Dear Crikey, Straya has a ‘politico-housing’ not ‘military-industrial’ complex

I’m back next week from holidays but threw together this little post on an important piece from Crikey’s Guy Rundle, Australia’s leading Marxist thinker, who finally led a push-back against mass immigration from the genuine Left this week:

Well, the Australian population has passed 25 million. Twenty five million! When I opened a primary school geography book in the 1970s, it was less than 14 million. Older readers — most of my readers — might remember when it was less than 10 million, before the end of the 1950s. You’d have to be 80 or over to remember when it was in the 7 millions on the census (which excluded Indigenous Australians, remember) — a genuinely small Anglo-Celtic outpost at the bottom of Asia, settled in part so as to make it easier to colonise Asia, and thus scaring itself to death from the 1870s onwards that Asia might reverse the process.

Twenty five million is an absurdly low number of course. Prior to any consideration of whether the continent could take that many more, reflect on how singular and ridiculous this place is. Forty percent of the population are in two cities. Even if you look at where people really are, we are enormously empty. Draw a line from, say, Portland, Victoria, to just above Brisbane, and the resulting “green triangle” will contain about 70% of the population, and still be largely empty. That triangle is about the size of France and Germany combined, or mainland South East Asia, each hosting nine-figure populations.

But it never feels that way for most of us, living in the three big cities (including Brisbane-Gold Coast), either in dense inner-cores, or in mountain-to-coast sprawl concreted over every natural feature. So the politics of this vast, sparse continent are really that of city-states — intense battles for turf, identity, recognition, and the maintenance of comparative social power between different groups.

Around them, neglected hinterlands look on. This too is an accident. Until 1910, more people lived outside of state capitals than in them, and the green triangle hosted a far more geographically balanced society. Country cities had their own newspapers, theatre companies, lecture circuits, civic life, all offering just about everything that could be got in Melbourne.

We began to tilt towards the capitals after that, and we have been tilting ever since. Melbourne now has more than four million people; the next-largest city in Victoria is Geelong which has about 150,000. The imbalance is absurd and unhealthy — the product of combining high levels of immigration year-on-year, with the failure to have a truly integrated regional and urban development policy. The imbalance occurs as much within our capitals as without, as, instead of creating multi-polar cities, we have simply added concentric rings of suburban footprint around the existing ones. In Melbourne you can see where the city “should” have stopped by the extent of the tramlines.

Decades ago, we should have been turning country towns into cities, small cities into bigger regional capitals, connecting them by short-distance high-speed trains. Instead, we let it go, and we are paying the price for it, and will do so for quite a while to come.

The immigration rate isn’t likely to come down anytime soon, barring a real economic crunch. Both major parties will pay lip service to reduction, to please sections of their base, but it will go on. Founded in geopolitics, as a base to forestall the French, our population bursts have always had that spirit. We began our post-Anglo transformation in 1948, the year the British quit India, and the empire ceased to be a framing world order. We are building furiously now for the decades to come, when the end of the American century comes near, and climate change begins to categorically shift global relations.

Then everything is up for grabs, the most striking possible result being a protracted third world war, in which the arrangements put in place by expanding European imperialism in the 1820s and 1830s are finally abolished. In those circumstances, the bigger the better to have as much bargaining power as possible. In a burning world, our green triangle might have to take many times 15 million people. There is no reason that the entity known as Australia founded in 1788 could not be ended a summarily in 2067 or 2059 — or 2031 for matter.

Whatever is said about our reasons for doing it, those are the real reasons, the sort of thing that a political-administrative-military deep state maintains as governments come and go. Multiculturalism, the form of top-down cultural refashioning to serve quantitative needs, is, in the last analysis, a form of military engineering.

So if we’re going to do it, it better be done well — not with the haphazard neoliberal half-in, half-out, but with good old fashioned statist dirigisme, for really big stuff. The money figures should be in the tens and hundreds of billions for multi-decade projects, as we pass 25 million, and head towards 50, in whatever form geography will be taught in, in the years and decades to come.

It is great to finally see some doubt from the Left about the dubious benefits of mass immigration. This is eminently preferable to the hypocrisy of the Fake Left, the Cultural Marxists that dominate the mainstream media, obsessing over the minutiae of identity politics while endorsing a blood-sucking corporate agenda to marginalise youth from houses, kill off wages growth and crush load our poorest city regions.

