The Australian Greens are not an environmental party


In this week’s episode of The Treasury of Common Sense with Radio 2GB’s Mike Jeffreys, I explained why the Australian Greens’ advocacy for higher levels of immigration runs counter to the party’s faux concerns over the environment, ‘net zero’, and housing affordability.

Edited Transcript:

The Greens housing spokesperson, Max Chandler-Mather, appeared on Sunday’s ABC Insiders program where he complained about the housing market being unaffordable.

I get his concerns. He’s not wrong. And he did actually have some reasonable ideas.


But he was specifically asked by David Spears about immigration. And he flat out said that immigration is a distraction and it has minimal impact on the housing market, which is just absolutely absurd.

Australia’s had nearly 520,000 net overseas migration last year. It’s the reason why our rental vacancy rates have collapsed to record lows. It’s the primary reason why rents are going through the roof.

Historical NOM

Immigration is also the primary reason why we are seeing more homeless people and more people being forced to live in group housing.

To make matters worse, David Spears flat out asked whether the Greens would like more immigration or less. And then, after mumbling and trying to avoid the question, Chandler-Mather finally said that “more people coming to this country is a good thing”.

So basically, the Greens want even more immigration.


This is a party that is supposed to care about not just housing affordability, but also the natural environment. And I can think of a few things that are worse for Australia’s natural environment than growing the population like a science experiment.

Every one of those people is going to use more resources, they’re going to create waste, and chew up the countryside. It is literally one of the worst things you can do.

We’re going to have to find the water supply for these extra people. We are going to need a battery of desalination plants everywhere, which are any energy guzzling.

And at the same time, Chandler-Mather and the Greens always bang on about how we need to have net zero emissions.


How are you going to have net zero emissions when your population is going to grow like a science experiment and you want more of it? It is absolutely absurd.

This is supposed to be a Greens party. In the 1990s, they were heavily for a stable population. They pushed for population stabilisation. Whereas now, they are open borders nuts that basically want to let anyone into this country. That would require bulldozing the country into the high-rise apartments.

They’re supposed to be an environmental party.


One of Chandler-Mather’s key solutions to the housing crisis is building more public housing. Well guess what, you are never going to build enough to keep up with population growth.

Public housing vs population growth

The greens simultaneously want to massively increase the humanitarian intake. Where do you think those humanitarian intake migrants are going to live? They’re going to live in public housing.

So, Chandler-Mather’s solution is to build more public housing at the same time as we’re growing the population at a record pace. And he wants even more immigration, which is just crazy.


The federal government’s State of the Environment report, which is the intergenerational report of the environment, explicitly says that population growth has a very high impact on the environment and is one of the key drivers of environmental degradation.

SoE report

Don’t you think that if you’re a green party, you might want to maybe stabilise the population rather double it over say 50 years, which is what the Greens seem to want to do?

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.