Credlin: Give us a debate and vote on Australia’s population

By Leith van Onselen

Chief of Staff to former Prime Minister Tony Abbott, Peta Credlin, is the latest to question Australia’s mass immigration program, which flooded NSW (read Sydney) and VIC (read Melbourne) with a record 185,500 net overseas migrants (combined) in the year to June, further crush-loading our two biggest cities:

Last night, Ms Credlin delivered a detailed monologue on Sky News calling for immigration levels to be normalised back to their historical average, as well as demanding that our federal politicians give Australians a national debate and vote on Australia’s future population size.

While the whole video is well worth watching, here’s a few key quotes:

Overcrowded streets, busy roads, nowhere to park, over development, unaffordable housing, cramped schools, and in the words of many locals, far too many highrises. These were the concerns raised today [in Bennelong], and they are all code for population growth…

What I can say with absolute certainty is that we didn’t come along any ‘Big Australia’ advocates in Bennelong today…

Having spent 16 years on campaign trails, like today, I wasn’t surprised. Population is often raised because the majority of Australians live in the capital cities, and the congestion and development issues that come with population growth are a big concern…

Should we keep taking immigrants?’ is not the question.

Instead it’s ‘how many immigrants should we take?

What’s the optimum population size for Australia?

I know I speak for many people when I say this is the conversation they want to see their leaders having, the nation having, rather than being shouted down as racists or worse…

Isn’t it about time we had a national conversation about how big we want our population in the future and put in place immigration levels to deliver it, rather than pretending this issue doesn’t exist?..

We need to take a pause in Australia’s immigration intake so that we can settle those here now into affordable housing and secure jobs, and let the infrastructure that is being built catch-up.

Well said. It’s important to note at this time that net overseas migration (NOM) into Australia was 245,500 in the year to June 2017, which is more than triple the historical average of 73,000 NOM since Federation:

Clearly, immigration levels need to be drastically reduced, starting with Australia’s permanent migrant program, which is running at 2.5 times turn-of-the century levels and is even higher than at the peak of the mining boom:

There is no economic or social rationale for such high immigration levels, especially given the overwhelming majority of migrants are flooding our two biggest and most crowded cities, and more than 90% are non-humanitarian (hence we are stripping developing nations of their ‘skilled’ human resources).

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      • Migrants who are already here and voting aren’t getting turfed out, and they have no particular interest in their existing living standards being smashed by a whole lot of new migrants.

        It’s a myth that previous migrants care about future migrants (a few have family reuniion aspirations but that’s about it).

        Why would the Vietnamese community vote for a million Indians to arrive?

      • Its not migration which is smashing living standards, it is the repayment of debt, in a future where there are no jobs to allow workers to repay the debt. Even so migrants will get the blame
        All the migrants could go home tomorrow and the problem of debt would still remain.
        Given that the migrants can go home gives then an opportunity to escape the future mess
        the rest, sydney melbourne types are in for a hell of a time.
        the Gold Cost wont be immune, but where would rather be on the dole, on the beach or down town Laverton. Geelong?
        North Melbourne like Jacob??

      • Hi WW inanswer to your queries regard my solar install;
        Today, nothing gets done when you expect any more.
        With running the house during daylight and charging the battery for night , I will be happy for break even for investment over 10 years, how ever I expect power prices to increase and am keeping a weather eye on H&H’s Aussie $ call of 60 cents US, soon.
        If these eventuate I will be in front.
        There is a touch of politics in our decision, a sort of up yours Government, this is the peoples power.

      • B good work
        Once you get the hang of free solar its hard to give up
        I put a 100w flexible panel on my car and saved about 10 to 15 dollars a week in petrol, 1 tankful in 4, about.
        so have a 200W 12V flex panel arriving next week as a permanent installation.

      • B during the day, it eliminates the majority of the load the alternator needs to supply
        the panel will have a regulator set ta 14.2 v
        so the alternator has no work to do.
        Alternators are very heavy on petrol.cos they are very inefficient, especially if the car idles a lot in traffic

      • Some migrants take a very pragmatic view to the world. They know for example that being at a language and culture disadvantage means they’ll be paid less. I only have 1 point of anecdotal data to support this, but certainly when I was younger I knew that my being paid less while being equally useful as others on higher pay, meant that when the axe swung I would be spared.

