ABC positions Annabel for numberless immigration barrage


You can imagine the scenario deep in the bowels of the ABC. The boards, the maps, the pointer, and the braid.


Their last few outings have been a debacle. Laura went public immolation after a solo charge. Tom’s slow steady walk with fixed bayonets behind a creeping barrage came a cropper as he invited friends in for a friendly fire event. Two of them in fact.

The clipped voice at the end of the room with red epaulettes and a pointer for use with the maps and boards is outlining the next assault.

‘What we are seeing is the weight of numbers. We aren’t getting close enough to carry the day, and we need to recognise that our logistics train isn’t likely to be able to supply them.



The next assault will be different, a new style of warfare – calling for precision, speed, timing, and discipline under fire. We will deploy elite assets and go in without the number bombardment. The enemy won’t know we are there until we are in amongst them!


The next assault on the anti immigration position will be carried out by Annabel Crabb, and we will go in without Immigration numbers. No mention at all!’

Good luck……

Housing, ankle bracelets and some other things that have very little to do with immigration

By Annabel Crabb

In order to understand Australia’s complicated psychological relationship with immigration, the first crucial cognitive step is to throw away the numbers.

The numbers are not helpful. Consider this: 96 per cent of Australians are immigrants or descendants of immigrants. That’s everybody apart from the 4 per cent of the population who date their occupancy back to pre-1788, at which point the total immigration rate to this island for many millennia had been a nice round number: zero.

That number is in the same ballpark as the proportion of Australians who agree that “immigrants are generally good for Australia’s economy”, according to Scanlon’s latest Mapping Australia’s Social Cohesion report.

Seems pretty straightforward, right?

At the first blow of the whistle Annabel leaped out of the trench and threw away the numbers. Then, but a step away, after telling us numbers weren’t helpful, she ladled some in.

There is more to unpack in the numbers she provides than Annabel probably fathoms, but let us go there. If we set aside the 4% of us who are indigenous 96% of us are immigrants of descendants of immigrants. All perfectly fine at one level. That is one perfectly obvious way to see the Australian population.


But at another level what is she saying? The Immigration debate is 96% hypocrisy and 4% too late? Why would it be that the 96% would be as unified as it is against the immigration volumes we have surged to in recent years? Are immigrants and descendants of immigrants not allowed to discuss immigration?

Or, as disconcerting as it may be for many, could a population comprised of 96% immigrants and descendants of immigrants, and one third born overseas, have a pretty nuanced and detailed understanding of what makes immigration actually work for a country, and some seriously nuanced concerns about how we are using immigration? There’s an idea!

Could the solid reaction to the Immigration numbers the ALP government has foist upon us after a decade of the Tories running the Population Ponzi full bore be reflective of informed and moderate opinion about the life experience those immigration volumes implies for that nation of immigrants and descendants of immigrants?


Then, before we get bogged down in those concepts we come across the Scanlon institute – reliant on real estate funding or what? – and then onto the idea that large numbers of Australians are ‘generally’ of the view Immigrants are ‘good for Australia’s economy’

So at that point we can wonder if the obvious negative sentiment about immigration volumes is reflective of informed opinion from a public naturally sympathetic to immigration that the way immigration is being used has somehow ceased to be synonymous with good for Australia’s economy.

At that point Annabel could get a gig with Macrobusiness. Where will she go to next?


A recently landed sentient alien might casually conclude (once, presumably, it had torn its 14 eyes briefly from the spectacle of American democracy stuffing itself into a Cheetos bag and got round to considering Australia) that immigration in this country should be a non-issue.

And it should be. But it isn’t, because that blanket approval of immigration disguises the pulse and seethe of specific issues that blow up from time to time, usually in periods of economic hardship, into which immigrants and refugees are disproportionately and eye-catchingly drawn.

Specific events wrench and pull at our national sentiment, often concerning specific groups. During the COVID-19 pandemic, a close reading of successive Scanlon surveys reveals that the rate of “positive feelings” about Australians of Chinese ancestry fell to 52 per cent in 2020, but in the most recent study, it’s popped back up to 61 per cent.

In 2018, the “very or somewhat negative” feelings about Muslims across Australia clocked in at 39 per cent. In the latest survey, that’s down to 27 per cent.