But is this “populate or perish” rationale for Big Australia any more useful? The assumptions of the Rundle piece make that highly questionable. The “end of the American century” and the abolition of the “arrangements of European imperialism” are far from foregone conclusions. The rising alternative model of Sinofascism and its statist capitalism is even more troubled long term. The Chinese debt-model of super-charged economic growth is on its last legs in geological time. It’s demographic disaster has also begun and is much worse than that of the US.

Without reform, within a decade let alone many, Chinese growth will be choked to a standstill by mis-allocated capital and bad debt. Sure it’ll rise militarily from here but most of its population will still be stuck in relative poverty and there is no way of knowing whether the Chinese Communist Party can even rule with stability once the economic progress of its peoples bogs down to growth levels similar to developed economies today. All those shiny new guns will likely be pointed inwards.

Other “big nations” will advance, such as India and Indonesia given these are democracies. They have greater prospects for further growth via liberalisation given they are more internally consistent. But a larger population in Australia is neither here nor there in defense against these. Technological edge, including nuclear, is what is required in a strategic sense to manage such rising powers.

Alas, Rundle is right about the fallout from climate change. It is difficult to see how that will play out in terms of geopolitics and great powers. Probably not a big deal.  What we can say for sure is that as the lowlands of the Asian sub-continent and Pacific sink, it will drive an exodus of boat-riding refugees the size of which Australian bogan nightmares are made of. Does a larger population do anything to manage this? Nope. Again it is technology that will do it with unmanned surveillance and automated border control. The technological edge required is achieved via alliances with the US and its Western partners not by importing masses of people.

Finally, we need to ask what kind of economy will a Big Australia deliver and whether that serves the interests of defending Australia as we make our way through the multi-polar world ahead. Does an urbanisation economy, driven inexorably by private and public debt accumulation, get us to a larger and more dynamic economic outcome by mid-century than the alternatives? Hardly.

It will drive itself only into a productivity dead end and, after crisis eventually engulfs its debt loads, shunt the economy onto a much lower growth path permanently. Moreover, the reliance upon foreign people and capital to drive it will, in a very real sense, sell out to the very strategic end-point that a larger population is supposed to defend against. Rundle’s pining for a centrally-planned Chinese-style urbanisation agenda is, ironically, the very opposite of any self-defense that includes the protection of liberty. Thankfully, it is also fantasy. We don’t have it in us for such Marxist nation building. We never have. Frankly, nor should we. That way also lies debt disaster, corruption and stagnation.

But the real blunder in Rundle’s “population of perish” paradigm is the notion that some shadowy military-industrial complex of the deep state is driving population growth. This is, at best, a dated and lazy echo of Chomskyan cliche. The Australian Treasurer is not formerly an employee of Raytheon, he is a graduate from the Property Council. The just departed Treasury Secretary did not pop up at the helm of Thales, he’s been captured by AMP. The Australian PM is not some revolving door executive from Lockheed Martin, he’s a former CEO of Goldman Sachs.

This points us to the real mass immigration deep state: the political-housing complex. The FIRE sector some call it. The finance, real estate and retail monster that now controls the government, so much so that a simple immigration cut which would kill One Nation and repair the fatal split in the Coalition base has become anathema to it.

Nor is this just theory. I know many in the defense deep state. Believe me when I say that they are not concerned at all that Australia needs a larger population to protect itself. On the contrary, they are terrified of the waves of Chinese influence that are washing over Australia directly down the migration channels.

In short, Australia has a mass immigration program only to protect high house prices that fund rentier profits for the politico-housing complex in spite of any military-industrial version. If our paltry defense sector could, it would slash the immigration intake tomorrow.

And it would be right to do so. A much better path for Australian social cohesion, living standards, economic dynamism and self-defense into mid-century is to halve mass immigration now. This will allow the controlled debt-deflation that we need, as well as rebuild Australian competitiveness. Any loss of growth in the short term will be more than recovered in the long as a much lower currency grows the economy sustainably via booming tradable sectors that support the technological and industrial base of national defense. It will also prevent Australia from being sold out on the quiet in the meantime.

It is great to finally see some constructive input from the Australian Left on the fallout from mass immigration. It does not surprise me to see it come from Guy Rundle, who is Australia’s best public Marxist thinker. But his socialist frame of reference prevents him from learning one of the great lessons of twentieth century history, that centrally-planned economies do not produce sustainable and defensible states. Moreover, he appears lost in dark fantasies about the influence of some marginal military “deep state”  when right in front of his face the real culprit is handing his nation to the highest bidder without a fuss.


