The “problem” of Australia’s ageing population has been a concern for decades.
counter growth lobby
A fundamentally flawed proposal to bust open super for first home buyers housing deposits could hike the nation’s five major capital city median property prices by between 8-16%, preliminary analysis from Industry Super Australia shows.
Allowing couples to take $40,000 from super would send property prices skyrocketing in all state capitals, but the impact would be most severe in Sydney, where the median property price could lift a staggering $134,000. (see table 1 below)
In most areas the price increases and extra property taxes would quickly surpass the amount of super a first home buyer could withdraw, so homebuyers would be paying more but at the expense of their super. In all cities but Hobart if a couple took out $40,000 from their super, nearly all would be lost through the price hikes the increased demand would fuel, in Sydney prices would spike by three times that amount.
The market would react quickly to the scheme becoming a reality, within a year the full price increases would likely be realised.
Many potential buyers would soon be locked out of the supercharged market, others would be lumped with far bigger mortgages – and would hit retirement with little savings and only the pension to rely on.
A big loser in this scheme, being pushed by a backbench MP, is the taxpayer, who would be forced to pay billions more into the aged pension, which could lead to higher taxes.
There is no free lunch in super and for every $1 taken out of super by someone in their 30s the taxpayer must pay up to $2.50 more in increased pension costs when they retire.
But the scheme is a real winner for the banks who would reap the windfall of the inflated mortgages.
Last week Superannuation Minister Jane Hume joined a chorus of economists, housing experts and a Retirement Income Review report author who have cautioned against raiding super for housing.
The findings of ISA’s preliminary analysis backs expert warnings that such a scheme would inflate prices and make affordability worse.
ISA will soon publish a detailed technical report on its findings, a briefing report on the proposal can be found here: https://www.industrysuper.com/media/super-bad-why-super-for-a-house-will-hurt-first-home-buyers/
Industry Super Australia Chief Executive Bernie Dean, commented as follows:
“This just confirms what experts have been saying for ages; that throwing super into the housing market would be like throwing petrol on a bonfire – it will jack up prices, inflate young people’s mortgages and add billions to the aged pension, which taxpayers will have to pay for. Politicians who own multiple investment properties and pocket 15% super might think price hikes are a ‘secondary’ consideration. They don’t care about locking young people into hugely inflated mortgages and a bleak future with hardly any savings to fall back on. We need sensible solutions – like boosting the supply of affordable housing which will bring prices down and get young people into a home without lumbering workers with higher taxes in the future. We welcomed the minister pouring cold water on this idea very publicly last week and would encourage the Treasurer and the PM to back her up and show that the government is not beholden to extreme elements within its ranks.”
I went to the one [meeting] at Pascoe Vale neighbourhood Community Hall. People were hostile. They [Council staff] said they were seeking community input for their submission. One resident said;
'Is it going to be like last time when you had the Moreland Rezoning Community consultations. You didn't give an accurate account of our opinions in your submission. No mention how residents opposed increased density, wanted greater protection etc. Instead you said things like, residents wanted better quality apartments etc. What a load of bullshit, you lot are going to do what you want?'
Another lady… said:
'I'm reading through this handout. This is basically a bribe. You're telling us to accept the four storey height limit, because if we don't we'll end up with ten storeys. '
Council officer tried to deny it, but the lady kept pressing and pressing the point that this is a bribe, until the officer admitted in a round about way 'as it stands, developers can apply to build beyond 4 storeys, if we don't have height limits, so we have to put something in place. '
In the draft 1.1 of Neighbourhood Centres Strategy, it states that Plan Melbourne promotes density in defined locations to support a 20minute neighbourhood, where residents will have access to a wide range of local amenities and services. My husband (a Brunswick boy) stood up and said:
'This 20 minute concept was intended for new estate areas. Any residents living in Moreland can already access services and amenities within 20minutes. Within 20min I can be in Brunswick, Coburg, Hospitals in Parkville, Airport West, Essendon DFO, Northland, Moonee Ponds. We don't need density to support the 20min neighbourhood concept. We have it already.’
The artist impression showed block after block of 4 storey apartments surrounding the Pascoe Vale Station, where supposedly people will be able to shop and work near where there live. The station is at the bottom of Gaffney Street hill and commuters take up a lot of parking at the station and in surrounding streets. So where will people park to do their shopping and how many people will walk back up the hill with their shopping? Zilch! They'll go to supermarkets with big car parks. Someone asked if any of these shops and offices, beneath these apartments are going to provide jobs that can pay the mortgage or rent. Are they going to be big volume employers like manufacturing firms in the past, who employed a lot of local residents? Then the officer said:
'The nature of employment has changed from the manufacturing of the past. We're seeing more self employed looking for workspaces close to home. For example, there's a Brunswick artist who is renting a studio close to home.'
Someone sarcastically asked: 'so this artist is going to employ a lot of local people?'
In his Moreland Rezoning submission, Ernest Healy, a former researcher in planning and population at Monash University, has pointed out that 85% of Moreland residents worked outside the municipality. He questioned Council's ability to encourage Moreland residents to work locally.
Questions were also asked about where schools, infrastructure, waste management and services, for example ambulance and hospitals, came into play with all this density. They are becoming overstretched. Strathmore Secondary had to knock back 200 students, including those in the zone. Four portables had to be delivered to Strathmore Secondary and Pascoe Vale Primary, encroaching in playgrounds. Many schools are converting storage areas, locker bays and shelter sheds into classrooms. If density continues, the children won't have a playground. A paramedic I know said hospitals bypasses are increasing…
This madness has to stop. [The mess on] rubbish days in some streets around here is getting worse. So much for the Greens thinking high density is environmentally friendly.
"Home ownership is a means to an end. It is not necessary for all people in all places. What all people want is housing affordability, security, and autonomy. A place they know they can come to, where they are in control of their own lives, which can be arranged to best serve their interests, tastes and lifestyle, and which will not enslave them financially. It is these values which have been so steadily undermined in Australia over the past decade in particular.
In some European countries like Germany, only about half of all households own their home. Many people have cited them, in an effort to wean Australians off their preference for ownership. However, the situation here is very different to that in Germany. There, tenants have substantial rights protecting their tenure and enabling them to decorate and to a certain extent modify their abode. Most importantly, the housing market is not inflating, so there is no expectation that rents will outstrip inflation into the future." (Dr Jane O'Sullivan) 
Submission to the Home Ownership Inquiry
House of Representatives Economics Committee
By Dr Jane O’Sullivan, June 2015
I am grateful to the Committee for its consideration of Home Ownership, which is an issue of increasing concern for Australians.
Home ownership is a means to an end. It is not necessary for all people in all places. What all people want is housing affordability, security, and autonomy. A place they know they can come to, where they are in control of their own lives, which can be arranged to best serve their interests, tastes and lifestyle, and which will not enslave them financially. It is these values which have been so steadily undermined in Australia over the past decade in particular.
In some European countries like Germany, only about half of all households own their home. Many people have cited them, in an effort to wean Australians off their preference for ownership. However, the situation here is very different to that in Germany. There, tenants have substantial rights protecting their tenure and enabling them to decorate and to a certain extent modify their abode. Most importantly, the housing market is not inflating, so there is no expectation that rents will outstrip inflation into the future.  This Submission was made in the name of Dr Jane O'Sullivan.
In Australia, renters are faced with ever-tightening budgets as rents are ratcheted up, and the prospect of termination of lease forcing them to move, with great uncertainty about where they might be able to afford to move to. They generally have little if any control over the fittings and finishes in their home, the energy mix and efficiency, or the level of security afforded. The only insurance against ever-increasing insecurity is home ownership.
I hope that this inquiry will consider policy options both to improve the accessibility of home ownership, and to improve the security and rights of tenants.
Current rates of home ownership
Home ownership is still relatively high in Australia, but most current households bought their first home before the escalation in property values, that began in the late 1990s. The rate of decline in home ownership among younger cohorts between the 2006 and 2011 census is disturbing. The following chart is reproduced from Leith van Onselen 
Behind this relatively small change in overall home ownership is a vast increase in household debt levels. The ratio of mortgage debt-to-disposable income exceeded 140% in December 2014.  This is up from an average debt of 27 per cent of average income in 1985. The Economist reported that, since the 1970s, virtually the entire increase in the ratio of private-sector debt to GDP around the world has been caused by rising levels of mortgage lending.
LF Economics documents that housing in Sydney and Melbourne requires more years of median income to pay down the capital value than in any other city except Vancouver. Vancouver is another city beset by very high rates of immigration-fuelled population growth. When one factors in that mortgage interest rates are higher in Australia than elsewhere, even at our current relatively low rates, affordability in Australia is extremely low on world standards. If setting aside 30% of a median income for the purpose, Sydney or Melbourne households would spend 6 years saving for a 20% deposit, and 23 years paying down the principle on a loan for 80% of median home price, plus a further 20 or more years to cover the interest, according to the LF Economics report. Spending 30% or more of disposable income on housing is considered to indicate housing stress. Thus the median household entering the market faces official housing stress for their entire working life. Let us remember that households entering the market as first-home-buyers initially average incomes well below median.
The ratings agency Filch found Australia had the highest growth in dwelling prices since 1997. This is unsurprising, since we had the highest population growth also.
Source [of Nominal House Prices diagram]: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-01-15/fitch-graph-of-housing-price-growth-since-1997/6018762
Thus Australians have shown very low elasticity of demand for housing, absorbing huge cost increases with relatively little change in purchasing behaviour – accommodated by a massive change in debt, impacting on consumption behaviour and work-life balance. A declining proportion of income spent on every-day consumption means a smaller multiplier-effect of each person’s productivity in the whole economy: fewer jobs are needed to service this consumption, while more people try to increase their hours of work to pay their mortgage. Workforce participation can only fall as the least competitive in the labour market are forced out.
There are two main reasons for this low elasticity:
a) Conditions in the rental market have worsened also, making long-term renting ever less attractive. Median rent statistics hide the fact that new additions to the rental stock offer less and less amenity. Like-for-like, rents have risen faster.
b) Expected further inflation of housing makes those without property nervous that they will be permanently locked out if they do not buy in as soon as possible.
It is often argued in the media that rising house prices have been driven by Australians demanding bigger and fancier houses. This is patently untrue. If it were true, the standard post-war three-bedroom bungalow in inner ring suburbs would be decreasing in value. The average ‘house’ may have increased in size, but not the average abode, when apartments are included. It is land which is inflating, not the cost of construction nor the scale of homes.
The truth is that the average standard of accommodation in Australia has been steadily declining, with the average young couple settling for a smaller apartment, in a noiser and less green neighbourhood, with less contact with neighbours, and/or a greater distance from work and community amenities. Most will have spent more of their adult life either in their parental home or in share-houses, than their parents’ generation. Most will spend a far greater proportion of their life-time earnings just keeping a roof over their head. All these factors contribute to considerable loss of quality of life in Australia.
An increasing number of reports document the social stresses of housing unaffordability. The Age reported on multiple families living together because they can't afford the rent. Minimum wage workers are being pushed to the fringes of Sydney, with UWS urban studies researcher Dallas Rogers affirming that geographical separation of rich and poor creates a cycle of disadvantage.
The inflation of house prices does not benefit home owners, as the inflation will equally affect the home they buy to replace one sold. This was well explained in a recent letter in the Canberra Times:
“If you bought a house in 1995 for $200,000 and sold it in 2007 for $600,000, how much profit did you make?
“A) Nil. B) About $200,000. C) $400,000. D) None of the above. The correct answer for most people would be D. If it was your only house, you would have needed to buy another house in 2007 to replace the one you sold. An equivalent replacement would cost $600,000. Add to that the costs of selling (say $20,000) and the costs of buying and moving (around $40,000), then you would have spent an extra $60,000 to be in the same position you were in 1995.
“Many people think that they are better off when the price of their house goes up. They aren't. It is still the same asset. What does go up is their capacity to borrow.
One of the most outstanding achievements of the last Liberal/National government was to double household debt. The profit of Australia's major banks was closely aligned with this increase in debt.”
