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Update 14-10-2014: Doyle vs Thomson: Big debate on Victoria's population increase - 13 Oct 2014

UPDATE: For the film of debate click here. The debate was attended by a 200 plus audience. The Lord Mayor showed courage under fire as he went down in the debate with only a pea-shooter of light-weight fashion statements like how many coffee shops Melbourne has vs a steady stream of deadly facts from Mr Thomson. The editors of candobetter.net are working to bring you a film of the debate, plus commentary and interviews with people who attended, ASAP. Mary Drost is to be resounding congratulated for achieving this important democratic event and also for calling for a referendum on population increase, which both Kelvin Thomson and Lord Mayor Doyle agreed would be desirable.

Lord Mayor Robert Doyle and Kelvin Thomson MP will debate the topic of Victoria's rapid and increasing population growth at Deakin Edge in Federation Square from 5.30-7pm on 13 October 2014. A few months ago Planning Backlash leader, Mary Drost, challenged Melbourne Mayor, Robert Doyle, to debate much loved Federal Member of Parliament, Kelvin Thomson, who retained his federal seat by a huge margin in an election where most other members of his party lost their seats. In 2014 Mr Thomson established Victoria First, a not-for-profit NGO to safeguard and enhance Victoria’s way of life against overpopulation. He is the only politician in Victoria to represent the people against the big business drive for rapid population growth.

Flyer attached as PDF, Word.

The rate of population growth affects people's lives by stressing services, infrastructure, and putting ever-increasing pressure on Victoria's (and Australia's) fragile environment. Residents' action groups, environment groups, flora and fauna protection groups all demonstrate and otherwise engage frequently to try and stop the brutal impacts of state-planned overpopulation on democracy, property rights, and the built and natural environment of this state. Our environmental and biodiversity protection laws are inadequate in the face of the growth onslaught.

The major portion of Australia's population growth is due to the very high rate of planned invited economic immigration in Australia. This is a situation promoted by the states, which like Victoria, all have government websites that seek to attract high numbers of immigrants to this country. Victoria's website is http://www.liveinvictoria.vic.gov.au/

Successive Victorian governments from the time of Jeff Kennett's have all deliberately brought on the population squeeze that has driven them to expend resources on successive planning blueprints for the state.

The major driver behind population growth is a number of focused beneficiaries which have formed organisations in order to keep those benefits coming. Property developers, mortgage financiers and their mass media representatives predominate in the growth lobby. The mass media has interests in population growth in stimulating business for property dot coms like www.realestate.com.au and www.domain.com.au and is the growth lobby's corporate mouthpiece. Therefore Melbourne's The Age, the Financial Review and the Herald Sun constantly talk about population growth but report it in a biased way, pretending, as the government does, that it is inevitable.

Melbourne’s Mayor Robert Doyle will represent the growth lobby position by saying that growth is inevitable in urban centres and must be 'planned for'. The Mayor’s opponent, Kelvin Thomson, is advocating for a reduction in the rate of population growth, which is currently 1.82% compared with the world average of 1.1%, Russian Federation 0.2%, Korea 0.4%, China 0.5%, France 0.5%, UK 0.6%, US 0.7%, Sweden 0.8%, New Zealand 0.8%, Samoa 0.8%, French Polynesia 1.1%, India 1.2%, Indonesia 1.2%, Canada 1.2%, Haiti 1.4%, Malaysia 1.6%, Singapore 1.6%, West Bank and Gaza 3.0%. Australia's population, at its current rate of growth of 1.8% per annum, would double in 38 years. At 0.5 % per annum, France's would take 138 years to double, but France's rate is more likely to decline, so that its population will never double, whereas Australia's rate has been higher and the government intends to increase it.

The forum will address the pros and cons of population growth. There will be an opportunity to ask questions.

Presented by Planning Backlash and a coalition of resident groups.

Where: Deakin Edge

When: Monday 13 October, 5.30pm - 7pm

Price: Free

Comments

"Mayor Robert Doyle will represent the growth lobby position by saying that growth is inevitable in urban centres and must be 'planned for'". His basic premise is false, as our population growth is driven and socially engineered mainly through immigration rates which are politically decided. He's making his debate easy to demolish, and with this basis, he will easily be pushed over by Kelvin Thomson! Surely Doyle will be better prepared for any other argument? The public expect to see robust debate, not some delusion or lie!

Of course, Doyle will refer to foreign income, GDP growth, housing revenues, "diversity", superannuation funds, pensions, ageing population, and national security etc. Any of these arguments are flimsy and easily refuted. The only people making money are the wealthy elite, and the fact that we are experiencing a new generation of homeless and renters is evidence that the Great Australian Dream of home ownership is being eroded away by greed. Population growth is the no-brainer way of boosting our GDP, while ignoring the heavy costs of schools, transport, energy, water, health care and basic public services that prevent us descending into third world poverty and deprivation. People are being warehoused in apartments and towers, "farmed" by property developers and the banking corporations, as resources for capitalism and profit-making.

