Australia hits peak Abul Rizvi


By Stephen Saunders

Albanese’s lopsided India migration-pacts, and half-million migration would have been inconceivable 20-30 years ago. But it doesn’t trouble migration-whisperer Abul Rizvi, who continues to blame the previous government.

Since the 1990s, Australia’s number one migration-whisperer, Abul Rizvi, has buttered up government and business, facilitating excesses of supposedly “skilled” migration.

Rizvi is also the go-to commentator for pro-migration ABC, SBS, Guardian, and Nine, and enjoys pulpits at Independent Australia and Pearls & Irritations.

Like the government itself, Rizvi seems insulated from voter sentiment. The Albanese migration onslaught – filtered through Rizvi’s “independent expert” lens and complaisant media – has almost become normalised.

And should anyone object to this lurk, Rizvi is liable to brand them as racist or xenophobic. He smears the Coalition likewise.


For “balance”, the media occasionally includes one or two contrasting authorities, including MacroBusiness itself. They query the Big Australia deluge of 2007-2020, as well as the 2022 to eternity Huge Australia.

Australian resident population

This Huge Australia ignores the environmental crisis – including droughts, fires, and floods – in favour of economic tunnel-vision.


Voters, unlike Treasury, don’t want this. Their living standards are being trashed and the housing crisis exacerbated. No wonder Rizvi’s upwardly managing “advice” is cherrypicked.

Rizvi is the “former Immigration Deputy Secretary”. Public Service (PSM) and Centenary Medallist. He’s the PhD on Immigration. “Incredibly generous in sharing that knowledge, through the advice and feedback he willingly gives to any politician who cares enough to listen”.

That’s Labor Kristina Keneally, laying the Rizvi shtick on parliament. In his own humblebrag, he’s the “dark skinned bloke with a funny Muslim name”.


He boasts that when managing 1990s migration, he convinced “dog whistler” John Howard that increasing “skilled” migration would slow “population ageing” and fix “skill shortages”.

Except, 20 years of big migration haven’t really made Australia younger. Business still craves more and more, supposedly to boost skills (read flatten wages).

Rizvi’s multicultural brand covers for his stumbles and shifts. During COVID 2020, he staked the claim that over the 2020s, there was “no chance” of regaining 200,000 net-migration. We topped 500,000 instead.


Voters rather liked the COVID migration freeze, so Morrison and Albanese hurriedly reversed it with their Treasury gaslighting about “catching up” on “lost” migrants.

Net migration was negative 85,000 in COVID 2020-21. It then somersaulted to plus 171,000 in Morrison 2021-22. Then we got a 518,000 avalanche in Albanese 2022-23, which blindsided Rizvi himself.

In October 2023 on Nine’s 3AW, even Rizvi said whoa. 225,000 was about right, and 150,000 “as low” as you could go.


That’s untrue, of course. Before Howard floored the pedal, his results clustered around 80,000-120,000. Eighty thousand is the post-1901 average. The 20th century average is much lower, even if you excise world-war years.

Historical NOM

Rizvi told 3AW that government has “never” had a “long term” net migration target. This is also untrue. It’s in black and white in Treasury’s Budgets, Intergenerational Reports and Population Statements.


Treasurer Chalmers cut-and-pasted his long-term target – 235,000 net overseas migration – from Treasurer Frydenberg. He then reused the 235,000 as his October Budget estimate for 2022-23.

Accidentally-on-purpose, Chalmers swerved to 300,000 – whoops 400,000 – topping 500,000. A historic scandal. 2023-24 is nearly as bad – first he estimated 235,000 – gulp 315,000 – now it’s 375,000.

At Pearls & Irritations, Rizvi pins the scandal on Peter Dutton. Allegedly, the half-million “guarantees” an “ugly election” in 2025. Unlikely.


This Independent Australia piece is also typical. “Did the Morrison Government have a housing plan to accommodate the extra 500,000 people in 2023?” No, they didn’t. But neither would they have matched Albanese Labor’s “visa backlog” mania, which Rizvi helped seed.

Twenty months after Labor gained power, Rizvi is still obsessing over the loss of “visa integrity” under previous Home Affairs Minister Dutton and his now-sacked supremo Mike Pezzullo – Rizvi’s enemy.

Rizvi claims gallant Labor is still mending the Coalition’s “visa mess” and getting migration “under control”. It’s the same propaganda as bombastic Clare O’Neilfixing a “broken system”.


Yeah, “fixing” it all right. With 2.2 million visas, 0.85 million student/graduate visas, and 0.5 million net-migration.

And what about Albanese’s slapdash (and treacherous) “qualifications” and “mobility” pacts, preferencing the sectarian India of Modi? ABC gave Rizvi a big free kick to say how normal this was.

Albanese’s astronomical visa numbers mock Rizvi’s hand-wringing over wage theft, immigration compliance and asylum seekers. His comfort-zone and real expertise is slicing-and-dicing his old department’s “permanent” migration “capped” at 195,000 places for 2022-23.


However, most permanent “outcomes” are already camped in Australia. Officials just managed the visa-stamping to land on 195,004. That’s 99.998% accuracy. Give them a PSM.

For 2023-24, the department’s 190,000 includes 137,000 visa places in its “skill” stream. On form, roughly 40% of these will be dependents, not principal “skilled” applicants. This aspect is fudged.

How many principals will have highly paid or scarce skills? The Home Affairs reports fudge that too.


For population estimation, what matters is net migration, now running two times permanent. In the Treasury report, most are “international students” or “other temporaries”. Pretty uninformative.

Though we do know, net-migration is predominantly less skilled. Despite the new $135,000 “specialist pathway”, the “core” wage threshold for temporary “skilled” workers is anchored on a ridiculous $70,000, potentially even less for “essentials”. O’Neil talks global talent and walks population overload.

Before voters could even view her fakehalving migration” strategy of December, “independent” Rizvi jumped on Ten News and ABC TV. He insinuated a quarter-million migration as some kind of new normal.


To stabilise population and the environment, however, net migration should be 80,000 and less. Rizvi would never say that. Neither would Albanese or Dutton.

Rizvi dominates Australia’s shoals of (academic, media, think-tank) immigration shills who side with power not the people. And he’ll never rest on his Medals.

Now he claims the eye-watering 375,000 isn’t a Big Australia – or else it’s “dog whistler” Dutton’s fault – or else it’s undeliverable. Take your pick, eh?


It is another excuse for Chalmers, whose word salad to “modernise” the economy relies on extreme population growth. For our economy, Rizvi’s Huge Australia is a product specification, not a program bug.