  1. First time in ages you might have got me back in Macrobusiness.Well done.
    But we now have all the “subsidiary” politicians in the “not SYD/MEL” environs spruiking mass immigration as the panacea to the fact that apart from mining & agriculture nothing is wanted from OZ! The “loser” areas are now onto mass iimigration as a GDP number that will solve their destructive unfunded future obligations. So the “SyD/Mel” melt down is coming to you if you are somewhwere else. So be thankful. /sarc

    • mild colonialMEMBER

      My local leader applauding it the other day. I made a comment. His Instagram account is now closed to the commentariat.

    • Spot on! They won’t every be happy unless they are pumping house prices as it’s the “only investment” they care about. F the citizens, the environment, etc. They don’t care about the future only the now as we all grind to a halt. The future funding impact tells us it’ll be higher tax for us as the corps won’t pay much.

    • In this century a country is not protected by bodies tas you write “we need a bigger population to protect us”. No. If it’s war, then planes missiles and our dear USA friends protecting their interests are what is needed. We were fine during WW2 with a small population. Aus was great then.
      No, we are being invaded right now.
      I need protection from the invading migrants. For example a thick blonde Pom at a cafe in Albert Park who said Australia needed her and other immigrants because the birth rate was too low. More hubris and low iq entitlement. Hard to choose between her and a chinese person who does not obey Aus law at many levels from plagiarism to parking fines.
      I need protection from invasion daily plane load by plane load of these invaders.

  2. Until 1910, more people lived outside of state capitals than in them

    I was wondering when that happened!

    As for the climate change boat people – Syrian refugees, and Afghans pretending to be Syrian refugees, reached the edge of Europe over the last few years but Westerners did not give a damn, so why would they give a damn about Bangladeshis turning up in the future?

    If our paltry defense sector could, it would slash the immigration intake tomorrow.

    USA is a military-industrial complex and on 8 Feb 2018, George W Bush said he wants cheap illegal labour to continue flooding USA:

    • Interestingly, though, the Housing/FIRE sector complex hasn’t captured “the USA” as a whole. The Demographia Reports identify an outright majority of cities by number (although it is a different story by population weight) that still get on with elastically supplying housing and keeping it affordable regardless of the population growth pressures that the globalist/immigration complex (all part of the same thing) can throw at it.

      You can bet that there are dark forces trying to crush the local political cultures that ensure continued housing affordability in their vicinity. Or sabotage housing supply by whatever means, even a conspiracy centered in Wall St, to deprive the development sector in, say, Texas, of finance. The outcomes have been economically interesting; because the land is still freely available, its price has actually not been inflated, but there has been inflation in the price of new houses which inflation seems to be captured as PRODUCER surplus. The absence of land price inflation ensures the continued affordability of the existing housing stock.

      If there is any evidence of a “complex” the real left needs to wake up to, it is the lavish streams of political activism funding, from the global 0.1% to the “save the planet from urban sprawl” theocrats. Making it a close parallel to the Baptists and Bootleggers scenario of religious and rentier interests coinciding. Of course the rentiers are the only class with concrete interests in NOT “saving the planet” with simple taxes and pricing, and letting the myriads of actors in economies work out their own best mitigation strategies. No, the rentiers conspiracy will shamelessly exploit the absurd, failed concepts of central planning that retain a fatal attraction to their useful idiots of the Left.

  3. mild colonialMEMBER

    Always a bit amusing when a Marxist can’t recognise the ambient capitalist game. Maybe he’s more of a foreign policy wonk. But given I think we can’t just push boats back in a climate change scenario, I wouldn’t mind if we could plan our way to better regionalism. Problem is, you’re right, Australia can’t.

