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Salty follies and the Naked Property and Growth Lobby

You've got to see this video. Salt and cronies rattling on at an industry talk-fest.
Warning: Likely to cause anger, nausea or both. An even bigger chance of dying laughing at these unselfconcious antics of the Property and Growth Lobby.

The powerpoint slides and Salt monologue give way to footage of Co-conspirators... well conspiring.
One of those present is the CEO of Parramatta Council. All those on-stage seemed completely naive to the notion of democracy or the public interest. This was a 2011 talkfest by KPMG and the Property Council of Australia which has been sitting in our draft articles for some time, but age has not tarnished it.

Debating them would be like debating the three stooges - which is perhaps why they never debate any of the counter-growth lobby.

They seem utterly clueless regarding the nature of their opposition.

There are comments below the video on the above site from people who seem amazed at these antics. Most of's readers would not be amazed, but amused to see what we knew to be true actually played out on stage. There are also comments about some nasty sock-puppets who seem to be located in Prosper Australia. One of them is noted to attack people who want to stop undemocratic population growth in Australia. The same guy seems to get around a lot - from the Refugee Alliance and their friends in Right to Life, amongst shouter-downs in the Greens, the Socialist Alliance and even in Bicycles Victoria. (What do all these organisations have in common that could interest him? - Political turf.)

This page from another site also carries the same video and discusses the issue of online property shills and astroturfing.

This page, also from the site above, is also very interesting. It discusses the commercial collapse of The Block'

Here's an example of a comment posted after watching this video:

"This is very disturbing.

KPMG's Bernard Salt is advocating the creation of groups of paid shills and spruikers, backed by big business and the property industry, to 'counter the negativity' by posting on opinion pages of newspapers, forums, social media, twitter and the blogosphere. He wants these groups to take on the 'doomsayers' by seeking out and 'balancing extreme views'. He says individuals can't do it but there are ways to fund groups to do it.

His guests say the property council used to do this a lot to promote the property industry but vacated that space in recent years and he recommends they return with broad campaigns at the PR level to fight negative sentiment in the property market.

It makes you wonder whether they've already been successful in doing this, and the bulls and spruikers on forums like this one are bankrolled by the real estate industry and big business to sow seeds of uncertainty and doubt among the dominant (and correct IMO) bearish viewpoint. Would it surprise you if our one-eyed permabulls and their socks are puppets of the propaganda arm of the real estate industry, here to manipulate public opinion and drown out reality? Who to trust?"


Wow, this is a real eye opener, though I suppose I shouldn't be too surprised.

I always knew the real estate industry was corrupt but this is taking things to a whole new level.

Any chance of getting this out to the masses via Today Tonight or A Current Affair etc?

I know those shows appeal to the lowest common denominator sometimes but they reach a wide audience.

People need to be made aware of how much lies and propaganda they're being fed by the industry.

Kudos to and for bringing this to public attention! Nice work!

D Mitchell.

Looking at and listening to the clip was torture and I don't know how this creep can sleep soundly at night. His plan is to pay a team to issue pro- growth propaganda throughout the media in order to brain wash the Australian people and with the aim of changing a 20/80 ratio against growth into a 45/55 one or better to allay politicians’ fears about doing just what the people do not presently want. Salt acknowledges that individuals would not be able to do it and that it requires a paid army, yet he derisively talks of articulate anti development retirees "with too much time on their hands" interested in a "power kick" and who would easily swing to any cause. It would be a real coup for the growth lobby harness the energy and talents of these mature aged people that BS sees as looking for a cause. They may even be able to get a good stream of Bull Shit going for less than the suggested $2-3 million per year! Instead he says to give up on them and work on the young people.

I noted only one brief reference as to how growth and development benefit the recalcitrant 80% of people who are against it. It was reference to superannuation a sort of never- never distant hope to be financially catered for in retirement. He did say the young would appreciate the employment opportunities of a growing population but does a larger pool of labour increase employment opportunities?

