Jim Chalmers bald face lies to Australians on immigration


Treasurer Jim Chalmers appeared on Sky News on Thursday where he claimed that Australia’s record high net overseas migration (NOM), which is driving the nation’s rental crisis, is not a government policy:

“The migration numbers are recovering. That’s not a government target or policy. That’s the demand-driven part of the program. It largely reflects the fact that international students are coming back quicker and people on tourist visas as well. That’s why we’re seeing these slightly higher numbers”.

“But a bit of perspective… Even with this recovery in the migration numbers the last year or so, and expecting it continue for another year or two, we still haven’t filled the gaps left by Covid”.

“We’re still behind where we thought we’d be in terms of migration and population a few years ago. So that’s an important part of perspective”.

“But the other thing is, even as our population grows in the future, in the Intergenerational Report, it’s actually going to grow slower over the next 40 years than it has been growing to this point. Population growth is slowing”.

Have you ever heard such lies?

First, this immigration boom has been deliberately engineered by the Albanese Government via deliberate policy actions, including:

  • Increasing the non-humanitarian permanent migrant intake by 30,000.
  • Increasing the humanitarian intake from 13,750 to 20,000.
  • Extending post-study graduate visas by two years, thereby making student visas more attractive.
  • Committing $42 million and 600 staff to clear the faux “one million visa backlog” and rubber stamping as many visa applications as possible.
  • Approving 66,000 “pandemic event visas” rather than closing them down.
  • Prioritising offshore visa applications over onshore.
  • Signing open borders migration agreements with India that grants automatic five-year student visas and eight-year post-study work visas.
  • Abolishing the Genuine Student Test on visa applications, thereby giving international students an easier path to permanent residency.

All of the aforementioned policies have accelerated migrant arrivals into Australia, culminating in Australia’s largest net overseas migration (NOM) on record and the worst rental crisis in living memory:

Net visa arrivals

Second, the claim that we are just ‘catching up’ on lost immigration due to the pandemic is ridiculous. What precisely are we catching up on?

The 2001 Intergenerational Report projected that Australia would grow to 25.7 million people by 2050, driven by annual net overseas migration (NOM) of 90,000.


Instead, Australia hit this population in 2021 thanks to decades of extreme immigration. Thus, we are running 29 years ahead on population growth.

Net Overseas Migration

Finally, Chalmers’ claim that Australia’s population is “actually going to grow slower over the next 40 years than it has been growing to this point” is pure lies.


It took Australia 216 years to hit 20 million people in late 2004. But according to the 2023 IGR’s projections, we will add another 20.5 million people in just 59 years.

The 14.2 million population increase over 40 years projected in the IGR is the equivalent of adding another Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide to Australia’s current population.

That is the fastest population increase in this nation’s history, which will ensure a congested, high-rise future in a degraded environment.


Stop lying, Jim!

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