(illustration by Sheila Newman)
In “Population grows at record rate", an article by Tim Colebatch, The Age, June 6, 2008, an Australian journalist has once again been given license by the Fairfax Press to frame Australia’s overpopulation problem as some kind of triumph.
In an article akin to the spin used to sell large bags of potato crisps and sugar, caffeine and phenelalanine-laden soft drinks to adolescents, Tim Colebatch sells overpopulation to Age readers.
Whilst relating the latest ABS statistics, the journalist chooses resoundingly positive terms for this undemocratic and frightening complex phenomenon:
Australia “turned the corner” into 2007 by having ‘almost 21.2 million people'.
In Victoria, the state’s population grew by a “record” 82,430 people. Tasmania “reached a milestone” and is ‘now “on track” to reach 500,000 residents’
Portraying this bizarre engineered growth as some kind of race for supremacy, Colbatch comments that Victoria “lost slightly” ‘in net migration flows to other states.’ ‘Queensland (+25,647) was the “big winner” from interstate migration, as usual, while NSW (-24,028) was again the “big loser”.’
The article concludes with some of the costs of population growth in Australia, but without portraying them as costs. In contrast to the hyped up descriptors for the growing numbers, journalist Colbatch leaves right for the end a peculiarly unemotional account of some of the suffering involved:
“The rapid population growth is driven by business recruiting ready-trained skilled workers from poorer countries rather than training Australians. In the six months to April, almost 100,000 temporary workers arrived, while the Government has just increased the quota for permanent skilled migration from 102,500 to 133,500. Critics point out that there has been no increase in housing supply, so the arrivals are intensifying the housing shortage and helping to drive up rents.”
There is no warning of how the extra people will affect the chances of Australians to weather oil, soil and water depletion.
The statistical news is actually unrelievedly awful, especially as related with ghastly flourishes like these for Victoria:
‘VICTORIA's population has “soared” to more than 5.2 million, with the Brumby Government "claiming the biggest growth in 35 years”' and ‘Treasurer John Lenders said the figures were "an endorsement of our Government's record investment in making Victoria the best place to live, work and raise a family"’.
No mention at all of the growth in groups all over Victoria and the rest of the country protesting at the loss of democracy and control over their environments. This is not reporting. This is propaganda, pure and simple.
Please circulate this article to help to counteract mainstream-media propaganda for population growth.