The time for words seems to be over. Who can spend their lives arguing against the rubbish that paid prostitutes put our in favour of demolishing the cities we know and building higher denser ones, covering our countryside with endless suburbs, killing our wildlife and burying our farmland in tar and cement ? It's a time and energy issue, not an issue of who has the brain power to counter their predictable propaganda.

The people behind the immigration jugganaut seem to be psychopaths or so wrapped up in their own short term ambitions that they are prepared to destroy our country.

"UNIVERSITIES will be allowed to entice foreign students with quick visa approvals and the right to two years of work after graduation as part of a reform package to stem further losses of overseas student income.

Immigration Minister Chris Bowen and Tertiary Education Minister Chris Evans said yesterday they would act on a remarkably frank report on Australia's education export industry by former NSW politician Michael Knight.

By mid-next year, foreign students keen on an Australian university degree will have access to a new, fast-track visa system.

Students from supposedly high-risk countries such as China will no longer have to show $75,000-plus in a bank account to prove they can cover fees and living costs. Instead, as with students from developed countries such as the US, they will be able to simply declare they can support themselves.

Onerous financial requirements have been bitterly criticised as an overreaction to past failings when migration was the motor of education, especially in private colleges."

The reason for unleashing this likely flood of people who will never go home and who will take places from Australian students and keep housing prices high is supposed to be to save our universities. Our universities survived for nearly 200 years without this kind of prostitution of our tax-funded services.

I note that University of NSW Vice Chancellor Fred Hilmer, who is peddling this scheme, is the same Fred Hilmer who was commissioned by the Hawke/Keating Labour Government to chair the National Competition Policy Review Committee, which led to the introduction of National Competition Policy in 1995. At the time the report ( - pdf 42M) was released it was greeted by our newsmwedia with sycophantic adulation and was subject to almost no informed critical scrutiny. It become the retrospective justification for Paul Keating having foisted his extreme "free market" dogma on the Australian public without any elctoral mandate in 1983 and was to become the dogma with which all Australian Governments thereafter were expected to comply --- or have hell to pay. Essentially, government was to privatise as many wealth-producing and and service providing entities as possible wealth-producing and service proving entities as possible and, as far as possible, not regulate the "free market".

That, in order to give the Australian tertiary education industry a competitive advantage over foreign universities, Hilmer is prepared to offer prospective foreign students a still easier path to citizenship as well as paid employment denied to many Australian residents, reveals what a sham Hilmer's professed belief in fair competition always was.

A thousand curses on Fred Hilmer and all his children and their children's children for doing this to our country. Ditto for Keating and Hawke. I weep.

I'm not laughing. I am very very angry at these men who have set themselves up to pervert our democracy and steal from us our quality of life.

First off do these developers really worry that the tide of public opinion is shifting against them? That their industry is under threat? Most of the public is either apathetic or supports them. They have government at every level in their pocket, to the point where its a rare, headline making event when a development is actually rejected. I think they know this, but publically admitting this looks like arrogance. Its always good to pretend to be the underdog, even when you're not.

But lets look at the developers mindset. They genuinely believe rapid population growth has made the average Australian much wealthier. Its certainly made them wealthier. Their pet economists tell them its made everyone else wealthier. Whats good for them must be good for every Australian.

They fully believe this rapid population growth must be continued until at least the end of this century. Why? Because this is supposed to be the century when the "undeveloped world" catches up with the "developed world". Which means massive economic growth dwarfing even that of the 20th century.

Rapid population growth would allow Australia to fully partake in this boom, or so they believe. But of course there is a very real possibility that before too long economic growth as we have known it is going to end, due principally to energy shortages. In this scenario a growing population makes the average Australian poorer. But they can't even conceive of this happening.

CSI wrote: "They genuinely believe rapid population growth has made the average Australian much wealthier."