        So imagine how former migrants feel about their prospects once they’ve got some roots down? They can’t outcompete the entrenched, they can’t undercut the freshly arrived. Bad place to be.

      • No offence WW, but there is no way your little solar panel is providing you with those sort of savings. That amount of petrol (~10L) contains around 340MJ of energy. Modern ICE have an efficiency of +20% but even if your driving a clunker you should get at least 34MJ of mechanical energy at 10%. Alternator conversion efficiency of 50% would make it 17MJ or 4.7kWh. Your solar panel facing north all day at the optimal tilt on a sunny day would give you a maximum of 500Wh so best case would give you 3.5kWh (as long as your car is stationary) before any conversion losses. Also, once your battery is charged there is nowhere for the extra solar energy to be stored anyway. Likewise, unless you have physically removed your alternator from your car it is still creating a small amount of drag on your car even if it isn’t actively producing any electricity.

    • MS media won’t touch it because it is a complicated story.

      That and anyone who touches it is called “racist” thanks to Pauline Hanson. Look at what has happened to Dick Smith.

      • The first bloke just seems to be stating the obvious – if you have TFR below replacement and zero or less NOM, eventually your population falls to zero.

    • As per the usual opportunistic political hacks smell a change in the votes wind… and they follow it! They’re not doing it because it’s the right thing, they’re doing it because it gets them re-elected.

      The perversity comes in when they do the wrong thing willfully, so that later they can do the right thing and claim credit. Like an arsonist firefighter: sure he’s put out the fire, but he shouldn’t have lit it in the first place!

      • Totally agree; Crudlin is a pure political operative advancing the Conservative cause and will do or say whatever it takes to advance her agenda. These grubs have shown time and again a willingness to use facts, make them up or discard them so long as it suits the narrative. It great to see the work of MB on immigration being publicised but where’s Crudlin’s support to other MB lines like coal? Won’t happen because it doesn’t suit their agenda. In a lot of ways, the Conservative medias support of MB’s immigration stance is alienating MB from being heard by the greater public when all that great work should be seen and heard by all Australians.

    • Mining BoganMEMBER

      Reckon she saw St Mal’s woeful performance and lies about immigration on QandA and thought here’s a chance to twist the knife.

  1. Credlin’s comments are as much about internal factional politics in the coalition as actual policy outcomes. Having said that, it is still welcome.

    Coalition could win the next election if it gets immigration right, especially with Labor so compromised. This could be a ‘Tampa’ election 2.0. Unfortunately Mal is so bad at politics and wedded to high immigration as a solution that I can’t see it happening while he is leader.

    • I’m convinced LNP will win despite being outsiders in betting. Australia is not going to trust Labor probably ever again. Greens lol.

      Something has to happen for that outcome and I think it will be a reduction in population. Labor will look ridiculous (again).

      • Yet you won’t take my $5 bet up. Wimp.

        Anyway, LNP can win election with this anti china bizzo/foreign interference laws, Bankster RC, tax cuts and the final piece of the 2 year old jigsaw, cutting immigration

      • On their current track they are still toast. need to adjust policy settings/values signalling in order to win.
        They can do it, but it will require political smarts and judgement.

        Malcolm Turnbull has neither political smarts nor judgement.

      • HC havent heard from Bolstrood down your way
        Maybe his solar thingy burnt his house down, I thought for sure he’s be typing away on free solar power and telling up how it is going?
        Sunny to hot up here, my system is just back up to 12.1V

      • IMO NZ election a clue that Conservatives know the economy is a one trick pony. They would rather stay out of government than be the ones to cut immigration and enter a recession.

    • Part of the problem for the coalition there is the time it takes changes in immigration policy to show up in the figures. For example, in the event that the very slight fiddling with 457s announced in April this year lead to any sort of dip, it’s too early for it to show up in ABS figures – it would be at least another six months away at the moment.
      So, if they really wanted to get votes by dropping migration, at least a year before an election is when they need to do it, giving them a maximum of six months to act from today.