    • in a climate change scenario boats are more likely to be originating from Australia not arriving here

      BTW He is also fake left just different type of fake

  4. GunnamattaMEMBER

    Melbourne now has more than four million people; the next-largest city in Victoria is Geelong which has about 150,000. The imbalance is absurd and unhealthy

    I dont know how to tell him this but to all intents and purposes Geelong is every bit as much part of Melbourne as Frankston, Ringwood or Dandenong. There is still a patch of Port Phillip which isnt developed and built out between Point Cook and Geelong Grammar, but that is a smattering of vegetable farms awaiting subdivision, a sewerage treatment work, and explosives loading and storage facility, and an Airport. Melbourne is growing like a cancer, turning Geelong, Ballarat, Kyneton, Bendigo, Klmore into dormitory exurbs. If you really want to see how true this is try getting onto the Anglesea Road on ramp to the Geelong bypass at about 0630 in the AM (as i will do in maybe 10 minutes). Jam packed with traffic from the Surf Coast (another suburb of Melbourne) and Armstrong Creek/Warralilly all jumping on the freeway to Melbourne to spend an hour or two in heavy traffic – presumably grinding to a halt near Point Cook. The Feds and the Stae government are shunting some public sector jobs to Geetroit, to replace real industry which once existed. But like Melbourne it is a giant succubus on the Australian taxpayer now. Chock full of exiles from the middle burbs of Melbourne who have cashed out and can still get their little slice of white bread suburban existence for half a million. Maybe a touch of reminder of an Australia which once was, but is dying by the day. Maybe the remains of an iceberg. Head on up the Bacchus Marsh road from Geetroit, you can see warehouses being built, – to complement the prisons – and cast your eyes across the subdivisions of the future. The Sudanese gangs and the Ice crazed house break ins by half employed whites staring mega debt in the eyes. No wonder they are angry……

    • gunna’s geelong centric posts are always a fave of mine to read

      love reading the non sydney/melbourne centric stuff that (rarely) gets posted here, more please

      • I often browse on reddit various subs belonging to other places (inc other countries). /r/dubbo /r/townsville /r/geelong /r/wellington etc It can be refreshing.

    • Know Your Enemy

      Great stuff Gunna

      It’s almost as, I don’t know, we need a decentralisation and high speed rail policy perhaps with tax incentives.

      Sigh, all this surf coast talks makes me nostalgic for slapping the 4/3 on and dipping into the mostly shark free (or attack free) waters at Fairhaven

    • Check out 72 Aberdeen Street Geelong West. I reckon this will be a good bell weather of the local market. Its almost too run down to fix. But will the developers be keen?

  5. Guy Rundle?

    We were discussing him just the other night, though that seems to have been deleted. A pity as it was an interesting and relevant quote. He writes very well.

    One of the real mysteries of the Australian modern political left is a general reluctance to engage with the finance capitalism that pretty much defines and is at the core of the ‘neoliberal’ project. Its effectiveness in concentrating wealth in fewer and fewer hands is now beyond doubt.

    To their credit the Greens are really starting to get on board with the need to reform our monetary system but they still struggle with the population growth issue.

    Ultimately, if you are determined to support a high rate of population growth you must be prepared to divert a large chunk of income away from households to investment. Just as China, Korea, Germany and Japan did and still do.

    We know that business is very happy for that to happen and want specific household incomes (i.e. Not theirs) to do most of the belt tightening involved in diverting income.

    The pro immigration left dont seem to willing to accept that even if we do get the ‘big end’ of town to pay more of the cost of the high levels of investment required by a rapid rate of population growth it will mean lower incomes for most Australian households.

    Actually when one thinks about it the pro immigration left, at least those that are honest about it, do give a reason for accepting lower household incomes. The global welfare function. That the world will be a better place if income redistribution is undertaken on a global basis rather than national basis.

    They only problem with that is there are probably not a lot of votes in it at the natiinal level which is why they are not very keen on national states…..especially western ones.

    • Know Your Enemy

      The Greens are not alone
      Sally McManus has a lot of potential but she is stuck arguing about wages growth (lack thereof) within the context of inability to conduct pattern bargaining


      Can’t bring herself to talk about immigration, so for that, she will never appeal beyond her small base

    • Guy Rundle’s series on the ground in Bowen before the election was fantastic. I’d happily pay for a Crikey sub if there was an option just to unlock Rundle’s pieces.

  6. St JacquesMEMBER

    >>>> “….Melbourne has more than four million people…..” Ancient news. lol

    Melbourne is less than a year away from 5 million people, at 4.9 million plus…..only some 30 years ahead of schedule and has been piling on over 120 000 people a year the last couple of years. As with any *ponzi scheme*, this growth *scam* must keep *accelerating* or it will wobble and implode.

  7. Thanks H&H. The WW2 Brisbane Line lives and no amount of ‘policy’ – code for state direction of social and economic activity – will decentralised us into the desert.