“Despite very high and growing levels of support for multiculturalism, prejudice remains common in Australia,” Scanlon observes, with economical tact.

Next out of the box we have aliens, Cheetos bags, pulsing and seething, wrenching and pulling, and a look over there at the Americans moment, and something that smells like Annabel’s 96% being accused of racism. With numbers to back that up, what’s more.

The alien decoy prioritising Americans and seeing Immigration non issues could have observed a 70 thousand per annum non issue between 1980 and 2005 and a 220 thousand per annum non issue between then and Covid. The non issue size was more than 600 thousand just last year. Maybe that 96% has a size issue there? Are Annabel’s 96% determining size is a factor in non issue or not?


Whaddya reckon Annabel? Does size matter? Should we focus on how it is used?

At that point Annabel brandishes some more numbers about Chinese and Moslems. She doesn’t use the word racism, and has obviously seen the management memo post Laura. But she still has those numbers, after telling us to let go of them. Go figure…….The nation composed of 96% immigrants and descendants of immigrants went sour on Chinese as they were banning our exports, and has lost its taste for Moslems – Israel? Muftis? Islamic State? Treatment of the ladies? Burqas? Guilt about Afghanistan or Iraq? Crusades? Who knows…..

At that point it may be worth bringing some more examination of Annabel’s numbers. Her basic 4% and 96% divide presumably comes from the 2021 Census which asks a range of questions on ancestry and ethnicity. That had the indigenous population at 3.8% (not including Torres Strait Islanders) and not illogically 96% equals the rest of us.


But that 2021 Census has some pretty good data on the rest of us and that tells us that in that census more than 80% of us were more or less Anglo-Celtic (as offensive as that may seem to Angles or Celts) with English (33.0%) Australian (29.9%) Irish (9.5%) and Scottish (8.6%).

You add the Italians (4.4%) Germans (4%) Greeks (1.7%) and Dutch (1.5%) into the mix and you come to the conclusion that about 90% of us are originated from Europe.


What we tell the ABS we are

Now beyond those guys there is also clear numbers on the Chinese (5.5%) and Indian (3.1%) as well as Filipino (1.6%) and Vietnamese (1.3%)

The numbers add up to more than 100% because many of us can lay claim more than one ancestry. But those numbers make pretty clear who we are – about 8.5 to 9 out of 10 of us are European, and about 8 out of 10 of us are some form of Pom (apologies to any Jocks, Paddies or Taffys for any offence).

Notwithstanding that Europeans, and Poms, have a spectacular history of indulging in wars with one another about issues as trivial as religion or the economic dividend or who is a rightful claimant to whatever throne is up for grabs – there is a case for saying they certainly aren’t unfamiliar with one another and tend to have broadly similar attitudes.


At that point one need only observe that reservation about Chinese Australians (notwithstanding that many Chinese Australians have suspicions about China too), although potentially unpleasant, is probably no greater than past reservations about Irish, Italian or Greek Australians, before coughing politely in acknowledgement that the ‘Great Powers’ (many European) have made such a mess of the Middle East and Islamic world that embarrassment may explain any negative emotions about them.

We could also add an observation that anyone running any significant show in that part of the world for the last 2000 years has probably been far more focused on race ethnicity and diversity issues than any of them now find once they get to Australian suburbs. Any negative sentiment about them sure wouldn’t be as disgraceful as the treatment meted out to indigenous Australians for 250 years, and probably pales in comparison with treatment of minorities in the lands from which they’ve come. Anyone know any Uiyghurs or Kurds to ask? Anyone care to pop over and spend time between Iranian and Israeli hardware exchanges and find out? Anyone got any friends they can ask about minority treatments in Saudi Arabia, the Persian Gulf or Syria?

If these are the examples of racial prejudice Scanlon is observing with ‘economical tact’ to support any Annabel piece (Laura and Tom should probably think about this too) containing an underlying vibe of ‘we could be racist’ then a plausible response is:-


‘these are chickenshit, do you have any more?’

Annabel could do worse than popping on down to a local soccer club on a training night and asking the parents of players how racist they thought Australia was.