The Population Overshoot Factor in Ecological Economics

We were delighted by the clear consensus that emerged at the end of the Iceland conference, that population size and growth is one of the major factors in assessing the  sustainability of economies and societies, which should be taken into account. As an aid to doing so, we attach the current Overshoot Index. This is a simple extrapolation for population size from the data of the (Kenneth Boulding Award-winning) Global Footprint Network. No-one, of course, claims that the figures are precise. Indeed, by omitting non-renewables and biodiversity, they may overstate sustainable populations. But as a rough guide to orders of magnitude, not least of the scale of the overshoot problem, we believe they could be of use to ISEE members.

Signed:  Blake Alcott; Carter Dillard; Sigrun Maria Kristinsdottir; Karin Limburg; Roger Martin; Luke O’Brien; Maria Ibbarola Rivas.

To download a copy click here.

AUSTRALIA'S rapid growth cannot keep up with the country's employment needs, a key Labor MP says.

The "disconnect" between jobs and population must be addressed, Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese told The Bolt report on Sunday.

"At the moment, my concern is that the growth in jobs - there's a disconnect between growth in jobs and growth in population of where they're occurring," the party's spokesman on infrastructure, transport and tourism said.

"So, you're having drive-in/drive-out suburbs without people having access to work, or even community infrastructure.

"So, we need to make sure that we get that right."

From, Sunshine Coast Daily, Sherele Moody, 28th Sep 2014.
Read more

There is probably no single factor which has more influence over the function and health of a society than the number of people within that society.

Yet the Australian government deliberately expands our population every year with no public consultation whatsoever.

Through both foreign policy (immigration) and domestic policy (taxation, 'baby bonuses' etc) governments are able to deliberately manipulate population size.

Pyramid schemes such as this are illegal in most countries because they inevitably collapse and usually with disastrous consequences.

Population size directly affects almost every aspect of our lives from the state of the natural environment to the cost of housing. Expanding the population further has far-reaching, often irreversible consequences.

Population policy is far too serious a matter to be determined by a handful of politicians who are so easily influenced by shortsighted groups with vested interests.

There have never been more people living on this planet and in this country than there are at this minute.

Overpopulation is a serious global problem. In the absence of any global leadership we should take responsibility at a state level and lead by example.

Before we deliberately expand the population further it is imperative that the general public discuss, debate and consider its consequences.

A well informed electorate and referendum on this matter is the only way to ensure genuine democratic progress. On this most serious issue we can ill afford to have it determined any other way. Let the people decide!

Petition: Hold a referendum on population growth.

Mary Drost writes: Just a bit more about the Big Population Debate next Monday, we hope to see you there.

Why not come along and have a meal at Federation Square afterwards?

(List of restaurants attached - It may be necessary to click on “skip to main content” to open pictures)

THE BIG POPULATION DEBATE 13th October 2014

Melbourne’s population is set to double in the next 35 years because of record immigration numbers.

Will Melbourne still be the most liveable city then?

Think about it :

• double those travelling on public transport

• double the number of cars on our already congested roads

• double the number of residents living in your area

• double the multi storey apartments and high-rises

• double the infrastructure required to support the growth etc.

Ask yourself who will pay for all the infrastructure up- grades required?

It will be the existing residents – not the new arrivals.

We have arranged a debate on the increasing rate of our population growth

Between ROBERT DOYLE, Melbourne’s Lord Mayor and

KELVIN THOMSON, MP, President of Victoria First Inc.

Where : Deakin Edge, Federation Square

When : Monday 13th October 2014,

5.30pm until 7.pm.

This fabulous article raises the absurd and dystopian push for a big population by Robert Doyle and Denis Napthine, in a long line of leaders who apparently do not give a stuff about the people of Melbourne. I would have liked us to have reproduced it in full, but I cannot get hold of the mass media outlets to ask permission, so can only post a portion. However anyone can click on the links. Please do. It makes the points brilliantly.

http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/entertainment/does-growing-melbourne-mean-a-short-shower-20141002-10oyxe.html

"A couple of years back the Victorian government posted me a little blue egg-timer. It has Our Water stamped on one end and Our Future stamped on the other and a suction cup so I can stick it on my shower wall and watch the blue sand run for four minutes while I wash.

People I know who remembered World War II saw this as rationing and felt edgy and suspected we were facing a dark enemy. I felt the unease myself as I frantically washed while the pretty sand ran.

