jenny Leong’s view on this is plain stupid. The politicians can’t or won’t fix this. Same outcome. So in mathematical terms that means that Sydney is full.

  3. Here we have yet another iteration of the ‘better planning and more infrastructure’ solution to Sydney’s crush-loading. But if it was true, then how come it is never solved? Why can no government of whatever political party, in any fast growing city, get infrastructure or planning right?

    There is actually a somewhat valid point here, which is: how and why do cities elsewhere with higher populations and/or population densities handle it better ?

    I lived in Sydney for ~5 years in the early-mid 2000s, and even then – what ? a million people ago ? – it didn’t “work” as well as places like London, Paris, New York, Singapore, etc. Why ?

    • Do you realise how sardine packed the trains are in London?

      And every city that you mentioned has a slower immigration rate, so the infrastructure has a chance to catch up. GST in AUS is 10%. The GST rate in Britain is 20%!

      London and Singapore have congestion charges. I would love to charge foreigners A$40/day for a train ticket and A$100/day for car parking. If I visit the Taj Mahal, I have to pay 25x as much as a local!

      • There is a tendency to idealize these places among people who visit as tourists or as well paid expats. London is “vibrant” if you don’t have to live in a Grenfell type tower block, or commute outside zone 2 (I remember even short tube trips being hellish). Most visitors to Paris only glimpse what life is like in the banlieues from the windows of the Eurostar. NYC locals have been all but priced out of Manhattan if they aren’t an executive in an investment bank, Brooklyn and Queens are well on the way, long established communities are rapidly disintegrating through gentrification. And genuine cultural “vibrancy” is being replaced with tourist oriented pastiche and the monotony of the ubiquitous global luxury brands.

      • @ Dan
        Yes again. You are on a roll today. One small quibble. Brooklyn is already insanely expensive, apart from the remaining parts of it where there is high likelihood of getting shot when you walk down the street.

      • There is a tendency to idealize these places among people who visit as tourists or as well paid expats.

        I’m not idealising anything.

        Would you seriously try to argue, for example, that Sydney’s public transport system works as well as London’s, Paris’s, or NYC’s ?

        That is my point. Not to say that those places are good, but that they are nowhere near as bad, despite being much larger and more dense.

      • St JacquesMEMBER

        Yes our public transport was never particularly good, but the growth of Sydney and Melbourne make places like London look like they are “standing still” in relative terms. Singapore, which is growing at a fast clip, has a larger population than Sydney but is adding substantially less in absolute numbers than Sydney and about half the number of Melbourne. In fact, after several years of extraordinary growth some years back, the Singapore government greatly slowed population growth by restricting the numbers of immigrants after it became a significant public issue.

    • Topographically, Sydney is a mess. A lot of the road/rail network is dictated by the geography, which is a partially flooded river-valley. This makes it more difficult to expand infrastructure than Paris/London/New York.

      Of course, Sydney hasn’t done itself any favours by creating a heap of protected woodland inside the city. Or by doing everything in its power to stoke population growth. Or by zoning so that the only allowed dwellings are bungalows and sky-boxes, with little medium density.

      • Sydney sandstone makes Sydney tunnel boring wet dream. Geography works in favour of Sydney. Just think of London (still flooded muddy river estuary), Paris is flat sedimentary river valley at very low altitude despite being far from the ocean. NYC is flooded river valley as well. Besides Manhattan and few other smaller bits NYC is located on alluvial deposits that are much harder to built infrastructure than in Sydney which is mostly on solid soft rock. The difference between infrastructure in these cities comes from effort and willingness to built it rather than geography and resources available to do so.

        If NSW government bough two tunnel boring machines 50 years ago and permanently employed 500 people to work on subway Sydney would by now have the largest underground metro system in the world. Reality is that 85% of all trains infrastructure in Sydney has been completed 80 years ago.

      • “The difference between infrastructure in these cities comes from effort and willingness to built it rather than geography and resources available to do so.”

        Actually I think its more the time in which it was built. I doubt you could just go in and build a subway from scratch in these places . They do so in China but that’s the result of plentiful cheap labour and a severely authoritarian government who can simply order people out of their homes. NSW government has itself had to become more authoritarian and less democratic as it attempts to build new infrastructure in densely populated areas.