  2. It is an understated point that skilled migration robs developing countries of the people they need the most to take the country forward.

    • Nah – that’s just the all-pervasive “f*ck you, I gotta get mine!” attitude.

      And – as Skippy said it once: it’s them “markets” – when everything is a “market”, everything is for sale.

    • I’m not sure the people working at 7/11 for less than minimum wage are really the sorts of people that are required ” to take the country forward”
      If anything we are removing a burden from the source country.

      • Really? All skilled migrants are working at 7/11, racist stereotype much? Considering we have a skilled migrant program it’s the doctors, engineers, professors, nurses, business leaders and accountants I’m talking about.

      • Makes you wonder – if Sergey Brin’s parents had decided to stay put, would Alphabet be a Russian company?

      • We have an immigration program, and a skills shortage list that seems to cover almost everything.
        I’m not sure we truly have a skilled immigration program though.

      • Makes you wonder – if Sergey Brin’s parents had decided to stay put, would Alphabet be a Russian company?

        Maybe it would be a Russian company, there is a booming tech sector in Russia, saw a good video on it on Youtube. Same with China, they both want to create their own monopoly companies instead of rely on US based companies and often use Firewalls to block access to said US companies services etc..

    • You need to find out whether it is a non-core promise first. She once attacked Shorten for bringing in 70k 457 visa while employment minister under the ALP, yet how many more did the LNP brought in afterward? Her level of integrity is not zero : it is negative.

    • I wouldn’t p$$$ on her if she were on fire – as my old man would say.
      Seriously how many years has it taken her to put 2 and 2 together and realise immigration is all its cracked up to be??
      Opportunist = Politician

      • she and her husband,but
        Not as many as for Shorten, and they are being readied -rallied to reappear.
        The ABC said they had to visit some dark places for the investigation into abuse,
        This investigation into shorten has already been there, just withheld till useful
        What a game politics is?? and the players.

    • Yep she’d make a great PM or minister…..and be able to handle the skeletons (if any) in the cupboard cause she knows inside-out how Canberra operates. The ABC must be trembling at the thought!

    • She’ll have to learn to suffer fools if she wants to succeed in politics. It’s fine to be smart, capable and motivated but unfortunately you can’t go around letting your less talented colleagues know that you think they’re morons, even if they are. There’s being direct, and then there’s being unnecessarily insulting. See also: Newman, Campbell.

  3. Cryin’ shame that the Tories are the only ones giving this issue any oxygen, thus forcing those who disagree with them on practically everything else to give them a look. The supposed parties for the worker and for the environment do not give one hoot about their supposed raison d’etres because the welfare of the average Australian has been sacrificed on the altar of virtue signalling by these latter-day Pharisees.

    • Don’t expect any action on it from them though. The only reason they are giving it any oxygen is because they are in turn being forced by ON.

  4. Did she say more than in the excerpt or have you misquoted her.

    Your headline reads:

    Give us a debate and vote on Australia’s population.”

    I didn’t see her advocating a vote.

    If there’s one thing arch-conservatives and self-styled “Progressives” agree upon, it is the vital necessity of preventing the “bogans” and “deplorables” from having any effective input into the political process. The two ends of the political spectrum may disagree on many things, but they are in complete agreement when it comes to effectively disenfranchising the people they claim to “represent”.

    In the weeks since the same-sex marriage plebiscite, the Fairfax press has run no fewer than three opinion pieces grudgingly acknowledging that the SSM plebiscite may have yielded the “right” answer but henceforth the Lower Orders must be given no further say in policy, or at most only a non-binding vote that can be overruled if they fail to return the “right” answers.

    All three articles were riddled with factual errors and misrepresentations, but as yet Fairfax has published no correction.

    • Isn’t it already implied that a MSM article is ” riddled with factual errors and misrepresentations”

  5. I’d expect to see Tones white anting in this direction now.Like he wouldn’t give a stuff about it per se, but if he can garner wider support in the electorate, he’ll use it. He aint going away, wrecking is his modus operandi and this issue is perfect for sticking it to Turnbull and the ALP.