A few months later the same government announced they were opening up land on the urban boundaries on Melbourne's north and west for another 450,000 people. An addition the size of Canberra. Insert double-blink here. We haven't got enough water to shower longer than a U2 ballad and you're smilingly telling me what? Recently D. Napthine triumphantly announced a new suburb called Rockbank would be built. Which allowed those of us who were worried Sydney and/or Brisbane might edge ahead of us in some fatuous ranking of national and/or international importance to relax.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/does-growing-melbourne-mean-a-short-shower-20141002-10oyxe.html#ixzz3Fni2INZ8

The egg timer is a very poignant symbol . If it were really a case of water shortages rather than people "longages", I’m sure that even without rising costs of water, Victorians would have cooperated for the common good. In fact I think they did, probably not realizing what was being done to them with socially engineered population growth. Increasingly, in Melbourne, the rich will have as much water as they like and the poor will be rationed because of cost. After all, Victoria now has a desalination plant from which one can buy water as a product. The environmental costs I guess are just "externalities" for the time being.

The faster population grows, the less time that the poor have.

The International Monetary Fund expects Australia will have the worst jobless rate in the Asia-Pacific region over the next two years, bar the Philippines.

Australia is experiencing Post War rates of immigration, fuelling our high population growth, but our economy isn't keep up to the demands of producing jobs. In the post war period we had a nation to build, jobs that needed filling, and houses were affordable and cheap. Times have changed.

Out of all the developed nations of the world, Australia has one of the fastest rates of population growth, and there's no sign of it being adjusted in regards to global trends, economic budget constraints and increasing scarcities of natural resources.

Homelessness is increasing with every capital city struggling to assist its most vulnerable.

The Poverty in Australia report, to be released on Sunday by the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS), also shows one in six Australian children are living in poverty.

The percentage of Australians and of Australian children living in poverty rose from 2010 to 2012.

One in seven Australians living in poverty according to new report.

During the mining boom, it was assumed that our economy would continue to grow and flourish and there would not be enough employees to fill the burgeoning number of baby-boomers leaving work to retire. Now, young people are bearing the brunt of rising unemployment as the nation's economy struggles to regain momentum.

Countries around the world are still struggling following the Global Financial Crisis, and massive global population growth outpacing economic growth, with debts crippling many economies. The pillage of the Middle East’s energy resources through the guise of wars is assisting the economies of some western countries, and their continual drive for energy and economic growth.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) more than 600,000 Australian children live in poverty. According to the ABS more than 18,000 children aged less than 12 years are homeless.

Australia heading to crisis to worst joblessness. Nothing is said of our population growth, of nearly 400,000 new people each year, many of them of working age!

Megalomania needs to be replaced with a measure of grounded reality, and common sense. Our international spruiking of "skills shortages" needs to be trimmed in light our our rising unemployment rate.

The more of us there are, the more thinly our natural and built resources must be shared.

Manufacturing is disappearing, along with Holden and Ford. The fact is a country that makes nothing of its own and has to import all of its finished goods is not a first world country. If we're just going to have an economy based in farming, mining and tourism, that's not really a First-World economy. An economy based on amassing people means huge net GDP rates, but at the cost of per capita poverty.

Mr Shorten, who celebrates one year as Labor leader today, said immigration had been a great economic driver and he expected Australia’s population to grow at a faster rate than the world average. He's ignoring democratic opinion polls, and the fact that the wealthier countries have stable and smaller populations!

An "economic driver" ignores the costs of immigration and it's impact on the voters, the environment and our social/economic landscape. It's pure Neo-liberal economic ideals, that an economy must "grow" at all costs, without considering the constraints. It's economic Darwinism, of the survival of the "fittest" - or the most wealthy corporations and individuals at the costs of the majority!

“I’m a fan of immigration and what it’s done for this country,” Shorten says! It's myopic, tunnel-vision thinking. Immigration built our nation, and high rates of growth benefited us in the past, when there were jobs, cheap houses, infrastructure to build and an economy of scale needed building up.

Nothing grows forever, our Australia is experiencing increasing poverty and homelessness.

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/bill-shorten-in-favour-of-a-big-australia/story-fn59niix-1227088221740 ("You've reached a subscriber-only article.")

With same-same strangling policies coming from our major political parties, it's time to give our independents and alternative political parties opportunities.

A vote for Sustainable Population Party will bring some common sense, and grass-roots democracy into politics and end the stronghold of bipartism in generic "growth" policies.