The Reserve Bank of Australia suggested that consumption growth in Australia will depend on further housing inflation, with the ‘wealth effect’ (the illusion of greater wealth) encouraging households to spend. Thus they are relying on households exercising their greater capacity to borrow, using debt to pump up GDP. Given the effect of housing unaffordability on the ability of households to save for retirement, others stress importance of housing equity to fund retirement, advocating the use of reverse mortgages. Yet, if households are coerced into spending their growing home equity instead of paying down their mortgage, they will not have equity to draw on in retirement. This attitude appears to be merely kicking the can down the road – to land in a very rocky place, when the current young and over-leveraged cohort reach retirement. Private debt cannot sustainably grow GDP any more than fiscal debt, and it’s about time our macroeconomists admitted it.
In an article in The Conversation, Keith Jacobs argues that the majority of people would benefit from falling real estate prices, but the media and political discourse spruiks housing inflation as enrichment:
“Why has this crisis of affordability not been addressed by government? A major reason is that powerful industry groupings such as the financial sectors, property developers and real estate lobby groups have been spectacularly successful in maintaining pressure on the policymakers to privilege wealthy homeowners at the expense of less well-off households.”
Demand and supply drivers in the housing market
The main factor driving these stressors is population growth. Population did not initiate the past 15 years’ hyper-inflation – that was primarily the capital gains tax discount. But population growth was used since the mid-2000s to prop up the bubble caused by that rash and inequitable gift to the rich.
Was it the faltering of housing inflation in 2011 that caused the Gillard government to backflip on its election promise of reducing immigration, and further escalate population growth despite worsening unemployment?
In countries with stable populations, like Germany, property values are near stable, and housing is not a magnet for speculative investment. It is free instead to serve its occupants. Japan’s property bubble ended as its population growth tailed off. Australia’s population growth remains far higher than almost all other OECD countries. This is not only at the expense of affordable housing, but of fiscal balance, with the increased infrastructure costs amounting to over $100,000 per person added , and already accounting for State government debts.
Yet, because it forces up aggregate levels of debt, population growth is great for the banks. Unfortunately, policy-makers tend to turn to banks for macroeconomic advice, apparently oblivious to the conflict of interest between the banks and the populace they leverage. CommSec’s quarterly State of the States reports, which Premiers spruik as a measure of their personal success, invariably places population growth as a dominant determinant of economic performance. Yet the same reports show incomes more consistently outstripping cost-of-living in the states with least population growth. Only by ignoring per capita metrics are the faster-growing states portrayed as more successful. If headline economic indicators were routinely reported per capita, and change in public and private debt were subtracted from them, we would have a much more realistic view of wealth trends. This is the story the banks do not want to tell.
It is frequently claimed that house price rises are due to inadequate supply of housing. This excuse is wearing thin with the public, who see that government policy has taken every opportunity to increase demand. In addition to the expanded immigration program has been added increasing access of foreign investors to Australian real estate. The capital gains tax discount remains sacred, even as welfare and community services are sacrificed as ‘fiscally irresponsible’. Intermittently, first-home-buyer grants further fuel demand and ratchet up prices.
Foreign investment in real estate does not increase supply, it merely fuels the demand, and further displaces prospective home-owners. Without foreign capital inflows, the supply of housing outstripped demand growth continuously from 1950 to 2007. There is an acknowledged tendency for foreign owners, particularly Chinese, to leave properties empty, with the effect that their purchase decreases, rather than increases, housing supply. If developers claim that they can no longer find up-front funding for new ventures on-shore, it is only because, at the current value of land, their proposed development is not commercially viable. A liberal government should not be interfering in the market-place to prop up such unviable ventures.
By introducing investors who have much lower costs of capital than Australians, as well as providing a haven for those who may be laundering corrupt earnings, the prices can be ratcheted even further beyond what is economically rational for Australians. This can only progressively lock Australians out of home ownership, and leave them increasingly beholden to foreign landlords.
Such fuelling of demand plays into the hands of those with control over supply. A recent University of Queensland study found that speculation in peri-urban land was highly lucrative for those with political connections, who have more than a knack for picking the next area to be rezoned. Likewise, approvals for height relaxations on inner urban developments are equally lucrative. It serves developers to present supply as the problem for housing affordability, and themselves as the heroic saviours. Their claims that foreign investors are needed to get projects up are purely self-serving. Their investment in numerous lobbyists and think tanks spruiking population growth ensures that supply is never met, and ever more concessions from government can be requested to help them ease the pressure that they themselves have bought and paid for.
The proportion of investment housing relative to owner-occupied housing
The main impact of the capital gains tax discount was to attract investors into the property market, massively intensifying demand. It goes without saying that housing investment decreases home ownership. Investors need tenants, and those households competed out of home ownership by cashed-up investors are forced to remain tenants. Population growth ensures rental vacancy rates are kept very low, forcing up rents and motivating renters to stretch their credit limit to purchase property. Once heavily mortgaged, both home owners and investors depend on further price increases to recover their investment. But this can only happen at the expense of younger people entering the housing market, each cohort facing higher indebtedness than the last. Each year housing inflation continues, more investors are attracted, further decreasing the proportion of housing that is owner-occupied. It is a vicious cycle.
The Prime Minister was clearly declaring himself on the side of investors against home-owners, when he recently said “I do hope that our housing prices are increasing.” Anyone who thinks that property owners can continue enjoying investment growth well above CPI, without housing affordability deteriorating inexorably, is deluding themselves. Yet, as the old adage goes,
“It's hard to get someone to understand something when their salary depends on them not understanding it.”
The impact of current tax policy at all levels
Tax policy currently preferences investors over home owners, particularly through the following elements:
• Capital Gains Tax discounting;
• Tax deductibility of interest rates;
• Depreciation of buildings;
• Negative gearing.
Together, these measures mean that financing an investment property is much cheaper than financing a home. This is inequitable. Changes should aim to level the playing field, removing systemic advantages of investors over owner-occupiers.
No interest payments on real estate should be tax deductible. These are not productive investments, they merely serve to flood demand and inflate housing prices. Those with money to invest should be free to invest in property, but those who have to borrow to do so should not get special treatment from government, as if they are doing the economy a favour, because they are not.
The ability to depreciate buildings, rather than merely deduct the costs incurred in maintaining them, is also an inequitable means for investors to minimise their costs. In a rising market, where the building has probably increased in value in spite of wear and tear, this is a dishonest device which further disadvantages owner-occupiers.
The capital gains tax discount is a gift from the tax-payers to the richest members of society. Saul Eslake documented the extent to which the introduction of this discount in 1999 stimulated an enormous increase in the use of the negative gearing facility to shift taxable income to lightly-taxed capital gain. Borrowing for property investment and the proportion of loss-making landlords increased dramatically.
Before the capital gains discount, negative gearing was mostly only a means of deferring tax from current income to future capital gain. However, the ability to deduct interest and depreciation contributed to the amount of income offset. It is the capital gains discount that has turned negative gearing into a major tax rort. Saul Eslake (op. cit.) estimated the tax avoided to be in the order of $5 billion in 2011. He concluded, “This is a pretty large subsidy from people who are working and saving to people who are borrowing and speculating.”
The claim that abolition of negative gearing would force rents up has been debunked by a number of commentators, who have demonstrated that its abolition between 1985 and 1987 did not result in any consistent rent response across Australian cities – in Sydney and Perth, where vacancy rates were unusually low, rents rose, but in other cities they were unchanged or fell.
Other measures have been implemented to advantage first-home buyers in the marketplace. These include first-home buyers’ grants and stamp duty waivers. These measures invariably serve merely to push the price of real estate further upward. Prices are limited by buyers’ capacity to pay, and if this is supplemented by government, the first-home buyers simply pay more. The impact on prices affects all buyers, and has the impact of increasing total mortgage debt carried by the community.
What is needed is to remove the advantages enjoyed by speculative investors, not to fuel an arms war between investors and home buyers.
Opportunities for reform
It is not difficult to identify a range of measures which would stem housing inflation and shift speculative investors to more productive investments. What is lacking is the political will.
The following measures are roughly in order of impact, from the greatest and most certain to the least or less probable.
1. Drop immigration quotas significantly and tighten conditions on most forms of temporary work immigration, allowing population growth to taper off.
2. Remove the capital gains tax discount (across all forms of investment income), allowing only a CPI adjustment. Capital gains tax should not apply to the family home, or at least should be net of all expenses in buying the next home.
3. Disallow foreign investment in property. This is purely inflationary, and allows foreigners privileges in Australia which are not reciprocated.
4. Disallow mortgage interest payments and building depreciation as tax deductions.
5. End negative gearing, allowing tax deductions to be claimed only against the income from the activity that incurs them (but permitting costs to be carried forward against future rents or capital gains).
Land tax has been proposed as an additional measure, but is problematic in an inflating housing market. It means that people can no longer even count on home ownership to insulate them from rising costs of housing. As their home rises in market value, through no fault of their own and conferring no advantage on them, they nevertheless face rising tax. Rates are already a land tax that many long-term residents find hard to endure. A land tax can only force more of them out and accelerate the geographical separation of rich and poor.
However, tax on vacant property may be worthwhile, to deter speculative behaviour and prevent investors withholding stock from the market. Any property vacant for more than three months, without being under contract or development application, may be subject to the tax.
The nation’s elected representatives need to decide whether they support:
- on the one hand, ongoing profiteering by developers and real estate speculators, who are increasingly not even Australian, knowing that this can only mean increasing levels of household debt, housing stress, homelessness, inequality of wealth and geographic separation of rich and poor generating slums, crime and civil unrest,
- or on the other, stabilisation of land values and the diversion of speculative investment to productive uses in enterprise and infrastructure, knowing that this means an overall drop in investment returns (including their own) compared with recent expectations, but may avert a bigger drop that an over-inflated bubble must ultimately cause.
To use Tony Abbott’s parlance, “Whose side are you on?”
A rational and sincere public servant should know that the current situation is unsustainable and highly damaging to the fabric of society. Unfortunately I have seen little evidence of such a combination of wisdom and sincerity.
“Surely by now there can be few here who still believe the purpose of government is to protect us from the destructive activities of corporations. At last most of us must understand that the opposite is true: that the primary purpose of government is to protect those who run the economy from the outrage of injured citizens.”
Derrick Jensen – “Endgame: The Problem with Civilization”
 Forbes 02/02/2014. In World's Best-Run Economy, House Prices Keep Falling -- Because That's What House Prices Are Supposed To Do. http://www.forbes.com/sites/eamonnfingleton/2014/02/02/in-worlds-best-run-economy-home-prices-just-keep-falling-because-thats-what-home-prices-are-supposed-to-do/
 van Onselen, L. 2015 Winners and losers in negative gearing reform. Macrobusiness 31/05/2015. http://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2015/03/will-hurt-negative-gearing-reform/
 Leith van Onselen 2015. Australian household debt ratios hit record. Macrobusiness 31/05/2015 http://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2015/03/australian-household-debt-ratios-hit-record/
 Kenneth Davidson 2015. Left out in the cold by a state reluctant to invest. The Age, 25/01/2015.
 The Economist 31/01/2015. Safe as Houses. http://www.economist.com/news/finance-and-economics/21641206-banks-have-been-boosting-mortgage-lending-decades-expense-corporate
 LF Economics 2015. Housing affordability in Australia. https://gumroad.com/l/UXjubSee summary at http://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2015/04/oz-housing-affordability-measured/
 Van Onselen 2015. Australia’s idiotic land bubble. Macrobusiness 10/04/2015. http://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2015/04/australias-idiotic-land-bubble/
 The Age, 20/01/2015. Multiple families living together because they can't afford the rent.
 Inga Ting 2015. The Sydney suburbs where minimum wage workers can afford to rent, SMH, 9/6/2015 http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/the-sydney-suburbs-where-minimum-wage-workers-can-afford-to-rent-20150608-ghjc6v.html
 Keith Calvert, Phantom Profit, The Canberra Times 4/6/2015.
