Attention Phil Coorey: the mainstream, not fringe, wants lower immigration

The AFR’s political editor Phil Coorey on Friday claimed fringe elements on the left and right of the political spectrum are the ones pushing back against NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet’s call for a massive increase in Australia’s immigration intake to more than 400,000 people a year:

[NSW] recommended a doubling of the pre-pandemic immigration rate over the next five years. That would amount to about 2 million people nationally over five years…

But old prevailing forces against immigration, which straddle the left-right divide, are still there and in some cases, are even more exercised given Australia’s creaking infrastructure, battered environment and unspeakably cruel house prices.

These population forces include elements in the right who are also implacably opposed to adopting net zero emissions by 2050 and are gearing up to exploit internal Coalition unrest over that negotiation…

Hanson wasted no time this week in conflating the issues. She rushed on to Facebook to complain the same people who wanted to wipe out coal jobs were also planning to flood the country with foreigners.

“Despite state and federal governments saying Australia needs to cut its carbon dioxide emissions – there’s a push to bring in an extra 2 million migrants,” she wrote.

“Opening the floodgates to an extra 2 million migrants will destroy any hope of easing traffic congestion, reducing wait times in our hospitals, making housing more affordable, and so on. Wake up Australia”…

Bolt weighed in on the NSW immigration brief prepared by what he called the “bureaucratic elite”. He forecast congestion problems, house prices going “even higher”, wages being pushed down by cheap labour, the “sheer laziness” of importing workers rather than “training up our own”, not to mention the “cultural impact”.

It’s brutal stuff, much of it overly simplistic and no government is going to allow in 2 million people in five years, but the simple themes resonate.

Of course, the government will have to restore the migration program to fill the yawning skills gaps exacerbated by COVID-19. With the borders reopening, it cannot be avoided…

In the end, a good government’s job is to deliver a policy and sell its virtues.

No Phil Coorey, a good government’s job is to represent the voters that elect it.

Had Phil Coorey bothered to look out of his ivory tower in Canberra, he would have discovered that the overwhelming majority of Australian voters support lower levels of immigration than existed pre-COVID.

Last week’s survey by The Australian Population Research Institute (APRI) revealed that 70% of Australians want lower levels of immigration post-pandemic, of which 48% want “much lower” or zero immigration:

The overwhelming majority (69%) also do not believe that Australia needs more people:

A 2019 Guardian Essential Poll found that 56% of Australians believed that “the levels of immigration into Australia over the past 10 years has been too high”:

A 2018 Guardian Essential Poll showed that Australians believe that “bringing in foreign workers on short-term visas undermines local jobs” (63%); that “our cities can’t cope with further population growth and we should reduce immigration until the infrastructure in in place” (62%); that “immigration should be slowed as it causes too much change to our society” (55%); and that “Australia has a fragile environment that cannot bear further increases in population” (51%).

Moreover, 51% of people disagreed that “Australia has the space and resources to cope with a much larger population”, and 51% of people also disagreed that “without immigration the rate of economic growth will fall, reducing living standards for all of us”:

A Newspoll survey in 2019 revealed that 80% of NSW residents do not believe the state should grow any larger:

A straw poll conducted this weekend by News.com.au found that 80% want much lower levels of immigration than existed pre-pandemic:

A similar straw poll conducted over the weekend by The Kouk on Twitter also found that 71% of people want lower immigration than existed pre-COVID:

No matter which way you cut it, Australians overwhelmingly do not support a return to mass immigration after the pandemic.

Of course, we can’t expect The AFR to show any objectivity on the immigration issue, since it is the mouthpiece of big business. Its role is to support policies that boost business profits anyway possible. And mass immigration ticks this box by boosting the number of consumers, lowering wage costs, and enriching the wealthy owners of capital.

Sadly, there’s no money in actually representing the wishes of Australian voters.

Unconventional Economist
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Comments

  1. C'est de la folieMEMBER

    What the Australian people – as opposed to Coorey – recognise is

    But old prevailing forces driving immigration, which straddle the left-right divide as the link between the ‘open borders’ left expecting Australia to atone for every political sin of its past by allowing anybody with a claim into the country and those business interests tied to a paradigm of flat wages, inward focused demand, and maintaining profits with the most heavily indebted people in the world remain in the policy driving sear. They are still there crooning their thoughts into the ears of politicians they fund, even more exercised given Australia’s creaking infrastructure, battered environment and unspeakably cruel house prices, as well as its experience of Covid and the immigration halt it has enforced..

    These population forces include elements in the right who have cynically exploited JobKeeper to post record profits during a pandemic and wish to be no more accountable for that than the Howard government decision to triple Australia’s immigration rate from 2006

    Perrotet and his backers wasted no time this week in conflating issues. The same people – from ‘Demographer’ Liz Allen to Innes Willox of the Aig rushed into the public domain to tout supposed benefits from heavy immigration that Australia has only ever experienced in a controlled and regulated era when governments openly drove jobs and ensured Australian industry and an Industrial Relations system ensured that wages kept pace with prices and helped drive Australian growth. Do they want this too for Australia?

    These same people invariably link those pushing for a tighter and better regulated immigration approach with the far right of Australian politics by wheeling out Pauline Hanson as the AFR did last week, without even acknowledging that she has a serious point to make when she relates meeting carbon targets and Australia’s contribution to global warming is significantly impaired.

