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Video: William Bourke of Sustainable Population Party in "Must Melbourne keep growing" forum

Video of William Bourke's speech inside. William Bourke is the President of the Sustainable Population Party. In this speech he covers a broad range of issues relevant to the population debate including: political donations and the power of vested interests, growth lobby spin, the world's biggest tower, GDP, Victoria's deteriorating economic base, the economic importance of natural capital, single issue politics, and a potential way forward for the population debate through a national vote by plebiscite.

You can hear more from Mr Bourke and from the other speakers and the open mic session at the "Does Melbourne have to keep growing?" forum from videos in the following article: "Melbourne must stop growing - Packed hall in Hawthorn votes for plebiscite."

The Sustainable Population Party's website is at

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All of the speakers, including William Bourke, President of the Sustainable Population Party, show what a fantastic job was done by the convener Jill Quirk in assembling such a great panel of speakers.

The facts and figures presented in William Bourke's speech confirm that the supposed economic benefit gained from the housing industry industry is illusory. We will add the transcript of William Bourke's talk as soon as he makes it available.

As it is impossible to export overseas a house or a high-rise unit, the best we can hope for, if everything used in its construction is manufactured in Australia, is a trade deficit of zero.

However, as an example, the cost of all the fittings necessary for a typical residential unit is $60,000 if bought from Australian manufacturers, whilst the cost of the same fittings, if they are imported, is $30,000. So few residences are constructed without adding substantially to Australia's trade deficit. (These figures were given to me by a panel speaker at the previous public meeting of Victoria First.)

Consequently, unless the immigrants are needed to work for export industries, a housing industry driven by immigration can only add to Australia's trade deficit. However, since the globalising 'reforms' of the then Federal Treasurer Paul Keating in 1983, Australia's manufacturing base has declined. In his talk, William Burke shows the ongoing effect upon Victoria. In the nine years from 2000/2001 until 2009/2010, Victoria's manufacturing workforce declined by 45,900 or 16.7%. The figures below show how Victoria's trade deficit has increased as a result of immigration.

Financial Year
1999/2000 2008/2009
Exports $30,000,000,000 $34,000,000,000
Imports $45,000,000,000 $70,000,000,000
Deficit $36,000,000,000 $45,0000,000,000

This raises the question of how we can employ the workforce, if housing construction were to be reduced as a result of reducing immigration.

We should look to other economies, which have succeeded in breaking the addiction to growth including Japan and France. In France, a substantial number of those who would be employed in housing construction are at work renovating existing housing with insulation and solar panels.

We should also plan to expand our food production and manufacturing sector, with more protection from cheap imports, if necessary.

Another alternative would be simply to work less hours and make work hours more flexible so that those, who prefer to work part-time, could do so.

Back in the late 1970's, Australia's trade union movement launched the campaign for the 35 hour week to share the available work around. I believe this was intended to be the first stage in the gradual reduction of the work-week, so that we could all devote far more of our life to recreation and intellectual stimulation.

However, under the influence of a Labor Party and a trade union leadership, which had been corrupted by the CIA since the early 1970's, the 35 hour week campaign was changed to a campaign for a 38 hour week.

Now, in 2014, the campaign for reduced working hours has been forgotten and unpaid overtime is expected of many of our largely de-unionised workforce. With the massive inefficiencies of scale from overpopulation and economic neo-liberalism, and massively increased housing costs, most are being remunerated less in real terms for the additional working and commuting times.

If we are looking to spend other peoples money to keep people employed, producing things where there is not natural demand, then this is welfare.

Demand for housing is artificially inflated, at a cost, to give someone an income.

May as well remove the middle man of building thigns we don't need, and pay then welfare payments.

The construction industry, LIKE ALL OTHERS, must adapt to the market.