 Michael Pascoe 2015. RBA remains dovish, but that's no surprise. Sydney Morning Herald 8/05/2015. http://www.smh.com.au/business/the-economy/rba-remains-dovish-but-thats-no-surprise-20150508-ggx4s9.html
 Jacobs K. 2011. Why falling house prices aren’t the calamity the media would have you believe. The Conversation, 13/12/2011. http://theconversation.edu.au/why-falling-house-prices-arent-the-calamity-the-media-would-have-you-believe-4547
 Ridiculous immigration fires housing spike – Bob Carr. The Australian http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/immigration/ridiculous-immigration-fires-housing-spike-bob-carr/story-fn9hm1gu-1227393713757
 O’Sullivan J. 2014. Submission to the Productivity Commission Inquiry into Infrastructure provision and funding in Australia. http://www.pc.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0004/135517/subdr156-infrastructure.pdf
 Daly, J. 2014. Budget pressures on Australian governments 2014. Grattan Institute. http://grattan.edu.au/report/budget-pressures-on-australian-governments-2014/
 Soos P. 2011. Debunking the myths peddled by Australia’s property bubble ‘deniers’. The Conversation 14/12/2011. https://theconversation.com/debunking-the-myths-peddled-by-australias-property-bubble-deniers-4488
 Callick, R. 2015. Why the Chinese are willing to pay over the odds for local property. The Australian, 11/06/2015. http://m.theaustralian.com.au/business/opinion/why-the-chinese-are-willing-to-pay-over-the-odds-for-local-property/story-e6frg9fo-1227392052366
 Nick McKenzie, Richard Baker, John Garnaut 2015.Corrupt overseas buyers ramp up property price, burn locals. The Age, 23/06/2015. http://www.theage.com.au/national/corrupt-overseas-buyers-ramp-up-property-price-burn-locals-20150622-ghu5pn.html
 Murray C. and Frijters P. 2015. Clean Money in a Dirty System: Relationship Networks and Land Rezoning in Queensland. IZA Discussion Paper No. 9028, April 2015. http://ftp.iza.org/dp9028.pdf
 Saul Eslake 2013. Fifty years of housing failure. Address to the 122nd Annual Henry George Commemorative Dinner The Royal Society of Victoria, Melbourne 2nd, September 2013. https://www.prosper.org.au/2013/09/03/saul-eslake-50-years-of-housing-failure/
 Greg Jericho 2015. Negative gearing: a legal tax rort for rich investors that reduces housing affordability. The Guardian 19/03/2015. http://www.theguardian.com/business/grogonomics/2015/mar/19/negative-gearing-a-legal-tax-rort-for-rich-investors-that-reduces-housing-affordability
Big Australia, or big anywhere, is a contentious issue. The population ponzi scheme is a concept the public appear to find noxious. There's no votes in packing more sardines into the Australia can. Aware of this, sniveling politicians have often schemed a way to get the public to focus on their rhetoric and ignore their government's ever increasing immigration numbers. [This incisive and witty article has been republished with permission from How To Shut Down An Immigration Debate at the Idiot Tax site.]
Take war monger and lying rodent, John Howard. During his time in office, Howard more than doubled the immigration intake. Hilariously, immigration also pumped from those Sandrockistan countries that truly agitate 58 year old disability pensioners, bereft of hope, who while away their days ranting on Larry Pickering's blog. The exact group who continued to vote Howard into power because he told them, "we will decide who comes to this country and the circumstances in which they come."
Years later in 2014, Howard came clean on the ruse...
Every country does have the right to decide the
composition, the manner, and the timing of the flow of people. And
that’s something the Australian people support…
One of the reasons why it is so important to maintain that policy is
that the more people think our borders are being controlled, the more
supportive they are in the long-term of higher levels of immigration. Australia needs a high level of immigration. I’m a high immigration
man. I practiced that in Government. And one of the ways that you
maintain public support for that is to communicate to the Australian
people a capacity to control our borders and decide who and what people
and when they come to this country.
In hindsight it was clear from the immigration increase during Howard's reign that he was a high immigration man and he practiced that in government. He just made sure he didn't explicitly mention it to anyone at the time. In fact, his words in 2014 revealed the bait and switch he cunningly employed. Use language that implies you have an intention to do one thing, while you do the complete opposite. Maybe one day, five years later, stuck in another traffic jam commuting from their overpriced outer-suburban hovel, a voter might begin to wonder.
All credit to Howard though. The guy ain't a moron. You don't actually speak about this stuff. You tell the plebs one thing that kinda has to do with immigration, when they think you're on the same page, you then get on with executing the actual plan. Notice the real acceleration in immigration numbers after Johnny told us in 2001 he'd be deciding who was welcome in Australia - everyone he could fit! Rank amateur, Kevin Rudd, actually articulated his belief in a big Australia. He was soon executed by his party after the Labor focus groups went ballistic at the idea. This is why political parties tiptoe around the issue - because for various reasons, people hate the idea of high immigration. And because they hate it, they're continually denied a voice in the debate.
The cloaked love of immigration on the right comes down to currying favour with their rent seeking paymasters. It's the cheapest and easiest sugar hit for business there is. What's better than more people if you're in a volume business like banking, real estate development or supermarkets? Then there's that added bonus of wage suppression. And don't forget temporary visas that you can use with your buddies to attract malleable labour from less fortunate countries, all while continuing your campaign of terror against the unemployed - that is until your buddies completely balls it up.
(Costa) in the most bizarre revelation, admits they have a potential
employee list of over 1500 and were still sorting them because their admin
team couldn't cope, yet the day previous they'd been squealing to
multiple media organisations they couldn't get workers and people should
be calling them for jobs.
Despite our right-wing reptilian overlords clear love of massive immigration, they've found themselves in the enviable position of rarely having to defend it when in office. How is it that a politically dangerous issue that continues to do exactly what the electorate doesn't want, escapes scrutiny? Maybe because if you genuinely want to get the debate on immigration started, there's often a toxic booby-trap waiting. Would like explain who really benefits and who loses? Wondering about infrastructure, increasing debt loads to acquire basic shelter, wage suppression or environmental degradation? Someone will be waiting somewhere with the racial road-spikes to blow out your tyres.
While on the trail of Michael Pascoe's dubious market calls during the financial crisis, I came across the constant drum beating he did on John Howard's population boom when writing for Crikey. Pascoe was unencumbered highlighting 457 visas and exploitation, while reminding readers about the booming population intake. It probably helped neither he nor Crikey were fans of the rodent government. Maybe it was an issue they would have never previously concerned themselves with? But did it become fair game with the Liberals potentially on the ropes?
19 March 2007, You say migration, we say unlimited cheap labor
The employer lobby is barracking for and pushing the Andrews submission
along as well as campaigning for an unlimited supply of cheap labour by
having sub-section 457 visas minimum wages conditions removed, leaving
the guest workers to the vagaries of WorkChoices.
Mar 21 2007, Guest worker truckies – think Melbourne’s taxi industry on 18 wheels at 110km/h
But the TWU is concerned about more devious and less safe methods.
Its researchers have corresponded with a Chinese labor recruitment firm
which has advised it can supply truck drivers here on section 442
trainee rates of $13.47 an hour. The claim is that the trainee visas are
good for three months, after which you try for 457s or just ship in
another load of cheap drivers. If you’ve ever driven on China’s roads and watched the trucks at play, you’ll know that is a frightening suggestion.
17 May 2007, 300,000 migrants next year -- but keep it to yourself
John Howard won’t be campaigning as Australia’s greatest champion of
immigration and multiculturalism despite overseeing the importation of
nearly 300,000 people in the 2006-07 financial year. Such irony. Instead, the Government is downplaying migration numbers.
13 June 2007, Gittins chimes in on the big immigration secret
With the benefits of time and space, Gittins fleshes
out the numbers a touch, but I still find the missing total curious.
There’s also a saying among journalists that you lead with your best
punch – you certainly don’t leave it out altogether. It’s only a guess, but I suspect gentle souls like Gittins might be a little concerned about the consequences. Tell the hoi polloi
300,000 migrants are turning up next year and it rather quickly leads
to talk of no-white-faces-on-the-tram-anymore,
2 July 2007, As you sit in your traffic jam, Immigration Dept plays numbers down
From Brisbane to Perth and all major centres in between, Australian
cities are groaning under inadequate infrastructure, choked roads,
unaffordable housing, failing public transport... But amidst it all, the Immigration Department continues to play down the real numbers driving the surge... Then there’s the elephant in the lounge room ?—?sub-section 457 “guest
workers” and their dependents. Canberra might pretend they don’t count,
but they are on four-year visas and must be housed and travel like
28 August 2007, A tale of two 457s – and 100,000 this year looks conservative
Even if the growth rate slows to 15% this year, we’ll break the
100,000 mark and the gross annual immigration number of 300,000 Crikey
first suggested in May starts to look conservative. The message coming from employers certainly doesn’t sound like any
sort of slowdown. The call is to increase the spread of occupations
covered by 457s, extending the downgrading that’s already underway from
what was meant to be a purely “skilled” worker category.
29 August 2007, Andrews defends the indefensible on 457s – so nothing new really
Crucial skills shortages in a number of areas means the idea of a
flexible and fast temporary visa system has considerable merit, but the
badly-administered and demonstrably slip-shod 457 scheme presently run
by Kevin Andrews doesn’t. And there are broader issues yet to be debated about the impact of
300,000 migrants this year on the labor market and economy, the role
such an unprecedented intake will play in keeping down inflation by
keeping down wages. Don’t expect Kevin Andrews to make a worthwhile
contribution or that either major political party to want to hear about
it before the election.
19 November 2007 Kevin Andrews, the Aussie sex workers' friend
Kevin the conservative Catholic believes it is “morally inappropriate”
for people on temporary visas to be allowed to work in the s-x industry,
so while it’s acceptable for foreigners on student and working holiday
visas to be exploited as lowly-paid kitchen hands and fruit pickers,
they are now banned from removing their clothes for money.
Apart from a couple more, that's the majority of Pascoe's work on the issue. At this point he slowed up as Labor was elected. Maybe he was waiting to see what came from Rudd and Labor, or maybe with the job done and with the rodent eviscerated, it was time to move on. That was until the next year at least when he picked up on more dubious visa categories to further split and obscure immigration rates from being an overall figure.
2 July, 2008, After 475 visa comes 485 – just don't call it immigration
The 485 visa initiative looks like a useful tool for helping ease
Australia’s skills shortage and chronic under-investment in education,
but along with the 475 “guest worker” visa, it’s another way of fudging
gross immigration numbers. We were being conservative when we were the first to suggest
Australia was looking at gross immigration of some 300,000 this
financial year. The official government numbers don’t count New
Zealanders, 475, 476 or 485 visa holders?—?though they all have to live,
eat, drink and travel while they’re here.
Later in the month Pascoe went with almost final contribution to highlighting the hush hush around immigration and the impact 457s were having on wages. If you haven't read any of the others apart my copypasta work, read the following one.
It was arguably Pascoe's most benign work since he honed in on immigration and 457s. Yet in a piece for Crikey, now unavailable online, it provoked some frothing from former Democrat Senator, Andrew Bartlett. Bartlett, who you might best remember as the guy who, after a Canberra drunken bender, dragged his screaming two-year old to an apology press conference to jazz up his family image, found Pascoe's article a little Hanson-ish.
Firstly, he gives a run to the "migrants will stop Australia meeting our
greenhouse targets" line which is the latest favourite from the
minority Hansonite wing of the environment movement.
Pascoe barely even mentioned this, but it was enough for Bartlett to veer into social justice 101 - we know what you're really thinking! Concerned about the environment and meeting greenhouse targets? Have the hide to bring immigration into it- RAYCISS! Bartlett's argument was all carbon emissions are created equal.
