Ballsy Ross Gittins slams awful Domain immigration spruik

Via Domain today, the former “independent always” turned immigration-dependent real estate listings firm:

Chief executives of some of Australia’s biggest companies have thrown their support behind the nation’s immigration program, saying it is crucial for bringing in the skilled workers they need and underpins economic growth.

With the federal government expected to cut the immigration intake in next month’s budget, the Sydney Morning Herald and Age questioned almost 50 business leaders during the recent corporate earnings season about the economic role of immigration.

More than half – including the leaders of Telstra, Woodside, Qantas, Suncorp, GPT and Australia Post – highlighted the importance of accessing skilled migrant workers, ranging from software engineers, to scientists, to welders.

This entire debate boils down to one simple issue. Sure, we can import skills cheaply from third world countries, or we can train local kids instead. CEOs love the former because they need neither to waste money on investment in training, nor raise wages to compete to acquire labour. That fattens their own bonuses and pay packets. Of course it also means no wages growth for anybody else. The kicker for the CEOs comes as more people grows demand anyway.

For CEOs it is perfect but for existing residents it is a recipe for ever declining living standards. That’s all there is to it.

But don’t take my work for it. A brave Ross Gittins, also of Domain, has stepped from a time machine to make the case against his own’s firm and its CEO mates today. Here’s what Gittins wrote in early 2018:

There are at least four counts against the advocates of high immigration. First, their refusal to engage with the academic environmentalists arguing that we’ve exceeded the “carrying capacity” of our old and fragile land. Scientists? What would they know?

Second, they keep asserting high immigration’s great economic benefits, blithely ignoring the lack of evidence. Whenever the Productivity Commission has examined the issue carefully it’s found only small net effects, one way or the other. Its latest modelling found only a “negligible” overall impact.

Third, the advocates not only decline to admit the high social and economic costs that go with high rates of immigration, they decline to accept their share of the tab, doing all they can to shift it to the young, the poor and those on the geographic outer, including many of the migrants.

…The more we invest in such “capital widening” to stop the ratio of capital to labour declining, the less scope for investment in “capital deepening” to keep the ratio increasing, and so improving the productivity of our labour.

And before that:

For a rigorous economic analysis it’s not good enough to simply assume that bigger is better. Why exactly is it better? The conventional answer is that bigger is better if it brings us a higher material standard of living – if it makes us more prosperous. But for this to happen – not necessarily for each individual, but on average, and for the community as a whole – the economy must grow faster than the population grows ie there must be an increase in real GDP per person.But there’s a third layer: even if increased population does lead to higher GDP per person, who shares in that increase? Conventional economics is about self-interest, so for immigration to be justified economically it has to be shown that the pre-existing population benefits from the decision to increase the population. If instead all the benefit went to the immigrants, then the immigration program would be merely an act of charity…

And before that:

The original bipartisanship was a kind of conspiracy. The nation’s business, economic and political elite has always believed in economic growth and, with it, population growth, meaning it has always believed in high immigration…

The most recent study by the Productivity Commission found an increase in skilled migration led to only a minor increase in income per person, far less than could be gained from measures to increase the productivity of the workforce.

What’s more, it found the gains actually went to the immigrants, leaving the original inhabitants a fraction worse off…

And before that:

The economic rationale for economic growth is that it raises our material standard of living. But this happens only if GDP grows faster than the population grows. So it doesn’t follow that slower GDP growth caused by slower population growth leaves us worse off materially.

That would be true only if slower population growth caused slower growth in GDP per person. I suspect many people unconsciously assume it does, but where’s the evidence?…

…But what’s strangest about the economic elite’s unthinking commitment to high immigration is the way they wring their hands over our weak productivity growth and all the “reform” we should be making to fix it, without it crossing their minds that the prime suspect is rapid population growth.

