Immigration boosters label sensible centre “hateful extremists”

By Leith van Onselen

MB has noted previously (here and here) how the Scanlon Foundation is a front organisation for property developers that are pro-mass immigration and ‘Big Australia’.

This view is based on the fact that founder, Peter Scanlon, is a major real estate developer and has a clear vested interest in mass immigration, as explained by John Masanauskas:

MAJOR investor and former Elders executive Peter Scanlon hardly blinks when asked if his conspicuous support for a bigger population is also good for business.

Mr Scanlon, whose family wealth is estimated to be more than $600 million, has set up a foundation with the aim to create a larger and socially cohesive Australia.

It also happens that Mr Scanlon has extensive property development interests, which clearly benefit from immigration-fuelled high population growth.

“My primary driver in (setting up the foundation) is if we don’t have growth we are going to lose all our youth because the world is looking to train people around the world,” he explains. “Instead of having stagnant growth, we’re going to have a serious decline.”

Mr Scanlon believes that governments aren’t doing enough to sell the benefits of a bigger population so he has put his money where his mouth is…

Last month, we witnessed paid Scanlon Foundation shill, Andrew Markus, make disparaging remarks about the Australian Population Research Institute’s (APRI) recent survey showing that nearly three-quarters of Australian voters believe Australia already has enough people:

With 54% of voters wanting a reduction in Australia’s migrant intake:

Because most voters believe that high immigration is placing pressure on Australia’s liveability:

On Friday, Markus penned another article in The Conversation effectively labelling those seeking to lower Australia’s turbo-charged immigration intake racist extremists:

Far-right political groupings are a constant feature on the fringes of Australian politics… they are united by their nationalism, racism, opposition to “alien” immigration and disdain for democracy…

The distinctive mindset that characterises supporters of minor political parties of the right is evident in public opinion surveys, but findings on members of fringe political groupings are less reliable because their numbers in national surveys are very small.

Nevertheless, we can confidently conclude that a high proportion of people attracted to the far-right have a heightened negative view of their life circumstances, a stronger sense that the area in which they live – and their country – is on a downward path, and negative views of immigration and ethnic diversity.

The 2017 Scanlon Foundation national survey, which I led and analysed, disaggregated attitudes by political alignment. In response to the open-ended question “What do you think is the most important problem facing Australia today?”, immigration (viewed negatively) was the most important issue for One Nation supporters. By contrast, it ranked fifth for Coalition voters, sixth for Labor, and was not ranked at all by Greens voters.

When asked for their view of the level of immigration, 86% of One Nation supporters indicated that the intake was too high, compared with just of 37% of the national sample.

Heightened concern over immigration links to nationalist values. Asked to respond to the proposition that “people who come to Australia should change their behaviour to be more like Australians”, 78% of One Nation voters strongly agreed, compared with 37% of Coalition voters, 30% of Labor and 4% of Greens. An overwhelming 92% of One Nation voters strongly agree that “in the modern world, maintaining the Australian way of life is important”…

The influence of the far-right should not be overstated, but it is a danger sign when mainstream politicians associate themselves with its hateful agenda.

Polls will be polls. I can see Mr Markus’ dubious poll and raise him with many others. Probably the most credible is the APRI’s survey (see second table above) which shows a clear majority of Australian’s want to see an immigration cut. The APRI’s survey methodology is superior to the Scanlon Foundation’s, since 1) it gauges the opinions of Australian voters only (i.e. citizens), rather than migrant non-citizens that are ineligible to vote; and 2) it is conducted online (rather than by telephone) where honest answers are far more likely.

Is this majority really all hateful extremists? Phewy. Most of middle Australia is just reasonable enough to know when we’ve had too much of good thing. Mr Markus is a rent-seeker employed to keep pumping people into his boss’s apartment sales centres.