Lord Mayor Doyle is to be applauded in facing a hostile audience, and trying to "spin" his way through the maze of logic and counter-arguments to his claims that Melbourne is more "prosperous" now than in the 1970s when we only had 2 million people!
He failed to comprehend numbers, and got confused about how most of our population growth is due to net overseas migration - not natural growth! (or deliberately?)
There was no concrete evidence of this "prosperity", but the facade of more towers, and people, in our city.
We have a 15 year peak in youth unemployment, a growing band of homeless sleeping rough, and increasing poverty. Victoria, as someone pointed out, has a $40 billion trade deficit from imports overwhelming exports! All this was dismissed for the "prosperity" Melbourne has gained from population growth? No doubt the City of Melbourne's budget has massively increased, along with donations and revenues from property developers, and more rates, but the elusive "prosperity" is more about painting over the crack in our economy by glass towers and more consumers!
It's a bit like the slave trade! The wealthy plantation owners, and shipping agents would argue that England was more "prosperous" for having the slave trade, but at what cost? Doyle would live on a high salary, no doubt with a Council car, in a leafy suburb, and be completely out of touch with the reality of unaffordable housing, traffic congestion, massive costs of living, and the crush of high density housing! Amassing "slaves" does increase "prosperity" for some, but at the costs of living standards, social justice, democracy and personal welfare.

I estimate about 250 people attended this debate and from the mood displayed , about 100% were very unhappy about our high growth trajectory.

The Lord Mayor took the position that nothing much could be done about population growth because, he said coyly, people will “keep on doing what they do” and he didn’t want a “one child policy” . He threw a challenge in the air that if people wanted to stop immigration then they should stop dithering and say so. Kelvin Thomson had already said that Australia should revert to immigration levels of earlier times- around 70,000 p.a. which would give the country a chance to stabilize its population in the future but the Lord Mayor seemingly ignored this subtlety. He said he was managing population growth in his own jurisdiction and that of course Melbourne with a much higher population than in the 1970s when it was boring is now a much more interesting place.

Kelvin Thomson later, in summing up used attractive examples to illustrate that it was not in fact boring in the '70s. To this, the Lord Mayor responded by repeating “ We can’t go back!” It was as though the argument had now turned into futile nostalgia! I don’t think the Lord Mayor Mayor used the hackneyed term “vibrant”- but look out for it if you view the film (when available) as he may have slipped one in without my noticing. The Lord Mayor, a few times during the debate said that he didn’t understand Kelvin Thomson's position and didn’t know that his numbers added up. etc. With no countering numbers this seems just is an easy ploy to cast doubt on one’s opponent.

Jenny Warfe asked a question about how the Lord Mayor saw "perpetual growth in a finite world" to which the Lord Mayor responded rather indignantly as though he had been accused of believing in Father Christmas. He protested that of course he did not believe in such a thing yet the rest of his views of population growth seemed to me to say otherwise.

Both Mr Thompson and Mr Doyle admitted that population was a problem, but as far as I heard (and I did listen intently), only Mr Thompson proposed a solution, or at the very least, means by which future problems could be significantly lessened.

Doyle unfortunately only had vague notions of "Smart Growth" instead of what we've been having, which us "Dumb Growth". As there is no concrete plan at all for "Smart Growth", and Doyle was quite vague on it (choosing to give a salesman pitch about immigration and a kind of "I dare you to say you want it lowered" rhetoric), which makes me think it doesn't exist.

Consider what limiting growth to transport corridors, and stopping urban sprawl will, do. Consider that this is done with the current level of immigration (and increasing!).

The massive population influx will be channelled to even smaller areas, creating higher house price spikes in these corridors and higher saturation of roads and rail systems.

The property lobby will somehow have to accept not developing at the urban fringes, and reducing subdivision and infill in non-corridor areas. This seems highly unlikely, and we can be pretty sure that there is more chance of liquid Helium freezing over, than Doyle doing anything to constrain developers and go against the lobby (which profits most form dumb growth).

There were a few other fallacies as well. Doyle said the birthrate would still lead to population growth, but reducing immigration would also reduce the birthrate further. The reason being, that population growth through immigration involved bringing in people who are predominantly of child bearing age (and will have children). Population growth naturally occurring does not immediately raise the birthrate, as it will take about 20 years for those babies to start having children. Immigrants can, and do, have them soon after arriving, and skew the demographic towards the fertile age groups (increasing birthrates per capita).

Secondly, Doyle suggested that somehow there would be a problem implementing Kelvin's solution, as if somehow you couldn't turn people back (Liberals do this all the time, and offer to tow the boats too).

Australia already considers entry based on criteria. If you see here, http://www.immi.gov.au/media/fact-sheets/20planning.htm you can see criteria on this and associated pages. Australia discriminates based on skills and wealth (which seems to be acceptable?) The immigration policy is (supposedly) to assess immigrants based on criteria regarding their benefit to Australia. The fact that sheer numbers is not a criteria, is something that has been overlooked, rather than a game changing shift in morality and civilisation.

Quite simply, the department of immigration have selection criteria, and this needs to be adjusted to also asses numbers and demographic impact (and I would recommend cultural impact). Doyle seemed to suppose Kelvin was proposing something way out there, when in reality, it is nothing more than expanding upon the already existing criteria, using already existing mechanisms, which already turn people back.