Why presume that developers are unaware of the harm that their industry causes to the welfare of other Australian?

Surely any developer who thinks about it for more than five minutes would have to understand that the necessary population growth can only make the living standards of existing Australians worse on average, particularly when undertaken in the chaotic fashion that it now is.

What are the residents of these new developments going to make or grow that they can sell to other parts of the country or overseas?

Because if they don't the wealth necessary for them to live can only come from the wealth currently shared amongst existing Australian residents.

With Australia's manufacturing sector in decline since Whitlam began abolishing protectionism in 1975, there will almost certainly be at most a small fraction of the manufacturing jobs necessry to kep the new residents employed. Housing construction will cover a great deal of arable land so it is hard to imagine many of the new residents being employed to grow additional food.

Ultimately most residents in the new developments, if they are to be employed at all, can only be employed in non-wealth-producing service sector roles - finance, banking, real estate, retail, etc.

The naked growth lobbyists are extremely powerful and self-centred in their interests. This is about "fighting back" democratic opinion tides, and public opinion by vested interest groups. The constraints of growth are evident to the public, and there are no "counter arguments" to endorse population growth. Nothing can "sway" against the tide. It's the public who are the victims of all this malignant growth.
What's needed is some common-sense, and realistic evaluations of where our society is heading. The property Council and developers are not responsible for fixing mortgage stress, homelessness, debt, crowding, infrastructure shortages, the exploitation of our suburbs and lack of full time employment.
What measured, valued responses to "big Australia" are there? Countering the "negativism" will be hard to find against the "extreme" views that would cap our population to justify ongoing population growth. Governments are elected to represent the people of Australia, not just a few elite. What are the benefits of limitless growth? What ammunition will they have to justify the costs and impacts of population growth? It's all about profits, property development, increasing costs, taxes, lower living standards and debt. Property developers and banks have far too much power, and they will have a hard time manipulating the public to change current opinion.
There are limits to growth that are being denied. How can it be otherwise, no matter how hard the growth lobby "fight back"!!
Future generations won't have the "benefits" of growth that these growth advocates have. If there is a sway of public opinion against all the "developments" and "planning", it's a genuine concern. It can't simply and conveniently be turned for the sake of a few.
Funding for infrastructure comes from the public purse, and already families and struggling to survive. Society must evolve towards a sustainable, and liveable, future. We can't continue to pave our land with concrete at our present rate and destroy the integrity of our landscape, ecological systems and biodiversity.
This is about trying to quash public opinion and disguise the obvious - that our population growth is unsustainable and already Australia is overloaded with people.

It's time to seriously defend home.
It's time to label growth lobbyists, developers as 'buildophiles'. The term has a nasty ring to it and the more it is used it will catch on unwelcomingly to the target.
I have just concocted it and I plan to use it and it is free to use, unlike those selfish American pseudodemics who try to patent every friggin term they concoct.

Go forth, use it liberally....

Suggan Buggan
Snowy River Region
Victoria 3885

The egregious Salt is now Mr Murdoch's new page three girl. Going by the video in the candobetter article I'm commenting on, that doesn't say much about the Murdoch rags. I mean it looks as if Salt is now going to play the role of Emily Post. How can the public swallow this much offense? Who the hell still reads the Murdoch news?

A bunch of old wrinklies, I guess, who don't have the internet and whose brains have fossilised.

"Demographer Salt joins paper", The Australian, 21 January 2012

BERNARD Salt, Australia's leading commentator on demographic and social trends, joins the paper as social editor.

In this new role he will analyse and report on the implications of the extensive economic and social change reshaping the nation.

A partner at KPMG with more than 20 years' experience in demographic analysis, Salt has been a columnist with The Australian since 2002 and has become well-known across the country through his public speaking engagements and his regular commentary on television and radio...." etc etc

The rest is here:

A respected commentator has foreshadowed that the next Salt anointing could be a knighthood or beatification