Now, if ever there was a global, as opposed to just local, environmental
issue, it is greenhouse emissions. I have yet to see a single piece of
scientific data suggesting carbon generated by migrants to Australia is
more damaging than carbon generated if they had stayed in their home
Maybe I'm a dummy, but at a basic level if an immigrant had a short distance to travel to employment in his own country, wouldn't he have lower carbon emissions than if he was stuck out in the arse end of Western Sydney driving through congestion for an hour each way to make it to work in Australia? Alternatively, if the government had bothered to prepare and plan for his arrival, well maybe his carbon emissions could be equal or even lower. Bartlett really chewed it up for his next Pascoe slap.
Pascoe gives it away with
his comment that there are "good mechanics from third-world nations"
happy to come here and work. Quite why it is a bad thing that we have
good mechanics coming from "third world nations" isn’t made clear, but I
guess the one thing that has changed since the same arguments were run
in the "Australia for the white man" days of the 19th (and 20th) century
is that people have learned not to be quite so blatant.
Yeah, Pascoe really gave it away. He mentioned the third world and Bartlett took a glee header into writing a response that didn't even deserve to be published, let alone read. And Bartlett's implication is clear - "we're dealing with educated racists now, they know we're onto them so we need to read between the lines." The question is, did this affect Pascoe? After stepping off for a month, he returned with the following.
18 August 2008, Guestworkers and the return of the Kanaka
In 2008 as we again recruit farm laborers from the South Seas, it is of course going to be different, with the blessing of international aid agencies,
promoted as a win-win by the governments of Australia and the South
Pacific nations, with unions promising to monitor pay and conditions and
a farm lobby overjoyed that its persistent campaigning for access to
compliant unskilled guest workers has finally succeeded.
After accusations of between the lines racism, Pascoe was found back positioning himself as a man concerned about migrant workers, something I
don't doubt he is, but see what happens when you're wedged as a racist. You're forced into all sorts of mealy-mouthed clarifications, lest you
be thought of as a bigot. Though that didn't stop PR maestro, Bartlett, who you'll note had rode his trusty steed back into the debate and was flailing about in the comment section, parroting the words you'd expect from a government minister who was announcing or defending a guest worker program - opportunity & safeguards.
He also seriously asked why Pascoe hadn't called for the end of working holiday programs, that brought in over 100k people each year, to help the unemployed. I guess Andrew forgot those are reciprocal, where a similar number will exit the country as come in.
Soon after this, Pascoe shuffled off to Fairfax and on a semi regular basis he continued to highlight the fudging of immigration figures so they could be sliced, diced and manipulated away from highlighting gross totals. Pascoe was never anti immigration, at worst during his Crikey time he was an unenthused grump who wanted transparency and a light shone on the more exploitative visa aspects. Though in more recent years when writing for Sydney Morning Domain, he's shifted to enthusiastic cheersquad member and he's started spitting out the lingo straight from the "I'm too lazy to argue this one" book - "xenophobic", "dog whistle" etc etc, which when coming from the rent seeking business community is often cloak for "we need the money, we're too lazy and stupid to increase productivity, so please shut up!"
With Pascoe never being anti-immigration, nor racist, Bartlett's over the top sensitivity, and the widespread sensitivity of people like him, make immigration and population debates dangerous places to be. These people also serve as useful idiots by attempting to kill off debate like a first year loud mouth arts student. While that happens the right can continue with their blanket condemnation of anyone on the dole as
a bludger, despite the clear lack of jobs. At the same time, they'll disenfranchise those people by unlatching the gate to all sorts of wage supressing immigration and visa options
at the behest of their paymasters.
Take this farce for example, in Tasmania, Costa had 1500 applicants for fruit picking on its books, but spent time howling to the media it couldn't get workers. We later found out many of the local applicants on Costa's list had never been called back and Costa's admin team, despite calling for new applications, hadn't made it through those who'd applied six months earlier.
A month later...
A horticulture lobby group says Australians are too precious and unwilling to work outside in tough conditions. Voice for Horticulture said that was why it was backing plans to allow
more foreign workers to come to Australia for seasonal jobs. The Federal Government yesterday announced it would allow an extra 1,000 people from the Pacific and Timor Leste to participate in its seasonal worker program.
at rock bottom rates to suck their dick. It's not even a racism argument. The true turn-on ain't who's doing the sucking, it's how cheap they can get the sucking done for. It's just business. So it should be no shock the right would happily toss 10% of the overall immigration intake - the most visible, being asylum seekers - under the bus to convince the electorate to ignore the other 90% who really aren't planned for in any meaningful way - except in the saliva glands of bankers, supermarket chiefs and real estate developers. It's still cash money, bitches!
Is this truly a false dichotomy? Are both sides in
on the same scam? The efficient elimination of population and immigration discussion makes you wonder. Image being a down on your luck serf. Your
standards of living and opportunity are eroded by the business side of politics to help their paymasters,
while the other social justice side cunningly slides in and hammers you if you raise
any objections that reference competition. It's a sinister movement that continually grabs and castrates dissent. And because we can't admit immigration happens and the population increases, we never properly plan for accommodating growth.
That's OK. Because anyone of real significance (those truly influencing this stuff) don't inhabit the same living spaces as the rest of us. They
have someone to ferry them about and do the menial tasks that involve
interacting with society, while they focus on other things. Hence the
complete lack of care or interest in why the average peon is aggravated. They're never at street level to understand the dystopia they're creating.
And their inevitable destination is a country retreat or spacious low
density suburb. A greater population means more to skim off the top.
Thanks for all your help, idiot on the left.
The function of Australian mass media seems to be to inveigle listeners into complicity in the terrible transformation that is being visited on us in Australia (turning what were once pleasant capital cities where most of us now live, into dystopian megalopolises) by inviting them to 'choose' between distasteful solution A or unpleasant solution B.
I am fed up.
I am fed up with the fact that nearly all the air time on local ABC radio is filled with discussion of the symptoms of rapid population growth and human overpopulation with scarcely a passing reference to the actual cause. For example, today I caught a discussion of wind farms on the Basalt Plains in Western Victoria. A woman called Jon Faine’s program with a concern that there are only 500 brolgas left in the area and that wind farms impinge on the birds’ territory by around an 8kms margin from each wind farm. Host, Jon Faine as devil's advocate pointed out that the brolgas could go somewhere else as the wind farms were not really taking up a lot of space. The next caller ridiculed the brolga advocate with the opposite argument that if coal continued to be used to generate electricity then there would be no environment for brolgas or anything else. Neither caller mentioned that with increasing population, more and more electricity needs to be generated either by coal or by wind farms or whatever will do the trick. The human environmental footprint in Victoria is growing from a size 10 to a size 14 with no end in sight.
I’m also fed up that the Leader newspaper was delivered to my letter box this week with the front page headline “Please ease squeeze” plastered over a photo of South Yarra railway station exit/entrance presumably at peak hour in the afternoon as the crowds are walking away from the station. According to the article the station is a daily bun fight with too many passengers for the capability of the station. Prahran State Greens MP, Sam Hibbens “has lodged a Freedom of Information request with the department of transport to find out what improvements are being considered for the bustling hub.” This same MP in 2010 as a Federal candidate was invited to reply (both in writing and by phone) to a questionnaire on population for Sustainable Population Australia but no reply was received. In a nutshell, Hibbens is calling for improvements in the station to accommodate an “extra 5000 people expected to move into the Forest Hill precinct adjacent to the station in the next 15 years.” I feel exasperated to know that it is already overcrowded, so the improvement would have to provide an enormous increase in capacity if it were to accommodate the continuous increase in population which is expected. This increase in population ensures continued discomfort and stress for passengers. This is a big deal as it is an essential part of their daily lives and we only get one life each, as far as I know. Governments don’t seem to be about improving lives at all, only talking about it, staving off complaints, and controlling what should be uproar about the completely avoidable destruction of the reasonable lives we used to lead and could have continued to have led.
I am equally fed up with the articles in the daily media such as The Age in Melbourne (several this week) about booming population growth as though it is news. To me it is just a constant feed of reminders to the readership of a decreasing quality of life due to socially engineered population hyper-growth.
Turning to the radio, the function of chat shows especially on the ABC seem to be to inveigle the audience into complicity in this terrible transformation that is being visited on us in Australia (turning what were once pleasant capital cities where most of us now live, into dystopian megalopolises) by inviting them to feel they are being heard by calling in with suggestions and their views on whether they’d like distasteful solution A or unpleasant solution B. Alternatively, the programs feature trivial topics as a brief distractions from the reality of where we are heading. (As I write this, the program I can hear is dedicated to personal coincidences.)
I’d love to know what instructions the columnists of the daily newspapers are given to guide them in their articles on population growth. It must be something like “Make sure that you don’t let anyone know that high population growth is a government choice. Make it sound like a trend you are following and reporting on that has no rhyme or reason."
This article forms the basis of a brochure, attached for download and printing, prepared by Roland Johnson for the Victorian and Tasmanian Branch of Sustainable Population Australia.
‘The modern plague of over population is soluble by means we have discovered and with resources we possess. What is lacking is …universal consciousness of the gravity of the problem and the education of the billions of people who are its victims’. 
Photo: Martin Luther King, 1966 (revered symbol of human rights)
But powerful forces have opposed population control and the world’s population has more than doubled since 1966 to seven billion, with three billion desperately poor. Migration to rich countries is not a solution. Watch Roy Beck’s YouTube video , ‘World Poverty, Immigration and Gumballs’, to see why.
In the screenshot below, one gumball equals one million people; the tall jars represent the three billion poor. The wine glass holds five years’ migrant intake at one million a year (the current intake of the United States). Even if Australia took one million people a year (nearly four times our current intake) the numbers of the poor would continue to grow at around the rate of 80 million each year.  Besides, Australia’s immigrants are more middle class than poor.
Poor people desperately need help where they are, including with family planning. We must stabilise our numbers, both nationally and globally. Currently the world is finding it difficult to feed all of the seven billion already here.  It won’t get easier if the global population grows to 9.75 billion or more by 2050. 
From 2007-13 Australia’s net migration averaged over 230,000 p.a. which, added to an average annual natural increase of 157,000 p.a, meant growth of 387,000 p.a. and an annual growth rate of 1.8 per cent.  This is among the highest in the world.  It is destroying Australia’s ability to help the world’s poor and this growth will take us from 24 to 64 million in 2100.  It must stop some time.
WHY NOT NOW?
A sustainable Australian population
Australia’s total fertility rate (TFR) is around 1.9 per woman,  technically below replacement— 2.1. But the population is still youthful. So we would keep growing due to natural increase until 2046, leveling off at 26 million. A policy to stabilise our population closer to 26 million rather than 64 million is needed.
The growth lobby of big business, developers and media moguls is forcing Australia’s growth to be among the fastest in the world. Our total increase of 387,000 a year is more than the population of Canberra (381,488 in 2013).  This growth is against the wishes of 70 per cent of voters.  Our 1.8 per cent p.a. exceeds Canada’s high 1.2 per cent & NZ’s 0.8 per cent. 
The Immigration Department is overloaded
Immigration Department files reveal “…enforcement capacity has collapsed…nine in ten skilled migrant visas may be fraudulent …[investigation into] a Somali people - smuggling cell linked to a terror suspect … ceased due to a lack of resources’. 
Two thirds of new arrivals are on some kind of working visas, which are issued by licensed agents subject to rorting and bribes. Many visa holders, through a well understood system of visa churning, eventually gain permanent residency. 
Immigration policy can be changed. Around 80,000 people leave Australia permanently each year. This means that we could have a refugee intake of 20,000 p.a., plus other special cases, and achieve nil, or at least very low, net migration.
Dr Jane O’Sullivan’s submission to the Productivity Commission, re ‘Public Infrastructure Report’ shows that each new person added to the Australian population costs taxpayers over $100,000 in infrastructure. 
“[P]opulation growth and ageing will affect labour supply, economic output, infrastructure requirements and government budgets… Total private and public investment requirements over this 50 year period [to 2060] are estimated to be more than 5 times the cumulative investment made over the last half century…”
 Building the equivalent of a new Canberra every year is not cheap.
