You are here

The Turnbull’s population credibility collapses under Dick Smith barrage

Article by Leith van Onselen. Dick Smith is a national treasure. Yesterday he used his own money to fund an ad in Australia’s major newspapers challenging Lucy Turnbull – the chief commissioner of the Greater Sydney Commission (GSC) – on mass immigration, and asking her what her eventual plans are for the population of Sydney – querying whether it could be 16 or even 100 million.

Below is the ad:

ScreenHunter_16811 Dec. 16 09.49 ScreenHunter_16812 Dec. 16 09.49

The response from Lucy Turnbull’s office was pathetic. From The Australian:

The Australian sought comment from Ms Turnbull, through the Greater Sydney Commission. Commission chief executive Sarah Hill responded that Sydney’s rate of population growth was the “hallmark of all successful cities around the world”, and the group based its planning on a middle range of growth forecast, prepared by the state’s demographers.

“More than half of this growth is through natural increase,” Ms Hill said. “Our responsibility is to plan for this to make our city more liveable, sustainable and productive, rather than to debate the facts.”

So, “more than half of this growth is from natural increase”, according to the GSC? Not according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). As shown in the below charts, net overseas migration (NOM) into NSW (read Sydney) accounted for 67% of population growth in financial year 2016, and has done so on average over the past 30-plus years:

ScreenHunter_16805 Dec. 16 07.52 ScreenHunter_16806 Dec. 16 07.52

However, the above charts significantly understate the true impacts of immigration on Sydney’s population growth because “natural increase” captures the children of migrants. That is, NOM brings with it an immediate direct boost to population as well as a subsequent boost as new migrant arrivals have children (subsequently classified as “natural increase”).

For this reason, the Productivity Commission this year estimated that Australia’s population would peak at 27 million by 2060 under zero NOM, versus 41 million under NOM of 200,000 – a difference in population of 14 million! This comes despite only 9 million of this population increase coming directly from NOM. The other 5 million comes from migrants and the decedents of migrants having children (see next chart).

ScreenHunter_15977 Nov. 09 07.44

These are “the facts”, which the GSC seems only too willing to ignore: it is primarily mass immigration that is causing Sydney’s infrastructure woes, as well as pressuring housing.

Clearly, the best way for Lucy Turnbull to make Sydney “more livable” is to tap her husband on the shoulder and convince him to rein-in Australia’s mass immigration program.

Because as far as high immigration goes, the buck stops with the federal government. If you are in local or state government then you don’t have much choice but to cope with continuing mass immigration putting an ever-increasing strain on already stretched infrastructure, housing and public services.

Lucy Turnbull is in a unique position to influence federal policy and effect change for the betterment of both Sydney and Australia. But like her husband she is a mouthpiece for the ‘growth lobby’ that gains from never-ending population expansion at the expense of the rest of us.

This article, by Leith van Onselen, was first published at Republished with author's permission.

Image icon traffic-turnbull-tiny.jpg7.09 KB


My respect for Dick Smith grows each day.

His statement as to the inevitability to stop growth, and asking her when that is supposed to happen is brilliant. This is good politics. Rather than just point out issues, his posed a question on how to deal with an unavoidable reality (given that there is no change).

Dick Smith needs to press on this. The question can't be allowed to go unanswered, and this question would make a great meme to spread through social media.

It forces the issue. When do you plan to do stop growth. You can't answer you won't, you can't answer its not a problem, you have to state when. At what point will it become acceptable to lower immigration.

Dick Smith takes Growthists to task

Thank you Leith, in particular for publishing the NOM graph.

Actually, I think that we are being far too conservative in our approach to population. We actually need a population decline, starting now, if we choose to survive for a few more decades. The NOM graph, rather dramatically, gives us some idea as to how we should go about this.

Thank you Leith in particular for publishing the NOM graph.

Actually, I think that we are being far too conservative in our approach to population. We actually need a population decline, starting now, if we choose to survive for a few more decades. The NOM graph, rather dramatically, gives us some idea as to how we should go about this.

I noticed that the OZ, rather cleverly, put the News article immediately behind the Dick Smith ad, thus making it difficult, almost impossible, to refer back and forth between the two. But well done Dick.

The birth rate it Western nations has dropped below replacement, and has been there few a couple of decades now. It's fluctuates a little, but when you exclude the increase in the birthrate which incoming migrants have contributed to, it seems we have reach a kind of stasis.

That is, if it wasn't for the governments population policy, and the government importing people to do the jobs we wont do, that is, have three children each, then the problem is effectively solved. Solve the problem of governments interfering with peoples reproductive choices by importing population, and we are there.

This is not just Australia, but much of Europe.

Dick Smith is right to jump on Hansons policy. The problem isn't Australians having too many children, the problem is population interference.

I think that people who choose to go 'childless' are virtue signalling more than anything, and they are the making the problem worse by promoting this non-solution. And it is a non-solution because you can choose to not have children, but you leave a niche for someone else to fill. And by God, the government will fill that niche because it has jobs to fill, apartments to fill and shopping centres which still have space for consumers.

Readers might be interested in reading Tim Colebatch's article in the Saturday Age re: Victoria's transport infrastructure woes. The solution offered up, of course, is massive spending to bring the system up to scratch which, and again of course, is required, However, nothing is said about Melbourne's and Victoria's rampant net overseas migration and the damage it's doing!

Dick Smith says what most politicians have failed to declare (beside Pauline Hanson and I suspect her motivations are more racist than concern for the unemployed or the environment) ...

... and that is to call for a significant slow down on migration because our natural environment and our societal structures are struggling to cope already.

Lucy hasn't bothered to ask people, who are already suffering the deprivation and despair of unemployment or being locked out of affordable, accessible housing. Such exclusion occurs despite their best efforts, work/life experiences and skills.

I recently read a biography about wives of former Prime Ministers. Some were more involved in public life than others, and Enid Lyons actually entered politics herself. However, they generally were concerned about human welfare issues, and charities, not politics. Those who were the most popular and participated in public affairs tended to support the vulnerable such as children and the needy. They were patrons of charities and fund-raising. Not our LUCY Turnbull! Her concerns are more about feeding profits to "poor" property developers, banks and big corporations - by funneling never-ending people into already overflowing Sydney. Surely there is a grasping and overwhelming conflict of interests? She's spreading profits to big developers based on our government's big immigration policies? This is in direct conflict to the welfare of the electorate, and future generations who'll inevitably find it impossible to own/rent even a unit! So much for Neo-liberalism and the death of what was the "Labor" movement of the past.

It's as though this is just normal for Lucy and must be for Malcolm as well. She must have totally internalised the trickle- down mentality that if someone is getting really rich, then there will be a spin-off to the community. You'd have to at least tell yourself this lie wouldn't you?

And probably the same way big fat gorillas and chimps and orangutans justify beating up on their smaller competitors. Instinct (to use a common term) seems to underpin all religion, values and beliefs. Perhaps only loyalty to tribe permits fair distribution.