      • NSW government destroyed more homes for dysfunctional freeways that what would needed to get 200km of metro under the Sydney.
        Timing is important, we were not so lucky to be ruled by public transport haters over a quarter century after WWII when Sydney population was ripe for development of metro. The rest of the western world was ruled by socialists during this post WWII so they got something.
        But timing is not so important. Paris got more metro lines (75km) in last 10 yerars than we’ll ever have in Sydney.

      • Its costing them $12 billion (expect a lot more) to build a few km of metro line along the existing Bankstown heavy rail line. Trouble is there is not the population density to support this, the current line isn’t overcrowded. Solution – build gigantic apartment towers around each station. The banlieues and sardine tins of tomorrow.

    • The reason Jenny Leong thinks high density is a great way to live is because her electorate is in one of the older areas of Sydney which (like London and European cities) has always had high densities. It evolved that way in times when people mostly got around on foot, or slower forms of transport. But this is high density on a human scale. Newtown itself is almost entirely low rise, consisting of terrace houses on small blocks. Most older European cities are similarly low to mid rise in their old centres. London only very recently started building up, and mostly in non-residential areas. Paris apartment blocks are usually 5-6 stories high, until you get outside the peripherique. Then it starts to get ugly, squalid and violent but most foreigners never venture there.

      The problems arise when you try to retrofit high density in areas that have never had it – which is most of Sydney. You can’t just subdivide every block and build townhouses, acquiring all the land from individual private owners would take forever. You have to build sky high towers next door to suburban houses. You end up with an ugly urban sprawl with density along transport routes but none of the amenities or “vibrancy” of a city center.

    • There is actually a somewhat valid point here

      It’s an irrelevant point. If you’re at the top of the 10 metre board and you realise there’s no water in the pool, you don’t pause to navel-gaze about it, you get down and don’t dive until the pool’s full.

      • Great analogy. Also, this Greens fan (drSmithy) is ignoring the fact that the trains in London and Tokyo are severely overcrowded and Britian has a 20% GST rate!

  4. look at the picture. she is a child. only a child would be silly enough to think a picture like that would do any agenda any favours.

      • God I hope so, no vote for the Green’s from me, bunch of virtue signaling idiots. Who are more concerned about being politically correct than good policy.

      • @Pat – don’t know about SAP. If I were PHON, I’d get a arms length third party to keep it in circulation everywhere outside Syd/Mel. Make electoral hay out of a subliminal ‘swamped by asians moment’. If PHON was right about that, what else are they right about would be the message.

      • AlbyManglesMEMBER

        is that an anti west connex sign behind that mans head, does this person want infrastructure or not

    • Yes this is an ugly image.
      I called Jenny office and gave them feedback.
      Its not a good look.
      It makes her as a person ugly, her politics ugly and her attitude UGLY!

      • bolstroodMEMBER

        Be vewy vewy quiet.
        There is a man in budgie smugglers looking for goats to sacrafice to the Climate Change volcano god.
        No one expects the Spanish inquisition… ever.

  5. Tassie TomMEMBER

    Bloody hell, why can’t politicians have a sensible discussion on this?

    Even Hobart is having “growing pains”, and Hobart’s population is increasing at a smidge over 1%pa.

    • Agree, but they have not had a sensible conversation on anything really. Just look at climate change, gas policy, power infrastructure. Our pollies are modern day Neros that are fiddling and point scoring while Australia burns.

    • Bloody hell, why can’t politicians have a sensible discussion on this?

      It’s not just this. They can’t have a sensible discussion on anything because there’s no political mileage in a sensible discussion. The objective of politics in this country is just to criticise anything the other guy says or does in an attempt to make him look cruel and/or incompetent. He says “up”, you say down. But, not only do you say down, you also say that only evil idiots believe up. Up will cause untold misery to the Australian people. Up will leave pensioners naked and lamenting in the street. Up will destroy our international reputation. Two years later the other guy says “down”. You says he’s not serious about down. He doesn’t want do go down far enough. The best option is go even further down. He isn’t fair dinkum about down….Then, perhaps five years later you find yourself in a position of influence and happen to see some polling that suggests “up” might be a vote winner… what do you do then? Well you get out there and advocate for up as though your life depends on it. After all, up is clearly the way of the future. Only evil idiots would even think of pursuing “down” at this point in time. And if anyone points out that just a few years ago you were advocating for “down”, you explain that’s because at that time there was a mining boom, or a jobs shortage, or a the dollar was lower, or interest rates were higher or some other superficially plausible thing.