    “Opening the floodgates to an extra 2 million migrants will destroy any hope of easing traffic congestion, reducing wait times in our hospitals, making housing more affordable, and so on. Wake up Australia”…

    Conservative commentator Andrew Bolt weighed in on the NSW immigration brief prepared by what he called the “bureaucratic elite” with some valid points and expertise. He forecast congestion problems, house prices going “even higher”, wages being pushed down by cheap labour, the “sheer laziness” of importing workers rather than “training up our own”, not to mention the “cultural impact”.

    There isnt a realistic option when it comes to squarely addressing such issues, so people like Coorey need to scream ‘racist’ from the rooftops and hope the dog whistle is heard by the Liz Allens of this world or the corporate leaders who enjoy profits stemming from nothing more challenging than making sure extra people are served. It is the corporate equivalent to picking up coins while walking to work.

    It’s brutal stuff, much of it overly simplistic and no government is going to allow in 2 million people in five years, but the Australian people dont think there is a politician in the country who would baulk at allowing an additional 500 thousand people and then looking the Australian people in the eye and telling them they had heard their voice in doing so.

    Of course, the government will have to the yawning skills gaps exacerbated by COVID-19 before it can restore the migration program to fill them. With the borders reopening, and the experience of many Australians that all of a sudden for the first time in a decade they and their children are a realistic chance of getting menial labouring and administrative work they havent been getting since the advent of large numbers of people from offshore to do them, it cannot be avoided…

    In the end, a good government’s job is listen to the will of the people after having articulated data and narratives surrounding an issue, and subsequently to deliver a policy and sell its virtues. The Australian people will require almost no selling when it comes to immigration, seeing as they have been swamped by sales pitch for a generation and never been given the opportunity to ask questions of the narrative – by either side of mainstream politics. They have the data, they have their narrative, and they want action.

    With the electoral mood set for reform and imbued with a considerable suspicion of our politicians, it would be a very brave political class indeed which steamrolled the Australian people with immigration horseshit again and expected to get away with it.

  2. ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

    “It’s brutal stuff, much of it overly simplistic and no government is going to allow in 2 million people in five years, but the simple themes resonate.

    Of course, the government will have to restore the migration program to fill the yawning skills gaps exacerbated by COVID-19. With the borders reopening, it cannot be avoided…“

    He’s pretty quick to dismiss an unpalatable (to the public) Government stated numbers goal as simplistic and not going to happen but then immediately says Of course the government will have to return to business as usual (because it’s unavoidable) without venturing any numbers THAT might produce!
    Just get the public out of the way is the purpose of everything he writes.

    He’s a straight up Obfuscating turd.

    A toadying and obedient tool of Australian Plutocracy thats trying to suck up to as many IPA and LNP hacks as he can for future gain.

    • Lord DudleyMEMBER

      “Just get the public out of the way is the purpose of everything he writes.”

      Well, yeah. If I were in a position of power in Australia, I’d do that too. Have you met the Australian public? You know, the public that supports indefinite detention without trial being on the books, running concentration camps, obsession with unearned real-estate gains and tax rorts, that gleefully strips as much opportunity as possible from its youth every chance it gets.

      There’s no moral good in doing anything to maintain the living standards of Australians. Most of them don’t deserve those living standards, and they certainly don’t do anything that makes them difficult to replace. Australia’s economic complexity is lower than Pakistan’s. Most of the population are a group of mean-spirited, self-entitled eaters.

      If I were running things, not only would I completely ignore the Australian population as much as possible, I’d seek to increase my power and wealth by impoverishing the Australian population. It’s certainly not immoral to do so.

      • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

        Lol,… your no better (or less deranged) than some mullah or Pope claiming only you can deliver to us the moral salvation we all need through our total submission your will and self righteousness.
        People with your kind of totalitarian pathology always hate democracy,

        • Lord DudleyMEMBER

          You’ve changed the topic at hand to talking about me. That’s an oft repeated pattern here. People are unable demonstrate that I’m wrong, so instead of sticking to the topic at hand they start babbling about me.

          You know I’m right.

          • Maybe if your points weren’t filled with such vitriolic rubbish they might address them instead of calling out the idiocy of the poster.

          • I’ll put it into different terms.
            Australians have consistently demonstrated a willingness for the last 20-30 years to vote for Governments that
            * lock up and abuse refugees (this kind of collective punishment for the purposes of intimidation is borderline war crime stuff)
            * undermined and privatised public services
            * actively work against both the rights of workers and their ability to earn a decent living
            * emphasised capital over labour
            * destroyed manufacturing and discouraged most forms of economic activity other than mining, tourism, real estate
            * not only refused to take any meaningful action on climate change, but actively worked against having to do so
            * are systemically and endemically corrupt

          • Even StevenMEMBER

            I don’t dispute there’s some nasty aspects to our society. But I will not agree with the “it’s already trashed, so why not trash it further” approach that you appear to champion. Albeit, I suspect you’re being quite tongue-in-cheek.

            Personally, I think a lot of the change is cultural and stems from rising inequality and sense of unfairness (a topic all its own) and also by excessive levels of immigration. We have ramped up immigration to levels which have not been seen in other developed countries – what an experiment! I can only presume the logic is that “if some immigration is good, then more can only be better, right?”. The community is starting to see through this.