The Federal Government is dominated by the growth lobby and State governments compete for the prestige of a higher population. They promote immigration and advertise for immigrants. They rezone prime agricultural land for housing. Local governments then increase rates, which forces the famers off the land. Local councils also convert pleasant suburban streets to high-rise ghettos to collect more rates. The costs of the extra services are paid for by existing tax- and rate-payers.
‘Population growth is great for business but governments can’t keep up. Roads are clogged and public transport is groaning. The health and education systems can’t cope with demand’. 
With many new workers and the loss of our manufacturing capacity, we are already unable to employ many of our young.
‘Between 2011 and 2014 the number of jobs increased by 400,000 but new migrants took 380,000. Some 240,000 more young Australians entered working age compared with those who retired, but they had to compete for only 20,000 extra jobs’. 
Australia looks big on the map but it’s an old, dry, infertile continent. Sprawling cities are taking some of our best land—land high on the two factors of good soil and reliable rainfall. (These are the areas shaded dark green on the map.) Much of Australia is marginal agricultural land (shaded yellow), and the greater part is unsuitable for any agriculture (shaded red).
Australia might be able to feed a domestic population of 60 million for a while, but this would leave us without food for export to pay for imports. A sustainable population must stay below 30 million; over that we start to sink to third-world standards.
Climate change will badly affect Australia’s agriculture with reduced irrigation in the Murray-Darling Basin and marginal land becoming arid. The so-called inexhaustible Great Artesian Basin is now declining. The idea of Australia as the food bowl of Asia is a myth!
Iron ore reserves were once thought to be almost inexhaustible. But all of the high grade, easily accessed mineral deposits in Australia have been mined out and energy consumption in mining has increased by 450 per cent in the last 40 years.  We are one of the world’s largest exporters of LNG, but this leaves little for the local market.  In order to find more, pressure for fracking access to coal-seam gas builds up. This risks polluting underground water and increasing food insecurity.
THE GROWTH LOBBY
While all Australians pay the cost of population growth, big business profits from it. Their self interest in growth is understandable. But it is unconscionable that politicians, most journalists and many academics support them. (See ‘How the Growth Lobby Threatens Australia’s Future’, James Sinnamon.) 
The growth lobby finds ways to silence its critics. In the USA the prestigious Sierra Club was given $100 million on the understanding that it would not continue to oppose the one million p.a. migrating to America. 
The slur of racism by the growth lobby has stifled the population debate.
Martin Luther King understood the cost of growth. Was he a racist?
‘I don't think slowing the rate of growth is blaming immigration or ethnic communities’
(Voula Messimeri, Chairwoman of the Federation of Ethnic Communities Councils of Australia). 
Immigrants also suffer the effects of population growth. Poor migrants suffer the most.
The lobby promotes the fear of an ageing population
But the Australian Bureau of Statistics reports that ‘Even large difference in the level of net immigration will have a relatively small impact on the age distribution’. 
Natural increase is still strong so our population would not decline without net migration. Immigration makes us bigger, not younger. Besides the aged contribute to society in many ways—ways worth billions of dollars. 
What about humanitarianism?
Australia’s policies serve the growth lobby, not the greater good. There is no virtue in luring away the best and brightest from poor nations. Australia poaches doctors and nurses from developing nations to service the huge rise in our population. We take about 1000 doctors and 2800 nurses a year. How many more come on temporary or 457 visas?
Most of Australia’s migrants come for economic reasons; this is no way to help the world’s poor. We should accept refuges and provide desperate women of the third world—who procreate even when their children are starving—with the means of family planning.
‘Instead of controlling the environment for the benefit of the population, perhaps it’s time we control the population to allow the survival of the environment’. 
Sir David Attenbourough (celebrated conservationist)
The World Wildlife Fund reported in 2014 that the world wildlife population had been halved between 1970 and 2010. The human population doubled in the same peroiod contributing directly to 82 per cent of the loss of wild life. 
We are already destroying the environment by overstocking our poor soils, habitat destruction and deforestation all of which causes soil loss and salination. We are doing this in 2015 to support nearly 24 million people. What would we do to support 64 million?
Global warming is our greatest immediate threat and as Figure 3 shows, Greenhouse gases increase with the world’s population.
And Australia’s per capita emissions are the highest in the OECD. 
Our responsibility to other people, those now living and those yet to be born, and our responsibility to other species, all mean that Australia must curb its runaway population growth. The world must slow down and stabilise too.
Prepared by Roland Johnson for Sustainable Population Australia Vic/Tas.
This material is available in pdf form for downloading and printing here: Population Flyer cropped.pdf
 tp://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Overpopulationaccessed 18 January 2015
 Roy Beck, World Poverty, Immigration and Gumballs The Population Reference Bureau’s annual World population data sheet shows a world population of 7.238 billion in mid 2014 and 1.137 billion in mid 2013, an estimated increase of 101 million people, 98 million of this increase in less developed countries. See www.prb.org
 Roy Beck, op. cit.
 Paddy Manning, ‘“Global” risks on food security mean us too’, The Age, 3 December 2011, p. 16
 The United Nations’ projections for 2050 include 9.746 billion (medium), 16.218 (medium high) and 24.834 billion (high).tp://www.un.org/esa/population/publications/longrange/longrangeExecSum.pdfaccessed 18 January 2015
 Data on growth calculated from the ABS, Demographic Statistics, Catalogue no. 3101.0 various issues. The average NOM for 2007 to 2013 was 237,000 pa and the average annual growth rate was 1.81 per cent
 See World Bank http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SP.POP.GROW accessed 18 January 2015
 Projection series 20, published online with, Australian Bureau of Statistics (2013), Population Projections, Australia, 2012 (Base) to 2101, Catalogue no. 3222.0.
 The average total fertility rate from 2008-09 to 2013-14 was 1.9085. Calculated from ABS, Demographic Statistics, Catalogue no. 3101.0, June 2014, p. 39.
 See ibid.
 ABS, Demographic Statistics, July 2014, Catalogue no. 3101.0, p. 26
 Katharine Betts (2010), ‘A bigger Australia: opinions for and against’, People and Place 18(2), pp. 25-38
 World Bank data bank
 Nick McKenzie and Richard Baker, ‘Terror touches down’, The Age, 7 August 2014, pp. 1, 4.
 See Dr. R Birrell, Sydney Morning Herald online , 7 August 2014.
 Jane O’Sullivan (2014), ‘Submission to the Productivity Commission Inquiry into Infrastructure provision and funding in Australia’, p. 3 http://www.pc.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0004/135517/subdr156-infrastructure.pdf
 Productivity Commission (2013). An Ageing Australia: Preparing for the Future — Overview. Melbourne, Productivity Commission, p. 2
 Alan Kohler, ‘Healthcare and infrastructure spend tearing budget apart’, The Australian, 6 May 2014, p. 30
 Source: Department of Infrastructure and Transport, Bureau of Infrastructure and Transport, Road vehicle-kilometres travelled: estimated from state and territory fuel sales, Report 124, Canberra, Department of Infrastructure and Transport, 2011, pp. 372-3
 Bob Birrell and Ernest Healy (2014), Immigration and Unemployment in 2014,/em>. Monash University, Melbourne, Centre for Population and Urban Research
 Simon Michaux (2014) ‘The coming radical change in mining practice’ in Jenny Goldie and Katharine Betts (Eds) Sustainable Futures: Linking population, resources and the environment, CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood, Victoria, pp. 75-76
 See ‘Reform needed to minimise LNG export impact on manufacturers: report’, ,em>Gas Today, 24 July 2014 http://gastoday.com.au/news/reform_needed_to_minimise_lng_export_impact_on_manufacturers_report/088251/ accessed 25 November 2014
James Sinnamon, "How the growth lobby threatens Australia's future."
Kenneth R. Weiss, ‘The man behind the land’, Los Angeles Times 27 October 2004
Quoted in Mark O'Connor and William Lines (2008), Overloading Australia: How governments and media dither and deny on population, Envirobooks, Sydney, p. 145
ABS (2000), Projections of the Populations of Australia, States and Territories: 1999-2101, Catalogue no. 3222.0, p. 2
For more on the benefits (and costs) of demographic ageing see Katharine Betts (2014), The ageing of the Australian population: triumph or disaster?, Centre for Population and Urban Research, Monash University
http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/David_Attenborough accessed 25 November 14
Living Planet Report 2014 accessed 25 November 2014
Population data are from United Nations Department of economic and social affairs http://esa.un.org/unpd/wpp/Excel-Data/population.htm ; Carbon emissions data are from Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Centre (CDIAC)
The Garnaut Climate Change Review, Chapter 7, ‘Australia’s emissions in a global context’ 2008, updated in 2011 http://www.garnautreview.org.au/chp7.htm
Subject: The 1789 Revolution and Fertility in France. This work is of great interest because it contradicts what we are constantly told by the growth lobby, the ABC, SBS, and the Murdoch and Fairfax Press. In clear historical terms the findings in this article, long accepted in France, contradict the so-called demographic transition, which says that populations reproduce to the maximum until they have completed industrialisation. France arrived at a steady state of population subsequent to the French Revolution and industrialisation had nothing to do with it. In my opinion the author's excellent historical demography is interpreted within a flawed paradigm, which is the notion of social and material progress as a some kind of chronologically programmed biological evolution for humans. Leaving that aside, this article is a rich resource which has, as far as I can see, been neglected since its publication by mainstream Anglophone demographic ‘theory’, presumably because it undermines the notion of overpopulation being inevitable and shows that a free people can run its own affairs without some overarching authority of centralised church or government. I translated this article because I could find no previous translations, although the author went to live in the United States where he was well known and wrote the piece (in French) from there. I could see its importance because the relationship between the revolution, population dynamics and localised self-government is the subject of my upcoming third book in the Demography, Territory Law series, which will be called: Land-tenure and the origins of democracy in France.
Translation by Sheila Newman. Please cite if you are reproducing this work. The original French version was first published in Communications, 1986, pp.35-45, doi: 10.3406/comm.1986. 1653. http://www.persee.fr/doc/comm_0588-8018_1986_num_44_1_1653.
Between the modern era and today, births and deaths in all developed countries have gone through a fundamental decline. This phenomenon has been called “the demographic transition” or “the demographic revolution”, by analogy with the industrial revolution, which represents in some ways the economic aspect of the series of parallel transformations which rocked the contemporary world. According to estimations based on a sample of parishes taken by the National Institute of Demographic Studies [l’Institut National d’Etudes Demographiques INED], the birth rate in France approached 40 births per 1000 people in the middle of the 17th century. This was a normal rate for a European country where marriages were late and life-long celibacy relatively widespread. Until the last quarter of the 20th century, the birth rate reached over 35 per 1000 in England or in Germany and it was not often much lower in Scandinavia. In the same era, it frequently exceeded 45 per 1000 in the countries of Eastern Europe as well as in the United States, where a different kind of marital pattern prevailed again. The French birth rate, however, slowed from the end of the 18th century. Soon after 1830, it went below 30 per 1000. We are looking at the emergence of a new reproductive system. This change in behaviour constitutes a preview of what is to come for the rest of Europe. But we will have to wait for nearly a century before another country undergoes a similar decline.
Fertility at the beginning of the demographic revolution
At the end of the Old Regime French women had an average of over five children. Marriage age rose from the middle of the century, such that the birth rate slowly declined. After 1790, however, the birth rate suddenly fell abruptly. No-one disagrees that the fall in fertility at this time was due to the spread of contraception within marriage. The best proof is the shape of the statistical curves for legitimate births calculated from family reconstructions by demographic historians, notably Louis Henry and his colleagues at INED. Birth control manifests clearly in a behavioural constant indicating that couples who practised contraception were those who had reached a certain family size which they did not wish to go beyond. The term, ‘birth control’ should be taken seriously: we are not referring to spacing of births, but to stopping them. The fall in the birth rate in France, as elsewhere, was accompanied by a characteristic fertility pattern reflecting mothers’ age and length of marriage.