Another immigration proponent from the Fake Greens has also been quick to deploy the “racism” label in recent days with immigration spokesman, Senator Nick McKim, slamming an attempt by Immigration Minister Peter Dutton to stem the migrant intake. From The Guardian:

A special pathway for New Zealand citizens to apply for skilled migrant visas will shrink Australia’s immigration intake by allowing New Zealanders already resident in Australia to apply to remain permanently as migrants…

While the Turnbull government resolved to keep the cap at 190,000, a number of measures including the New Zealand pathway and an increase in support requirements making it harder for poorer migrant families to financially back their relatives in visa applications have contributed to a reduction in numbers.

The skilled independent subclass 189 visa, which was introduced in July 2017, is given to New Zealanders who have been Australian residents for five years and provides a pathway to citizenship after 12 months.

New figures from the home affairs department provided to the ABC reveal that 1,512 of the visas had been issued by the end of February, with 7,500 applications still being processed…

If Australia maintains the ceiling of 44,000 people on skilled independent visas each year, the addition of New Zealanders already resident in Australia will effectively crowd out applicants from other source countries…

The Greens immigration spokesman Nick McKim told Guardian Australia people should be “deeply concerned” by Dutton’s agenda.

“[Dutton] is seeking to cut immigration by stealth and to have more English-speaking, white and wealthy people migrate to Australia,” he said.

“This has been made clear through his changes to visas for New Zealanders, higher costs for family reunions, his ‘special attention’ for white South Africans as well as his attempts to introduce high-level English tests for potential citizens.”

Check out the below Census data, compiled by Tim Colebatch, showing the composition of migrants by source country into the hotspots of Sydney and Melbourne in the 25 years to 2016:

As you can see, immigration from non-Anglo nations (principally Asia) has dwarfed that from Anglo nations.

Therefore, it is a bit rich for Nick McKim to complain that Dutton’s modest changes to the permanent migration program will have “more English-speaking, white and wealthy people migrate to Australia”, when the immigration program is so heavily biased towards migrants from non-English speaking nations (notwithstanding Dutton’s statements around white South African farmers).

Nor are Senator McKim’s complaints about “higher costs for family reunions” and the Coalition’s “attempts to introduce high-level English tests for potential citizens” justified.

Regarding family reunion visas, the Productivity Commission’s (PC) 2016 Migrant Intake Australia report explicitly recommended tightening parental visas and raising their price, given they are costing taxpayers an estimated $335 000 to $410 000 per adult, or between $2.6 and $3.2 billion per annual intake in present value terms (and growing):

There is a strong case for a substantial increase in visa pricing in relation to some elements of the family reunion stream. This would provide scope to recoup at least a portion of the high fiscal costs typically associated with immigrants in this category. In the medium term, the allocation of parent visas should be revised…

The contributory visa charge of just under $50 000 meets only a fraction of the fiscal costs for the annual intake of roughly 7200 contributory parents. And an additional 1500 parents make a minimal contribution. Overall, the cumulated lifetime fiscal costs (in net present value terms) of a parent visa holder in 2015-16 is estimated to be between $335 000 and $410 000 per adult, which ultimately must be met by the Australian community. On this basis, the net liability to the Australian community of providing assistance to these 8700 parents over their lifetime ranges between $2.6 and $3.2 billion in present value terms. Given that there is a new inflow each year, the accumulated taxpayer liabilities become very large over time. This is a high cost for a relatively small group.

Ultimately, every dollar spent on one social program must require either additional taxes or forgone government expenditure in other areas. It seems unlikely that parent visas meet the usual standards of proven need, in contrast to areas such as mental health, homelessness or, in the context of immigration, the support of immigrants through the humanitarian stream, and foreign aid.

Given the balance of the costs and benefits, the case for retaining parent visas in their current form is weak.

The PC’s more recent Shifting the Dial: 5 year productivity review also doubled-down against parental visas, claiming that their long-term costs to the Budget are immense:

… parent visas, which provide a short-term benefit to the budget via visa charge income, but impose very large costs in the longer term through their impacts on expenditure on health and aged care, and social transfers. In previous work, the Commission estimated the budgetary costs associated with the 2015-16 parent visa intake alone to be $2.88 billion in present value terms over the lifetimes of the visa holders. By comparison, the revenue collected from these visa holders was only $345 million. Ten year estimates of the fiscal effects of the current parent visas would show a similarly stark disjuncture between revenue and costs, and would therefore provide the insights for a more informed policy decision on the pricing or desirability of these visa types than the current decision-making framework.