It’s simple: when you increase the population while leaving our stock of household, business and public capital unchanged, you “dilute” that capital. You have less capital per person, meaning you’ve automatically reduced the productivity of labour.

So you have to do a lot more investing in housing, business structures and equipment and all manner of public infrastructure – a lot more “capital widening” – just to stop labour productivity falling…

Lower immigration would help reduce a lot of our economic problems – not to mention our environmental problems (but who cares about them?).

And before that:

And before that:

The mass immigration economic model has destroyed Australian wages growth. Good on a ballsy Ross Gittins for taking on his own firm and its CEO mates and their endless class war.


    • That’s what happens when you take your testosterone pills instead of your daily multi-vitamins… Should’ve gone to SpecSavers.

    • I disagree – Sydney will eventually sprawl from Newcastle to Wollongong, overlaid with a mesh of extortionate toll roads – like a nightmarish version of LA

      • If I were still in Newcastle, I’d be advocating that the local government build a large wall…

      • Along the main road and rail links, it’s already pretty close, except for the national parks.

    • Sunshine Coast.. one of the most expensive markets relative to income in the world.. More than NY and LDN 🙁

      • And like most coastal tourist spots, blighted by crime, high unemployment and a high density of poor quality tattoos.

    • matthew hoodMEMBER

      You are right about Sydney. Not to sure about the Sunshine Coast. Somewhere up the Mitta or Kiewa Valley would be the go.

  1. Even Aussie 12 years old’s in year 8 of school know that STEM skills are unnecessary and in many way present and impediment to their career advancement in Australia.
    That’s the first problem we must overcome if we want to see a different outcome wrt developing a Technically Skilled all Aussie workforce.
    Look no further than the NSW HSC subject choices to see where our kids minds are at what’s imporatnt to them and what’s not.
    In my day most kids graduated year 12 with at least 2 unit math skills (Algebra, some Calculus and a little Geometry) yet today the most popular Math class is General Math (which is basically year7-9 math with a few Financial math concepts added)…these are not the foundations for a technical career in any area of the sciences, or Engineering or or or.
    So the Educational rot has well and truly set in by year 8….and you think employers want to fund remedial adult math education so that their employees can become useful technocrats, yet you wonder why it’s not happening …hint look at the choices that these 12 year old’s are making because at least they understand what’s important for them to succeed in Australia.

    • A friends very capable son recently graduated with Engineering degrees in two different disciplines. Quite an achievement.

      He applied for a job with a software company, and went through a long and involved recruitment process which included him, another Caucasian bloke and 10 Indians.

      The Indians took credit for his work in group activities, blatantly cheated in others…using mobile phones to communicate with outsiders etc, and demonstrated a lack of basic competence despite some of them having advanced degrees. The sort of people who get doubles to sit their exams in Indian universities.

      After all that he was eventually offered a position, but is probably going to decline it because the pay is slave labour rates and there are a variety of dodgy conditions in the employment contract.

      Such a shitty story coming from a very intelligent and hard working and likeable young bloke.

      • Frankly when discussing business opportunities in Australia it is helpful to not let anyone know that you even studied Engineering (let alone have advanced Degrees in the subject). I’m not sure if they (other Aussie Businessmen / politicians) feel intimidated or what it is, but I can assure you that they’re uncomfortable investing along side someone that they suspect has a better understanding of the fundamentals than they do.
        Frankly I’ve seen some of the dumbest of dumb-assed business proposals put to me in Australia yet if I rip into them on a technical level they’ll never talk to me again. If I want investor capital and political capital on my side than I know that I have to tame my natural inclination to seek and present technically correct solutions. I won’t name names, but one prominent Aussie politician even suggested that we build and patent what amounted to a perpetual motion machine, I declined claiming I needed to spend more time with my family.

      • @fisho
        There’s a much-fabled perpetual motion machine in the world of economics. It works like this:
        Govt borrows a heinous amount of money and sets to work spending it on various white elephants, thereby ‘creating’ many jobs. The people who get these jobs, buy a home, spend a motsa in the shops, thereby creating even more jobs — and that cycle continues in perpetuity. Voila! A perpetual motion machine.

