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PM Tony Abbott in Bradford Oration pushes selling 'air-space' to high-rise developers as immigration runs amok

The latest propaganda inundation to force people to accept overpopulation as a fait accompli is coming from the so-called "Bradfield Oration",1 which is to be inaugurated by that mass-media propaganda horn, Australia's Prime Minister, Tony Abbott. The University of Sydney and Lend Lease have been described as 'key partners' in this 'initiative'2 which will steer university students their way by awarding an associated prize. So much for independence in academia, eh?

The current publicity machine anoints some architect from New York to tell Australians how to suck eggs for their greedy masters.2 Vishann Chakrabarti is being used to frighten the people of Sydney with a "build up or else" and to market the idea of selling air-space to developers so that they can build the residential towers residents have been fighting for generations. This concept of selling airspace is obscene in the context of human rights as well as Australian values of freedom and nature accessible to all. Australia's self-appointed leaders are in the business of making everything for sale by privatising all natural rights and resources. They should be put on trial for this as a criminal conspiracy to advantage a few at the expense of the many citizens whose taxes they abuse for their own ends. Unfortunately they also make the laws.

“If you don’t plan, those folks in Western Sydney will have their worst nightmares come true,’’ Chakrabarti told The Daily Telegraph, threatening that Sydney "would also struggle to create good jobs and fall behind East Asian cities like Hong Kong and Shanghai".

That is the awful benchmark our enemies who call themselves our leaders seek to impose on the rest. It is indeed our worst nightmare, to compete with Hong Kong and Shanghai. Only psychopaths like warlords and corporate landlords would wish such a nightmare on Australians. Good leaders would lead us against it.

Bad leaders stand on a rubbish heap of trashed human rights

How could any self-respecting media dignify such authoritarian drivel as the basis of planning policy? Is this what inevitably happens in a capitalist system that privileges bullies and psychopaths by making them rich enough to dominate the public messaging system? If it cannot be made democratic then we can only hope the system will be brought down. The sole reason most of those talking up development and population growth are even heard is that they stand astride a skyscraping rubbish-heap of trashed human rights which they have helped to bury through land-speculation on an industrial scale.

The mass media that purveys this propaganda and invests in real-estate, keeps any dissenting views to a whisper. The ABC follows suit in a conspiracy to protect the beneficiaries of propaganda. Australians hate what is happening, but because so many still rely on the mainstream media to understand what is happening and to represent their views, they fail to connect on the ground and therefore fail to organise. Most people reading these transparent propaganda tracts marketing population growth and infrastructure explosion as inevitable must feel alone in their horror.

I believe that I have shown in Demography, Territory, Law: the Rules of Animal and Human Populations, that growth is not inevitable and that about half of the first world nations are planning to adapt positively to smaller populations by the 2050s.

Chakrabati is also reported to have said that the selling of airspace to highrise developers is, “a very viable model as areas around train stations are very, very valuable.’’ Fighting highrise development above a local station was where Marvellous Melbourne came into being, with the help of Planning Backlash. Marvellous Melbourne sought to publicise what the speculators who have taken over our government had planned for Camberwell Station, in Melbourne, Victoria. As well as the imposed massive changes to the local visual and experienced environment, there was the abrogation of democracy of local residents. The situation has since greatly deteriorated with VCAT, the Victorian Court system, now imposing impossible costs on citizens to prevent them from exercising self-government.

Coming up from the wings in the two party fixed horse race 3 towards impossible living conditions is the growing unaffordability of land-rates. As well as driving up rental costs, elderly residents innocently living in homes they bought and paid for decades ago, find that rates based on speculative land-values are pulling them into debt at a time of life when wages and pensions do not keep up with the related inflation. And it is not just the elderly, young renters and young home-owners face lifetimes of enslavement to debt with little prospect of retaining equity in purchased property as these costs rise.

Of course, this suits the predators who pass for parliamentarians and their friends, because it means that a proportion of those people will be forced to sell-up and move out, creating a dynamic that will favour subdivisions, making housing even less affordable.

"Policies which promise to build low cost modest housing, or any policy which increases density will only drive prices higher and worsen the situation. By reducing dwelling size, the premium paid for land increases and land price increases." (Dennis K in "The Housing market and the death of Australia.")

Whilst building high-rent slums, the person or corporation that buys the 'air-rights' around the stations servicing increasingly congested suburbs will make billions of dollars, far more than is needed to buy parliamentarians and political parties.