            I think that over time, the level of community spirit (which in large part is derived from a common set of values) has eroded. We have regressed to ‘what’s in it for me and my family’. Whereas a generation or two previously the question might have been “what’s in it for my community and my family?”

            How do you stop this erosion? Tackle inequality. Create a fair environment for all. And yes, lower immigration to a level which suits Australians (not big business) whilst still allowing a reasonable humanitarian intake. We need to foster a sense of togetherness and pride, sappy as that may sound.

          • Personally, I think a lot of the change is cultural and stems from rising inequality and sense of unfairness […]

            The change is cultural and it is entirely from the top down. It is driven by leaders in business, media and politics.

            We have been on a path set by Howard in the ‘90s (if not earlier) culminating in the most inept and corrupt Government in living memory and STILL the most common response when confronted with that is some version of “B-b-b-b-but Labor”, followed by some version of “whole else are you going to vote for, those crazy Greens?”.

            People blame “immigrants” (and we all know by this they really mean a particular subset of immigrants) because it’s easy and because an enormous amount of propaganda points them in that direction. But immigrants haven’t put in the Government we have today, let alone the decades of precursors – native-born Australians have.

            The place isn’t coming apart at the seems because of too many foreigners doing foreigner stuff, it’s because the people at the top have been tacitly – if not actively – encouraging greed, selfishness, fear and paranoia through both their own observable behaviour and the policy settings they have created. Subsequently, a fairly substantial percentage of the country has responded with both “fvck yeah, let’s do it” and “yous guys are just jealous/commmies/idiots” to anyone who isn’t. Ie: Reusa.

            Nothing can be fixed until Australians confront these ugly, harsh, truths. But pretty much anyone who tries to is pilloried with some version of “why do you hate Australia”.

            This is Lord Dudley’s point. He has concluded the place is not salvageable. I can’t really argue against him, either, but since I don’t have the option of bailing out while my parents are still alive, I at least need to try and retain some optimism – but fvck me it’s hard.

          • Even StevenMEMBER

            Yes, fair enough. This bit resonated with me: “people at the top have been tacitly – if not actively – encouraging greed, selfishness, fear and paranoia through both their own observable behaviour and the policy settings they have created.”

            But nor is the deterioration in our politicians gone without notice of the general public. I think people just don’t know the alternatives (and given media is essentially on board with big business and politicians, we have ourselves a predicament). Unsalvageable? No. Hard? Yes.

            But on immigration, I don’t actually know what you mean about certain types. I don’t care about race or colour. I care about motivation, about skillsets and values (respect for others). I accept that asylum seekers should be judged on different criteria but I don’t think I’d be flexible on the last one.

            Nor do I support unlimited asylum seeker intake into Australia. If that contravenes anything Australia has signed up to, then I’d suggest withdrawing from such an agreement and putting in something more sensible. I think the distribution of asylum seekers should be fair and equitable amongst the global community (obviously complicated to determine). It shouldn’t fall entirely to a ‘poor’ country next door to a tyrannical regime to have to absorb all asylum seekers, but nor should it have to fall entirely to a ‘rich’ country which is at the end of several intervening travel legs to absorb them all either.

            This is even without getting into the detail of whether an economic asylum seeker should have similar rights to a political asylum seeker. A complex discussion itself.

      • Wow. Just wow. I bet you aren’t living here. Concentration camps? Please. Real estate? Well … most people I talk to don’t want it to go up more – they just want their home to be stable (i.e. not to rise, but not to fall and land them in strife either).

        Most of the points you state are due to the government and their vested interests (i.e. property development, big business lobbying, etc). Either to enable their policies or provide a scapegoat (e.g. we are tough on borders, see?). Obviously however people don’t want to be destitute either – crashing the housing market has other side effects most people are fearful of. The fact that immigration, high house prices have been electoral issues for so long shows that people do care about these topics and do want change of some fashion.

        Sure they may be no better or worse than others as individuals but that isn’t the point. They at one point were a community that were more unified in values and therefore one that collectively raised each other’s living standards. That solidarity made them deserving over cultures that fought between each other or got results from fear. There’s a reason people prefer to live in Australia than some other countries; less corruption historically (sadly its risen a lot in the last decade or so) up top affords the community trust which helps enable a societal contract leading to a better society for people to enjoy.

        Despite what you think of the Australian public whether they are smart, dumb, or middle of the road if you choose to be an elected representative it comes with it the moral obligation to do what is right by those people and to guide them to a position that enriches and gives a better society. Their intelligence has nothing to do with it; in fact their positions are often also shaped by their leaders/media just like any other country giving more of a reason for these to be credible and for the people first.

        If we all thought that way things would crumble – doctors, teachers, lets all just be selfish now and think of ourselves and treat whoever and use whoever we wish. What’s right and wrong in this post truth modern world anyway? This is the globalist view I wanted Australia to actively avoid, and why I do wish people had a little more pride in the place they call home.

        The Australian government should represent the interests of its people – that’s the job people are signing up for. Maybe I’m an idealist/old school but being a leader isn’t about power, its a privilege given to serve the people. That’s part of the reason we in the past respected that office. If you don’t want to do that don’t seek it.