Albeit that it is possible to identify on this basis the emergence of birth control among the privileged classes, like court nobles and some urban middle classes, the decline in the birth rate at the end of the 18th century was a phenomenon with such a wide social base that it could be seen at the national level. And, at that level, in the measure that it is possible to date with precision the intrusion of contraception in marital relations, a remarkable synchronicity appears between the demographic transition and the French Revolution. Because this result is so striking, we need to stop for a second to describe how it was obtained.
Reconstructions of families are generally published by marriage cohorts, which is to say by marriage dates. Parish registers give the date of a marriage and births from that marriage are listed in the baptism register. We can recognise the emergence of birth control by noting that couples established in a particular period adopted a new behaviour, but the method for estimating this does not give us a precise date for the event itself. A young American researcher, David Weir, reorganised the data from the big INED survey in a way that suggested a more precise date. Rather than dating the entire duration of a marriage, he simply dated intervals between births, ordered according to the number of preceding births. This number, as we have seen, is the factor that determines the decision to control fertility. Whilst trying to find out when the intervals between conceptions began to increase, Weir came up with a relatively precise answer: “In rural France, the fertility transition started in 1790.”
The coincidence between the political revolution and the demographic revolution is too beautiful to be completely convincing. People have often tried to find a connection and to explain it in terms of attitudes and institutions: Challenging monarchical authority might have corresponded to a challenge to the idea of the family; the logic of the enlightenment might have overtaken reproductive matters, until then ruled by religion and tradition; the principles of liberty and self-government might have imposed themselves within couples as they did within the wider society… Didn’t Yves Blayo and Louis Henry, analysing their data, find a spectacular drop in mortality, possibly due to similar factors?
Unfortunately INED’s sample is not detailed enough to reveal the state of legitimate fertility in all its regional diversity. Besides, the sample is taken from rural parishes, and the birth rate in towns was often lower than in the country. The survey is not representative at the department level, and the small numbers could play tricks at the parish level. The picture also loses some of its clarity at the beginning of the 19th century, for a number of reasons. To start with, the Revolution threw the civil registry (of births, deaths and marriages) into confusion, because it passed from the hands of the clergy to those of public servants, who were sometimes illiterate. Following this, the wars of the Revolution and Empire affected French demography, initially through the desire to avoid conscription, subsequently through the loss of young men impacting on the marriage rate. We cannot exclude transient effects on fertility in a period of crisis which were later statistically absorbed. It is therefore not surprising that the picture remains somewhat vague, and there is more work to do to bring it into focus. For example, the INED survey gives the impression of a population where there was progress in birth more or less everywhere at the end of the century. In contrast, the data published by Statistique de la France after 1800 reveal a fall in the birth rate still limited to Normandy and Aquitaine, without having spread into some regions where contraception was however apparent at the parish level.
The Beginning of the 19th century
So, from 1800 we have access to data from the official civil registry, published in a rudimentary form. This data presents problems of interpretation: under-registration and difficulties in centralising information from thousands of communes, at a time when scribes used goose feathers, but, above all, the problem is lack of detail. We will have to wait for the very end of the century to have access to the age of mothers at the births of their children. On the other hand, legitimacy is noted from the beginning of the century: the data is taken down for legal rather than statistical purposes. Furthermore, the lack of detail for the civil registry is combined with an insufficiency of censuses. It is only from 1851 that published data categorises the population by age and by matrimonial status – essential information if one wishes to follow the evolution of marriage and to measure its effect on reproduction.
Despite the limited information, analysis is possible. By combining the civil registry data and that of censuses, we can follow the evolution of fertility. Although these statistics do not give us the precise picture that we obtained from the reconstruction of families, they have the advantage of being much more accessible. They permit two essential tasks which were impossible for the period before 1800: study of the geographical distribution of fertility and of its decline, and that of its association with other characteristics - demographic, socio-economic or cultural – of the population.
An initial level of analysis should allow us to tell the difference between the effect of marriage and that of legitimate fertility. These two effects are confused when we use a crude birth rate. According to the ideas of contemporaries (which included Malthus), it was the the proportion of celibate persons and the age of marriage which constituted the best method of adjusting the population to resources. Without the means to support a family, a person did not marry. However, birth control made it possible to deactivate the Malthusian trap, from the minute that passion between the sexes was not, as the English pastor thought, inexorably tied to uninterrupted production of babies.
With the available data, we can follow by department trends in the proportions of unmarried and married women of different ages, and how those trends affect the potential fertility of the population. Fortunately, the contribution of illegitimate births to fertility is relatively small in general. Knowing the distribution of married women and the number of legitimate births, we can calculate a fertility rate for marriages that takes into account the effect of marriage. In order to do this, we asked how the number of births registered compared with the theoretical number that women would have had with the characteristic constant fertility of a population not using birth control. Using this principle, we calculated an indicator which expresses legitimate fertility according to that of the Hutterites, a population whose religion formally forbids contraception, and which has the highest fertility measured to date.
In 1831, the first date for which we can use this indicator, there were seven departments where legitimate fertility was less than 40 per cent of that of the Hutterites: the Seine, which takes in Paris, Calvados, Eure and Oise, and three Valley of Garonne departments – Gironde, Lot-et-Garonne and Tarn-et-Garonne. In these regions the demographic transition was complete – or nearly complete. In Calvados, for example, the rate of legitimate fertility would hardly vary before the end of the century; it stabilised at a very low level for the times, but which, after other departments had completed their transition, would seem comparatively high. We may assume that the irreversible decline in fertility was already well in train at least fifty years earlier. While the aforementioned seven departments seem to lead the trend, the great reduction had already begun in half the departments of France. When a department went below 60% of the Hutterite fertility rate, one can no longer doubt that birth control is being used in most households. Map 1 shows how the levels of legitimate fertility as a percentage of the Hutterite one were distributed in 1831.
In the family economy system that predominated then in western Europe, marriage constituted the best regulating mechanism. However, what most strikes us when studying the maps of legitimate fertility and marriage for 1831, is that one is practically the negative of the other. Where people marry late, reproductive behaviour has hardly changed. On the other hand, birth control has been introduced in regions where the marriage rate is the most intense. In this beginning of the 19th century, everything seems to indicate that the French limited births using two different strategies. Brittany fits into the category of departments where late marriage and celibacy dominated. Birth control is associated with early marriage in the region of Paris and in the Garonne valley. One notices some intermediate examples, like that of la Manche, which combined both strategies. The inverse correlation between marriage and marital fertility is the most original characteristic of regional French demography in the 19th century, for the same phenomenon is generally not found in other European countries.
A.Wrigley, the English demographer, has suggested that contraception would have replaced, in Rural France, the traditional method that adapted population to subsistence through fluctuations in the rate of marriage. Wrigley explained this new strategy could have come about because adjusting the marriage rate was suddenly insufficient in the face of what was required. The novel element was a decline in the death rate. In the 18th century, the age of marriage increased, along with the proportion of people who never married. But the decline in mortality became spectacular, and could have caused an unprecedented population increase. According to INED estimates, life expectancy at birth went from 25 to 40 years between 1740-1749 and 1830-1839 – an increase of 13 years since the Revolution! This was an exceptional decline in Europe. According to Wrigley, it was too rapid for the traditional adjustment via marriage to be effective. To use Jacques Dupâquier’s expression, marriage is a good accelerator, but a bad brake. One can put off the wedding when times are tough, but, once the marriage has been celebrated, the household has many reproductive years before the couple’s fertility runs its natural course. Birth control in extant marriages would have provided the solution that permitted disaster to be avoided. From then on, in regions where birth control in marriage had become practice, marriage need not be restrained. In fact, marriage age diminished constantly over the 19th century, especially in regions where birth control was strong. The proportion of people who remained unmarried for life declined everywhere. One can summarise the transition by saying that, very early, the French rejected a traditional morality that preached continence and celibacy, and opted for marriage.
The sequence would thus be: decline in mortality, growth in population that could not be sufficiently curbed using the traditional methods as brakes; discovery of birth control; return to equilibrium between resources and population; intensification of marriage which no longer holds a plethora of children as its inevitable consequence. And, in fact, in 1831, the geographic relationship between the mortality rate and the natality rate was striking. The departments with a high life expectancy were generally the ones with a decline in fertility. But infant mortality remained high, and it still required three or four children per woman on average to maintain the population. Elsewhere, the regional diversity of fertility remained very high.
The middle of the 19th century
The reader may be amazed at how much speculation and hypothesis occupies the description of French peoples’ demographic behaviour. Are there really not better indicators of birth control than the shape of statistical curves and fertility rates? Surveys by economists, writings by moralists, surely the descriptions of great novelists would show more clearly how matrimonial behaviour changed? Unfortunately this is not so. In 1829, Balzac wrote The Physiology of Marriage (La Physiologie du marriage), a book with a promising title. Demographically speaking, there is marriage (middle class or noble, moreover) a view of the Old Regime. ‘Bed theory’ (separate or shared) occupies fifteen pages; contraception, not a line. The Physiological Museum was interested in celibacy and adultery:
”It agreed to enter marital bedrooms when they were unoccupied; but, virgin and a prude, it blushed at the love play side of things.”
Balzac seems to suggest abstinence as the means of preventing births.
”We can allow Napoleon and Frederic to hold a woman in esteem according to the number of her children; but a gifted husband should […] not consider making a child except as a defensive measure…” (p.196 from the Garnier-Flammarion full text edition)
France, and rural France in particular, manifests through its numerical indices, not through its spokespersons. The big behavioural revolution takes place in secret, and its meaning escapes observers.
Throughout the 19th century, the birth rate will basically be maintained at a level just sufficient to assure a constant population. In this period, France is distinguishable from all theother countries of Europe through the stagnation, even the decline of its rural population…. In 1841 already, the population of ten departments reached its historic maximum, before proceeding to a long decline. From 1851, half the departments had a negative growth rate. One cannot emphasise enough that the precocious adoption of birth control contributed to making France what it is today, a country with relatively low density compared to its neighbours. And because there were fewer men in excess in agriculture there than elsewhere, it kept its characteristic rural structure of small properties and relatively modest urban growth.
The fertility transition was remarkably rapid in its beginnings, but it slowed for a moment in the middle of the century. After 1851, legitimate fertility stopped its decline nearly everywhere, and there was even a slight increase in nearly half the departments of France under the Second Empire. This increase is most marked in those departments where the decline was the least progressed. It is thus that fertility in the Brittany departments reached its highest level ever registered, at more than 80% of the Hutterite fertility rate. It turned out to be a rise before the definitive fall. When the decline began to accelerate again after 1876, this time it affected every department, except for Corsica, where fertility would not drop until after 1886.
Thus there are two very clear phases in the French demographic transition. Before 1851, it was a rural phenomenon. The most prosperous departments seem to participate in it. One finds no relation at this time between industrialisation or urbanisation and [fertility] decline. Nonetheless Paris, whose legitimate fertility was less than 40% of that of the Hutterites at the 1817 census, is an exception. Furthermore the number of children born outside marriage in Paris compensates for the exceptionally low number born within marriage there. In general, illegitimate fertility seems to be tied to the proletariat of large cities, and increase in the north of the country with the development of the industrial revolution.
The second part of the transition
France’s demographic transition’s second part began during the last quarter of the century. Although it was accompanied by a parallel decline in other European countries, which had not been the case before, this is what captures contemporary attention. The fact is that France had more than a century of population decline behind it, whereas its neighbours were only beginning theirs. Patrick Festy showed that fertility was still natural in every Western country around 1870. The net rate of French reproduction, however, was close to 1 from the time of the revolution. That is to say that the country maintained a fertility rate only just sufficient, taking mortality into account, to keep national population numbers at zero growth. But whilst up to 1870, most economists and Statistique de France, which up until then had been very impartial, congratulated themselves ‘on the French population’s sensibly circumspect attitude, after the Franco-Prussian war, the intelligentsia began to worry. The problem was that the fall in the birth rate seemed to be linked to the fall in France’s military strength.