With regards to English language proficiency, the PC’s Migrant Intake Australia report noted “the fundamental importance of strong English-language skills for an immigrant’s integration and wellbeing in Australia” and explicitly recommended “significant reforms within the current system” and “‘raising the bar’ by shifting to a universal points test while tightening entry requirements relating to age, skills and English-language proficiency”.

The latest report from Dr Bob Birrell also revealed that only 24% of recently arrived skilled migrants from non-English speaking backgrounds were employed as professionals as of 2016, compared with 50% of skilled migrants from Main English-Speaking-Countries and 58% of the same aged Australian-born graduates:

Thus, it makes perfect sense for prospective migrants to be required to speak and read fluent English. It is Australia’s national language and being able to understand and effectively communicate in English is central to integrating into the broader community, gaining employment, as well as to fulfil the responsibilities of residency.

Richard Denniss of The Australia Institute is a part of the sensible policy centre and his riposte to the above is as clear and simple as a bell, via the AFR:

While big business and governments love all the revenue that comes from all those extra wallets entering the country, the Australian community has never been as keen. Not because they are all racist, although some clearly are, but because with long waits to get into hospitals, clogged roads, crowded trains and dwindling amounts of public space they simply couldn’t see the plan to accommodate even more.

But the public’s inability to see the plan doesn’t mean there isn’t one. There is, and it was working a treat until divisions in the Liberal Party shone a spotlight where darkness had been preferred. Rapid population growth without a similarly rapid increase in infrastructure spending delivers better budget outcomes at the expense of worse public services. Rapid population growth delivers better customer numbers without any need to deliver better customer service. And rapid population growth puts downward pressure on wages without the need to train your existing workforce.

Let’s put it to a plebiscite at the next federal election so that the sensible centre can run the real extremists out of town.

[email protected]


  1. “An overwhelming 92% of One Nation voters strongly agree that “in the modern world, maintaining the Australian way of life is important”…”

    The trouble is, the Australian way of life has been living beyond one’s means by perpetually accumulating CADs and selling out our assets. The result is the mess we have today.

    Guess what “maintaining it” will do.

    Oh, I got it!! The ONT is arguing that we should become the white trash of Asia instead of the coloured one!!

    • Perhaps they come from Queensland country towns., not Melbourne inner city. Ther’s irony in your comment.

    • Conflating a population conversation with that rubbish isn’t constructive. I’m guessing that’s why you’re doing it.

    • No such thing as the white trash of Asia – just an immigration apologist’s taunt.
      Bit like saying Greece is the white trash of Africa.
      Australia is not part of Asia.

  2. Joint Treasury-Home Affairs analysis highlights economic benefits of Australia’s immigration intake

    The report conceded a large Australian population brings challenges including “congestion, pressure on the environment, and additional demand in key markets like housing”.

    “Comments are not open on this article”


    • ResearchtimeMEMBER

      MSM has always been gun shy. Fitzsimons from the SMH typical – his wife so happy to label all Australians racists, when asking about foreign housing purchases. And agree with the thrust of the above article. Those who are residents of a country should have the right who and when people arrive, otherwise a country loses its meaning. What is the point of nationality if it doesn’t have citizens?

      At any point in time, immigration is too high or too low. Sydney and Melbourne are slowly becoming the wild west in areas, where neighbours have no connection, share background or values – and the sense of a “fair go” a distant anarchism.

      Mind you, the rise of the aggressive secularists have a similar impact…. we are all becoming more tribal. Spare a thought of NZ, their immigration rate is almost double ours. It feels like something is about to break, socially… it could get ugly. The anger palpable. The current PM has no idea whats coming.

      • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

        I was with you Brother,…until you got to “Aggressive Secularists”. Though a strong Atheist myself, with no toleration of Supernatural ramblings, I do acknowledge Anglo/Irish Christianity as contributing part of my Australian Cutural identity.
        But I dont believe you have to be “White” or from the British isles to be an “Aussie” to share this identity.
        I do believe though, you have to have an easy contempt for Authority,…both Secular and Religious to claim true Australianess.

        Maybe I’m just a Working class Ratbag,…but your assertion that we are more tribal?
        What about all those Catholic/Protestant shenanigans during our first, white, 150 years?
        My dad growing up in the 30s and 40s was “punching on” with “white” Catholic school kids almost every day, growing up in Sydneys Leichhardt ,….up to WW2, it made a big difference what British isles, “tribe” you were in.
        Monash wasn’t as celebrated as much as he should have been back then,…why was that?,… Oh yeah,…Jew tribe.
        Were we really less “tribal” pre War, at 98% British isles ancestry?

      • EP
        I was with you brother………until you got to…..”Maybe I’m just a Working Class Ratbag”

        A plumber in Sydney on $100 per hour plus call out fee = working class ?? Hilarious.

        Does constantly having your head in the dunny lead to talking crap ?

    • Mining BoganMEMBER

      There was a bloke on the wireless yesterday bemoaning that his suburb is struggling a tad with high unemployment, drugs, crime etc. 19% unemployment. 19%. A high immigration suburb with no jobs to offer

      Then he says things are looking up though because house prices are rising. 19% unemployment and house prices are going UP? Who cares if we’re robbing other countries off their skilled workers and then crushing their hopes and dreams? It’s about developers making money.

      • I can now see the long-term strategy in play which comes in two stages.

        The first stage is to lure in as many unsuspecting “skilled” immigrants as possible from the 3rd world countries and crush their hopes and dreams.

        The second stage is to send the disillusioned ones back home so that they can tell their countrymen their experience and discourage them to come here.

        As they say, the most effective way to stop refugees (economic or otherwise) is to stop them at the source.

    • Today’s Age article is a piece of gold. It’s Lucy and Mal’s ‘let them eat cake’ moment from the Point Piper balcony to the peasants.

      BTW following this logic curing cancer would cost trillions to the pharmaceutical industry – so we shouldn’t do it to protect the bottom line. Let’s not even think about preventing war – Jesus, the entire USA economy is at risk.

      And if mass immigration is so great we should double it, maybe triple it. Wow Mal, just think how that could add to your bottom line.

      The disgusting sort-term and self interested politics of the political class are exposed. Stuff the people – stuff our culture and in particular stuff our environment. Bugger democracy. If it suits the cynical budget focused pricks in Canberra then that’s all that counts.

      Because that’s all the Australian economy is – a frigging Ponzi scheme that needs fresh meat to keep the real estate industry happy.

      Yep, the good old “Comments are not open on this article”. I guess that there were not enough short-term contract staff left at Fairfax to censor the backlash against the mass immigration policy that they champion.

      Stand by for Bridget Jones (Jessica Brat Irvine) she’ll be writing a puff piece as we speak. Botox for the status quo is our Bridget Jones of Fairfax. A very serious journalist who wipes Saddam Hussein’s arse on a daily basis – and loves it.

    • Stephen Morris

      The howling error in the Treasury-Home Affairs analysis lies in the distribution of benefits.

      Even if one accepts the tendentious assumption that all new migrants are employed in higher skilled fields and are therefore more productive, the benefit of this flows to:

      a) the new migrants themselves in the form of higher wages; and

      b) their employers, to the extent that they capture a portion of the higher productivity.

      Given the recent discussions concerning natural rates of unemployment, it is plausible that most benefit flows to the employers. But even if that were not the case, the analysis does not show any benefit flowing to existing Australian workers.

      For existing Australians workers to benefit from massive population growth it would be necessary to show:

      a) a positive externality flowing from the employment of new migrants (over and above what they themselves extract in the form of their supposedly higher wages) to increase the incomes of existing Australian workers; and

      b) that externality would need to exceed the sum of i) the external costs associated with providing the infrastructure for the increased population and ii) the intangible cost of increasing congestion.

      The Treasury-Home Affairs analysis hasn’t even addressed that issue. Like so much economic propaganda, it looks only at aggregates without breaking down who is benefiting and who is suffering.

