Big Australia is not more easily defended

Populate or perish is back. From David Crowe on the weekend:

How many migrants should Australia take every year? “Wrong question,” said Carla Wilshire, the chief executive of the Migration Council. She and others say the population debate should be much bigger than this.

“What we need to do is ask ourselves where we want to be in the future. What population do we need to maintain our security? Where do we want to be positioned in our region? What muscle do we need and which industries do we need to grow?” said Wilshire.

“Then we need to work out what population size we will need to maintain our standing and what skills we will need to bring in to develop the industries of the future.”

This is vital. The rise of China and the doubts over US power under Donald Trump are a reminder that Australia cannot take its security for granted. Slamming the door on migration risks the growth that underpins security over the long term.

Australia’s strategic future is fundamental but easily lost in the political argument.

Let’s get some facts on the table here. Carla Wilshire is neither a strategic nor economic expert. She is a former Labor staffer turned CEO of the business lobby for mass immigration, the Migration Council. The chair of the Migration Council is Innes Willox who also heads the Australian Industry Group and who openly fights against legislation to prevent migrant wage exploitation. The Migration Council is funded by property developer cash. No media should ever quote it unless looking for the business angle of lower wages and more houses.

The AFR editorial on the weekend was no better:

Forty years ago this year, China began its rapid march from giant outlier to a giant at the centre of the world economy. This week, that great event continued to reverberate as an American president continued pulling his country from global leadership into a hostile, defensive crouch. Donald Trump has decided that in a world of new competitors like China, America must now put his own crude idea of self-interest first, second, and third. Mr Trump in recent days has undermined NATO, humiliated his close allies in London, and then abased himself for advantage with Russian autocrat Vladimir Putin. He has slammed his ally Germany for buying commercial gas from Russia. Would he swipe Australia for selling iron ore to his rival China if the mood took him? Our long-held assumptions about fundamental unity of purpose among Western nations are suddenly not so solid as they were.

Australia comes into this as a country still yet to fulfil all its potential. It is a frontier society with vast natural resources, whose best days are yet to come – but which must now live in a new age of uncertainty. The country needs to be able to handle itself in a neighbourhood that is geopolitically highly active at best, downright dangerous at worst. We need the ballast of a strong and well-managed economy that underwrites independent diplomatic and military influence there. That means a bigger population, and a bigger Australia.

Will more people protect Australia better? No. There is no army of sufficient size to cover our coastline. To be kind, that’s 19th century thinking. Defense technology is the answer today including mulling The Bomb.

Will lower immigration reduce the size of the economy? No. It will make it larger over the long run. The mass immigration development model is based upon debt accumulation in both the private and public sectors. It drives overvalued house prices. It chokes productivity and income growth. And it drives public infrastructure investment that has dubious returns thanks to our corrupt political economy seeing it mostly as pork.

This is not a sustainable growth model. Such is obvious in the huge external deficits being run by the people ponzi-centres of NSW and VIC since the population ramp up began in 2003:

In both states, household balance sheets are already breaking as mass immigration drives jumbo mortgages even as it kills wages growth making deleveraging impossible. Public budgets are also under strain. The Federal Budget has seen temporary gains on Chinese stimulus. State Budgets are playing a game of shells as they run up ever higher debts but hide them off balance sheet in dodgy infrastructure projects. Ratings agencies have already warned that this is not sustainable either.

When these accumulated debt stocks peak and reset lower then the bust will shunt the national economy onto a lower growth path. Private debt will need to bailed out by foreign capital (read Chinese). Or, if it is made public, then huge budget deficits will need to funded by offshore capital (read Chinese).

The alternative path of lower immigration will encourage lower house prices and deleveraging now. That may result in lower growth for a short time. But it will also quickly reset Australian competitiveness as the Australian dollar falls hard and fast. Instead of ponzi-sectors booming we’ll see tradable sectors booming as the 40% of the economy that exports or competes with imports takes off. Sectors such as education and tourism that currently rely in part upon the citizenship carrot will roar ahead even faster thanks to price advantage.

A much lower dollar dramatically lifts offshore incomes, nominal growth and Budget revenues. It also prepares Australia for inevitably slower Chinese growth which will hit the mass immigration model’s debt stocks very hard otherwise.

In short, cutting immigration will help correct the current account deficit, reducing foreign borrowing and the selling of assets to foreigners. That, in turn, tips into the management of Australia’s single-most most crucial national security challenge by far: how to manage burgeoning autocratic Chinese power.