Today we know that the German birth rate had begun its decline, as was happening in most European countries, in the last part of the 19th century. This phenomenon was, however, hardly perceptible to contemporaries, and the differences between fertility levels remained considerable. The crude birth rate in Germany was still 35 births per 1000 inhabitants towards 1900, compared with 22 per 1000 for the whole of France. And the German rate was greater than the highest rate among French departments, that of Finistère, which was 30 per 1000. Marriage age remained high in Britanny. In Lot-et-Garonne, where fertility had not stopped dropping since the beginning of the 20th century, reaching 23 per cent of the Hutterite rate, the birth rate was 15 per 1000. The birth rate in more than half the departments in 1900 was not more than 20 per 1000. French reproductive behaviour was remarkably homogenous. Unexpectedly, due in part to their younger population, the birth rate of towns (with the exception of Paris) was higher than in the country.
The birth rate at the beginning of the century was the result of a combination of the old Malthusian strategy of late marriage and the use of quite primitive contraceptive techniques. Around 1900, Jacqus Bertillon conducted a survey amongst doctors in a few departments with the aim of finding out how the French were limiting births. Withdrawal was foremost among the methods. Extraordinarily, it is today possible to measure the degree of use and the efficiency of contraception around 1901, due to a new technique of measuring starting from the distribution by age of legitimate births. The data for this has begun to be published in our era. With the appearance of birth control within marriage we see that the legitimate fertility curve tends to diverge systematically in relation to the age of the natural fertility curve.
American demographer, A. Coale has suggested the indicator m to measure the strength of this systematic deviation. An m less than 0.2 corresponds to natural fertility; above 1.0 shows a high rate of birth control. The results of 1901 are shown on Map 2. The map of m is remarkably similar to the one showing levels of legitimate fertility, although it only shows the shape of the curve by age.
The regions where contraception was still only weakly taken up in 1901 include before all others Celtic-speaking Britanny, the Massif Central, from Aveyron to Ardeche; the High Alps and the Savoy; and Corsica. Uptake was weak in a series of relatively industrialised departments, such as Bouches-du-Rhone, Vosges, Seine-Maritime, the North and Pas-de-Calais, and Seine-and-Oise. On the other hand, Garonne, from the Pyrennees to the Gironde estuary, are notable for the strongest use of contraception. In the agricultural departments Bertillon’s survey found the pursuit of a single child who would inherit all the paternal wealth taken to its extreme. In regard to this, Philippe Ariés would speak of human evaporation.
France in 1901 was remarkable for the diversity of its regional compartments. The high fertility departments became lands of emigration. The industrial proletariat started to conquer birth control. Still on the demographic horizon was the Great War, which would confirm the fears of those who saw military defeat as a consequence of stopping population growth; the 1920 law that was going to try to forbid the dissemination of contraceptive information; and, finally, the homogenisation of behaviour within France and at the European level. Today France has one of the highest birth rates of Europe. However it is not so much that France has changed, but that others have followed its example.
Etienne VAN DE WALLE
University of Pennsylvania
[First published in 1986]
A definition of advertising: "The act or practice of calling public attention to one's product, service, need, etc., especially by paid announcements in newspapers and magazines, over radio or television, on billboards, etc.: to get more customers by advertising."
By using conventional broadcasting channels to advertise the Vote Compass, the ABC, in turn, provided access to the biased coverage within the Vote Compass: Proof of the ABC’s Vote Compass Bias?
That biased coverage (1) advertised (for example) the name of the Wikileaks Party but concealed the name of the Stable (now Sustainable) Population Party under the description "other"; despite the latter having more candidates and arguably having a broader impact on the 30 election issues. The Election Issues List also (2) advertised 30 election issues but omitted the Population Growth Management election issue; identified as a Top 15 election issue by the Essential Report, 23 July 2013.
Both these acts constituted advertising of one political party, or parties and political issues at the expense of another party and its political issue(s).
Over 1 million Voters who accessed the Vote Compass were subjected to this advertising. This would be between 7% and 10% of the voting public.
Extracts from ABC Editorial Policy Document
"The ABC Editorial Policies apply to all content produced, commissioned, acquired or otherwise obtained by the ABC for broadcast or publication by the ABC on platforms and through services operated by the ABC, or by the ABC on platforms and through services operated by third parties. The ABC Editorial Policies do not apply to the activities of ABC Commercial except to the extent that ABC Commercial exercises editorial control over content for broadcast or publication by the ABC which has not been already broadcast or published by the ABC. In all its activities, ABC Commercial must operate in a manner consistent with maintaining the independence and integrity of the ABC."
Section 11.7 of the Editorial Policy states:
"Product placement and other forms of embedded or surreptitious advertising are prohibited."
Will the ABC now be called to account for prohibited political advertising throughout the 2013 Federal Election campaign?
Quite apart from this, complaints were also submitted to the ABC, over years, about the way its broadcasts limited the Carbon Tax debate to discussion of a range of financial schemes to reduce emissions, without also discussing the prime cause of emissions growth (aka population growth). A fact cited in these complaints was that in the 20 years BEFORE introduction of the Carbon Tax both fossil fuel based emissions and population had grown roughly 32%. This rate of growth was far higher than the rate of reduction that any of the proposed emissions reduction schemes could achieve in Australia.
The ABC was made aware of all these facts before the Carbon Tax legislation was passed in 2011, but still it supported misrepresentation of the Carbon Tax facts.
The Carbon Tax aspect of my complaints was analogous to complaining that the ABC had broadcast repeatedly for over 5+ years that the only way to control obesity was by exercise, when the truth is that the amount eaten also influences weight gain.
Imagine the fat people's class action lawsuit. The ABC wouldn't stand a chance.
But when it comes to one of the biggest humanitarian, social, environmental and economic challenges facing Australia today, the ABC can broadcast whatever it pleases and remain unaccountable for any lack of editorial integrity. An obvious example of this is ongoing omission or concealment of the population growth management issue from public policy debate.
Will a public apology be forthcoming that is disseminated as far and wide as the Vote Compass and the biased ABC Carbon Tax Debate were disseminated over the last 5+ years? Or will the ABC continue to get off "Scott-free" (excuse the pun)?
Reading this letter to the Wheeler center about a shocking spin exercise delivered by professional development spruikers, with Roz Hansen (who is also involved in fielding public submissions), one is reminded of the film, We need to talk about Kevin, a film about a totally underestimated problem with utterly dire consequences. In fact, Melbourne really needs to talk about the corruption of democracy via Melbourne planning and development organisations, their contempt for citizens, their infiltration of law-making in parliament, and the gross unsustainability of the philosophy and projects they seek to unilaterally impose - Candobetter Ed.
Letter to the Wheeler Center after “We Need to Talk” The Wheeler Centre Books Writing and Ideas – Series on “Ideas for Melbourne” Part 1 “The City of the Future” Wednesday 13 February 2013.
Subtitles are by Candobetter.net editor
The booklet said re ‘The City of The Future:’ session: “In 30 years, Melbourne’s CBD will have another 220,000 new residents. A ‘second CBD’ has been proposed for Melbourne’s west, along with a third runway for Tullamarine Airport – and more green wedge land for housing. Can a big Melbourne remain beautiful – let alone liveable or sustainable? Can we have it all, or do tough choices lie ahead?” The panel consisted of Roz Hansen who is the Chair of the Metropolitan Planning Strategy of Melbourne Committee; Alan Davies; and David Nichols (University of Melbourne?). Jane Rawson was the interviewer.
Vivienne Ortega and Julianne Bell attended this Wheeler Centre evening event.
Here are our comments about the event:
We need to talk about what is happening to our democracy
We considered this exercise a piece of political spin, full of contradictions, and generalities. There were no speakers on the panel debating or contesting statements made by panel members; all 3 were in furious agreement with each other. There was no community involvement and no audience interaction. Few questions were allowed at the end of the session. We considered that it was simply a lecture by growth-lobbyists. We were just being lectured to as to how a “Future Melbourne” could accommodate a rapidly growing population!
Roz Hansen - Ethics and Fairness in question
Firstly, it appeared to us extremely inappropriate that Roz Hansen would be speaking at a public forum with obvious references to the Metropolitan Planning Strategy of Melbourne (MPSM) when she was Chair of the Ministerial Committee which is still receiving public submissions on the MPSM. In our view she was giving us the spin on Government policies which ensures growth for developers, the real estate industry and the road lobby. While Ms Hansen said that she wanted “community dialogue” and to hear what we think, she made it clear that said some topics were "non-negotiable" or off limits. It appeared that one of the “non negotiables” was the topic of trains. She made it clear – and had done so at a community forum she attended with the Minister for Planning Matthew Guy on 21 November 2012 - that the “Future Melbourne” would have buses but not urban rail, apart from the underground Metro rail. It would of course have the East West Link tollway/freeway.
Hobson’s Choice promoted as Consumer Choice
The panel was of the opinion that, with population increase, people would “choose” apartments and high density living. We see this as Hobson’s choice, that is, no choice at all. Many people have not now, and will not have in the future, any other affordable alternatives to high density living. No mention was made of the inevitable increase of per capita greenhouse gas emissions, and the denial of facilities enabling residents to reduce consumption and energy, reuse and recycle.
There was an assumption by the speakers that "empty-nesters" will want to buy apartments and units. We know it has found to be a myth that the retired and the elderly want to “downsize”. Many want to stay in houses with gardens and keep their rooms for family and guests. (We have been through this argument with Bernard Salt who took a more extreme line stating that widows should move out of their large houses in the leafy suburbs to provide accommodation for incoming family groups of migrants.) [See Should Jeannie Pratt and Elisabeth Murdoch downsize to high rises in Activity Centers to give young people more room?]
Urban Parks for food production; shopping mall walks for exercise
It was suggested by one of the university academics when the subject of “food security” was raised that urban parks could be turned over for food production and that residents could exercise by walking in shopping malls. Presumably people would be denied back gardens though this was not specifically discussed. In the context of food security it was suggested by one of the speakers that more "intensive farming" could take place in the outer urban growth areas. To us it meant more factory farming, which is cruel and unethical. (Many animal activists want to put an end to it.) We are of the view that our food bowls and green wedges should be protected. Roof top gardens and parks are not a viable alternative.
False perception of inevitability dishonestly imposed on public
It was assumed by the speakers that this "future" spelt out for Melbourne with a rapidly growing population – 6.4 million by 2050 - was inevitable. We say it is not inevitable as the high net overseas migration intake could be capped and reduced as it has been in the past. We consider that the terms “sustainability” and “growth” are oxymorons. Anthropogenic climate change can't be addressed with an economy based on population growth.
Spin cannot hide increasing congestion and no solutions in sight
The "20 minute city" – one of the principles of the MPMS - is to us a contradiction in terms. The proposed growth of Melbourne will inevitably cause more congestion. Infrastructure continually fails to keep abreast of population growth. Rather than more buses, we need more linked public transport and trains. If we cannot manage with congestion and traffic gridlock now why could we manage any better in the future?
Resounding Silence on development-threatened Green Wedges
We consider that our green-wedges are not for housing - they have a purpose as our "green lungs" and should be protected. This was not discussed.
We were of the view that trying to maintain Melbourne's status as a "liveable" city, and "sustainable", are contradictions if our population is "projected" to be 2 million more by 2050 - at a time of severe climate change warnings and increasing scarcities of natural resources.
Homelessness swept under carpet
The problem of “homelessness” was not discussed. It is related, in our view, to the power of developers, grabbing rooming houses for "developments", and forcing up the price of family homes over what is affordable by those on normal fixed wages.
The threat of racism arising from unwelcome mass immigration was not discussed.
Sneering, out-of-touch panellists artlessly contemptuous of public
We were offended by the supercilious rather sneering tone of panellists and comments made. One panellist referred to the “great unwashed” from the outer suburbs. The other male panellist commented that with population pressure new suburbs were becoming “trendy” and expressed surprise that even in Preston growing a moustache was now acceptable and one could get a café latte there. We thought this showed contempt for the audience.