        • Despite what you think of the Australian public whether they are smart, dumb, or middle of the road if you choose to be an elected representative it comes with it the moral obligation to do what is right by those people and to guide them to a position that enriches and gives a better society. Their intelligence has nothing to do with it; in fact their positions are often also shaped by their leaders/media just like any other country giving more of a reason for these to be credible and for the people first.

          Elected representatives are elected to represent their voters who, it is reasonable to assume, support the party and policies they have campaigned on.

          Not some ethereal ‘what’s best for the country’.

          • “Elected representatives are elected to represent their voters who, it is reasonable to assume, support the party and policies they have campaigned on.”

            I don’t think this is reasonable. For one its happening (immigration) despite as this article asserts very little support for it so obviously they can act without voter support.

            This happens for a number of different reasons which sadly I think is the real problem with immigration (feedback loop here). Most countries with good government and a community that works together have stable populations and I hate to admit it common solidarity that often reject multi culturalism (think Northern Europe as an example). I say this as a migrant.

            I’ve made a comment on this in the past (see https://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2021/09/big-australia-incompatible-with-nations-scarce-water-supplies/#comment-4184482). Voters especially of the old “common culture” have very little power once common solidarity decreases. This happens naturally IMO as population grows and we become more globalised (e.g. divide and conquer of values means its easier for vested interests to be the dominant decider).

            For voters to have power the world needs to be:

            – Both understandable to them on a broad scale since politics touches most things (kept small and simple).
            – The amount of people needed to convince and educate needs to be small enough for the average voter to make change in a sustainable fashion without rallying too many resources.
            – The majority of voters to have the same set of values approximately, so grass roots campaigns are met with broad agreement and sound bite “slogans” are interpreted with predictable responses across the community. The person is more willing to promote change, since they understand the community is more likely to share their values.

            All three are weakened from the way we are growing our population IMO. Problem of the commons/lowest common denominator opinions end up being the ones to hold, gets harder to raise that weakest link as well with more people to convince.

            The bigger the community and more interconnected/bigger it is the harder it is for one group, or one person to make a difference on average. You need more money/resources to lobby for change or you basically resort to fixing “soundbite” simplistic issues (e.g. identity politics). Any issue with complexity (e.g. immigration, gas fracking, house prices, etc) with differing “expert opinions” you need more resources to lobby and get consensus which makes voters mostly powerless on this. Its hard to start the feedback loop required to enact change. Often its the opposite – PR and marketing firms though media and funding establish what popular opinion is since they are the only ones with the means/resources to establish this positive feedback loop and have the means to “look credible” against the sea of noise. On the issues you care about you may not understand this, but on issues you aren’t as engaged this I’m sure this has formed your opinions too.

            This of course allows corruption to take root since they have the means and incentive to finance these things and then the slippery slope starts and another feedback loop ensures. Once common community is broken and people feel isolated they start voting just for their interests. They feel alone, they don’t trust their government to vote for anything other than themselves, so they may as well protect themselves. Good democracies and societies require trust, and that starts with the leaders who are accountable.

            It’s why I can’t understand when the “left” vote for globalist policies IMO (open borders, free travel, etc). When “everyone is special, no one is” as per a recent-ish kids movie so expect the leaders to take power and use you in that case. Cultures with solidarity have better democracies, and unfortunately with growing population this gets harder and harder to achieve IMO.

          • I don’t think this is reasonable. For one its happening (immigration) despite as this article asserts very little support for it so obviously they can act without voter support.

            I don’t think you understood my point. From the person being elected’s perspective, it is entirely reasonable to assume that the people electing them support their policies and party. And therefore it is perfectly reasonable for them to turn around and say “well, they keep electing us to execute our policies, so there must be something wrong with those surveys”.

            Because the same is true, it’s worth noting, about most things – for example: the people by survey overwhelmingly prefer strong, well-funded and comprehensive public services, yet they have consistently voted for Governments trying to do the complete opposite of that.

            Most countries with good government and a community that works together have stable populations and I hate to admit it common solidarity that often reject multi culturalism (think Northern Europe as an example). I say this as a migrant.

            Australia had similar, if not higher rates of immigration in its post-WW2 “populate or perish” years, so there goes that idea, along with all that coded “solidarity” virtue-signalling.

            The same complaints about immigration then, are being made now. But now, those immigration outcomes are (broadly speaking) held up as model examples.

            Our problems are top-down, not bottom-up. The lack of “solidarity” isn’t coming from immigrants, it’s coming from leaders.

            It’s why I can’t understand when the “left” vote for globalist policies IMO (open borders, free travel, etc). 

            Fvck me this strawman bvllshit gets tiresome. Can you point me towards anyone credible who argues in favour of “open borders” – ie: zero immigration control ?

          • drsmithy – I don’t think you understood mine but your points are valid too. We can both be right. Especially about the point of voting intentions being disparate from what people actually want. This happens because the voting options no longer reflect voter preferences, they reflect vested interests instead and the people with the power to change the narrative/PR.

            You are arguing top down, other people are arguing bottom up (migration) where I think its both and they feed on each other in a loop. To be clear: It is both a top-down, then a bottom up, then a top-down, then bottom up problem. Its a feedback loop between voters and governments. The person driving the loop at the top of course is money/vested interests. They thrive on both migration (why they lobby for it), AND a global world where no one government/community has power. This makes sense – playing governments against each other (e.g. tax havens) is a tried and tested corporate strategy and changes the power in negotiations from governments to corps. I think it weakens the ability of governments and their power IMO.