      • @Dominic
        Yeah that’s probably where he got the idea however unsatisfied as he was with Perpetual motion he actually though he could go one better and extract energy one the system was set in motion…he was without doubt a bloody genius in his own eyes. The most unbelievable thing was that he didn’t immediately get the message, he bugged me for the next year about both helping him and not disclosing his invention (I went to great lengths to assure him that I had absolutely no intention of disclosing this invention nor of making any claims relating to said invention and would even deny all association and all knowledge of said invention unless forced by a court of law) In the end that satisfied him
        …and these are our Leaders….. FarkMeSideways

  2. “More than half – including the leaders of Telstra, Woodside, Qantas, Suncorp, GPT and Australia Post – highlighted the importance of accessing skilled migrant workers, ranging from software engineers, to scientists, to welders Uber drivers to Woolies shelf stackers to supermarket trolley collectors to parcel delivery drivers to service station attendants to hairdressers.”

    I had my hair cut in the blokes barber shop at the local mall recently. It was entirely staffed by foreign looking men who spoke to each other in a foreign language. English wasn’t their native language, so I presume we had to import those skilled workers.


    • On the plus side, you got to learn how to say: “Short back and sides, please!” in Swahili.

      What’s not to love — can you feel the vibrancy yet?

    • Go to Franco of Canberra – they are in the city, Sydney Building East, Row. Been with them for over 40 years. get a hair cut by a Chilean migrant or somebody born locally. Franco himself is a migrant but is now too old to work full time. His sons work there much of the time so you can get a haircut from one of them (their mother is local). Nice place.

    • LSW

      I don’t know you and don’t want to offend you, but……..

      Why did you not vote with your feet and just walk out or walk to the Aussie barber ?

      Was the price that much cheaper ?

      You support the foreign product then bitch about your experience on here.

      • What Aussie barber? What are you on about? The only other hairdresser in the place is a woman’s salon and I wanted a short back n sides, not a perm. and a cup of coffee.

    • Strange Economics of silenceMEMBER

      Yes, this article news is actually the silence- Gittins writes well on many subjects, but massive silence on immigration now. No doubt was asked to find another topic by the Domain bosses…

  3. Disgraceful spruik but what is most concerning is that these freaks are so out of touch that they think such a spruik will shift the dial. The ‘business’ leaders in this country are just pathetic. Parasitic rent seekers who produce nothing of real value.

    I’d like to see them all off to prison for their crimes against Australia. Just like George Pell.

  4. As the responsible minister, Frydenturd is going to have to seriously commence with the beatings inside the Productivity Commission. Over time they definitely haven’t played the game. Can’t be too hard, they’ve already corrupted the RBA, APRA, ABS et al.

  5. “More than half – including the leaders of Telstra, Woodside, Qantas, Suncorp, GPT and Australia Post – highlighted the importance of accessing skilled migrant workers”

    Australia Post. Australia-fecking-Post! Shame on them and their imported van drivers and scooter riders.

    “Skilled” migration my foot.

    Don’t get me started on Qantas and their foreign flight crew and cabin crew. And maintenance. Barking disgrace.

    • Aussie Post delivery people almost always leave cards saying that they tried to deliver a parcel, but nobody was home so come and collect it.

      I’ve been at home and heard my gate open and close. When I go to the door, there’s nobody there, and one of the cards is under the doormat. It means the delivery guys can get through their rounds and knock off quickly without the hassle of actually delivering anything to customers.

      And when you see these guys doing their rounds they’re all foreign skilled labour.

      • Mining BoganMEMBER

        Don’t delivery drivers get paid per delivery?

        Be cutting their own throats standing around talking to shut-ins.