The mass immigration model invites that power in. We’ve seen it now across our parliaments as Chinese Communist Party corruption seeks to undermine liberal democracy and its strategic underpinning in ANZUS. We’ve begun to fight back via legislation but it’s a long term soft power war. And when one canvases how it might be won, the mass immigration model is very far from helpful. Via Anthony Bubalo of the Lowy Institute:

Not long ago I listened to four Australians of Chinese heritage speak at the Lowy Institute about the impact on their communities of the foreign interference question. Some of the issues they raised were similar to those articulated by Muslim Australians when they talked about the effect of terrorism on their relationship with broader society.

…The government is certainly seized of this challenge. New legislation has been passed and a new position, the National Counter Foreign Interference Coordinator, has been created in the Department of Home Affairs, similar to the longer-standing position of Commonwealth Counter-Terrorism Coordinator.

But alongside these measures the government will also need to protect the bonds in our society that allow people and communities to cooperate and trust each other despite cultural, ethnic, religious, or ideological differences.

…Some lessons are obvious, such as the importance of precise language. In the same way that it is vital to distinguish between the ideas of Islamist extremists and those of the Islamic mainstream, we must avoid using the the word “Chinese” in relation to foreign interference to ensure we are not conflating the CCP with Chinese Australians.

Feel good drivel aside, the best (and perhaps only) response that will prevent the spread of CCP influence within said community from corrupting the wider democracy is to cap its numbers. Discriminatory immigration is rightly anathema in a modern multicultural nation so we should simply slash the total permanent migrant intake to historical averages. Problem solved.

Viewed beyond the lens of sectional interests, any definition of Australian national security that includes defense of its liberal democracy must address the question of Sinofascism first and foremost. In that context the case for “populate or perish” collapses into dangerous nonsense.

Indeed, yesteryear’s “populate or perish” is today’s “populate and perish”.

Houses and Holes
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    • 21% of Israel’s population is Arab….they just have less rights and are treated like foreigners in their own land. The Apartheid state of Israel and its treatment of minorities is probably not the best example you could use….

      We aren’t anything like them. Because of our sectarian history we’ve never had the option of being a state unified under one creed or even ethnicity.

      I don’t agree with mass immigration, but not because we are losing some mythical racially unified past, but because it’s bad economics.

      • Who is the “we”? The Jew behind the stone?

        Allah’s Apostle said, “The Hour will not be established until you fight with the Jews, and the stone behind which a Jew will be hiding will say. “O Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me, so kill him.”

        That has little to do with economics.

      • @Fitzroy Maybe you could write another comment that isn’t total gibberish? With better punctuation? Thanks in advance.

      • fitzroyMEMBER

        Who is the “we”? The Jew behind the stone?

        “Allah’s Apostle said, ‘The Hour will not be established until you fight with the Jews, and the stone behind which a Jew will be hiding will say. “O Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me, so kill him.” ‘ ”

        That has little to do with economics.

        Now you can read it. Or can you?

  1. JunkyardMEMBER

    Corporate rent seeking shills losing the debate on immigration, and so they have switched to good old fashioned fear mongering.

    OMG the security!!!! we could be invaded by 1.3 billion Chinese so we better… let in a lot of Chinese people and bet our entire economy on China trade???

    Wait what?

    • It’s just the latest hapless spruk to keep the ponzi going and f the locals. So when all these new locals want a decent life the resources won’t be there. They never talk about the sustainability, the real economics around it all while keeping us in a constant state of gouging on every service making living here more expensive while they wind back the social support systems. None of them are any different. We think it’s corrupt but are they actually stupid? Get elected, then ignore the electorate. Stupid or just self serving; I think it’s both with a whole lot of corruption thrown in.

  2. We only need now Colin Powel and Netanyahoo to show that vial with evidence that China seeks to invade and that the process is 95% in completion.

    Invading Aus is as pointless as it can be.
    Switzerland was sevreal times in a very precarious situation but it was bombed and invaded ‘zactly how many times?

      • Idiot.

        LOL, interesting vagary of vernacular, laden with facts and void of emotional response i guess…

        > Invade Australia and strategically achieve what?

        Avoidance is always better than deterrence.
        Some countries are lucky to have near zero geostrategical importance.

    • Yes everyday I think Australia grows more like Switzerland. Switzerland is the perfect example to show no small country has ever been invaded. I believe that in 1940 Belgium, the Netherlands and Norway were all grateful for the example Switzerland provided.

      • I thought I could use aforementioned vernacular but I realise you’re just sucking-up-to…

        You could benefit from looking at the map of the world, countries, their position… and then also by knowing some of the European history

      • I believe that in 1940 Belgium, the Netherlands and Norway were all grateful for the example Switzerland provided.

