Unlike fake federal counterparts, Tassie Greens talk sense on population policy

By Leith van Onselen

Last 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 came 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 more than 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!

In fact, 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 (explained here)!

However, it seems not all Greens members agree with the federal party’s position, with the leader of the Tasmanian State Party lambasting a plan by the State Liberals to boost Tasmania’s population from 521,000 currently to 650,000 by 2050. From The Advocate:

On Sunday, the Hodgman government launched its You in a Year campaign, the next plank in its bid to increase Tasmania’s population to 650,000 by 2050.

The next day, Mr Gutwein announced the Population Small Grants program, which would seek to increase the recruitment of skilled workers to the state, as well as to retain local talent.

Organisations such as the Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Launceston Chamber of Commerce and the Tasmanian Small Business Council will be able to apply for grants of up to $50,000 under the proposed scheme.

Should the Hodgman government retain power at the March state election, $400,000 in such grants will be awarded in 2018.

Mr Gutwein said the money would be used by peak industry bodies to run recruitment campaigns via trade shows, advertisements and promotional events…

Greens leader Cassy O’Connor said the You in a Year campaign was “delusional”.

​”It offers no solutions to those Tasmanians already living in our state,” she said.

”Surely the Liberals should put forward coherent housing, health and infrastructure policies before pushing to substantially increase the island’s population.”

Wow. For once no virtue signalling by the Greens. Just a common sense approach that focuses first and foremost on incumbent residents’ living standards and maintaining quality of life.

Can someone please promote Ms O’Connor to the leader of the federal party? Then we might see the Greens abandon its open borders fetish and return to being a genuine environmental party.

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Leith van Onselen
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  1. I have watched Cassy O’Connor on APAC when they show the state parliament question times. Usually I am hungover and I am aimlessly channel surfing on Foxtel. She is a tough customer, Sir Humphrey Appleby would have called her a “formidable lady”.

    • This is probably just NIMBYism. I bet she supports higher immigration for Australia, just not in her state. This is very common for Greens who can always be relied on to oppose development in their own electorates, yet support high density development at a national level.

  2. Why should the Liberals put forward coherent housing, health and infrastructure policies before increasing the population? Nobody on the mainland has.

  3. If you want to attract more people to a particular postcode, just raise the salary in that postcode or legalise luxury bathrooms in that postcode. 😉 Reusa will show up with his concubines in no time!

  4. “Green” is just branding. At their core, they’re now just another political party. Scum, all of them.

  5. Going to be a close election come March this year. Polls have it neck and neck between Libs and Labs.


    It’s quite interesting because despite Tasmania’s relatively good economic performance over the last couple of years under the current liberal government, it’s quite possible that the state will end up with another minority government with the greens holding the balance of power. Which is in itself interesting because Tasmania was pretty much in recession under a labor/green minority government prior to 2014. The current public health system is diabolical in Tas which I think is having an impact on the current government, combined with the Canberra-centric mindset of the federal government which has also compounded things. The stupidity of encouraging population growth without addressing living standards in the state (read public health system) could be political suicide!

    • Whatever the detritus are getting in return is a better reward than politics. Or they wouldn’t do it.

  6. What a bunch of negative nellie whingers on this thead.
    A Green leader actually does what MB (and the majority members and commenters)has been calling for and all you lot can do is snipe, whinge and critisise.
    Why not give her the benefit of the doubt and encourage more positive government?

    • Benefit of the doubt. Lol.

      She didn’t get there by being a good person interested in us. Our problem is all three parties state and federal are captured.

      • bolstroodMEMBER

        Your unfailing negativity is a blight on this site, Ric.
        How are we to improve our lot when every green shoot for optimism is stomped into the ground?

      • A blight for recognising the parties stink?
        You’re naive thinking otherwise with all that’s happened.

    • Which is exactly what we’re doing: we’re doubting her! 😎

      Look, you can only kick a dog so many times, before it stops coming back to you. You can’t keep going on, trusting these careerists, they need to prove themselves, and for once do what they say they will do!

      Until she does, there’s no differentiation. Get in there, fight the good fight and you may not win, but you damn well gave it a good crack! Hell, splinter the greens! See how that works for them cleansing-wheat-germ-smoothie sipping hipster greens. See how they like it.

      • bolstroodMEMBER

        Can you offer some positive ideas Ino. Or is it game over , and we cop what the careerist pollies give us.
        What is your definition of careerist? Anyone elected to parliament? What do you or Ric actually know about
        Cassy O’Conner? Or is it Doubt first and don’t ask questions later?

      • Ideas?
        Scream it from the roofs that it’s insane populating. Call her federal counterparts out. She’s fake.

      • bolstroodMEMBER

        It’s not O’Conner that is fake.
        Your over confected outrage is what is fake.
        You are a Troll.

    • ”Surely the Liberals should put forward coherent housing, health and infrastructure policies before pushing to substantially increase the island’s population.”

      Decelerate, provide housing, health and infrastructure then accelerate. From a Greens party? Where’s mention of Tasmania’s fragile environment.

      And I’m fake? you’re delusional.

  7. TailorTrashMEMBER

    Yesterday was in Strahan West Tassy …beaut little place …uncrowded,crystal clear waters , air clean you could smell it
    ….wandered in to a coffee shop to have a cappuccino and a scallop pie ( delicious ) ……….total heaven ……
    .then picked up the local Tassy paper and the headline blared out ……”TIME TO BUILD …..we need more houses for the population growth to drive the economy”
    …..yeh let’s turn Tassy in a shithole too …..getitintaya Straya !

  8. ”Surely the Liberals should put forward coherent housing, health and infrastructure policies before pushing to substantially increase the island’s population.”

    I’d take it up one level and say surely the Liberals should provide compelling arguments and evidence of why we need further population growth before pushing to substantially increase the island’s population.

    Sustainable Australia is the only party where every candidate and every member is for stabilising Australia’s population as soon as practically possible.

    The party is Federally registered and is now rolling out state-based parties across the country having just successfully registration in NSW. If anyone’s from Victoria and might consider joining a party, we are less than 100 members short of registering a state based party for Victoria.