  6. Leith, I think you should continue to make the distinction between economic immigrants and refugees in such pieces. While it’s flogging a dead horse, such articles get dismissed immediately (as you well know) by the racism card and by those with no understanding of what the total immigration number encompasses.

    When people understand that it’s the wealthy sea-change Brits and economic-opportunist Irish (who will up and leave as soon as jobs, do as they did in Perth post-mining boom) whose intake your recommending halving and not immigrants seeking refuge I find they’re far more interested in the argument.

    Again, I know this is something you have illustrated time and time again, but I think the distinction is particularly important as this argument gains more traction and as people circulate your articles.

  7. reusachtigeMEMBER

    That Jenny Leong is clearly racialist against people wanting a sustainable population!!! I wonder how many investment properties she owns?? I’ll keep an eye out for her at the parties…

    • You have low standards… Besides she’s probably part of the LBGTQI SNXHHAHAHGH XNKSK2727279ssnNAKAKAK community.

  8. What has to be asked of the seriously greens, is how do they propose to create sustainable “green” infrastructure given the unsustainable population growth.

    Because, the point is, knee jerk policy’s will need to be invoked to fix problems like water supply and energy as they arise. AND THE GREENS ARE DOING NOTHING!

    Another Franklin Dam required? Get out of the way of the bulldozers fake greens, you had your chance and you ignored us.

  9. Jenny Leong is quite right.

    This is largely about infrastructure as Australia is very big, very empty and rich. Unfortunately what she and so many ‘progressives’ don’t understand is that the fixing infrastructure is not just a case of wishing and hoping.

    The open border progressives need to roll up their sleeves and start paying attention to fundamental issues like banking and monetary systems and how they support or fail to support productive investment in things like infrastructure, factories, housing, schools, roads, trains etc.

    The diversion of resources to non-productive purposes over the last 40 years did not happen by accident and it will not fix itself with good intentions.

    Without resolving the reasons why that happened and taking action on them, simply stating that we should divert more resources to productive purposes is unlikely to achieve much. Unless the rat ‘buckets’ that are Sydney and Melbourne are fixed and swanky new buckets around the country are built so that they expand as required, the politics of immigration will simply become more toxic and for good reason.

    No rational person living in those parts of the bucket most affected by immigration will support immigration unless they have confidence in the ability of the bucket to adjust in a timely manner.

    It is much easier to make the case that the roads, trains, hospitals are under utilised and more immigration will simply use some of the existing slack than to insist that we overcrowd infrastructure on the basis that we should be able to provide the infrastructure and hopefully one day we will work out how.

    Clearly Australia is a big rich country and could support significant rates of immigration if that was considered desirable. But unless we address the drivers of unproductive investment and excessive urban centralisation we will quickly find that more and more members of the general public will simply say NO.

    https://theglass-pyramid.com/2017/10/10/socialism-with-a-spine-is-that-the-only-alternative/

    Speaking of vibrant and the diversity produced by immigration this post is great.

    https://small.mu/articles/the-languages-we-speak-in-sydney-and-melbourne

    Doesn’t look like the inner west of Sydney where Jenny lives is very diverse at all.

    She needs to move out to Western suburbs where there is loads of diversity …..and people actually get along and walk the diversity talk.

    • St JacquesMEMBER

      BS they don’t understand. They’ve read enough MB by now to at least get the gist of it. By definition a Ponzi economy must always be falling behind in infrastructure, services and equality. Ponzi’s can only survive on endless exponential growth or they collapse and their productivity is insufficient to cover their costs so something must give. So we’re on a sure course for a Latin American society and politics.

      • I don’t think they do. Apart from drsmithy (waves) we are not exactly buried by comments by Green enthusiasts.

        When I socialise with my Green leaning friends, most of whom are very smart, they look at me as though I am speaking in tongues the moment I raise the stuff I rabbit on around here.

        I think you are underestimating just how few people pay attention to anything to do with economics.

        From my experience most ‘progressives’ switched off economics for the last 25 years because they believed that we had reached the end of economic history and all the big issues were done and dusted. This is slowly starting to change but for the most part they are neo-liberal lite. Which means they think the only thing up for grabs is slicing and dicing expenditure within a balanced budget across the cycle framework.

        Scrambling for crumbs from the table and hoping that a unicorn appears.