      • @MB You are correct. But the way they work means that these guys are effectively being paid to load up their trucks and drive all over the burbs delivering cards that say “Come to the post office to collect your parcel after 4pm”, and then drop all the stuff off at the post office for subsequent collection.

        It’d be a lot more efficient to sack ’em all, send them home to India and just send out SMS messages saying “Come and collect your stuff at the post office”. Would help the environment by avoiding cutting down trees to print the cards too.

        Jeez the savings on subcontractor costs would be huge. I think I’m onto something here.

      • @LSWCHP – I actually think you nailed it. I get quite a few parcels delivered and inevitably one of the drivers just leaves a card or one of the parcels requires a signature and I end up going to the post office on the weekend. Since I am going there for one of the parcels I may as well go there for all of them.
        I wonder how much postage costs would come down if they got rid of the local delivery guys.

    • haroldusMEMBER

      In another forum popcod used a very rude word to describe these gentlemen.

      I was shocked.

    • Peachy and LSWCHP

      Do you not support these Aussie companies ?? or did you miss out on buying Qantas shares at $ 0.95 cents hahahah !

      Do you prefer and or support Optus, Singapore Airlines, FedEx, Ikea etc. who pay very little to no tax and send their profits offshore ??

      You need to get out more and see the world.

      The Australian guy working at the front desk of a 4 Star Madrid hotel surprised me as did the young Aussie female flight attendant on my Iberia flight.

      Agree that A/Post is stuffed but that happened under the watch of the overpaid ex NAB banker and CEO, Ahmed Fahour. The contractors got shafted as did the rest of A/Post workers and licensees whilst the CEO was paid millions. From memory Pauline Hansen caused a stir in parliament about the CEO remuneration.

      Australia Post has no real competition and will continue at snail pace. K Packer wanted to set up his own mail delivery service but changed his tune when the financials were presented.

      No money in post and they can thank Amazon and online shopping for showing any real profit in the past decade.

      Soon there will be no post delivery to your door but there will be a large locked box at the end of your street where all your mail will be delivered.

  6. State governments addicted to stamp duty. Politicians addicted to donations from property developers and terrified of upsetting land-bankers and the CFMEU.

  7. I must say I never seen a SMH Domain article with so many comments that are exposing the bull$hit these CEO’s are peddling.

    • Mining BoganMEMBER

      Yes, it’s grand. But rest in comfort knowing Macrobusiness was racialist long before anyone else.

  8. That’s old news about Gittens (2 months ago). Why run this now? Reconciliation with him is not required!

  9. Where exactly is this skilled migrant labour?
    Only a small number of the 1.9 million PR and a tiny fraction of the 2.5 million TR – less than 0.5% or 18,000 are genuinely highly skilled in a profession/income.

    Big picture & then by each visa category.

    1st March 2019.
    🔹1.9 million PR & Citizen grants in the last decade. 78% or 1.5 million of this intake were third world, unskilled, highly dependent. That has lowered wages, corrupted housing, not assimilating, overloading our health & welfare services. 87% or 1.6 million are highly concentrated in Sydney & Melbourne. We are stuck with these PR & citizen grants and their offspring as our inter-generational burden for decades.

    Then add onto this:
    🔹2.561 million non resident migrant guestworkers in Australia with a 5.7% growth rate in the last year.

    In March 2018 we had 2.431 million Migrant Guestworkers onshore.
    Fact check.

    The March 2018-March 2019 Yearly growth was 5.7% across all visa categories based on the DHA quarterly updates. That was another 130,000 extra TR migrant guestworkers on top of the 190,000 PR intake in the last year.

    🔹 The March 1st 2019 estimate is : 2,561 million non resident TR Migrant Guestworkers.

    TR non resident migrant guestworkers concentration.
    🔻Sydney 1.31 million or 1 in 4 people a non resident migrant guestworker.
    🔻Melbourne 1.05 million, or 1 in 5 people a non resident migrant guestworker.
    🔻And 250,000 elsewhere, mostly other state capitals.

