Earlier this year I labelled The Greens a fake environmental party because of their support for mass immigration and a ‘Big Australia’.
My growing frustration about The Greens has come about because for nearly 20 years they have failed to utter a word in protest as the federal government, under both the Coalition and Labor, massively ramped-up Australia’s permanent migration intake from 80,000 at the turn of the century to 200,000 currently (see next chart).
It is this increase in the permanent migration intake which has driven the huge acceleration in Australia’s population growth, which is projected to continue for decades into the future (see next chart).
Rather than protest Australia’s world-beating population growth, The Greens stood by silently as Australia’s population surged nearly 30% over the past 19 years, which has placed undue strain on Australia’s environment – supposedly The Greens’ core concern. Indeed, in March, the latest federal government’s State of the Environment report revealed that Australia’s natural environment is being placed under acute strain as Australia’s population grows out of control.
These environmental concerns come on top of the deleterious impacts mass immigration is having on living standards in the big cities – such as packed trains, worsening traffic congestion, and deteriorating housing affordability.
It wasn’t always like this. As documented in Green Left Weekly in 1998, fears of being associated with Pauline Hanson’s “racist” and “xenophobic” views caused The Greens to abandon their policy of “stabilising” Australia’s population and “a zero net migration policy” to one of opposing cuts to immigration – hence their deafening silence as Australia’s population boomed!
On Monday, NSW Greens senator, Lee Rhiannon, gave an interview with 2GB’s Michael McLaren, whereby she defended the Green’s support of a Big Australia:
Michael McLaren: “In the housing issue, supply and demand, if you bring down demand obviously prices come down. But The Greens seem very reluctant to advocate what I would argue is a sensible measure there. And of course the more people that come in, the more wilderness needs to be bulldozed to put houses on. Now, why don’t The Greens, broadly speaking, advocate less immigration per year. We are running at 200,000. Noone’s saying zero. But why not, say, 70,000 or 80,000 per year? It would seem an environmental policy as much as a social policy, would it not”?
Lee Rhiannon: “Look, I’ve certainly heard those arguments and I’ve had these discussions many times. But we certainly don’t need to be bulldozing the land in terms of more clearing to house people.
Michael McLaren: “Where do they go, then?”
Lee Rhiannon: “Well medium density is what’s already happening in parts of our big cities. And that’s what we need to be developing.
Michael McLaren: “But people in Sydney and Melbourne don’t like that. I mean the reason that so many people want to come and live here is because of the suburban nature, the quality of life, the backyard, the front yard, the great place to bring up the kids. That’s Australia. And that’s a wonderfully successful model”.
Lee Rhiannon: “Although, there’s a lot of studies now showing for young people that they would prefer to live in medium density so that they can live closer to the city in a smaller apartment, but they have got facilities around them. Remember, the number of young people buying cars these days is just plummeting because they live in areas where they can access what they are interested in, the entertainment, and hopefully work for them. And there’s a whole different lifestyle developing”.
Michael McLaren: “You wouldn’t advocate a lowering of immigration then?”
Lee Rhiannon: “No, no. no, that’s not our position”.
Michael McLaren: “Okay, I must admit, it does strike me as odd”.
So there you have it. Apparently, Sydney and Melbourne can squeeze 3-4 million more people into the existing urban footprint over the next 40 years without harming the Australian environment, quality of life, or housing affordability (which Rhiannon incessantly whinged about earlier in the interview). The Greens are clearly delusional.
Rhiannon’s claim that people are shying away from cars because of urban consolidation is also complete rubbish. The 2016 Census revealed that vehicle registrations have almost perfectly matched population growth. Who would have thought: more people means more cars on the road (as well as pollution and congestion).
What few people realise is that under The Greens’ immigration policy, Australia would see its population hit a massive 43 million by 2060 – well over double the 19 million population that existed when The Greens abandoned its stable population policy in 1998!
Let me explain.
One year ago, The Greens announced a plan to massively increase Australia’s humanitarian migrant intake without providing any offsets to Australia’s current permanent migrant intake of 200,000 (full policy announcement below):
The Australian Greens have unveiled a bold yet fiscally responsible vision to harness the nation building capacity that people seeking asylum represent, ahead of the 2016 Federal Election.
By closing the detention camps on Manus Island and Nauru while welcoming 50,000 people seeking asylum per year, which includes 40,000 under the humanitarian intake and 10,000 under a new ‘Skilled Refugee’ programme, the plan would create a safe way for people in our region to seek asylum in Australia.
“Australia doesn’t need to respond to people seeking our protection by turning our backs or locking them up – there is a better way ,” said Australian Greens Leader, Dr Richard Di Natale.
“Today the Greens are announcing a vision that would welcome a record number of people to live in safety in our community every year and recognise the contribution refugees have made to this country over generations and will continue to make.
“Our bold plan would not only welcome 50,000 people per year and offer a safe way for people to seek asylum in Australia, it would also save the budget $160 million over the next four years,” Di Natale said.
“For too long, the national political debate has portrayed migrants and people seeking asylum as a problem instead of an opportunity,” Greens’ immigration spokesperson, Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said.
“By offering 10,000 ‘Skilled Refugee’ places per year through the skilled migration pathway, we will be helping to save lives while letting those very same people contribute to the future prosperity of our economy.
“Modern Australia was built by generations of hardworking, self-started people who came to our country in search of a better life. People want to protect their families and to give their children access to an education and a life free of violence. We should be allowing them to get on and do that in Australia.
“Using the savings from closing the offshore detention camps to build a genuine regional solution, which assesses people’s claims for asylum where they are before flying them to Australia safely, will save thousands of lives.
“We need to get children out of immigration detention, including those who are on Nauru, and allow people to get on with rebuilding their lives in safety.
“The government’s cruelty towards people seeking asylum has gone on for too long. It’s time we treated others the way we would want to be treated and let them contribute to the future of our nation.”
As shown in the first chart above, Australia’s current permanent migrant intake is 200,000, comprising 186,000 under the non-humanitarian intake and 14,000 under the humanitarian intake.
Under The Greens’ plan, Australia’s permanent migrant intake would increase to 236,000 a year.
According to The Productivity Commission’s recent Migrant Intake Australia report, Australia’s population would hit 27 million by 2060 under zero Net Overseas Migration (The Greens’ old policy), 41 million under 200,000 Net Overseas Migration (the current settings), and roughly 43 million under 236,000 Net Overseas Migration (see below chart).
Since The Greens have advocated raising Australia’s already turbo-charged immigration intake, it would appear that The Greens support a very ‘Big Australia’.
This is why I view the The Greens as a fake environmental party that is hellbent on destroying the Australian environment and incumbent residents’ living standards via never-ending mass immigration and rapid population growth.
There is, of course, a way for The Greens to once again become a genuine “green” party as well as ensuring social justice concerns are met: argue to increase Australia’s humanitarian intake (currently 14,000 per year) while massively cutting Australia’s economic intake (currently around 190,000 people per year). This way The Greens could achieve both goals: significantly reducing population growth and saving the environment while also being a good and caring global citizen. After all, when it comes to protecting the environment, it is the overall numbers that matter, not how the migrants come.
As a comparison to the Fake Greens, check out the below fantastic interview on 2GB with Wesley Folitarik, Sustainable Australia’s candidate for Bennelong. This is what a true environmental party looks like: