Coalition, Treasury collude to reopen immigration floodgates

The Weekend AFR gave its strongest indication yet that the Morrison Government will use Treasury’s upcoming Intergenerational Report (IGR) as ammunition to reopen the mass immigration floodgates:

  • This month’s Intergenerational Report will be “used to reinforce the government’s case to boost immigration once the pandemic ends”.
  • “It will show the country is getting older, more indebted and reliant on taxing younger workers, and driving up spending”.
  • Deloitte Access economist Chris Richardson claims the IGR will show “that demographic and technological trends are making the future more expensive… Australia is ageing, and the older you are the more costly society’s subsidies of your healthcare become… The pandemic pause has made Australia smaller and older in population terms than had been expected pre-pandemic”.

So once again, the Australian Treasury and the federal government will use the tired canard of population ageing as ammunition to reinstate the failed mass immigration policy of the prior 15 years.

Yet anybody with a shred of common sense can work out that running a high immigration program can never ‘solve’ population ageing for the simple reason that migrants also grow old.

At best, immigration can only delay population ageing, while also adding a host of other economic and environmental costs from having a substantially larger population, including lower wages for workers, crush-loaded infrastructure, increased traffic congestion, forcing people to live in apartments rather than houses, and environmental degradation.

Post-war migration boom helped cause current ageing ‘problem’

A key driver of Australia’s current ‘baby boomer bulge’ and ageing population is the mass immigration program ran in the post-war period (i.e. 1950s and 1960s):

Immigration as a % of population growth

The mass immigration program of the 1950s and 1960s is a key driver of Australia’s current ageing ‘problem’.

These migrants (which include my parents) are now old. Thus, they have added to Australia’s current ageing ‘problem’.

It stands to reason, then, that importing migrants to solve the ageing issue is ‘can-kick economics’, since today’s migrants will inevitably grow old, thereby creating ageing problems in 40 year’s time. Some will also bring in older family members, thus exacerbating population ageing now.

Immigration has minimal long-term impact on ageing

The ABS’ own demographic projections show that immigration is next to useless in ‘younging’ Australia’s population.

If we apply a more realistic definition for the working aged population of 19 to 70 (given more kids are staying in school and older Australians are working longer), then running annual net overseas migration (NOM) of 200,000 to 280,000 delivers only 3% more working-aged Australians by 2101 than zero NOM:

Australian dependency ratio

Mass immigration has minimal long-term impact on population ageing.

This tiny ‘benefit’ will only be transitory and comes at the expense of adding 150% to 200% more people to Australia’s population versus zero NOM:

Big Australia immigration

Towards a Big Australia

Such a massive increase in population will obviously take a massive toll on Australia’s natural environment and general liveability.

It, therefore, makes far more sense to better utilise Australia’s existing workforce than importing swathes of migrants to ‘solve’ the ageing issue.

The costs of mass immigration are always ignored

The 17.5 million extra people that were projected by the ABS to arrive in Australia over the 48 years to 2066 were driven entirely by NOM – directly as they arrive by plane and indirectly as migrants have children:

Big Australia

A Big Australia or a Stable Australia?

These additional 17.5 million people would require huge sums of public spending on economic and social infrastructure, such as schools, hospitals, roads, public transport, aged care, etc.

These costs dwarf those from population ageing and can be avoided altogether by not running a mass immigration program in the first place.

It’s time to get real on immigration:

The prior 15 years of mass immigration was a diabolical public policy failure as empirically evidenced by:

  • Falling productivity growth;
  • Falling real wage growth;
  • Stagnant real per capita household disposable income;
  • Stagnating growth in real GDP per capita;
  • Rising congestion, smaller and more expensive housing and reduced liveability across Sydney and Melbourne due to extreme population growth; and
  • Soaring infrastructure costs due to diseconomies of scale plus waste as governments desperately tried to keep pace with unforeseen extreme growth.

Of course, the IGR won’t take proper account of the costs of mass immigration – either financial or non-financial – since these are borne primarily by the states and residents at large. It will myopically focus on federal budget finances only.

In reality, the whole immigration program is about numbers –  the ‘Treasury numbers’ needed to sustain Australia’s rate of headline economic growth and the Commonwealth’s projected tax revenues.

I bet if the federal government was required to internalise the cost of immigration by paying the states $100,000 per permanent migrant that settles in their jurisdiction, so that they can fund the extra infrastructure and services required, then Treasury would no longer tout the ‘fiscal benefits’ of immigration.

Making the federal government share the benefits and costs of immigration would be a surefire way of reducing the intake back to sensible and sustainable levels.

Unconventional Economist


  1. The solution would be to have kids and lots of them. Could I suggest being a bit constructive on that point? Minimum three. Heck the Chinese are doing – and trust me, they will make it work.

    Point being, in 30 years, we will have a neighbour with 350m, one of the largest economies (number from 6 to 8) iglobally, a military that will dwarf ours, and most likely, be allied to China in some way!

    • MathiasMEMBER

      8 maintenance payments, half your house gone and an emotionally manipulate wife who gets bored after 8 years… no thanks.

      As a mate of mine once said, ” Dont believe you have something, when you really dont have it “.

      Being alone and single might suck but at least its real and trutheful. Its not fake and based on borrowed time.

        • MathiasMEMBER

          Why? Because I disagree with you?

          There are plenty of people I know who should be in Jail. You dont hear me complaining?

    • Ronin8317MEMBER

      The limiting factor for most families to having kids is financial. That’s why the Chinese the child policy won’t make a difference : the cost to raise a child is simply too expensive. The same applies in Australia.

      • Also exacerbated by subsidies (transfers) from one part of the economy another. Flyer arrived in the mail the other day for childcare at $130/day. Just about fell out of my chair. How does one afford that? May as well stay home, the kids would be better of for it.

      • Im glad I didnt consider finance when I was having children…I now wouldnt have 3 beautiful teenage I was not wealthy..but you make it work..that what life is..

  2. Lord DudleyMEMBER

    Big Australia FTW! It’s going to happen, so just accept it and make sure you profit from it. No-one wants to limit immigration aside from landless PAYE loosers, and nobody cares what they think.

    Australia’s salt-of-the-earth tradies want big Australia; it means more construction, and therefore more money because they’re all small businessmen and entrepreneurs. Other small business owners want a big Australia; it means more customers and more money changing hands. Everyone who owns a house wants a big Australia, it means increased capital gains. The universities want a big Australia, it means more paying customers and lots of vibrancy. All the big corps want a big Australia; it means a larger market, efficiencies of scale, and properly priced low skill workers (low skilled workers should be paid low wages, otherwise nobody would bother with bettering themselves).

    Everyone knows that young Australians (at least the landless PAYE type) are lazy and self-entitled, and won’t do actual work like immigrants will. Because young Australians are lazy, they have all kinds of silly commie ideas because they like taking wealth they didn’t create, and tend to vote Labor. We need honest immigrants who know what work is to counteract that trend. If it weren’t for immigrants, a pub meal would cost $60 and people would stay home, leading to mass business failures and closures. That would lead to a property crash, destroying Australian mum-and-dad’s hard-earned equity. Being against big Australia is basically the same a wanting to steal half of everybody’s equity.

    When the Scotty Government wins in October, they’d better crank NOM to well over 300k per year in order to make up for lost time. The recalcitrants who refuse to take their medicine, thus threatening Australia’s economy and future are really a kind of terrorist and should be put in camps.

    • Not sure if you’re trolling but I’d have to say that if most of the public were against mass immigration pre Covid they are even more so post Covid. In the average punters mind they see wages rising, unemployment falling, economy booming all without diseased foreigners.

      • Fishing72MEMBER

        Yeah, I’m not sure exactly which mythical populace Lord Dudley is referring to, but myself and most of my friends are land owning tradesmen, small businesses owners and PAYE workers and are unanimously opposed to a continuation of the Big Australia mass immigration Ponzi scheme. Several of my friends are probably far wealthier than Lord Dudley and they are particularly despondent that their wealth fails to insulate them from them negatives arising from the exponential population growth model. It seems that even owning dozens of properties doesn’t alleviate the crush loading of the neighbourhood you’ve lived in for generations and are extremely reluctant to leave.

        Unless Lord Dudley is being sarcastic….

        • Lord DudleyMEMBER

          Youse guys are gonna be shocked in a year’s time if you think Australian immigration is going to be kept low. As soon as they can get you all vaccinated (and those who refuse will find their lives made increasingly difficult), they’ll be making up for lost time.

          Given Australia’s insane land cost basis, and strong reliance on mining and agriculture (where most of the profits don’t make it to the average Australian), your economy cannot support higher wages without the money coming out of employers’ profits. And the people who run Australia don’t want that at all. So it’s not going to happen.

          250,000 NOM +, think of all the house price rises and construction (which supports employment levels). It’s locked in.

          • Brexit drives up wages by ending free movement ( – Staff are enjoying significantly higher salaries as Brexit, the pandemic and the furlough scheme cut competition for jobs – in an early sign that leaving the EU is benefitting lower-skilled workers in the UK… It follows widespread reports that bosses in retail and hospitality, in particular, have been struggling to fill jobs as they reopen following coronavirus lockdowns, with some forced to cut opening hours because they cannot find the staff… The pay rise data contradicts claims by many mainstream economists before Brexit that migrant labour was not holding down pay.

          • Oh I agree. All this nonsense about Australians not earning enough. Basically a daily MB theme at this point.
            Has anybody stopped to consider why people move from South America to mop a floor in Australia?

          • You could make the same argument about any developed nation. Developing country workers will always move to developed nations for higher wages. So what’s your point?

            Are you suggesting that Aussies should be paid developing country pay rates?

    • MathiasMEMBER

      Kevin Rudd wanted 50 mill.
      Harry Triguboff wanted 100 mill.

      Both of them are insane.

  3. MathiasMEMBER

    Higher house prices crushing the young generation again… while Boomers get to live like kings.

    • Fishing72MEMBER

      Daddy wasn’t there
      To take me to the fair
      Daddy wasn’t there

      -Austin Powers

      • MathiasMEMBER

        Funny show. Doesnt change anything Im saying though. Crushing a domestic economy doesnt make you right.

        Sounds like your just a greedy b*stard and you dont want to accept it because it means taking a sacrifice you dont want to take.

        Dont you have a Baby Boomer Poetry Session to attend or something? Dont you want all of us young to worship your feet in the event you die soon? ( Terrible shame )

        • Poetry session did I hear you say – stick this up your jealous butt crack you foot stamping, whining cry baby.

          Six white boomers, snow white boomers,
          Racing Santa Claus through the blazing sun.
          Six white boomers, snow white boomers,
          On his Australian run.

          I reckon you and Rolf would get on like a house on fire.

          • C'est de la folieMEMBER

            ever notice how the sensitive booming non member is sometimes quick to throw sexual deviancy assertions into the mix?

  4. SupperannuationMEMBER

    Unfortunately the ALP is in lockstep with the coalition. They will repeat the same drivel.

  5. With Labor also dead wrong on the China issue, lap up the generous $1.65 to $1 odds on the Coalition for the next election. Then, when Labor gets another thrashing, they’ll do another “post mortem” that ignores China and Mass Migration.

    • MathiasMEMBER

      Your right. One of the things I found interesting in that Hunter Election was how many people are abandoning the major partys and heading towards the minors.

      Unfortunately, people dont realise how ‘Preference Voting’ works so when you vote for someone like One Nation ( to use but one example ), if they dont end up getting elected then the vote goes to Liberals. Your practically voting for Liberals.

      Australias Democratic System is practically rigged to keep the two majors in power. Australias Democracy itself is corrupt.

      Liberal and Labor also use Migration to sway election results. How’s that for a fair democracy?

      • Unfortunately, people dont realise how ‘Preference Voting’ works so when you vote for someone like One Nation ( to use but one example ), if they dont end up getting elected then the vote goes to Liberals. Your practically voting for Liberals.

        Rubbish. You are the one who doesn’t understand preference voting.

        I vote for One Nation and put the big dumb tribal parties last according to my preference. Let’s say the biggest most popular parties are called Libarseholes, Labarseholes and GreenUselessAsTitsOnBulls.
        I might vote

        1 – One Nation
        2 – GreenUselessAsTitsOnBulls
        3 – Labarseholes
        4 – Libarseholes

        I would vote this way if I thought Labarseholes would be better than Libarseholes at governing.
        My primary vote (The number 1 vote) is for One Nation.
        Now if One Nation gets 51% of the primary votes, the One Nation candidate is the winner. That is how it should be.

        The only problem arises if too many stupid voters give their primary vote to say Labarseholes and Libarseholes.
        Let’s assume the studid voters in fact give their primary votes as follows:

        15% – One Nation
        0% – GreenUselessAsTitsOnBulls
        40% – Labarseholes
        45% – Libarseholes

        Under the inferior “first past the pole” system, which we do not have in Australia, the Libarseholes would win because 45% is higher than 40%.
        In this scenario a One Nation vote still sends a powerful message to the big parties that 15% of the people are not happy with them, but a vote for One Nation is wasted IN TERMS OF PREFERENCE between Labarseholes and Libarseholes.

        Under this scenario, a person such as myself who thinks One Nation is best but Labarseholes is better than Libarseholes has a difficult choice to make.

        If the voter thinks One Nation will get a small vote (eg 15%), then the voter might instead choose to vote Labarseholes number 1, to avoid wasting their vote and seeing Libarseholes win 45%/40% as in the example.

        However the Australian preference system fixes this problem. In Australia a voter can give their primary vote to the party they think are best WITHOUT wasting their vote and not being able to vote a preference between the remaining parties.

        Getting back to our example where the primary votes were:

        15% – One Nation
        0% – GreenUselessAsTitsOnBulls
        40% – Labarseholes
        45% – Libarseholes

        In this example for the GreenUselessAsTitsOnBulls candidate is ruled out, and their votes (0%) distributed to others.
        Then the One Nation candidate is ruled out, and their votes (15%) distributed to others.

        For the sake of argument assume that these One Nation voters all prefer Labarseholes and have numbered every box and voted Labarseholes before Libarseholes. In this case the preferences are distributed and the result would be

        55% – Labarseholes
        45% – Libarseholes

        And the Labarseholes candidate would be the winner.

        This is how it should be under a democracy.

        The preferential voting system is best because it allows each voter to number the candidates truly in the order of best to worst, regardless of how other people vote.

        By contrast the “first past the pole” voting system does not allow a voter to vote to his true preference. The voter must consider how other people will vote. If he judges that too few other voters will vote for the best party, then he also may choose to vote for lesser parties to avoid his vote being wasted.
        “First past the pole” voting is a self-fulfilling promise of wasted votes.

        • Correct. But you may well be talking to the dlck, cause the head isn’t listening. Nor comprehending.
          Anyhow, it seems there is a general misunderstanding of the AEC instructions regarding the green ballot paper (i.e,.
          “fill in all the boxes to make sure your vote counts”). You DON’T have to fill in all the boxes to cast a valid vote.
          It simply means that if you didn’t fill the any number next to the LibLaba*holes (or whoever the top 1 or 2 happen to be after the primary vote count), your preferential vote would go nowhere. Which is what, seemingly, many of the MB readers would prefer, anyway. Long story short: green ballot paper – only fill in the boxes if you fancy the candidate .

          • drsmithyMEMBER

            The Commonwealth Electoral Act says that all boxes must be numbered. The AEC says you can get away with not numbering the last one in sequence (and it will be assumed).

            Otherwise it’s an informal vote.

          • Indeed, DrSmithy, just checked and the wording has changed, thus ruling out the optional preferential vote.
            It may still acceptable in State elections (depending on the state).

          • To achieve this effect you used to be able to number all the remaining candidates with the same number to exhaust your preferences. Not sure if this is still the case.

          • drsmithyMEMBER

            To achieve this effect you used to be able to number all the remaining candidates with the same number to exhaust your preferences. Not sure if this is still the case.

            I can’t see how that would be true based on what’s in the current Act.

            I haven’t gone looking at amendments to see if/when it was changed.

    • Lord DudleyMEMBER

      Terrorist! Peter Dutton will have a place for you after the next Scotty Government landslide. They will take you to a place, and it’s not a very nice place, no indeed! You won’t be laughing on the other side of your face when there are bull-ants in your eyes, no sir!

      If you stand in the way of the Scotty Government rebooting big Australia, I think you’ll find your life will be made rather unpleasant by the powers that be.

  6. Even StevenMEMBER

    I have nothing to add to Leith’s excellent post other than that I’m in wholehearted agreement.

  7. SnappedUpSavvyMEMBER

    Great article well done and also massively depressing
    Where will the debt slaves come from? I want to know cos I gotta live with them, pay for them and share the roads, schools, hospitals, parks, everything. So who are these people we will be forced unasked to share what we have with

    • TailorTrashMEMBER

      With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,

      Your huddled masses yearning for something free,

      The wretched refuse of your mumbai shore.

      Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

      I lift my gavel beside the auction door!”

        • My skills and my wifes skills were deemed redundant on account of mass immigration. Both of us circa 50 years old. That means nearly 17 years of productivity each and a rubbish retirement for us. Part time McJobs which are not that easy to get at our age do not cut it. To us, this is what immigration is about, not some sort of nation building as it was in the 50s and 60s. The other underhanded issue with indiscriminate people dumping is the LNPs most important reason, house prices and rents for their individual fiefdoms. I will have zero shame or guilt attached to my wife and I when we are on the aged pension or even the dole if necessary.


    “They realise that if replacement rates of population decline to one or even two, there are not enough young people to support older people and a society starts to crumble. This doesn’t happen overnight but it does happen over a century.”

    And so, like every other problem they have created, they have decided to push the reckoning into the future, when they will be dead and it will be someone elses problem. The boomers will drive the bus off the cliff to avoid facing reality.

    The reality that they are not retiring rich. Their wealth rests on a population ponzi. They are the early entrants and the recipients of the benefits of a ponzi scheme.

    Our government and institutions corrupted, the ABC, Unis, economic academia, our elites. We live in a sea of liars and criminals trying to hide our bubble ponzi reality. This is not the stuff of a strong society. In fact listen to those who have witnessed failing states first hand and apply the lessons to our countries…they are getting uncomfortably close to the truth.

    What did you think the collapse would look like?

  9. alwaysanonMEMBER

    As to reopening, the US seems to be hitting an anti-vax wall and starting to get the Delta variant.

    “And there’s the matter of timing. If your strategy was “I’ll consider a shot if I see an uptick in cases,” that’s also a loser, since once a surge begins, you won’t be well protected against Delta for 4-6 weeks after shot #1. By that time, you may be very sick, or dead.”

  10. A Big Australia or a Stable Australia?
    Just to be clear, there’s absolutely nothing about the pathway that Australia finds itself on that can be called either Stable or Sustainable and it has almost nothing to do with the question of population.
    Stability for a modern economy has everything to do with the criticality of its skilled labour. It is through the invention and reinvention of our businesses that labour creates long term stability. Stability is a direct function of the Connectedness of our labour pool coupled with the complexity of the tasks that we Aussies are capable of really excelling at. In short our nations Stability is best measured with tools like the Economic Complexity Index.
    Any other definition of Stable, has us searching for something China like to follow on with once China is done with us.
    It’s just plain stupid to assume that Economic, Political or Social stability can be achieved by simply finding someone to take over from China. Something bigger than China (because we all value growth)
    Notice how the size of our Population plays absolutely no role in a Stability of our nation, if we assume that Economic Complexity is the driving force behind our Nation’s wealth.
    It is only when we start with the assumption that Aussie Labour is practically worthless (from a global perspective) that we come to the conclusion that Population plays a role in our nations Stability.

    • Great post.
      In my humble…
      I don’t think people understand the almost 100% likelihood that Australia will become a banana republic, and the fact we are arguably more than half there. Watch the impending deluge of arrival s throw any semblance of standards out the window along with the super Nintendo.

      • Yep, when we have so many here fixated on the number of people in Australia instead of the quality/skills of their fellow Australians really says all that we need to know about Australia’s fate.
        If we are nothing but a mine then it makes perfect sense to limit the population and limit the skills that this population has (gotta make sure that someone is available to work the mines) with that information we can all calculate our fair share of the mine revenue.
        So what happens if we are not just a mine? what happens if others elsewhere genuinely value our input, value our skills value our nations ability to complete complex tasks? well obviously we’d have trouble just being a mine other Aussies would say wtf why are we digging up everything of value and exporting it? They’d actually be earning that which they spend, their labour would be the primary source of their wealth, and their wealth would be limited only by their ability ….can’t have silliness like that happening …it’s unAustralian.

  11. Yep, the Federal Govt needs to share the costs of funding mass immigration, just like the Uni’s need to fund it too. I would love to run a business like the Uni’s do and get all the Revenue and hardly any of the costs.

    It’s a shame we have so many people in the media ignorant of the costs of mass immigration. Dominic Perrotet was on 2GB the other day and was able to put his case across for bringing back international students in 6 weeks time, without one tough question from the interviewer on all the reasons not to.

  12. Ailart SuaMEMBER

    I can guarantee, living standards for the majority will continue heading south until the current electoral system is replaced with a 21st century compliant leadership selection process – that’s completely donor-proof, genuinely democratic, non-divisive and stacked with iron-clad mechanisms of accountability. And it will only have a chance of happening, when the citizens are pulling in the same direction. They cannot remain victims of carefully calculated ‘divide and conquer’.