      To illustrate the point with an (admittedly extreme) example, one could imagine a policy under which existing Australian taxpayers were asked to pay for a high tech research facility cum luxury campus built in the middle of the Simpson Desert and then fill it with boffins from around the world who worked on some super-high value project.

      It might very well increase aggregate GDP. It might even increase per capita GDP. But it would provide absolutely no benefit to those who were called upon to bear the cost of it.

  3. The Liberals’ immigration plan is working all too well
    [Big business loves big population growth because with a population growing by around 2 per cent a year, the fastest in the OECD, customer numbers grow by around 2 per cent a year without even trying. For our big banks, retailers, airlines, telcos and petrol companies high levels of immigration growth mean high levels of profit growth.

    Governments love rapid population growth as well as they have come to treat new arrivals more as new taxpayers rather than as new citizens who deserve the level of public services and amenities Australians once took for granted. Put simply, successive governments, state and federal, have used rapid population growth as an opportunity to cut government spending per person while bragging, year after year, about record levels of total spending. It’s a cynical trick, but not nearly as cynical as blaming Australia’s crowded cities on those fleeing the wars we were fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq.

    While big business and governments love all the revenue that comes from all those extra wallets entering the country, the Australian community has never been as keen. Not because they are all racist, although some clearly are, but because with long waits to get into hospitals, clogged roads, crowded trains and dwindling amounts of public space they simply couldn’t see the plan to accommodate even more.]
    A little sense creeping into the media 😉

    • They are not taxpayers though. They are specifically imported to work for illegal wages – thus paying no income tax at all. The corrupt 3rd world is the biggest source of immigration into AUS.

      You could charge $250k for each PR visa and they would still come over! Just sell your flat in the 3rd world and come here. Which makes it a crying shame that PR visas are given out for $0 each.

      • Not true. PR visas cost between 3000 and 7000 $ depending on the type. Add lawyer’s costs and it can climb to over 10k. Good source of income for Australia.

  4. I spent a year in the UK in 2008. Even then I met poms who complained to me that they got knocked back on migration and asked if Australia hated white people. That was ten years ago. How many NESB people have landed in Oz since then?

    • I know anecdotes aren’t data, but our family has seen the same with our European friends. We’ve been told that the belief over there is that Australia doesn’t want European migrants.

      Not sure if the statistics bear this out (as far as I’m aware England/Ireland still a major source) but it seems to be an established meme.

      • I am regularly interviewing people who have never been to Australia before, have dodgy English and are skilled in fluff like corporate training yet managed to score permanent residence from offshore.

        And yes not one has been European.

    • robert2013MEMBER

      I have noted this too. I believe that a big part of our immigration program is people coming as students, then getting work, then getting PR. Europeans don’t have a great enough need to come here as students. They have good education systems of their own with public funding, and conditions are not bad enough there to merit the big $ required for foreign student fees. The number of places in the other channels is quite limited. We now, perhaps unintentionally, have an immigration program that is biased against Europeans.

      • I am interviewing people with PR who literally had never set foot in the country before and their ‘skills’ are dubious to say the least.

        Some thing is more than a bit fishy.

  5. the government and the immigration boosters should pay for what they have done to us – they deserve to be punished for their crimes.

    • Of course, they will. Unlike China, we have the rule of law, you know. All those rich and powerful, like banksters, will be hunted down and brought to justice.

      Surely, they cannot get away with their atrocities by bribing their way through or being connected to the rich and powerful? Who do they think we are? Chinese?

  6. LOL @ ABC News: cutting immigration will impact Melbourne’s economy.

    It’s amazing how Adelaide, Queensland and WA aren’t important states for the economy anymore.

  7. Scanlan’s master stroke is that he has conscripted the left to his cause by funding the Migrant Council (and also help set up), university “research”. Add that to business contacts and Business Coucil. The elite at it’s slimiest.

    • It’s amazing how many people are conditioned by appeal form authority arguments and how group think consensus can be manufactured through the sandstone and media cathedral.