    The defence of Australia is not advanced by a large population, more by the vigor of what we already have. If current sober-rattling turns into WW3 V China, our Sudanese boys will make superb infantry, while the milky whites will have their hands full guarding the internment camps for 2 million Celestials.

    Domestic Marxists loathe Five Eyes – an arrangement of profound intimacy and duration. Fortunately, others are more far-sighted:

    A report released by Canada’s spy agency has warned that New Zealand, one of its closest allies, has been influenced at every level of society by the Chinese government, and that the situation has reached a “critical” stage.

    • Luckily with our super economy driving cutting edge advancement in all the appropriate areas, we should have beautiful trenches with all the features including: lots of storage, meeting areas with great lighting, foyers to welcome the visitors such as Brigadier General Blaze and tiles, not carpet, for easy cleaning.
      ………….. It will be a real pity when a few tiny drones appear, blow the place to hell and move on.

    • St JacquesMEMBER

      I disagree. It’s a nice sentiment, but today Australia’s economic driver is a twin enginned ponzi scheme. If Australia seriously began to decentralise, these engines would flame out and the economic growth would collapse and then Oz would crash into depression and would have to look at building a genuinely productive economy, again…oh wait, that’s actually a great idea anon!

    • All you gotta do is provide the jobs out there, and it will just happen.
      Pity there aren’t any though, and everyone moves to the cities looking for work.

      • St JacquesMEMBER

        And the reason is not difficult to understand – the economy has been reconfigured around the FIRE sector debt bubble. Hence the destruction of traddeables. The two are mutually exclusive.

      • This needs proactive government putting in the infrastructure. Decrease the cost of business and time required to get around and new business centres will develop. Other countries have done this before.

        I’m from the country of reclaimed land, starting from scratch is what we do…

      • St JacquesMEMBER

        Yes, but the Netherlands has a powerfully PRODUCTIVE economy, with a population only growing at a moderate pace. And because of its central location on the North Sea and its access to the population centres of the surrounding countries by sea, river, rail and road, it also acts as a massive logistics centre and therefore has a humungous *re-export* economy. Oz, on the other hand is a simple comodity exporter with ever lower quality jobs being provided by a debt and population fueled ponzi scheme in its capitals, especially Sydbourne. Lift the bonnet and it’s a FIRE sector debt pumping scam, nothing more.

      • @anonnl
        Have you ever been to regional Australia? Entire European countries can fit in the gaps between our regional cities and towns. You just can’t decrease the time to get around or the cost of transport to anywhere near the level of more densely populated countries, or the big cities.

      • Just for perspective, size of the entire Netherlands – 160 x 240 klm. and 17 million people.
        Distance between orange and dubbo is 144klm, two towns of around 30,000 each with a few tiny towns of a few hundred to maybe a few thousand in between. Not really comparable is it.

        And just for fun
        Netherlands pop 17 mill area 41000 sq km density 502 per sqkm
        Sydney pop 5 mill area 12000 sq km density 415 per sq km.
        So Sydney is a much better equivalent for the Netherlands than Australia as a whole or rural Australia.

      • orange to dubbo has 2 main ways, the mitchell highway and the burrendong way. they are roughly about the same length but i am convinced you can do the mitchhell highway in less time bc the roads are straighter and less treacherous. if you really want to see hicksville australia take the burrendong way or follow the mitchell highway to molong and drive on to wellington via the renshaw-mcgirr way, some of the towns you pass through will be like places time forgot, towns with seemingly no reason to exist, no shops/economy, sometimes not even a local pub.

        all of australia will look like this in the future.

      • St JacquesMEMBER

        There is an unstated assumption behind *decentralisation* solution and that is all you have to do is transfer the population ponzi driven growth to the regional cities around our capitals and all will be goo/ This is absolute bulldust on stilts ! All you have done is tranfer this cancerous growth to the regional centres, along with all the problems of infrastructure, but now you have to ramp up our exponentially growing immigration driven growth to maintain growth in the capitals, or they’ll implode ! Anyway, how the hell are you going to force people out into the regional debt fueled population ponzis, when this type growth will always favour the biggest centres? Set up internal borders and travel restrictions for immigrants or deliberately force the Australian born out into these second rate ponzi growth cities?

      • I’m with you, Anon. I find it so puzzling that people see it as impossible for Australia to make strategic decisions and investments to build a robust and competitive economy. Apparently there’s just too much space to be successful.