As someone who did that this week and spoke with people from Philippines, Nigeria, India, Pakistan, Iraq, Turkey, China, Korea, Iran, Syria, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Ukraine, Russia, Serbia and Jordan, and came away with the idea that ‘Racism can and does happen, but for the most part we dont get much here and we are happy to be here,’ it was possible to come away with the idea that these fundamentally decent people, have very positive views about Australia and Australians. More pertinently they seem less concerned about race and ethnicity than they are about jobs, housing costs, and costs of living, and interested in scope for their children to do something better in their lives than delivering take away food. In that regard they all seem very Australian.

Annabel continues…..


Welcome to Australia. Don’t worry: It’s not you, it’s us

We all love multiculturalism, in short, but we do reserve the right to lose our minds every now and again when something in particular riles us up.

Right now, there are two such political hotspots: a) the housing crisis, and b) the crimes allegedly committed by several dozen of the 153 non-citizens who the government was obliged to release following last year’s High Court decision that governments did not have the right to detain a person forever.

These “crises” occupy an extraordinary bandwidth in political debate, especially since the budget. Neither of them is a crisis truly generated by immigration. They are, however, crises that push on the always half-open door of anti-immigrant feeling in this nation of people composed — more than 19 in every 20 of us — of immigrants.

Do we lose our minds any more than anyone else Annabel? Do we lose our minds about multiculturalism?

Annabel rightly identifies that housing is in crisis, and that a government completely massacring natural justice and/or public safety can attract comment. But is it really ‘extraordinary bandwidth’?

People are literally queuing down the street to look at a potential house to rent, and there were pictures of someone who had been beaten up by someone released from prison because of the lacunae between the government and the courts over the appropriate treatment of non-citizens (with some accused of violent crimes).


Worth noting is Annabel’s assertion about the ‘half open door of anti immigrant feeling’ but didn’t she refer earlier to us having generally positive thoughts about immigration as being ‘generally’ good for ‘Australia’s economy’?

Here is a question. What if what Annabel sees as the half open door of anti immigrant feeling is the half open door of suspecting they aren’t helping Australia’s economy one iota? (and we need to do something about the economy in a land with housing, cost of living, energy price, private debt and social infrastructure issues, reliant on commodity revenues, before employment becomes a factor?)

Are potentially racist Australians actually more financially stressed, debt burdened or economically marginalised Australians when looked at under the microscope?


Or is it maybe the half open door of the suspicion that insanely heavy immigration is merely being used to maintain profit margins for the upmarket end of town, or property speculators, while juicing GDP stats, and helping governments avoid the idea that we should do something productive and be globally competitive while stretching the servicing needs needing sustaining from the national resources bounty?

Is it anti immigrant to wonder thus Annabel? She now delves into housing.

A RedBridge survey of 2,000 voting-age Australians, conducted two weeks ago, indicates that 64 per cent of Australians either agree or strongly agree that “the current rate of immigration is making housing less affordable”.

Is the housing crisis caused by immigrants? No, it is most certainly is not. The housing crisis is caused, and has been for a long time, by our unique national Australian obsession with property ownership, plus serial historic failures of political courage at both state and federal levels which have generated a shortage in housing supply nearest to where the most people work. 

More than 60 per cent of Australians own their own home, and these home owners inspire a pant-wetting degree of obeisance at state and federal levels. 

State governments are loath to erode private property values by approving the kind of high-density housing that is so clearly required in our nation’s capital cities, and federal governments contribute to the problem by maintaining tax breaks for property speculators and periodically pouring petrol on the fire by giving first home buyers cash which drives prices higher. 


For someone who opened up with the idea of letting go of numbers Annabel keeps churning them out.

Now we are up to 64% of us think current immigration is making housing less affordable. True enough. There could be surprise the number isn’t higher. The fact that our current government – in a nation which has good stats on abodes – has decided to import nearly a million new bums on seats (requiring a roof over their heads) leads directly to that observation.

She is for sure right that immigrants don’t cause the housing crisis. But that doesn’t mean that bringing them in in the numbers they have been brought in, in a nation which as she notes has been underbuilding housing for a generation, is intelligent. For sure both sides of politics have fluffed housing for a generation, and tax breaks and grants have neither encouraged more building or got too many more younger families into houses. But that isnt to say we havent been building them. It is to say we haven’t been building them fast enough to keep up with immigration fueled population growth


In the past decade Australia has built more abodes per thousand of its population than anyone but the Swiss

But Annabel goes a step further. When she refers to ‘the kind of high-density housing that is so clearly required in our nation’s capital cities’ she raises some interesting questions.