        Which means they don’t have a clue about the shell game that is being played.

      • St JacquesMEMBER

        Then they’re not smart at all. If you can’t get what I expressed COMPREHENSIVELY in the five sentences above, and you don’t get EXPONENTIAL growth, bloody baby stuff even for a mathematical simpleton like myself, then YOU’RE A JACKED UP POMPOUS STUFFED SHIRT LIKE OUR “PM” or his predecessor, The Wrecker.
        .

      • What do you mean exponential growth? Jenny Leong is not arguing for that nor anyone else…outside of FIRE (and they tend not say that either).

        Immigration of 200,000 per year is not exponential and supporting that level of immigration does not require exponential growth either.

        You need to brush up on your maths.

        A Ponzi scheme does but the end of the Ponzi is exactly what we need and it will not be the end of civilisation. Past resource misallocatiins don’t affect future resource allocations unless you let them.

      • St J
        Re the economic discussions to which pfh alludes I’ve tried it in rural areas. Now this is a group whose livelihoods and regions have been absolutely torn apart by this current economic Ponzi. They’re not ignorant and stupid. In fact, on average to this casual observer, they seem pretty intelligent people. Yet trying to talk the most basic and economic fundamentals is like talking to a brick wall. They’ll talk technology, ecology, soils, animals, plants…anything but economic stuff.

        It’s like the whole population doesn’t want to know. Now, one of the major issues is the absolute tripe that is/has been sprouted in universities for generations. There is NOBODY of any current economic standing in the wider community who is willing to face this. MB, for all its pontificating and posturing, is totally unwilling to engage – even in a bit of discussion.
        Everyone has their heads buried. It’s not because they see it as too hard – and it IS. It’s just the way we have evolved in the last 60 years. Now our collective head is buried and it’s been buried for so long it seems like we’ve totally lost the ability to use it.
        How it happened I don’t know. It’s like there is an ‘invisible hand’ but it sure isn’t operating in any way Adam Smith might have opined. It arose in our universities somewhere back in the early 60’s and the BS pile has never stopped growing and spreading.

      • St JacquesMEMBER

        Exactly Mig. Not having a go at you 007, reckon you do an excellent job as does MB, that’s why I’m on my third subscription); but if I have one criticism of MB’s presentation, it is the failure to acknowledge that we have progressively become more and more a pure Ponzi, with it’s attendant exponential population and debt growth. If you want to see the truth about Victoria’s “miracle” economy, get a graph of Melbourne’s population growth since the early 1990s and stand back – looks pretty bloody exponential to me.
        (edit. Apologies, so caught up in my thoughts I just drop words, stuff up grammar and can’t even see it.)

      • migtronixMEMBER

        Pfft is trying a new angle, he wants the big oz inner city cosmos to have their cake and eat it too with a bit of monetary reform. I think they’ll both be unhappy…

      • St JacquesMEMBER

        Yeah, crazy, isn’t it flawse. but they’re too scared to look up because the whole system is built on pure BS and they’re invested in it that it’s downright scary.

      • I don’t think they do. Apart from drsmithy (waves) we are not exactly buried by comments by Green enthusiasts.

        Harrumph. I support sustainable social democracy. Not my fault if the only place you get anything close to that in Australia political parties are the Greens and SAP. 😉

        From my experience most ‘progressives’ switched off economics for the last 25 years because they believed that we had reached the end of economic history and all the big issues were done and dusted.

        +1

        The economic narrative has been comprehensively captured for decades, and unfortunately the loudest voices raised against it seem to be the Austrians.

        What I find hilarious is when people try to describe this period as Keynesian. I’d never claim to be an expert, or even particularly well learned, on Keynes, but from what I have read I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t have thought that injecting money into the economy through the process of interest-bearing debt, primarily in housing, while simultaneously reducing taxes, mostly for the wealthy, was a particularly good idea.

      • migtronixMEMBER

        Keynes was the head of the eugenics society, who cares what he thought was a good idea.

        “Hence the enthusiasm of John Maynard Keynes, director of the Eugenics Society from 1937 to 1944, for contraception, essential because the working class was too “drunken and ignorant” to keep its numbers down.”

      • Mig,

        New angle? Moi?

        Poor Sweeper and Skippy would be most upset. 😉

        It is true that I am trying to connect the humanitarian concerns of the open border virtue signallers with the concerns of those who hate rats being stuffed into buckets and those who hate the growing extremes of economic inequality and those who hate a Ponzi specufestor economy.

