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Democracy - the cost of population growth: Mathew Guy, Ethiopia and the Sustainable Population Charter

Sustainable Population Australia, Green Wedges Coalition, Protectors of Public Lands Victoria and Planning Backlash are four of the peak planning and environmental groups that have produced a Sustainable Population Charter for Victoria because the government seems unable to do so. It recommends that net overseas migration be reduced from the recent 232,000 immigrants in a year to 70,000 net per annum. See "Peak Community Groups advocate for Population size as an election issue."

This useful democratic initiative could save Melbourne from chaos, but it has been reported in a slanted kind of way by Murdoch's Herald Sun, which gives quite unmerited authority to a disrespectful and ill-informed response from the government.

Government response irresponsible and disrespectful

Planning Minister Matthew Guy's response, as quoted below from the Herald Sun, seems to show a shameful disregard for the facts of a problem for which he is responsible by switching to questionable and irrelevant figures from the 1950s and 60s in response to a clearly emerging overpopulation crisis today in Victoria. In so doing, he has thumbed his nose at respected women community leaders who have stood up to represent concerned citizens in the absence of any fair representation from Mr Guy or his ilk on population. Instead of having the honesty to admit what is happening, Mr Guy raised an irrelevancy that is almost impossible for the average person to prove or disprove or sensibly situate in the debate.

“Planning Minister Matthew Guy said that the state's population growth was higher in the 1950s and 1960s and migrants should not be singled out by community groups." (The Herald Sun)[1]

Check the facts for your self in the graph above, which takes figures from Australian Government year books and the ABS from 1945 to 2009. Does it look to you like immigration was higher in the 50s and 60s? No, of course not. And figures continue to climb since 2009. Between 2006 and 2011 immigration has contributed 60% of Australia's population growth. No-one is 'singling out' migrants.

In the face of the environmental planning groups' carefully worded and researched document, Mr Guy has referred vaguely to conditions in the 1950s and 1960s (when world population was between 2.5 and 3.5 billion instead of its current size of 7.1 billion and energy resources were hardly tapped.) What kind of intellect are we dealing with here?

He did not bother to provide the figures he claimed to be alluding to, nor did he say why they were relevant. He failed to take on board that it is the duty of citizens to form alliances to restrain his government from its constant attack on democracy, property and environment. And that it is his duty to respond rationally and democratically.

"We are living longer, we are having more children, there are a whole range of factors in population growth," said Mr Guy. Note that in this video, even the Australian Bureau of Statistics is now politically massaging growth, saying that Australia's population is 'growing stronger' - instead of 'increasing faster'.

Well, yes, of course there are a 'whole range of factors in population growth', but immigration is the biggest and a multiplier of fertility opportunities. (See Sheila Newman, Demography, Territory, Law: The rules of Animal and Human Populations, Countershock Press, 2012.) Mr Guy also does not say that the few people and corporations pushing for higher population growth derive the narrowly focused but huge financial benefits that the rest of us pay so dearly for in the loss of parkland, in homelessness, in lack of education and jobs.

Politically intimidating put-down

"Simply targeting overseas migration is simplistic and it won't solve population growth problems," Mr Guy reportedly said.

This put-down of the careful work that the peak planning and environment groups have actually done looks like an attempt by a powerful politician to intimidate democratic and highly relevant comment by slurring its spokeswomen.

The graph showing immigration from 1901-1944 shows our earlier immigration patterns, where during both World Wars and during depressions, more people left the country than came in.

This is not 'good management'

"Mr Guy said growth had to be well managed which was why the Government was pushing ahead with the East West Link and a metropolitan planning strategy.” [1]

If that is good management, then why is Melbourne's oldest park (Royal Park) targeted by the growth lobby to receive a concrete horrendoplasty and why are there protests on the steps of parliament, as even usually tame councils call for a sane alternative in rail? See "Melbourne Protestors demand: Trains not Tollroads!"

Mr Guy's 19th century ideas similar to Ethiopia's Mennilik II

Mr Guy reminds me of Mennilik II in Ethiopia, who decided to develop the country in the late 19th century, when the population was only 4 or 5 million and people lived in stable economies among clans on their own land. After Mennilik's modernisation programs, which included massive land 'reforms' - driving people off their own land into cities - Ethiopia's population climbed to 10 million. In 1950, as development continued, the population climbed to 18.3 million. In the 1970s there were more huge land reforms. In the 1980s there were mass government resettlements. Now in 2010 Ethiopia's population is 83 million and climbing rapidly still.

Mr Guy is pushing the very same process as his government promotes more bad laws to prevent people from having any say over how they live and what is done around them in their own country. Like the Ethiopians, we are being rounded up for the sake of economic ideologies of benefit to a very few. Those who dare to protest are attacked with lies about numbers, fatuous pronouncements about living longer and having more children, and innuendo such as 'don't blame immigrants'. But Mr Guy, who is not deaf, blind or illiterate, knows that his government constantly advertises for immigrants and that Australia's population is growing mostly because of immigration, which is now so high that it is driving the destruction of local ammenity in the form of unwanted and costly infrastructure that his government is imposing on its constituents, just like some primitive dictatorship.

In 1994, when I began to research what drove population growth, Australia's population was 17m and our net overseas immigration numbers averaged about 80,000. We did not need desalination plants and homelessness was an unusual problem. But the Murdoch and Fairfax Press and corporate Australia were already baying for growth. By 2013 we have already reached well over 22million - a dangerous growth rate that has caused cost of living to skyrocket and quality of life to deteriorate.

Mr Guy says, "Simply targeting overseas migration is simplistic and it won't solve population growth problems."

The fact is that the Murdoch and Fairfax Press promote politicians who make misleading statements like that one by Mr Guy because Murdoch and Fairfax have huge investments in population growth.[2] ABS figures show that stopping high overseas immigration would go a long way to solving population growth problems because it is the major driver of population growth in Victoria and Australia.

Mr Guy should pay attention to that sustainable population charter.

[1] John Masanauskas, "Don't blame migrants on suburban boom, warns Planning Minister Matthew Guy," Herald Sun, August 30, 2013.

[2] The mainstream press are part of the corporate lobby. As well as both the Murdoch and the Fairfax press owning huge property dot coms ( and and constantly beating the populate or perish drum, owners, board members and their associates can position themselves to benefit from the influence of journalistic reporting on the value of resources, commodities, and manufactures, as well as influencing who gets elected by choosing who and what gets publicity. By the way, David Williamson's new play, "Rupert", does a magnificent job of showing how this happens.


Matthew Guy and his liberal mates? He is population booster and can't be expected to regard population growth as anything but a benefit.

Sure, it's not surprising, but the thing is that we should be able to expect better. Things are really seriously wrong in this country. It's obvious that overpopulation is ruining this city and all around Australia, so no leader should be able to pretend otherwise. It is because the corporate press want this growth that the politicians get away with running roughshod over the electorate.