            What I mean by solidarity I think did exist in previous waves of migration; but I argue with current political structures and the amount of migration per capita that we have – its infeasible to expect new migrants to have it. That doesn’t mean their belief system is better or worse – unfortunately its just enough to be different and play to the lowest common denominator of both from a PR perspective. It doesn’t matter what the culture is, as long as people feel they are one community together and can band together to enact change. This I argue sadly is HARD with the immigration rate per capita we have among other factors.

            Its a societal system with feedback loops. The feedback loop of course rewards lobbying and corruption. As some people become successful with this behavior it encourages others to do the same else be left behind. This is how societies decay. There isn’t much options when voting and there is a general lack of trust by voters. Both parties for example support lots of migration, property developer interests, etc – my argument is unless something is done to stop this (the pandemic was a hope!) eventually it will just keep getting worse.

            My original point was – voters have very little power now to change it. They lack the resources to create a positive feedback loop to reverse this. There is media (often independent) that tries to do so but it is washed out with the tide. Yes – I do associate the “left” with often being “globalist” politically – they aren’t the type to have a national pride or identity often making out nationalism is somewhat a bad thing. Having pride for who and what we are is the first step of defending it; its values and therefore rallying together to vote for a better outcome. Why defend something, why rally for a better system and break this feedback loop if you think as Dudley does?

          • Especially about the point of voting intentions being disparate from what people actually want. This happens because the voting options no longer reflect voter preferences, they reflect vested interests instead and the people with the power to change the narrative/PR.

            In my mind the obvious conclusion here is that while most people might have an opinion on immigration when asked directly, it is not something that is a major election issue for them. This is also why the parties that campaign significantly on being anti-immigration don’t switch that many voters.

            What I mean by solidarity I think did exist in previous waves of migration; but I argue with current political structures and the amount of migration per capita that we have – its infeasible to expect new migrants to have it.

            Per-capita migration was at similar, if not higher, levels post-WW2.

            Lack of trust and “solidarity” is not an immigration problem, and stopping immigration won’t fix it.

            Yes – I do associate the “left” with often being “globalist” politically – they aren’t the type to have a national pride or identity often making out nationalism is somewhat a bad thing. Having pride for who and what we are is the first step of defending it; its values and therefore rallying together to vote for a better outcome.

            No.

            Firstly, there’s nothing wrong with national pride and identity. The problem is when it has to be blind loyalty and any suggestion that it’s not all rainbows and unicorn farts is seen as treasonous. THAT is what “the left” opposes.

            Secondly, it is not “the left” who have been destroying “Australian values” for the last few decades, it’s “the right”, who have been in power for 20 of the last 25 years and own nearly every institution of control and influence.

          • Just because a change didn’t do something before doesn’t mean it doesn’t do something now. I do there is a point (population size wise) that one government should rule over. Otherwise it just gets harder and harder to make it accountable. Remember reading a study where the magic number for happiness in population for a country was somewhere between 5-10 million w.r.t happiness?

            Your arguing a fallacy – that the second order effects from a policy are linear when I mentioned there is a feedback loop at play here. High capita growth rates in the past don’t necessarily have to do the same in that context (very different mix, similar values, smaller base, more resources to share, etc) than the same growth today from a higher base when our resources are already stretched (e.g. water). As life gets harder sadly the other effects such as different values play even more. When things are good a lot of things don’t matter – a community’s strength is tested when resources thin out per capita.

            If I’m hungry and I eat more its great…. that doesn’t mean I should keep eating. Benefits of that action aren’t linear. Same goes with population growth and its effects on resource consumption, shared societal values, power for individuals alone to make change, vested interest influence, etc.

            I disagree. It is a major issue for many people IF you phrase it right (just like most other issues become when framed right by PR/Media). Traffic, crushed hospitals, overdevelopment, etc – they are huge electoral issues to people. Many at the moment however can’t vote directly for this policy and have to vote for other things as well so there is no way to punish that. Your asserting again that its the voters who keep voting the same… when I argue the choice for voters is extremely limited especially when they don’t line up totally in one camp (e.g. some people agree with the Greens on environment issues, but not on others). Which makes the majority centrist parties more sure to get in, which makes them easier to corrupt/lobby and for media/PR to change the narrative.

            Voters can think critically about only a few sets of issues, not all of them which means the people who control the narrative on the majority of issues determine mostly who wins (at least between 1 or 2 parties since people do need to feel some power for change). The rest they delegate to media/news/leaders to inform them. Since this issue is just one out of a basket, and most opinion of most issues (i.e. the ones they aren’t emotionally invested in) are sourced from only a few sources the parties that cater to this win since on the majority of issues they have broad support even if it isn’t STRONG support on each issue. This I think is the often commented downside of compulsory voting compared to optional voting or direct democracy. Its very few that strongly are passionate about all issues a single party cares about even amongst politically engaged people as well.

      • Gggg BbbbMEMBER

        ” Australia’s economic complexity is lower than Pakistan’s…”
        Of course, it’s a complicated task to export heroin and neolithic religious beliefs

      • And yet you are the whinging pr*ck who’s upset that your foreign born daughter can’t get the same rights as Australian born children.