There were few questions, no real vision or strategy for improving or enhancing our city, and there was no chance for the audience to challenge the panel’s opinions. The "Ideas for Melbourne" lacked balance and a contrary side of the debate.
Julianne Bell, Secretary, Protectors of Public Lands Victoria Inc.
Vivienne Ortega, Secretary, Sustainable Population Australia (Victorian and Tasmanian Branch)
28 February 2013
"I am writing to express my serious concerns regarding the proposed VCAT fee increases. I believe these fee increases will unfairly hurt everyday Victorian residents, by undermining access to, in the words of VCAT’s motto, ‘Fair, Efficient Justice for all Victorians’" (Kelvin Thomson MP to the Victorian Attorney General.)
[Letter from] Kelvin Thomson MP, Federal Labor Member for Wills
Tuesday 15th January 2012/ac
The Hon Robert Clark MP Victorian Attorney- General Level 26, 121 Exhibition Street MELBOURNE VIC 3000
Submission to the VCAT Fee Review:
Let’s keep access to justice, fair, affordable & accessible for all Victorians
Thank you for the opportunity to make a submission to the Regulatory Impact Statement for proposed Victorian Civil & Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) Fees Regulation Review (VCAT 2013).
I am writing to express my serious concerns regarding the proposed VCAT fee increases. I believe these fee increases will unfairly hurt everyday Victorian residents, by undermining access to, in the words of VCAT’s motto, ‘Fair, Efficient Justice for all Victorians’ (VCAT 2013A).
By increasing the financial barriers for Victorians to access VCAT, the justice system will lock out Victorians who cannot afford large fees and assist those who do have the money to fight legal cases, namely property developers and big business.
I believe these fee increase proposals are out of step with community expectations, are out of step with a fair and equitable justice system, and will play into the hands of property developers.
I have outlined steps I believe the Victorian Government should consider in making VCAT fairer and more accessible, rather than engage in fee hikes.
The Victorian Government states that the previous Government failed to keep VCAT fees in line with the cost of running the Tribunal, and failed taxpayers. The fee changes aim to reduce the burden on taxpayers and reinstate a ‘reasonable balance’ between taxpayer and user funding. The proposed changes expand the two-tier model for major cases, which allows some users to pay more to have a matter heard faster (Hudson 2013).
In my submission, however, VCAT’s establishment never intended that fees should cover the costs of running the tribunal, but rather fees and red tape are limited as to not prevent Victorians from accessing affordable and efficient justice.
Since its inception, VCAT’s (2012:2) purpose has been to provide Victoria’s with a low cost, accessible, efficient and independent tribunal delivering high quality dispute resolution.
The proposed changes would mean that the cost of launching small claims, planning appeals, tenancy disputes, and many other matters would accelerate from March under a planned expansion of the user pays system. VCAT is expected to collect an extra $22 million over the next 3 years from proposed fee increases and new charges (Hudson 2013).
The Victorian Government states that it proposes to recognise the mix of public and private benefits of the activities provided by VCAT, consistent with the approach taken in setting Victoria’s courts, by setting cost recovery for VCAT at 45% on average, of current expenditure in government appropriation funded lists. Currently VCAT only recovers costs ot an average 14% in these lists (Jaguar 2012:5).
I understand that revenue generated by VCAT’s Planning and Environment List if these changes proceed, will be in the vicinity of 44%, with revenue from year estimated to be over $2.7 million, in year two $3.2 million, and in year three $3.8 million (VCAT 2013:7).
If imposed, the fee increases would be higher than any other Australian state, affecting up to 8,000 Victorians per year. Under the proposed increases;
• The cost of lodging small claims over faulty goods will increase from $38 to $160
• Planning applications would attract an additional $1,000 fee, up from $322.
• Cases heard over more than one day will attract a new $1,800 a day fee (Pakula 2013).
The proposed fee changes mean that from March, fees to lodge an objection with the tribunal would quadruple from $322 to $1,462 for a development costing between $1 million and $5 million. By 2015 the fee would rise to $2,014. Developments costing more than $5 million would increase from $1,290 to $1,462 (Tran 2013).
I am particularly concerned that fees for planning appeals are much higher than other forms of appeals. Why is this the case? The higher fees for planning appeals act as a barrier to local residents and communities being able to effectively exercise their right to decide what kind of neighbourhood or community they live in.
VCAT should not be about revenue raising. VCAT should remain as the low cost dispute resolution body it was always intended to be.
Impact on the Community
Pursuing justice will cost more from March and would skyrocket in two years’ time (Gough 2013). Fee increases of this magnitude will discourage future VCAT applications from lodging claims before the tribunal (Pakula 2013).
Many Victorians will be denied access to justice under these planned fee hikes. The whole point of VCAT is to be a low-cost, easy-to-use alternative for Victorians, to give them a chance when they’re dealing with dodgy traders or shonky businesses. It would be a terrible shame if Victorians can no longer enforce their rights because they are priced out of it (The Australian 2013).
Yarra Mayor, Jackie Fristacky, and Protectors of Public Lands spokeswoman, Julianne Bell, have raised concerns that fee increases would restrict the accessibility of the tribunal to individual residents and resident associations. High fees are likely to inhibit people from appealing, yet the cost of planning appeals is already prohibitive for residents (Price 2013).
Save our Suburbs President, Ian Woods, says groups with fewer objectors would be hardest hit. Developers continually tend to resort to using lawyers, meaning the tribunal’s legal system is becoming more costly over time (Tran 2013).
Demand for community and legal aid services, and access to justice, is on the rise, illustrating that Victorians need to be provided with fewer barriers, not more, to access justice. Victorian Legal Aid (2011-12) has reported a 2% increase in the number of clients contacting them for assistance, up from 89,255 in 2010-11 to 91,079 in 2011-12. There has been an increase of 2% in the number of clients they support with no incomes. Overall 3 in 10 clients of Legal Aid had no income, 1 in 2 were receiving some form of government benefit or pension, 1 in 5 were from linguistic and culturally diverse backgrounds, 7% were in custody, 1 in 8 were under the age of 19 years, 2% were homeless and 3% were of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander background.
Residents deserve to be heard
I am very concerned that the increase in VCAT fees will greatly benefit and assist property developers, by preventing local residents and communities from having their say.
VCAT (2013B) states that planning matters are often difficult and can involve complex legal or planning issues and can involve numerous parties and objectors. VCAT is currently experiencing delays between 8-10 months from commencement to hearing for planning and environment matters.
VCAT (2012:5) has reported that it received a 3% increase in the number of cases lodged, 89,470 in 2011-12, compared to 86,890 in 2010-11. Residential development proposals continued to be the subject of the majority of applications dealt with by VCAT’s (2012:32) Planning and Environment List, and in 2011-12 were have reported to have increased by 3% to 3,873 cases, compared with 3,775 in 2010-11 (VCAT 2012:5).
VCAT (2012:32) has reported that Planning and Environment cases are increasing in complexity due to the more complex and detailed policy framework. For example, planning strategies encourage high-density development close to activity centres which have resulted in more applications for large residential buildings in areas new to high-density living.
Applications involving developments worth approximately $6.39 billion were initiated in 2011-12. VCAT (2012:32) finalised 3,718 matters in 2011-12, a 6% increase in finalisations, with the list having a clearance rate of 96%.
In my own electorate of Wills, I have been supporting residents to oppose inappropriate developments in their neighbourhoods for many years. I believe that local residents should be given a meaningful opportunity to object and oppose inappropriate developments in their neighbourhood.
I support residents who approach me with genuine concerns about high density development proposals in their area, and fight for their voice to be heard in the planning process.
In July 2009 I lodged a detailed 30 page submission to the Victorian Government’s Melbourne at 5 Million Review, in which I specifically recommended that Melbourne’s population needed to be stabilised, and that the State Government and local councils should extensively consult with, and respect the views, of local communities on planning issues.
I have assisted, supported and lodged objections on behalf of residents in relation to numerous planning issues across Wills.
In some cases Moreland Council listened and respected the views of local residents, but in others residents continued their fight to oppose developments at VCAT. For those who did appeal decisions to VCAT, residents had to work hard to organise and raise money to support their appeals, through fundraisers, sausage sizzles and other avenues. For those who did not appeal unfavourable decisions, it was reported to me that existing VCAT fees were a significant barrier.
Property developers have the capacity to claim VCAT expenses as a tax deduction, in the context of their business dealings and operations. Residents, on the other hand have no capacity to claim any such expenses, despite the fact they are likely to be much more affected by a development than the developers.
The Government should not increase VCAT fees. It should work to make the existing planning framework and appeals process a great deal fairer for local residents, so that their views are proactively sought, listened and adhered to through planning and development decisions across the state. Property developers should not be given the green light to continue ramming down the throats of Victorians a proliferation of high rise, high density, concrete monstrosities that are clogging the arteries of Melbourne and increasing our carbon footprint.
I ask that you consider the information contained in my submission in the context of making Melbourne more liveable. I look forward to your consideration and response.
[Signed: Kelvin Thomson]
Federal Member for Wills
Cc: VCAT, The Hon Ted Baillieu MP, The Hon Martin Pakula MP, The Hon Daniel Andrews MP.
- The Australian(2013) ‘VCAT hikes will price out Victorians: Oppn’, published in The Australian 8/1/13 [Online] http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/breaking-news/vcat-hikes-will-price-out-victorians-oppn/story-fn3dxiwe-1226549606147 [Accessed 9/1/2013]
- Gough, D. (2013) ‘VCAT fees set to rise’, published in The Age 8/1/13 [Online] http://www.theage.com.au/action/printArticle?id=3937023 [Accessed 14/1/2013]
- Hudson, P. (2013) ‘Victorians may be priced out of justice as VCAT fees soar’, published in Herald Sun 8/1/13 [Online] http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/law-order/people-priced-out-of-vcat/story-fnat79vb-122654916828 [Accessed 14/1/2013]
- Jaguar Consulting (2012) Regulatory Impact Statement; VCAT Tribunal (Fees) Regulations 2013. Prepared for the Victorian Department of Justice [Online]
b5af056866ea/risvcatfeesregs2013.pdf [Accessed 14/1/2013]
-Lee, J. (2012) ‘Minister sidesteps VCAT’, published in The Age 4/10/12 [Online]
- Pakula, M., The Hon. (2013) ‘VCAT Fees set to skyrocket under Baillieu
Government’, Media Release issues 8/1/13 [Online]
http://www.danielandrews.com.au/media/releases/vcat-fees-set-to-skyrocket-under-baillieu-government/ [Accessed 14/7/2013]
- Price, N. (2013) ‘VCAT fees not appealing’, published in Melbourne Leader 14/1/13 [Online] http://melbourne-leader.whereilive.com.au/news/story/vcat-fees-not-appealing/ [Accessed 14/7/2013]
- Tran, D. (2013) ‘VCAT fee hike eliminates ‘cheap option for appeals’, published in Dandenong Journal 14/1/13 [Online]
http://www.dandenongjournal.com.au/story/1229869/vcat-fee-hike-eliminates-cheap-option-for-appeals/ [Accessed 14/1/2013]
- VCAT (2013) Regulatory Impact Statement for proposed Victorian Civil &
Administrative Tribunal Fees Regulation Review (2013) [Online]
- VCAT (2013A) ‘Fair, Efficient Justice for all Victorians’ [Online]
http://www.vcat.vic.gov.au/ [Access 14/1/2013]
- VCAT (2013B) ‘Frequently asked questions re delays in Planning and Environment List’ [Online] https://www.vcat.vic.gov.au/disputes/planning-and-environment/news/delays-planning-and-environment-list [Accessed 14/1/2013]
- VCAT (2012) VCAT Annual Report2011/2012 [Online]
http://www.vcat.vic.gov.au/files/VCAT%20Annual%20Report%202011% 20-%2012.pdf [Accessed 15/01/2013]
- Victorian Legal Aid (2012) Annual report 2011-12 [Online]
http://www.legalaid.vic.gov.au/annualreports.htm [Accessed 15/1/2013]
Kelvin Thomson MP Federal Labor Member for Wills