        But that is only because they are all connected.

        We could accept more refugees and even the current immigration intake would not be a problem PROVIDED we were investing productively. At the moment we are pissing hundreds of billions against the wall in a massive orgy of consumption.

        Of course we could not literally have an open borders policy but the issue is that we cannot cope with 200,000. In that regard Mr David Morrison reckons it is actually about 100,000.

        https://www.quixoticquant.com/post/the-ubs-data-disaster/

        Whether we have any immigration at all or just encourage local baby making in abundance is another question.

    • Australia’s size doesn’t equate to infrastructure, this is furphy that gets bandied.

      For example our water infrastructure has been a bottleneck for decades. The size of the catchments have nothing to do with it.

      History shows that we take quite a while to build these things.

      And adding environmental sustainability requirements slowdown these projects substantially.

      Fake greens think they can complain and fix things after the bulldozers have started.

      • Water is a critical environmental constraint along with a few others including how many immigrants can be absorbed before social cohesion starts to break down. Break that and we will have enormous problems.

        The water issue may be less of an issue moving forward.

        Solar powered desalination is a real possibility and a pretty effective way of bottling and storing sunshine. They ought to patch up the Sydney desal plant that has never been used and shift it to a dry bit of coastline and hook it up to a solar farm and let it rip.

    • I´m with Pfh on this. Very few people understand. When things go pear-shaped there is always the calls for jobs while failing to understand that without the proper context (infrastructure, a tax system that encourages SMEs and reins in corportations and oligopolies, an educated workforce that can be mobile without having to give up on life, …) this will not happen. We can argue if this is the last 20 years or 40 years (personally I am inclined towards 20, but that is my opinion) but in the end it is obvious that the envy of the world economy is nothing more than an accounting trick. It can be fixed but it will entail a significant drop in living standards and I am not sure if the populace is willing nor its pollies.

    • You need to look at Australia from the viewpoint of a natural scientist, not an economist. Someone once told me that economists see the world like a picture of Mickey Mouse. The face is the economy, and the environment and society are the less important ears. The truth is that they are concentric circles. Trash your environment and you trash both your society and your economy.

      Australia looks big on the map, but it is really a small to medium sized country wrapped around a big desert. Most of what isn’t desert is semiarid range land that might feed a scattering of sheep or cattle in a good year. The World Bank has tables showing arable land for all the different countries and grain production per hectare for the different countries from year to year. Only 6.2% of Australia is arable, and the average quality of that arable land is very low compared to Europe or North America. If you multiply hectares by grain production per hectare, you can see that France can feed around a third again as many people as Australia, even when we are having a good year, when we are currently feeding around 60 million people. The French can count on a good harvest almost every year, but our climate is far more variable. Our grain production is cut in half in a bad drought year such as 2004. Multi-year droughts are not uncommon. Desalination pays for rich coastal cities, but water is heavy and the energy costs of pumping water up a gradient for agriculture, which currently consumes 70% of our water, are enormous. There are also poor soils and ferocious evaporation rates in the interior. There are other severe problems, such as land degradation.

      I am far less concerned about maximising wealth in the short term than in maximising the number of us who survive if the global economic system collapses, making sure that everyone has a decent minimum, and letting the other species survive too.

      Stabilise the population. Continuing growth is a Ponzi scheme and will end in tears.

      • Absolutely agree totally to all that Tania!

        This is too serious to get all PC about. It’s about survival. Sadly, maths does not seem to be a big topic of interest to the Soylent Greens!

  10. How many properties does Ms Leong own in Sydney? Is she happy to have them forceably aquired to make way for a new hospital or school or road? Is she happy to have her capital gains tax away to pay for this new infrastructure?

    Or is this just an empty political rant to signal to voters and score a few cheap points?

    • She is giving the bird to the 66% of people who disagree with her. This is consistent with the Greens anti-democratic agenda in putting the interests of foreigners ahead of the locals who actually vote.

      • You mean the 66% of people casting a primary vote for the two parties who have actually been responsible for implementing high immigration policies for the last fifteen-odd years ?

  11. “Newtown, like much of Sydney, is a vibrant, bustling place and that’s what we love about it.”

    Lady, Newtown is a dirty grotty slum that has its general ambience improved when a dog craps on the sidewalk, and has been that way for 30+ years.