Who requires it? What requires it? Is there some edict carved into stone suggesting we need high density? There isn’t a city in Australia where location drives the economic substance of the urbs. We could shunt public sector jobs to Horsham, Dubbo, Mt Isa, Whyalla or Esperance to reduce density. Do Australians – 96% immigrants or the descendants of immigrants – actually want high rise slums in their cities. Is the need for that high rise apartment world matched by the need to import more people, and if so should we account for one with the other, and ask Australians if they could live without both?


If the Australian dream in which most of us grew up was a ground level joint with a backyard, and maybe a maltreated dog or lawnmower in a shed, then why arent we moving the jobs?

Annabel steps onto the core of the dynamic. Our cities don’t get driven by economic activity, our economic activities get driven by cities, which don’t go within a bulls roar of being globally competitive and rarely display any particular entrepreneurialism intellectual life or systems which cant be found around the world in countless other cities – almost all more globally competitive. Our cities don’t grow around a function, our cities only function is to grow seemingly.

What is the upside of Sydney or Melbourne with 6 million plus punters again? Or Perth or Brisbane with 3 million plus? If we bring in two Canberras in a year (as we did last year) should we look at recreating Melbourne’s docklands disaster as a high rise ring around Parliament House and Yarralumla so the residents are nice and close as a political barometer?


And at that stage it appears that because of this aspect Australians – 96% immigrants or descendants of immigrants – are increasingly disinclined to have children or families. Expensive dog boxes a factor in that? They also seem inclined to move out of larger cities to smaller cities.

What actually is the need for high density inner burbs again? Melbourne has festooned itself in a docklands grotesquerie and parts of Sydney are already desecrating the harbour. Is that sort of dystopia our manifest destiny? Is there a case for staying smaller and low rise? Can we have a say?


Why Melbourne took a naturally ugly tidal estuary and invested so heavily in making it an expensive dog box housing eyesore is anyone’s guess, but what is the actual need for it again? Who actually wants to live there, what economic function actually needs people to live there, and do we need that function and those people?

The last federal leader to advocate even a partial dismantlement of this system — Bill Shorten — met with a memorable electoral fate in 2019. The one before that — Mark Latham, on his first day as Labor’s shadow treasurer 21 years ago — was shut down inside 24 hours, and now ekes out an existence as an independent, having been sacked from the leadership of One Nation, in the NSW Upper House. (Thoughts and prayers.)

Why do voters think the housing crisis is connected to immigration? Because both major parties have told them it is. 

The Albanese government’s recent budget installed controls on international students, explicitly tying this decision to the shortage of housing supply. And opposition leader Peter Dutton took the rhetoric a step further, promising to reduce overall immigration rates to take housing pressure off ordinary Aussies doing it tough. 

When economic times are tough, the fear in an island nation that new arrivals will be another beak in the trough depriving one’s own children of opportunity is easy to ignite.

Annabel isn’t wrong when she points to politics as being feeble when it comes to housing. But what she doesn’t seem to get is that if anything it is even more feeble when it comes to immigration numbers.

After 30 off years of running Net Overseas Migration at about 80 thousand per annum nobody thought to mention in public that we would run it at about 220 thousand per annum from 2005. After NOM crashed during Covid neither the previous ScoMo government or the freshly elected Albanese government thought to ask Australians if they wanted an extra million people to join them – housing shortages and infrastructure shortages and all – during the next term in government.


Those unasked Australians – 96% immigrants or the descendants of immigrants – are one and the same with those paying notably more for houses to buy or rent, when the roads, stations, medical centre waiting rooms, and schools, seem additionally packed as a result of all the additional bums on seats. Then consider, that after Covid saw them getting the first decent pay rises in a decade, the advent of the surged Population Ponzi has those pay increases looking increasingly miserly.

It isn’t the fault of the immigrants, but it is a factor of the immigration – decided upon by Australian politicians, corporate interests, and bureaucrats for a generation.