        • A bit off topic , but my foreign born children have exactly the same rights as Australian born ones AFAIK., what was the complaint?

          • He was complaining that if they commit a serious crime (in Australia) then they could be deported back to the USA.

          • Lord DudleyMEMBER

            You do realise it’s any crime carrying a 3 year prison sentence, even if suspended. By the time she’s an adult, knocking over a wheely bin at a climate protest will meet that standard. Australia is an authoritarian dump.

            No skin off my nose; we’re never going back. The fact that Australia has 2 classes of citizenship, and most of the population of proto-fascist Australia are OK with that is Australia’s problem. Just adds to the huge list of reasons to avoid the place.

      • I can see where your coming from mate, the much reviled Scomo and Albanese are highly representative of the Australian public, they are not there by accident.

  3. Coorey is a smirking slacker, a jovial “mate”, a fellow-traveller, not one ounce a serious journalist. Beware, this is the very purpose of madman Perrotet and his Opus Dei pram – to make Morrison’s insane 235,000 net migration look “normal”.

    The TAPRI report concludes, Labor might make immigration an issue, in a “close election”. But that assumes they seriously want to win. But that assumes they could put the 17m voters ahead of the uni-educated inner-city China-loving elite.

    • Lord DudleyMEMBER

      “uni-educated inner-city China-loving elite”.

      Ha ha ha! That group only exists in your head. Look at the people who ACTUALLY run the country. The PM is a religious whack-job and Trumper who thinks climate change is fake. Almost your entire media is controlled by two billionaires. All policy is controlled by the real-estate, finance, and mining sectors.

      If the “uni-educated inner-city China-loving elite” straw-man that you’re imagining had any power at all, you’d see action on climate change, increasing investment in education, better public transport, and diversification of the economy. You’re seeing none of those. That’s because the straw-man group in your mind doesn’t actually exist, and the closest thing to it (educated urbanites) have little actual power to achieve anything in Australia.

        • Lord DudleyMEMBER

          Wow, you really seem to love changing the topic to me. I couldn’t care less what you think of me. You know I’m right, so instead of actually staying on point, you’ve moved the focus to me instead.

        • Frank DrebinMEMBER

          To be fair, it is actually hard to be a fan of democracy in Australia at the moment.

          We are a basketcase.

    • Lord DudleyMEMBER

      Ha ha ha ha ha! You’re not going to get it. Xenophobes and haters like you don’t matter to the people that run Australia. Reverse migrations… good one, Adolph!

      • Ee Zed Eff Kaye Ay

        You don’t live here and yet you seem to be cheering on mass immigration. You may think people that want a lower rate of immigration don’t matter, yet LNP and Labor primary vote is decreasing. Greens have been stagnant for years. People are shifting their votes, just look at the Senate

        • Lord DudleyMEMBER

          I think that Australians having their living standards crushed by mass immigration after repeatedly voting for locking up asylum seekers in concentration camps indefinitely and without trial is poetic justice. Watching Australians squeal while their living standards are crushed is already amusing, and it’s only going to get better. I’ll be able to hear the REEEEEEEEE’ing of self-entitled Australians from across the Pacific and over the Rockies.

  4. We have a “Government” that is captured. As we slip rapidly into feudalism we look to our new overlords who we may not criticise. I’m sure we know who they are. The propagandists and their plutocratic sponsors. A non representative Government has no legitimacy.

    • Lord DudleyMEMBER

      Last I checked, Australians voted for the status quo repeatedly, and when alternatives were offered, they were smashed at the ballot box, until Labor eventually gave up and just adopted all the LNP’s policies.

      The problem with Australia is Australians. You voted for this over and over.

      • Even StevenMEMBER

        In fairness, Labor had some good policies (that I think many on MB supported), but they also had some absolute doozies like ‘aged parent visas’ which is an automatic fail.

        I think most Australians probably have a sense of discomfort around the treatment of asylum seekers, but they’re also genuinely unsure how to deter an influx of asylum seekers that cherry-pick the most favourable (read: richest/generous) country they can find to claim asylum. I’d do the same in their shoes!

        Do you have any viable solutions for this conundrum?

      • The problem is that the majority of policies are the same and have been for MANY years. The policies that differentiate the parties often don’t appeal to the electorate (i.e. out of touch). Some people don’t agree with the current situation, but also disagreed with Labor’s execution of unwinding it (e.g. NG/CGT scared a lot of people who had to play the current system and were trapped). The government caused the mess, government should clean it up. You may have some schadenfreude for these people – but many just want to buy a house, and do the things you want to do. Nothing wrong with buying and wanting a home to live in.

        I argue if Labor campaigned on higher wages, and lower migration and didn’t bascially say to half the mortgage belt you will be on negative equity and can’t move forever + you will lose your jobs they probably would of won it easily.

        Other parties are often portrayed as crazy, ideological, nut jobs, etc. Societal group think is real, we are just humans after all. The best way to win an argument is to slander, and to label another group as “loony”. No one listens to people on the fringes of society after all – we are tribal animals. The worst thing is to be that “uncool geek” of a party. People will want you to be wrong even if your right which isn’t a great way to win a vote.

        As a herd voters don’t actually have a lot of power. They are swayed on the margins, especially with compulsory voting systems where marginal undecided people go on gut feel and what they’ve heard (which is usually the mainstream media and the like). Problem is every system has its flaws – for where Australia is currently at however another voting system might be better. I don’t know.