    • Just wait until after the Bennelong bi-election. The Mal hunt will continue.

      As much as I intensely dislike Tony Abbott as a politician, going hard on immigration would partially redeem him in my eyes.

      • It’s staggering that people think Bennelong is even in play, given the need for an almost 10% swing to tip Alexander out. That anyone in the country thinks that the by-election is more than a straight rubber stamp like Barnaby’s by-election is a terrible indictment on Lib performance.

      • Not a local from Bennelong but have friends there. According to them the area has been rapidly growing over the past decade, and a lot of the citizens in that area weren’t born in Aus?

        Means they might not be welded to any 1 party and their views might change rapidly over time. I wouldn’t consider any electorate that rolled a PM to be staunch supporters of that PM’s party.

      • Probably worth comparing Howard in 2004 to Alexander in 2016:

        In 2004, Howard won 53.3% of two party preferred, and needed preferences to get over the line. From there, the same swing against the Liberal party experienced throughout Australia at the 2007 election of 5.4% was easily able to knock Howard out.

        In 2016, Alexander won 59.7% of two party preferred, and was over the line before preferences were distributed. If people think that level of swing – nearly 10% – is possible against the LIberals, they’re looking at almost ceasing to be at the next election, and certainly being reduced to a parliamentary presence similar to the Greens, especially given a 0.4% swing would be enough to tip them out of government.

        That is, the Liberals won substantially more of the vote in Bennelong with Alexander in 2016 than Howard ever did as incumbent PM, and while there may have been a demographic change since McKew was elected, there’s a limit to how much the demographics could have changed in the last 15 months.
        Hence, to me it remains that astounding that when Alexander held Bennelong in 2016 far more solidly than Howard in 2004, despite the Libs across the nation being noticeably less popular in 2016 compared to 2004, people are now talking up the possibility of Alexander going.

  6. Very welcome from Peta Credlin. Only problem is that neither side of politics has a plan B for generating growth, and politics of the modern era is the art of kicking the can down the known road.

    • Yr right, there is no plan be
      the wrap up of plan A is napalm the population
      and strangely the population voted for that outcome
      Was it Nevil Shute wrote The Tribe That Lost its Head
      might be time for a rewrite in a modern context.
      It would be a best seller if the punters had any money
      its in the tea leaves, Murdoch and Lowry bolting, do you see the connotations??

      • “the population voted for that outcome”
        No the polulation voted for SSM, and liberal instead of labor to be screwing us currently.
        The system we are governed by doesn’t give us a voice about these matters you speak of.

      • if ever you arrive in the situation where you need to instruct legal counsel, you will find you need to think through the whole game plan strategy, befoer giving the instruction.
        to instruct on a step by step basis is a sure approach to failure.
        the punters lapped up this debt to pussy’s bow,
        now how to pay it back????
        AI Robotics, what are they.
        YEars ago My first programmable calculator was a HP47, next a HP97, then of course came XL
        I saw the writing then.

  7. About time
    I live in Melb and it’s not the most liveable city
    It’s becoming a nightmare
    Also ban foreigners buying existing properties
    Let them by new apartments

  8. This is another shoe falling.
    Weve seen Gareth Aird from Com Bank, PHON, Dick Smith, several economists and social commentators, Mark Latham (yes I know, but you cannot pick your company on this), Bolt, several radio presenters, including Tom Elliott, Kelvin Thompson was an early entrant and of course William Bourke and all at Sustainable Australia.
    The debate is changing and getting traction with much thanks to Macrobusiness for its steaty, persistant and sane analysis.

    BTW, I am loving the family portrait of the SAP candidate in Bennelong. Perfect fo that electorate!

  9. Australians a national debate and vote on Australia’s future population size.

    Over Peter Dutton’s dead body (possibly a feature, not a bug)

    • Peter Dutton was one of those writing in Fairfax that “never again” should the citizens be given a vote on any important issue.

      [This is what’s known as “liberal representative democracy”(!)]