    ”Let’s seize this moment to call out the real culprits here – the Liberal Government and their failure to put our community needs first.”

    Herein is the root of the problem – let’s seize this opportunity to lay the blame at the feet of our political opponents.

    ”YES, our trains are crowded and our roads congested. YES, our classrooms are full and our hospital waiting lists dismal. YES, our green spaces are shrinking and we need more recreational playing spaces. But this doesn’t mean we’re full.”

    It means we need to stop mass immigration until the infrastructure catches up, at the very least, but we all know that would be racist, fascist, and some sort of phobic.

    ”Let’s start working on solutions for a connected city that’s liveable for everyone.”

    Let’s start pumping out meaningless catchphrases.

    The greens are jokes, frauds and hypocrites. They serve their own ideology rather than the voters, and for that they should be held accountable.

      • No, historically, up until the mid 60’s, it was actually considered a slum!

        Plus ça change…

      • So was the Rocks, Surry Hills , Darlinghurst,etc etc. North Sydney was considered unworthy of anything other than bulldozing in the 1960s as well. These, and Newtown, are now considered some of the most desirable locations in the whole country.

      • My family lived in Pyrmont since the 1860s. Worked in the woolstores and down the wharves. I was the first generation to leave. (Thanks gentrification). They may have been slums but I’d choose to live in the old Sydney from back then than the fru fru greedy soulless place it has morphed into any day of the week.

  12. The accounting profession is a joke, 1,000 applicants for one accountant role, 90% Chinese applicants, why? Because the salary being offered is sh#t, but apparently accountants are on the shortage register. Currently being audited by Deloitte, and the lead auditor (Brazil) is complaining about the pay, but they are brought over here for that reason, to pay them f’all.

    • Thwts right! When the average wage for tertiary qualified, professional level experienced accounts falls below the average Australian unskilled wage, you know you’ve turned on the tap too hard.

  13. Jenny Leong …. a stupid ignorant fascist loon. What more can u say. Poster child of the so called fake Greens.

  14. So Jenny wants better planning.
    Great! Here’s some better planning, Jenny.
    Reduce the migration intake to 70,000 p.a.

  15. Disagree with her and she gives you the finger? How can someone so self-evidently smug, stupid, arrogant, misguided and obnoxious ever be voted for by anyone?

    I’ve held the inner-city latte and chardonnay swilling Greens in contempt for a long time, but lately I’ve been starting to develop a real passionate hatred for them.

    • She is provocating and some are taking the bait. The numbers speak for themselves, hence her reply.

    • @LSWCHP see the greens Newtown website for Jenny – answer LGBTQIRSTUVWXYZ – HUGE DEMOGRAPHIC FOR THIS AREA. Easy peasy. don’t even have to have a brain just popular mainstream politically correct nonsense.

  16. Notice they don’t mention water, trains, sewerage, hospitals, railways, buses, libraries, air pollution, water pollution.
    The refugee wing of the Greens seems to have overwhelmed the environmental wing on the issue of immigration.
    They seem to believe in almost totally open borders.
    They need to understand compound growth and doubling times and resource life and usage under compound growth.
    What do the Greens think is the maximum population of Sydney, Melbourne, etc, NSW, Vic, etc and Australia and how fast do they think we should get there?

  17. There are plenty of reasons why congestion could increase rapidly without there being high immigration, which is essentially only an illusion. There’s low unemployment, more under-employment, which means people are moving to multiple jobs. Urban development has been concentrated in ‘growth corridors’ which squeeze people more onto single routes. Female participation is increasing. And it’s harder/impossible to move house, but people change jobs more often, so commute distances increase. Most jobs growth is in the CBD or inner city offices, so people move increasingly to the same place. And infrastructure, even when we build it, is basically a disaster. Who creates a two new rail systems rather than expanding the network we have? NSW.
    But blaming immigration is just an easier scape-goat for those who don’t read the details in the data:
    https://www.quixoticquant.com/post/the-ubs-data-disaster/
    https://www.quixoticquant.com/post/the-state-of-debate-a-bird-s-eye-on-migration/
    https://www.quixoticquant.com/post/the-missing-million/

    • Claiming that a rapidly increasing population plays no role in increasing the load on already overloaded infrastructure, govt services and the already degraded environment, is dishonest.

