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Swiss Eco Group Forces Immigration Vote

A left-wing environmentalist group opposed to all forms of racism and xenophobia has been able to get a national immigration referendum on the ballot in Switzerland.

Philippe Roch (R) from the Ecopop group.

The Environment and Population Association, or Ecopop group, successfully argued that overpopulation from massive immigration is putting undue pressure on Switzerland’s finite natural resources.

“The pressure on land, nature and the countryside is considerable, and quality of life is continuously deteriorating due to a lack of living space,” Ecopop member Philippe Roch told the BBC.

Roch is also a former director of Switzerland’s Federal Environment Office.

The group wants annual population growth through immigration capped at 0.2% and a tenth of foreign aid to be used for birth control measures abroad.

Ecopop members gathering signatures

Direct democratic action a right in Switzerland with referenda

More than 120,700 certified signatures, far above the minimum 100,000, were gathered to get the referendum on the ballot on November 2. Although no date for the vote has been set yet, should the initiative clear other administrative and legal hurdles, it will likely take place in 2015. ( For more on how Swiss direct democracy works and why this system would be desirable in Australia, see
"You can help bring Direct Democracy to Australia."

Population numbers in Switzerland

Switzerland’s population has risen by some 15-percent since 1990. It currently has a population of eight million, with a quarter of them being foreigners.

“Switzerland currently has one of the densest populations on the planet, with 480 inhabitants per square kilometre in ‘Mittelland’,” or central Switzerland, Ecopop leader Andreas Thommen told AFP, insisting “this development is not at all sustainable in the long-term.”

The Swiss government re-imposed immigration limits on the so-called “A8? EU nations – Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia - last April. After the 2,000-a-year cap expired in 2011, numbers from those countries exploded to 6,000. Many from the relatively-poor countries are attracted to Switzerland due to its low unemployment rate, which is currently 2.9-percent.

Ecopop logo

Switzerland’s population has is 3.0-percent more now than it was in November 2011, due completely to immigration.

The right-wing Swiss People’s Party has also been able to get an immigration referendum on the ballot.

Ecopop was founded in 1971, with a mission of protecting Founded in 1971, Ecopop says its mission is to protect the environment by restricting immigration and slowing down population growth.


Earlier this year whilst dining with friends in Geneva, a great argument broke out. This is not unusual in for this particular set as they are used to the art of dialectic and it is generally no holds barred. The discussion was about Switzerland's right to remain Swiss and limit the number of foreigners calling it "home". I recall one of them getting very hot under the collar in favour of unrestricted immigration because "on ne peux pas construire un mur autour de La Suisse! (one cannot build a wall around Switzerland) I wonder how she will vote in 2015! Despite there being no actual wall, it seems she and her compatriots will be offered a choice.

Yes, they may be offered a choice - unlike Australians, who do not live in a real democracy.
I heard that at a rally in Melbourne yesterday a resolution was passed to ask the Victorian government to lobby the federal government to “curb immigration” and for the Victorian Government itself to stop advertising for new settlers to the state. The vote was almost unanimous among representatives of numerous groups. Hopefully will get a report of the when and where and conveners.

Years ago Kevin Rudd remarked that "Australia has a 'robust democracy'" after some incident in China. I thought, that Rudd must either be deluded or think that Australians are. In fact, we can say mostly what we want but, due to the control that the duopoly press has over what information reaches most of us, it doesn't matter what we say. As long as most Australians think that what is in the Murdoch press and the ABC and Fairfax is official we will get nowhere, despite relative freedom of speech, because Australians lack real communication channels, locally, state-wide and nationally. This means that we are not aware of what other Australians think and cannot communicate what we think to each other.
We are definitely a country where the press manufactures consent. tries to remedy this.

The erroneous and misguided idea of boosting South Australia's population by 12,000 migrants to address their "aging population" is deeply flawed. There's no way of capturing youth, either for an individual or for a nation. Snake-oil peddlers will always try to deceive the naive and vain by selling remedies for eternal youth. An ageing population is a sign of a nation's maturity, and good health care. The wealthiest nations all have "ageing populations". Overpopulated poor nations have high numbers of young people.

Those not working also include children, teenagers, the sick, disabled and the unemployed - not just the older people. This flawed scheme, to add 12,000 migrants, ignores the cost of infrastructure, and that these migrants also will all age - at the normal rate of one year per year! Then, just how many more migrants will need to be added to dilute their numbers when they inevitably age? The basis or our human "carrying capacity" is our environmental resources, and ability to pay for the compensation for ecological overshoot. The "need" for desalination plants, and hefty water bills, is an indication that already our cities are overpopulated.

Predictably, the idea was driven by the Property council, with vested interests in housing and construction. We all want "vibrancy" not economic stagnation! What is stagnant is loss of productivity and per capita wealth from traffic congestion, lowering housing standards, rising costs of living and the massive costs of infrastructure that well be forced onto the public to pay.

Stop Population Growth Now Party convenor Bob Couch said the country couldn't afford to accept more migrants. Industries now require skills, and fewer people. "A bigger population will just put more pressure on our water supplies, our fisheries, roads, health services, schools, flora and fauna, and arable land."

"Economic growth", when it becomes uneconomic and devoid of democracy, needs to end and replaced by a sustainable economy - for long term survival and adaption to an era of scarcity and deprivation. Desalination plants are an indication of overpopuation, and South Australians should avoid the hefty costs of Melbourne's water - a basic human necessity and not a luxury.

Swiss batten down the hatches on migrants by David Charter in The Times, April 27, 2013.

"EUROPEANS hoping to escape the economic downturn were told yesterday the continent's most prosperous country was pulling up the drawbridge to stop a surge of jobless migrants.

To fury in Brussels, Switzerland announced quotas for new residents that will apply to immigrants from the eight eastern European countries that joined the European Union nine years ago. These include Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic."

The Times and other English and US mass media constantly put Europe down for the way its economy has suffered after international banks invested in the US housing bubble, yet, when Europe sensibly puts the lid on population growth and expansion, they disapprove.

In the first Oil Shock, European countries all cut down on immigration because they preferred to secure the jobs of their citizens and not to invest in new infrastructure and housing for immigrants. It make sense.

Swiss to vote on 2,500 franc basic income for every adult

BERNE | Fri Oct 4, 2013 10:55am EDT

(Reuters) - Switzerland will hold a vote on whether to introduce a basic income for all adults, in a further sign of growing public activism over pay inequality since the financial crisis.

A grassroots committee is calling for all adults in Switzerland to receive an unconditional income of 2,500 Swiss francs ($2,800) per month from the state, with the aim of providing a financial safety net for the population.

Organizers submitted more than the 100,000 signatures needed to call a referendum on Friday and tipped a truckload of 8 million five-rappen coins outside the parliament building in Berne, one for each person living in Switzerland.

Under Swiss law, citizens can organize popular initiatives that allow the channeling of public anger into direct political action. The country usually holds several referenda a year.

In March, Swiss voters backed some of the world's strictest controls on executive pay, forcing public companies to give shareholders a binding vote on compensation.

A separate proposal to limit monthly executive pay to no more than what the company's lowest-paid staff earn in a year, the so-called 1:12 initiative, faces a popular vote on November 24.

The initiative's organizing committee said the basic income could partly be financed through money from social insurance systems in Switzerland.

The timing of the vote has yet to be announced, pending official guidance from the government.

(Reporting by Denis Balibouse, writing by Alice Baghdjian, editing by Gareth Jones)