      • St JacquesMEMBER

        Because it’s been tried and it was a failure. Why? Because its premise is back to front. With the decentralisation solution you’re simply shifting the problem and the problem is the type of economic growth – namely debt powered population ponzi growth.

      • Well I don’t disagree with that, but aren’t you begging the question? The point is to change the growth model and once you’ve done that the location problem becomes a much easier nut to crack. We all talk as if this is the most difficult thing in the world, but countless other nations have built genuinely productive economies. What makes us so pessimistic about our capability to do this (apart from the ample evidence of history)?

      • St JacquesMEMBER

        What happened after the global crash of the 90s? For a few years we headed that way and were actually making great progress – then…..back to the FIRE population ponzi bubble that had emerged during the 80s. LNP, ALP, even the bloody Greens, RBA, the banks,the Big End of Town, the CFMEU, every fricking media outlet has bet everything on the FIRE bubble. The tradeable sector has gutted, and what has been left is in large part dependent on its continuation like the manufacture of building materials. The FIRE debt bubble economy IS the Australian economy and it owns this country’s academia, public institutions and political system.

      • bolstroodMEMBER

        The water , mate it is all a bout water or lack there of.
        Climate Change is here, now and for the foreseeable future.

      • Jobs…. and that little pesky substance called water. Sigh, every commentator saying that the regions just need to be built out forgets how many towns do or almost run out of water during droughts. It’s happening now.

      • St JacquesMEMBER

        Timmeh, stop being such a drip! Surging populations in dry zones with multiyear droughts is just another profit centre for high quality, high cost desal water. It’s another great money making opportunity for investors. Get with the program mate.

    • There is no frikkin water. Even towns that seem like they have big rivers (Dubbo, Cowra etc) only have rivers that many countries would call “streams”. Slow, shallow and more than a few times I’ve driven over them in the summer and they look like a series of rockpools joined up. How the hell do you build a city off of that kind of flow?

  8. And more from the ‘politico-housing’ complex – Special approval for permissible building height made by Ryde Council allowing Meriton to build up to 200m. 3 residential buildings approved at 112 Talavera Rd, Macquarie Park with one of them being 60 STOREYS. No new infrastructure of course.
    Interestingly not much reporting on this other than –

  9. Wino ShinyfaceMEMBER

    “Multiculturalism, the form of top-down cultural refashioning to serve quantitative needs, is, in the last analysis, a form of military engineering.”

    WTF is this crap

    • As a tech VP explained to me, there are insufficient economic units (read consumers) so that needs to be adjusted. It says it all from those who are engineering this non democratic shift.

  10. Ronin8317MEMBER

    I would disagree with the assertion that China is less ‘internally coherent’ than India and Indonesia. In fact, China is far more ‘internally coherent’, so unrest in one place will quickly lead to unrest everywhere else. The same social problem tends to be replicated everywhere.

    If ‘liberalization’ will lead to less social unrest, the Chinese government would have done so already. The intrinsic problem facing China is the massive inequality, and removing control only makes it worse. The ‘hukou’ system is a lot of thing, however it is also essential to stop those in the rich from buying up all the land from the poor. This cycle of the rich getting richer and the poor becoming landless is repeated through every Chinese dynasty, and every new dynasty wins over the population with ‘land reform’. Liberalization at this stage will only hasten the cycle, so something has to be done to reduce the inequality first.

    The problem confronting Australia right now is the waning power of the USA, and the potential rise of China into ‘superpower’. A world where China is the uni-polar superpower in the world would be bad for everyone who is not Chinese (and only marginally better for those who are Chinese).

    • St JacquesMEMBER

      Great comment. Exactly. The Chinese also have a culture of protest, so once these things move, they move fast. Then of course you’ve got the growing contradiction between the official CCP ideology and the reality of inequality. This is a huge problem and anything that aggravates it is dynamite.

  11. I might almost maybe possibly consider a larger population a military benefit if they were up north (Townsville, Cairns, Darwin etc) and were all gun crazy and armed like Texans.

    Without that though, there is no benefit. A bigger population needs more supplies more frequently, a problem in a siege or blockade. Straight up numbers mean little- The US army is tiny compared to its population. And infrastructure to support a big population is infrastructure that can be turned to the task of supporting a big conquering army. A big conquering army is necessary where trying to take a big continent, regardless of the continents’ size.