  5. Display NameMEMBER

    Sigh. About 10% of Australians in the Kouk survey want a million++ a year. I think it is clear these people are incapable of thinking about what that would actually mean apart from the practicalities of ~20K a week coming though airports…

    • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

      I suspect a lot of them are just taking the piss.
      Like a lot of people who voted Trump.

      • Ee Zed Eff Kaye Ay

        Dunno mate. A lot of people on Twitter actually believe in a big Australia. Some even think if Tokyo-Yokohama is 30 million people no reason why Melbourne or Sydney can’t have that many.

        • Someone actually said that to me once, said Tokyo was in top 10 of best cities (Melb was ranked 1st) so it would be fine. Should have seen his face when I pointed out it would mean driving a 900cc 3cyl matchbox, living in a higrise, paying big for a parking spot etc they obviously hadn’t thought about it.

          • Most people take good news at face value. If they hear a “good argument” and they have no strong opinions they tend to adopt it unless they are passionate/engaged on the issue at hand.

            Sadly we all do it. We think we don’t, but in the end on most things we just don’t have the bandwidth. On economics, and societal issues many in this blog probably have an interest in it so can activate that critical thinking part of a brain.

      • boomengineeringMEMBER

        Hey Ermo,
        After all that Aussie early history research, saw something on SBS last night I forgot all about. Did you’re forefather come in the first fleet ? Alongside 10 black Africans, some left USA after fighting alongside English in the War of Independence. Very interesting, Blues Point Rd named after one who was granted 80 acres in North Sydney, another first one to be tried for Eureka Stockade, another first woman to vote, another part of Bradman’s cricket team in England, the list goes on. Many true blue Aussies have this Black African bloodline.

  6. I recall first visiting the US in the mid 90s. Coming from a small Australian city, the scale and density of the big American cities was unbelievable. But it didn’t take long to realise that the factor propping up the wealth of the top 10% was a large, permanent minimum wage or worse underclass. I recall being sure that Australia would never be like this. The point is: this is the whole aim of mass immigration, to fill the ranks of the permanent / semi permanent underclass.

    • Nah its to guarantee that boomers never, ever feel any financial pain.
      Its all just to keep pensions paid, throw money into the black hole of medical care for the elderly and keep asset prices in orbit. WIthout mass migration we would need to cut largess and pensions. They will keep doing mass migration until it cannot be done anymore. By which time there wont even be an Australia to recognise.

      But who cares ay? They’ll gladly destroy the country for one more idiotic, fetid, stinking, gastro spreading, ocean cruise.

      • If you look at the most recent TAPRI report on public opinion on immigration, you will see that the elderly tend to be even more opposed to mass migration than the average person. The biggest enthusiasts for mass migration are in the 18-24 age group.

        Australia actually has one of the least generous aged pensions in the OECD. See for yourself

        https://data.oecd.org/socialexp/pension-spending.htm

        50% of retirees are on the full pension and another 20% on a part pension, where any superannuation tax concessions that they have received while they were working are clawed back by aged pension means testing. See also the Benevolent Society report on adequacy of the aged pension. It is insufficient even for homeowners without other assets, because they can’t afford maintenance on their houses and can’t afford to save for when something big goes wrong. For renters, it means dire, grinding poverty.

        https://www.oldertenants.org.au/content/the-adequacy-the-age-pension-australia-assessment-pensioner-living-standards

        The superannuation system, which is what makes our retirement income system so expensive, only benefits the top 20% and especially the top 10%, apart from the forced savings aspect. LVO has frequently written articles on this. The top 10% receive an average of twice the actuarial value of the full pension in superannuation tax concessions.

        What you are blaming on the “Boomers” is actually a class issue. Find a new scapegoat.

        • I’m relatively young Tania and I agree with you. I think the older generations know what there is to lose while the young only see a world of “possibility”. They want things open, they want to be able to move around, they want things to be global not realizing that in the end the loser of that IMO is mostly them (on average – some do well out of it).

          However on a global scale in the end most people are just a commodity. Globalisation of both labor and capital (e.g. financial interconnections) means little protection of the middle and lower classes from the people with resources and power IMO. There’s no “national bubbles” or smaller spheres of influences where an average person can change things and protect themselves from these influences, or at least they are waning quite fast.

          Its not an age war. Its a class war. In some ways that was the “silver lining” of the pandemic for me. Its the reason why I think personally they are in such a rush to open borders despite all the risks and the lack of benefits for the average person on the whole. For most middle and lower class people being able to not wear a mask, go to work, not get jabbed every 6 months, not getting long COVID symptoms trumps an overseas holiday many of them barely if ever take.

          The young look at previous generations lifestyles with envy but they don’t realise it was a package deal – air travel was expensive (many never went overseas even after they migrated here), life was simpler, there were economic protections like tariffs and loan rationing to households that made things less efficient (but more stable I would argue) and most importantly everything was more local. Charity/change starts at home. The world was smaller and less complex for the average person which made it easier for the community to understand each other; which lead to better voting outcomes, and so the cycle goes.