        Not just the low countries and Scandinavia – I reckon Czechoslovakia and Poland were pretty grateful as well. 😉

    • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

      Switzerland is a small mountainous country with little natural resource booty for conquers and a history of Neturality that goes back centuries.
      It is also surrounded by competing powers that would rather not enguage in costly mountain warfare, for territory that offers little material gain.

      Australia on the other hand has heaps of Natural booty, and is a hated former Brittish conquest/colonial outpost, that is still populated by mostly British Isles descendants and other “White people”, in a world that is increasingly embracing a “Collective Responsibility” narrative for colonialism.
      Whether we go “Netural” or not,…our very existance as a Nation state, is not just questioned by virtue signaling, metropolitan bourgeois bohemians, in trendy inner city coffee shops and universitie campuses.
      The Racial collective responsibility narrative, against all “white people”, is gaining momentum,…in this narrative they (all white people) ARE RESPONSIBLE for all the “Crimes” of Imperial competition and European Expansionism from the 16th to mid 20th Century. It is a common and growing form of political discource across the Globe now,…the UN sprouts it.
      Just like the 1930s German narrative that places all the blame for the ill of society at the time, on the Jews,….the “White Privilage” narrative could eaisly mutate into an argument to intervene in our national affairs, by a dominant “other” nation state, looking for a fight, to divert the home populations attention away from more urbane domestic failures.
      Justice for the humiliating loss of face from the opium wars for example, could be a very cheap and easy propaganda tool for gaining public support for war within China.
      Even though my kids ancestors are Irish convict slaves who hated the British empire,…their white skin and blue eyes makes them GUILTY,….just like all jews were,….whether they were Fkwit plutocrat investment bankers,…or the daughter of $hit house unblocker.

      Our becoming a “Netural state” will not accord us the same protections it does Switzerland.

      • EP,

        Countries are not invaded because they can be invaded or out of spite but to gain geostrategic advantage.
        Not even US does that.

        What geostrategical advantage could China gain (vs. what it can lose) by invading Aus soil?

        Our becoming a “Netural state” will not accord us the same protections it does Switzerland
        Aus is in the middle of nowhere, borders no one it is on the way to only even more remote NZ and is a threat to no one if it takes somewhat neutral side e.g. no harbouring of nukes). It is a divine gift in times of war

      • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

        We dont have a lot to worry about right Now I agree,…but the future is very uncertain.
        With the rise of China, India and the huge and growing population in near by Indonesia I do worry for My Children and their countries future security.

        You ask, “What geostrategical advantage could China gain (vs. what it can lose) by invading Aus soil?”
        Well under the US “Nuclear Umbrella” they risk quite a lot,…without it,…not so much.
        Our Tyranny of distance does not offer the same protection it once did in this Globalised world and as for our strategic worth,…Well,…If a resource rush on Antarctica ever begins, we would be right along the most efficient strategic trade and transportation route for a resource hungry China,…or India,…Or Indonesia,….or even an “Made Great again” Russian in coalition with China!,…who knows what will be on the cards a few decades down the track

      • EP,

        Well under the US “Nuclear Umbrella” they risk quite a lot,…without it,…not so much.
        That is not addressing the geostrategic advantage/benefit from/for holding mil occupation
        Too many “If-s” and “maybe-s” for that polar conquest and not like there’s no way around to Antarctic.

        The rise of multipolar world is not a reason for uncertainty, fear, worry… quite contrary.
        If any, one should fear conscription to a decadent decaying power, learn from own past and conscription to the previous dying power.

        Courtesy of Skippy:

  3. Why do they think immigrants will join the army on Australia side , if there is a war. They don’t support Australian sporting teams if they are playing against the “home” side. Not sure about the populate or perish part.


  4. In terms of defense, Big Cities make us more vulnerable. Decentralisation would probably be better.

    If someone wanted to disrupt Sydney or Melbourne, it would probably be fairly easy. Cut power or water and see what happens. Turn off the mobile phones.

    • Older Australians think that the younger generations are soft, I think we’re all soft to a degree, but the older generation is the softest. Disrupt our daily lives and sit back and watch the dummy spit, omg, I can’t get on FB!

      If the Chinese were to greatly reduce student and tourist numbers you watch all those with a vested interest squawking. We’d capitulate in 5 min.

      • That is not my experience Dennis. Those Australians who went to war had a much more robust view of life.

  5. Did The Age remove that article? I read it last night but want to read the comments now and I can’t find it.

  6. – Well, I do see some good news. If the Migration council really is funded by the developers then it will die as the developers go belly up as well.