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ABC 7.30 Report population special (Part 1) - by Leith van Onselen

ABC 7.30 Report last night aired part one of its three-part population special, which included me as the economist. While I will reserve judgement until the final two-parts have been aired, my initial gut reaction is disappointment. The main problem I see with it so far is the ABC has inferred that a population of more than 40-million mid-century is inevitable rather than a direct policy choice. Nowhere did The ABC clearly show how the federal government massively increased Australia’s immigration intake from the early-2000

By Leith van Onselen

ABC 7.30 Report last night aired part one of its three-part population special, which included me as the economist.

While I will reserve judgement until the final two-parts have been aired, my initial gut reaction is disappointing.

The main problem I see with it so far is the ABC has inferred that a population of more than 40-million mid-century is inevitable rather than a direct policy choice.

Nowhere did The ABC clearly show how the federal government massively increased Australia’s immigration intake from the early-2000s:


Nor how immigration is the defacto driver of Australia’s population increase – both directly as migrants step off the plane, as well as indirectly when they have children (then counted as ‘natural increase’). This was made explicit by the Productivity Commission’s 2016 Migrant Intake Australia report, which showed that Australia’s population would barely increase without immigration:

While the segment at least didn’t include spruiker ‘demographers’ like Liz Allen or Peter McDonald, it instead replaced them with another cookie-cutter demographer from ANU. One wonders why Bob Birrell wasn’t contacted, who has been a strong critique of Australia’s ‘Big Australia’ Program:

Finally, the spokesperson for Infrastructure Australia (IA) claimed that “population growth is an opportunity” – conveniently ignoring that IA has issued several recent stark warnings about infrastructure failing to keep pace with population growth, as well as ignoring IA’s own recent projections showing that living standards in both Sydney and Melbourne will be crushed as their populations surge to 7.4 million and 7.3 million by 2046:

Again, while I will reserve judgement until the final two parts are aired, I am not hopeful that The ABC will analyse this issue correctly and actually inform debate.

unconventionaleconomist@hotmail.com

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Comments

I knew I was in for a disappointment (which is almost an oxymoron as "disappointed" implies unexpectedly displeased) when I heard them say at the beginning of the 7.30 which aired last night that 60% of Australia's population growth comes from immigration because we are having fewer babies or not enough of them or we are somehow deficient in babies!
This is in fact drawing a conclusion far too early in what should be a program investigating the multi facets of the issue. The secret is out now that Australia's population is growing very fast. It's growing faster than we can cope with. No-one would argue that our 3rd world population growth rate does not have very inconvenient, (if not life threatening, with the inability of services to keep up) impacts. So the augmentation of our natural increase rate by such a huge amount is not a plus for most of us.
My educated bet is that birth rates would rise in Australia if 1.housing were more affordable for young couples 2. if young couples could buy a house earlier in their lives 3. if a mortgage could be serviced comfortably from one average income. 4 if there were far better security of employment. I would not be surprised if the way population is added now and has been in recent years is actually building up a situation where the population will be actually older than it would have been under a far lower immigration regime. After all babies are born at zero years and immigrants are all older then that.

I sympathise with you quark, but in the shifting sands of the mainstream media it is about par for the course. As much as I have tried to engage MSM in intelligent discourse on population, to them immigration, I just don't think that they have the mental capacity for understanding the ramifications of big is better.

The growth is good mantra is constantly filling our television screens, drowning out any music on the airwaves and filling page upon page in the printed media. Despite all the good work by good people such as Drs Katherine Betts and Bob Birrell, SPA and many others they will not countenance anything other than populate or perish. I believe they, the mainstream media, are basically ignorant. The Great God, Neoliberalism, has told them them that growth is good, greed is good and if we wreck this planet there are plenty more to choose from.

This is the same stuff that the Fairy Godmother taught us when we were kids and would be a riot if it wasn't reality we are playing with. The inanity of what MSM calls news has afflicted all forms of media including the ABC and SBS. If you want to listen, read or watch intelligent current affairs, you are required to look for it and mainly on websites, but even some of the so-called independent media have hidden agendas and refuse to discuss topics in the too-hard basket like population without putting up barriers.

It is just unbelievable how population growth used to be swept under the carpet and denied in the media , at least that's how i perceive it. But now it is all they seem to talk about on the ABC; population growth and the ramifications. But the wisdom or need for this growth is never questioned. What we have now is the daily experience of a congested city (in the case of Melbourne) and then when we have finished grappling with this and have made it home we listen to "experts"pontificating about it, lending their wise words about it and how to cope with it and talking about Melbourne at 8 million as though they are futurists. They are not futurists, they are cogs in the wheels of the cart bearing us all to our doom.