      • Stephen, you need to write an article about the problems of our elective government system, and join me in starting the Australians for Direct Democracy Party(if I can get over my own cynicism and convince myself it’s actually possible)

      • I had this published in the SMH letters last week.
        Peter Dutton destroys his own argument(SMH Opinion Dec. 11).
        After lauding the over 80% turnout for the voluntary Same Sex Marriage Plebiscite,Dutton then tries to claim that ”… for most Australians the three yearly trudge to the polling boot his driven only by compulsion.”
        What Dutton fears , and is trying to head off, is more plebiscites, you know, Citizen initiated referenda.
        Having for his own political purposes let the public have a taste of a direct say on SSM, he is frightened that we will want more.
        Dutton admits having “ a free vote “on the floor of parliament “ would have killed the government at the next election…”
        Translation ; The plebiscite was convenient for the government.
        Well having tasted true democracy, and shown our collective maturity, why wouldn’t we want a say on issues the politicians find too hard, or matters that effect our lives ?
        Bring on Direct Democracy now.

      • Thanks Stephen, strength to your arm.
        Alan Jones as patron? I thought too partisan but delighted to be wrong. Inactive link to website should be removed.

      • I emailed a comprehensive rebuttal to The Age and to Peter Hartcher (who has been promoting “consultative” plebiscites) setting out all their factual errors, but they didn’t deign to reply.

  10. Good job PETA. The numbers quoted above don’t include Student VIsa people who then get residence as far as I can’t tell. So when you look at the POPULATION GROWTH numbers, what our Goldman Sachs and Property Council trained PM & Treasurer are doing is outrageous.

    • The students are counted towards NOM as soon as they have been in the country 12 months, just like everyone else.

    • The Horrible Scott Morrison MP

      We’re not doing anything outrageous. Immigration is a response to economic growth. The more we grow, the more skilled immigrants we need to take on all the extra jobs created. The number of jobs is growing, GDP is growing, and unemployment is falling. Our young people are more able to learn about the wider World, co-operation, and love, through the diversity of immigration. Just think about a beautiful shimmering unicorn, floating on top of a cloud which is hovering above a rainbow.

  11. And contrary to the utter BS from Turnbull on Q&! this week, the overwhelming majority of the 245,500 NOM posses neither the skills, qualifications or experience in occupations where we have genuine shortages. As the Productivity Commission pointed out tin their detailed report to Parliament last year, the bulk of new immigrants are NOT skilled. Less than one in three.
    An inconvenient truth Malcolm.

    • The Horrible Scott Morrison MP

      Yes, but they are highly skilled in comparison to union members. Many of them can follow basic instructions, communicate through a series of rudimentary grunts, and will pull their genitals away when held over an open fire. We’ve tested it.

    • Credlin’s a breath of fresh air in the political commentariat. She showed up Christina Kenneally for the vapid waste of space she is when they shared a show together on Sky – and in spite of Kenneally’s constant, bombastic and rude talking over of her, and everyone else.

      • Credlin said it will cost $20 billion in renewables to replace the Liddell coal power station! 😆

        Paul Murray on Sky News said the cheapest way to provide more electricity to Australians (given that the Greens want to double the population) is to build a new coal power station!

        The right wing only makes sense on immigration and jail sentences for criminals. The right wing talks nonsense the rest of the time.

        The left wing never talks sense on immigration.

  12. FiftiesFibroShack

    “There is no economic or social rationale for such high immigration levels”

    But there is an economic rationale according to treasury and ‘The Growth Lobby’. That rationale is GDP. How do we change that? Currently, the only thing that looks likely is conservatives, who have run out of ideas and are left spruiking the dumb cousin of trickle down economics, will try to make immigration a “battleline”. That’s a bad outcome for lasting immigration reform. We could end up with a pendulum between lower immigration and higher immigration governments, with the net result being business as usual.

    Unless we can address this “GDP is everything” attitude within Treasury, and nearly every other body that advises the government and/or gives them cash, it’s hard to see a sustainable outcome.

  13. Here we go again…. Accept it, Sydney and Melbourne are gone. They are now Asian cities. Nothing can be done now to change that. The focus now should be on retaining Perth, Adelaide, Brisbane and Hobart.