          • Completely agree with you. Your plan on how to deal with the epidemic was spot on. Purpose-built quarantine away from major population centres, backed up by mass vaccination. This could also help protect us from the next pandemic. It isn’t just about the delta variant. Delta could mutate into something a lot more deadly, as happened with the second wave of the Spanish Flu, and there are other even deadlier pathogens out there. Bird flu has a 50% death rate, although it hasn’t solved the problem of human to human transmission (yet). MERS, another coronavirus, has a 33% death rate, and the original SARS, very closely related to Covid, has a 10% death rate and is easily spread from surfaces.

          • I argued it but I don’t think it will happen that way. The old model appeals to the people in power, and disadvantages the middle and lower classes so I think it will continue and the price will be paid by the community to do so. They will spend money, and fudge all cost/benefit/risk tradeoffs to do so. They will even accept deaths and gamble against variants coming in, etc to do so. Heads they win, tails the community loses after all. In the end its all political (not health, economic, or society outcome based).

            Sadly this is the real reason why I think this issue will never get traction. There isn’t the interest of people with resources and power to rally people together to achieve that cause. Some causes have the “we want to be seen to be doing a good thing even if it doesn’t cost us all too much” so they get some traction. But the really important things that impact our quality of life greatly sadly voters have very little power in that.

          • Better for whom? If you are in the top 10%, Australia has a fabulous retirement income system. It is hard to see how the OECD and the Benevolent Society could be lying.

    • Ee Zed Eff Kaye Ay

      It is not just an American city thing. Take China or other Asian countries and you will see a large underclass servicing the elite. Australia is just emulating this model and there is no shortage of people who enjoy cheap food delivery, food, massages, etc.

    • Lord DudleyMEMBER

      Australia is already worse than the US for young workers. Where I live in the US, unskilled work starts at $17.50 US per hour. A high percentage of businesses have help wanted signs. The cost of living here is probably half of Sydney or Melbourne. A young person on minimum wage here is better off than a young person on minimum wage in any location in Australia that actually has available jobs for young workers.

      There are cheaper places in Australia, but they have no jobs. Under-employment among youth is rife in places like Adelaide.

      The only thing that Australia has going for it is its health-care system. Literally everything else is worse for young people in Australia compared to the USA. This is yet another reason why Australia will not see any immigration from the developed world. The only people that Australia represents an improvement for are people from poor, corrupt countries.

  7. Very ‘leading’ poll by the kouk. The only choices are turbo charged immigration or mega-turbo immigration. Lets not forget anyone who chooses no immigration is a terrible racist and it would be totally impractical to achieve anyway (refugee intake, family reunion etc).

  8. > Sadly, there’s no money in actually representing the wishes of Australian voters.

    Crash it. Corruptions now completely out of control.

  9. The interesting thing will be the response to that MP in the UK getting the knife. Despite their obvious differences, the guy that did him and guy that did that female MP a couple of years ago are two sides of the same coin. Will it be more security for MPs or more cohesion for society? I’m guessing the former.

  10. “…the very purpose of madman Perrotet and his Opus Dei pram – to make Morrison’s insane 235,000 net migration look “normal”.

    Exactly. It’s an ambit claim, set to ensure that no less than 235k NOM eventuates, sooner rather than later.
    And I think this is precisely what will happen.

    • Or did the newbie accidentally quote the real figure? Either way I don’t trust any of them on this issue.

  11. It’s interesting that Albo has a simple path to the lodge but refuses to take it

    Low (not “no”) immigration
    Fed ICAC
    Net 0 before 2050
    End corporate boondoggling (ie the JK rorters WILL have to repay) and theres an inquiry into lobbying
    Donation reform

  12. Which parties actually support low immigration? (ie long term average or below). I only know of 3 parties

    Flux (as all their policies are voted on directly by members so would mirror polls above)
    Sustainable Australia (≈70,000)

    One Nation (≈70,000)
    United Australia Party (I assume, though they don’t seem to mention immigration, strange.)
    Jacqui Lambie, can’t find ref to immigration level
    Rex Patrick, can’t find ref to immigration level
    Katter Australian Party, can’t find ref to immigration level
    Centre Alliance, can’t find ref to immigration level

  13. Quiet Australian

    Looney fringe? Yeah, nah.

    Yeah, you’d be looney to keep going to work for your ‘91 wage

    And nah, the only fringe I can think of is the one that fell off Phil’s head long ago.

  14. kierans777MEMBER

    I’ve been having an ongoing debate with someone about mass immigration. Whenever I try to make the point that the research shows that the majority of Aussies want reduced immigration I get poo-pooed because it’s never an election issue. The examples I am served by my opponent are examples like the grass roots movements to change the Marriage Act. There was an issue that built community support until it was too difficult to ignore. Another example is the failure of the NBN to be an election issue. Shorten wisely, and correctly said that if you wanted to save the NBN from completely being trashed past the point of no return, you had to vote Labor at the 2016 election. Yet despite the majority of techies backing the ALP plan, with former heads of NBN Co, etc the issue didn’t become an election issue. How many people voted with the NBN at the forefront of their minds even though telecommunications policy probably has a bigger impact on people’s lives than who gets to marry whom?

    So if people care so much about mass immigration not being restarted how does it become an election defining issue – without all the racism?

    • So if people care so much about mass immigration not being restarted how does it become an election defining issue – without all the racism?

      You can’t IMHO. Too many bad actors (completely different to S-S-M campaign, which didn’t really have any, at least on the side seeking change).