    Australian Wages impact.
    1.4 million are on a visa pretext / working illegally. The detail posted here before.

    The vast majority of the non resident TR migrant guestworkers are of third world origin, adult & unskilled. (DHA tables of origin & visa category at bottom of the Vsure link)

    They have very high rates of work participation – but many work illegally as well legally due to their visa categories & conditions if entry or COE.

    The vast majority on extensive evidence, plus their DHA listed country of origin & visa category show they are poor to very poor, often in debt to a foreign agent procurer, and burdened in sending back remittances to their families in their country of origin. (World Bank & Western Union / explosion in Australian personal xfer / foreign remittances from $4b to $18b)

    Many have fake ID, multiple jobs, work in the cash economy, or ABN / labor rings with no tax paid.

    🔹TR migrant guestworker income.
    The Treasury estimate is migrant TR yearly earnings of $43.7 each or $24 hour. And that’s generous.

    There is much media evidence & exposure that it is closer to $15 or $10 an hour – offset by extreme hours & multiple jobs.

    Australia has 1.3 million unemployed & 1.1 million seeking work. Many are young with education & skills.
    2.4 million Australians seeking work opportunity.
    — Versus—-
    2.5 million unskilled non resident migrant guestworkers onshore.

    Skills by non resident visa category

    ▪️672,000 Foreign students & partners across a range of visa sub groups. The total declared funds of all TR yearly is $4.2 billion (DHA). The foreign students (non self declared) are $2.8 billion of this. However this is extensively frauded.
    The 672,000 foreign students & partners do form a $29 billion onshore sub economy of economic activity (@$43.7 each average income) but almost all that money was EARNED HERE onshore & 75% illegally fake ID or cash in hand.
    So our foreign student industry is NOT AN EXPORT INDUSTRY at all.
    The attending primary visa students only pay $8.2 billion in fees (Deloitte Access Economics) which is less than 505,000 jobs they steal costing some $9.2 billion in Centrelink. They have destroyed Australian education as it prostituted itself as a migrant guestworkers visa alibi.
    Even on the most basic measure, our largest visa group – the 672,000 foreign student industry are immediately negative and a major impact to all Australians.

    Foreign student skills.
    The progression of foreign students into a high income professional vocation in Australia or their home country is 3.7%.
    (Migrant Pathways A Decade On 2015.
    Productivity Commission 2016 / foreign students are not a suitable intake for PR)

    So 96% or 645,000 of the foreign students here will only further lower Australian IQ, wages & productivity.
    ➡️ Not a skill base.

    ▪️NZ SCV 669,000.
    38% or 260,000 are non NZ born Chinese Indians etc coming in via the NZ back door- our fastest growing third world unskilled category. NZ born are going back. The net result is the NZ SCV in Australia are shifting to lower skill base & wages than Australians. Another 290,000 third world unskilled are stacked up on NZ waiting for the passport stamp. The NZ SCV should be restricted to NZ born only.
    ➡️Not a skill base.

    ▪️Bridging & Protection 195,000. Full work rights. The absolute detritus.
    ➡️Not a skill base.

    ▪️Skilled / sponsor visas. 152,000 but only 76,000 as the primary, the rest are partners or dependents. Only 18,000 earn above an Australian average wage. Very few have a unique skill that isn’t available in the Australian labor market.
    ➡️Not a skill base.

    ▪️Backpackers. 148,000. Swamped with unskilled third world misfits & eurotrash working illegally & paying farmer / labor ring bribes on false or pretext ‘regional work’ to extend their stay. Direct importation of more Australian unemployment.
    ➡️Not a skill base.

    And so on in all the other visa categories.

    Low wages, low grade skills, poor English & assimilation, low productivity, very high rates of illegal work & no tax or social contribution.

    Where are these so called highly skilled migrants?