Interestingly, the degree of concern about immigration’s threat to the youth of Australia is lowest among the actual youth of Australia. The RedBridge survey finds that over-65s are the most worried about immigrants making housing less affordable — and 18-34-year-olds are the least worried.

The truth is that Australian anxiety over immigration has always been, and continues to be, about the perception of control.

John Howard remains the author of this century’s most recognisable campaign line: “We will decide who comes here, and the circumstances under which they come.” 

In 2001, he repelled a Norwegian freighter full of refugees and carved great hunks of the Australian coastline out of our formal migration zones, while creating offshore prisons to house refugees from regimes with which we were as a nation actively in combat at the time.

Stern border control remains his brand. And yet, Howard actually doubled total immigration rates over his years in power.


Annabel isn’t wrong that younger Australians don’t seem concerned. That is younger Australians living with their parents and emigrating more, starting careers later and carrying more debt, and having children less than their predecessors. They may have other worry priorities. That isn’t the fault of immigrants, but it is the fault of decision making made by the same people who have avoided any mention of immigration, and gone to such lengths to make sure it isnt discussed.

She likewise has a point that John Winston Howard was an utter hypocrite who traumatised refugees to sucker in Australians on immigration numbers without telling them. But that utter hypocrite departed office 17 years ago, and it is his political descendants who have made the running. Albo may not see himself as Howard descendant but you have to ask to what extent he is.

Annabel then moves on to released detainees


The saga over released detainees isn’t really about immigration either

Why is Andrew Giles – current unhappy possessor of the federal ministry’s most thankless portfolio – in such strife right now? Why is he targeted every day in Question Time?

Is it because the safety of everyday Australians going about their business is noticeably imperilled by the release of 153 non-citizens from indefinite detention last November at the command of the High Court?


It’s about the perception that he — and by extension the government — has lost control. On multiple occasions now, the immigration minister and the prime minister have both blamed various management issues, the wearing and non-wearing of ankle bracelets, the deployment or non-deployment of drones, on the department or on the community safety board that they designed. It’s this sense of diffidence that creates the problem, not the numbers.

For context: To date, 28 of those released under the High Court’s ruling have allegedly reoffended. The current rate at which human beings released from Australian prisons go on to re-enter the criminal justice system within two years is, according to the Productivity Commission, about 50 per cent.

What’s the difference between the bog-standard Aussie-born convicted criminals who are released without comment every single day from prisons having served their terms according to our legislated state criminal codes and the non-citizens whose releases and reoffences command so much attention in Question Time?

The latter are foreigners who can be deported, and the former are locals, who can’t.

There’s no question that the cumulative threat to Australian householders from reoffending Aussies is much, MUCH higher than that posed by non-citizens that the High Court has ruled can’t just be kept in the slammer for ever.

Are the latter more dangerous? More likely to offend? Across the OECD, despite various niche politicians gouging populist careers out of the proposition that increased immigration equals increased crime rates, the evidence says: no, it doesn’t

While we don’t need to go too far into the subject, we could pose the question as to why there is surprise that anyone is concerned that non nationals being detained are released into the community if there is a 50% reoffence rate?

When all is said and done this isnt hard. Australians would for the most part like this handled in such way as to ensure that people who have committed minor misdemeanors aren’t booted out of the country, while those who have more serious offences – murder, rape, assault, threats of violence, large scale theft for starters – face the possibility that they are. Those people who arent Australian citizens have a lesser legal standing, and while they may be no more likely to reoffend, that lesser legal standing than citizens should potentially mean that in some circumstances the nation they have come to will say to them ‘not our issue, go and deal with the law in your homeland’. Our legal processes are expensive, and delivering bang for buck for taxpayers sometimes means that funding legal treatment of issues relating to non citizens isn’t always in Australia’s interests.

Annabel signs off…


But the numbers aren’t important here. They never are. It’s the vibe, your Honour.

At that point we need only recall that ‘The castle’ was ultimately about housing, and that many of the characters in it depicted minorities of that generation. In a nation 30% born offshore there are far too many people with lived experience of what racism actually is elsewhere, who often laugh about claims of racism here, and Annabel may care to suss the vibe before running numberless immigration concern equals racism pieces.