      • Aidan, can you link me to the data that shows that increasing the population does not increase the load on public infrastructure, govt services and the environment?

    • A temporary migrant who will simply be replaced by another temporary migrant when he goes home has the same impact on infrastructure, the environment, etc. as a permanent migrant. He still needs housing, sewers, electricity, etc. What matters is the total number of people in the country, not their visa category. Mass migration isn’t the only cause of our problems, as you have said, but it isn’t scapegoating to point out that it is a large contributor.

      • I completely agree Tania. The number we should focus more on is Physically Present Population. And the increase in people physically here due to overseas movements is definitely a significant contributor. What I find dishonest is claiming that it’s a dramatically larger contributor than other factors (like births), or dramatically larger than at other times in our history (like the 80s, 90s, or even on average the 00s). Those claims are false, and the data proves it. Whilst it’s a volatile and cyclic series, the trend levels are unchanged. I can’t paste the graphs here, but I’d encourage you to read this, and particularly look at some of the graphs at the bottom of the post. https://www.quixoticquant.com/post/the-missing-million/

    • From your graph, PPP may not be larger in percentage terms, but the base is larger due to population growth, so the actual numbers are larger. Natural increase is a self-limiting issue. Our fertility rate has been below replacement level since 1976, although there is still some demographic moment (even without zero net migration). Migrants have babies just like everyone else and contribute significantly to births as well. Around half the population has at least one parent born overseas, and around a quarter has both.

      • You’re quite right. There are a number of versions of the graphs there including both nominal numbers, as well as expressed as a rate in terms of percentage of the base stock. I’m not saying that it isn’t still significant growth, but I think the rate is still the correct metric for gauging what sort of impact we can expect on infrastructure, housing, wage prices etc. Although it’s easy to mess it up, and there’s evidence we have for some time, I don’t think that expanding the stock of housing or infrastructure by 1.3% or 1.5% per year should be all that daunting, which is all we need to do to avoid terrible congestion or price hikes. Likewise, I find suggestions that our labour market can’t possibly expand fast enough to accommodate 1.5% more workers year on year without wage prices falling to be utterly hysterical. (And given how many ‘migrant’s are not actually working full-time in the labour force, i.e. students, that number is probably too high aswell.)
        These are not at all dramatic numbers. In the 50s and 60s we had population growth that was also migration-fuelled that at times was well over 2%. Somehow we built enough houses, the prices of which were low and stable, wages were rising quickly, and the migrants built the Snowy-Hydro scheme aswell, largely by hand. I know I’m an odd-ball for an MB reader, but I find the level of alarm to be quite absurd. And to the extent that the emphasis falls so hard on migration when changing it is clearly not sufficient, and unlikely even necessary to address the problems we face, I do think there’s some scape-goating going on.

    • Aidan,

      The problem is that nearly all the migrants are now ending up in a few capital cities, mostly Sydney and Melbourne. They immediately require the full complement of infrastructure, roads, schools, hospitals, power lines and power plants, etc., etc. Jane O’Sullivan (see her publications on Research Gate) has written a lot on this and estimates about $100,000 for each additional resident. It will take a long time before the migrants have contributed enough to pay for this, and in the meantime, more and more are being admitted. Assuming an average infrastructure lifetime of 50 years, if your population is growing at 2%, as it has been in Melbourne, then you have to spend twice as much on infrastructure just to maintain standards. It would be political suicide to raise taxes to that extent; it isn’t just that the politicians are incompetent. It is particularly bad if the growth is in a few big cities, because there are now diseconomies of scale and retrofitting infrastructure into built up areas is far more expensive.

      As far as the jobs are concerned, there is abundant evidence of exploitation of students and people on temporary visas. If you were a business owner, why would you want to train apprentices or hire a far less vulnerable Australian citizen?

  18. AlbyManglesMEMBER

    the man in that picture looks angry, must be the congested roads and trains getting to him, like it is to everyone else

    • Well i’m pretty sure that if you had to spend 3 hours in the train to go to the newsagent to buy an SMH hardcopy so you could have a friend photograph you giving it the finger then you’d probably be as mad as he is too!

  19. Until international benchmarks in health, education and the environment are met and maintained for 12 months, reduce the migration intake to 70,000 p.a.

  20. If greens are more concerned about well being of foreign country citizens they should leave for the country of most concern and help there, instead of using public money for their agenda.