The Australian Government today released its fourth Intergenerational Report on Australia’s future. Predictably, it advocates a need for a much bigger population.
This argument has been rolling since the aftermath of WW2 when there was bipartisan agreement that Australia needed a population of 20 million.
The Big Australia debate of about 5 years ago went quiet because of public anxiety and the damage it did to PM Kevin Rudd at the time. The growth lobby has barely mentioned it since. However, with a subtle change of words, Michael Fullilove, Executive Director of the Lowy Institute, ventured to call for ‘a larger Australia’ in an address to the National Press Club early last year. (He failed to mention any immigration numbers!)
Now, Big Australia has regrouped to deliver not only the Intergenerational Report (covered here by the ABC) , but also The Economic Impact of Migration. Both reports argue for 40 million people by 2055, arguing that growth is essential to help cope with our ageing population. Media discussion has focussed strongly on this theme: see, for example, this morning’s AM segment ‘Boosting migrant intake by 250,000 could help balance the aging population’.
It’s a pity that the authors of these reports have ignored the warnings of eminent ANU demographer Christabel Young. Her article, ‘Let’s have some demography in Australia’s population policy’, demolished the short-sighted ‘argument’ that Australia needs high immigration because of its ageing population. We blogged about this in October 2014.
The ageing population argument is a dishonest excuse for increasing immigration even further. Growth didn’t stop at 20 million, and it won’t be stoppable at 40 million in 2055.
In fact, what Australia needs is to REDUCE IMMIGRATION. Policy change is needed because high immigration adversely affects our environmental sustainability, social cohesion and cultural integrity. We have listed many documents that support this case, elsewhere on this website.
Voters in NSW will soon have the opportunity to send a message to decision-makers. We urge all NSW voters to write REDUCE IMMIGRATION atop both ballot papers when they go to the polls on 28 March 2015.
6 March 2015
Dick Smith, in a letter to today’s Australian, correctly identifies the government’s current strategy as ‘a type of Ponzi scheme’. He adds: ‘When these new immigrants get older, what do we do then — bring in more immigrants so that we are forever addicted to an exponential increase in population?’
In the same letters column, Vivienne Ortega adds her useful analysis of the Intergenerational Report: ‘under [this] plan, each generation will have a bigger ageing population to offset. It’s pyramid demographics, and it means our natural and built wealth will be diluted with each generation. We can’t expect future generations to be burdened by poor decision making.’
7 March 2015
This video is well worth watching: Ross Gittins, ‘Does more people mean more money for all?’, Sydney Morning Herald, 3 March 2015.
26 March 2015
The political basis for population projections in the Intergenerational Report is exposed in this article by David Uren: ‘Fertile grounds for big country’, The Australian, 26 March 2015, p. 12. While we disagree with the author’s confidence in a Big Australia, we endorse his conclusion – that public fears about the consequences of population growth are ‘best dealt with by leadership, rather than fiddling forecasts to tell a more comfortable story’.