ANU Poll: 70% oppose a bigger Australia


By Leith van Onselen

A new year and another major opinion poll shows the majority of Australians oppose mass immigration and a bigger Australia. That’s right, according to a new survey from the Australian National University (ANU), just three out of 10 Australians believe the nation needs more people. From The SMH:

Almost nine out of 10 surveyed agreed that the high cost of housing was a reason to limit Australia’s population growth. Eighty-five per cent also believed the nation’s cities were over-crowded and there was too much traffic.

Another concern among those surveyed was around labour shortages.

About 90 per cent of those quizzed agreed that Australia should “train our own skilled people, not take them from other countries”…

Lead researcher Nicholas Biddle said…”they do not want population growth to cause crowding, affordability or job security issues nor at the expense of our natural environment”…

According to Professor Biddle, Australians had a series of serious concerns about a growing population.

Remember, most opinion polls last year also showed the majority of Australians want immigration to be lowered, including:

  • Australian Population Research Institute: 54% want lower immigration;
  • Newspoll: 56% want lower immigration;
  • Essential: 54% believe Australia’s population is growing too fast and 64% believe immigration is too high;
  • Lowy: 54% of people think the total number of migrants coming to Australia each year is too high;
  • Newspoll: 74% of voters support the Turnbull government’s cut of more than 10% to the annual permanent migrant intake to 163,000 last financial year; and
  • CIS: 65% in the highest income decile and 77% in the lowest believe that immigration should be cut or paused until critical infrastructure has caught up.

The voter backlash is real and justified. The three major parties need to listen to their constituents and lower Australia’s immigration intake back to historical levels:

Otherwise, Australia is headed toward a projected population of 43 million by 2066:


With Sydney’s and Melbourne’s population ballooning to around 10 million people by 2066:


It took Australia more than 200 years to reach 17.5 million people serviced by adequate infrastructure and a functional political economy. Now we are planning to increase the population by the same number in less than 50 years and expect that living standards will keep pace, as well as the political system not break.

This is true national lunacy and must be stopped.

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About the author
Leith van Onselen is Chief Economist at the MB Fund and MB Super. He is also a co-founder of MacroBusiness. Leith has previously worked at the Australian Treasury, Victorian Treasury and Goldman Sachs.