  8. St JacquesMEMBER

    If you slash the Ponzi you’ll hurt the Ponzi GDP. der. And if a long term drug addict stops taking heroin they’re going to suffer severe withdrawal symptoms – but it’s the only way back to health. Those medical experts must be hateful extremists.

    What else would you expect from the FIRE sector’s mainstream media mouthpieces?

    • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

      I wonder how many of the Comentariate,…angry at being priced out of the housing market,…when post bust,…become home owners themselves,…might re evaluate their position against Heroin and entertain a little, banging up,…only the weekends of cource…you know,…sensible like.

      • St JacquesMEMBER

        Yep, exactly, that’s how it starts – “I can control myself, I’m an adult, blah, blah, blah” (yeah right)

        edit- I forgot the magical expression “I’m/we’re different”.

    • Jumping jack flash


      I heard on the radio this morning that some study found that cutting immigration by Tony Abbott’s 80K would have 50 billion dollars’ worth of impact over 50 years.

      Must be the associated drop in debt-induced capital gains and private health insurance premiums from the 80K/a loss in immigration…

      Don’t mess with the intricate web of ponzis that make up our economy.

      • Mining BoganMEMBER

        Worring about $55b while losing $65b for unnecessary tax cuts. Spending $100b on killy things while losing major manufacturers over $500m.

        I’m sensing a pattern here…

    • Uh-oh

      “Banks are not lending to potential buyers and provide valuations of zero for flats in our development”


      • The woman in that articles best hope is a democratic socialist Govt led by Corbyn. Only then will accountability for unchecked greed and corporate negligence occur.

    • Perhaps the billion dollars Peter Scanlon stands to gain from selling his land at Keysborough makes him the extremist.

  9. When the property lobby can’t discuss logically, they revert to name calling and placing labels on the opposition. It’s their main weapon to shut the discussion down. When you have very few ways to grow wealth in Australia, to attack their golden goose is treasonous to them question their methods. They’d sacrifice everything to maintain the system imo.

    • Mining BoganMEMBER

      Yes, but it is losing its power. My workplace now openly laughs when management has meetings about diversity. We all giggle at stories of being called racialist. Indians tell tales of other Indians calling them racist. Caste system or something.

      We’re not that far away from being labelled racialist will have as much effect as being called baldy or fanta-pants or the like.

      • It’s a cancer @MB. They’d sell their children to make a buck. I know one and his relationship with his son is toxic because of it.

      • just to clarify, I’m talking about the property lobby, not indians. I know what your talking about, but in my experience working in the US and EU I only found one upper cast guy went on and on about his cast was superior and very disparaging about the others.. We just ignored him, and no one I knew would ever travel with him as he was a knob, and a sh1t engineer.

  10. An overwhelming 92% of One Nation voters strongly agree that “in the modern world, maintaining the Australian way of life is important”…

    Well, the Australian way of life is of course vile and horrible and not worth maintaining in any way at all. How could those horrible, wacky, racist One Nation supports even think such a terrible thing?

    This is a standard rhetorical tactic used by these wankers. Say something that is undoubtedly true, but cast it in a way that makes it seem implicitly false or ridiculous or hateful or undesirable.

    These Scanlon arseclowns are traitors…selling out their country for money. That short spray from Richard Denniss in the AFR said as best as I’ve ever seen.

  11. Hahaha the Left and Fake Greens have no idea Big Business is using their blind social justice rage to do their bidding. Fools.

  12. seasonedcycling

    you know you’re getting closer to disrupting power when you get this kind of nonsense thrown at you, and it is nonsense.

    it’s all pretty simple

    – higher immigration supports demand supports credit growth supports revenue growth supports profits supports asset prices
    – people don’t like giving up their wealth and power

    In some countries they would just kill you to shut you up

    I guess you can be grateful that in this country they will just blacken your cause, your name and anyone who supports you

    and that kind of influence is easily bought by these people

    and there are plenty who will offer that influence as a service

    and they can get away with it because our institutions have been systematically debased

    to the point that people do not have the basic intellectual curiosity or resources to ask

    what’s behind all of this

    but it’s simple