We are told that the Planning Department estimates Sydney’s population will increase by 1.6 million over the next 20 years, requiring 664,300 new homes. Chris Johnson, of Urban Taskforce, an organisation that represents the interests of property developers, is quoted predictably as saying that 'Sydney will need to build 100 new high-rise apartment towers a year for the next 50 years to accommodate a third of the increased population.' Only if Mr Johnson and his allies get away with their political push to bulldoze Australians' rights.

Australia's population is increasing at an unsustainable rate, impacting on democracy, the environment, and civil rights, only due to immigration policy at both Federal and State levels. All the states have websites inviting people to come and live in them and all the states pretend they have no control over the situation. The Australian government is trying to induce young people to move to the north of Australia in the context of high unemployment. The aim is to give young people no choice but to work for the predators who are moving in on the north to cover it in mines, roads, dams and suburbs. There will be no natural environment left at this rate. The high immigration that permits all these abuses is not Australia's friend. But it's not terrorism from overseas we should fear most; it is the terrorism of the developers inside and outside parliament who are removing our rights in order to promote growth for their selfish profits.

Probably the only way to change this kind of situation is through a revolution that redistributes land and decommodifies it. With the mass media working so successfully to keep Australians ignorant and isolated from each other, this would be almost inconceivable, except that there is also a good possibility that petroleum depletion and the inadequacy of alternative sources of power and of nuclear will undermine the awful profit system we are groaning under. The result will be a decline in the ability to travel long distances and a return to the family and clan unit, interacting locally. The family and clan unit has an organic power structure, rooted geopolitically in its local environment. 4

Did Vishann Chakrabarti, touted as a 'leading New York architect' willingly lend his name to this subversion of democracy by the new Australian squattocracy? Such a man could use his position to denounce the hidious transformation of the world into New York-style ghettos divided by desert, or he can use it to help Australian Prime Minister Abbott to further privilege corporate power and wealth, in an entropic race to the bottom.


1. Bradfield was a founding member of the Australian Engineers Institute and famous for being the engineer in charge of the construction of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. He was also famous for pushing schemes to turn Australian rivers inland to animate the desert. Someone decided to attach his name to give some ersatz gravitas to this grande bouffe for greedy developers. However, I note that his great great granddaughter, Holly Parker, won a young scientist prize for a kind of packaging that can be replanted after use, which sounds like a generational turn for the better.

2. See, for instance, article in the Sydney Daily Telegraph: Sydney Harbour Bridge engineer John Bradfield: A great legacy to live up to in our city.

3. The ALP saw that Bill Shorten, rather than the membership favoured Anthony Albanese, was pushed to the top of the heap after the last election. Shorten, like Abbott, will push population growth on behalf of the ruling and wealthy classes, whereas Albanese actually said he preferred for Australians to democratically decide on immigration numbers. See "Numbers man” Shorten apparently open- ended on Australia’s population numbers."

4. Demography, Territory, Law: the Rules of Animal and Human Populations


I see in the Melbourne Herald Sun that Prosper Australia* has weighed in at a public hearing for a Senate Inquiry into Affordable Housing, recommending that stamp duty (payable on purchased properties) should be abolished and an annual land tax introduced instead with the family home not exempt.
In the full context of Henry George inspired tax reform, this might have been a fair thing, as it should have replaced most other taxes. But I am wary of this suggestion as an isolated move in the current context of increased housing unaffordablity from rising demand for Australain property and speculation in this market. The effect would most certainly be for increased density which Proper Australia would see as good even though gardens and trees would be lost. This is the problem with looking at our lives, society and our environment from a purely economic perspective. Quality has to go out the window (rented or owned).
* Prosper Australia Organisation based on ideas of Henry George, 19th century political economist

I implore people, anyone who seeks to tackle the issue to diligently speak of land prices and not the cost of a residence, house or unit. Talking of the cost of "housing" frames the issue in an alternate context, and allows the issue to be tackled in a manner which does not solve the underlying problem. I admit I have made this error too.

It is critical for the following reasons...

1: It IS the cost of land which is driving prices up. Land without a house on it is comparatively expensive, often more than the cost of building a detached dwelling on it. This is inverse to the historical norm. Many frame the issue as if it were construction costs, material costs and such which is the issue, but this is simply false. You can build a house for less than $200K still, and the cost of building that house has not increased dramatically in the last few years. The LAND however, has sky rocketed and it is the increasing cost of land which is causing the overall price of a house/land property to increase.

Why else would a vacant block of land in the suburbs cost so much, if it were the cost of construction leading to price rises? Discussing the issue as if it were the cost of constructing houses which is the problem perpetuates a falsehood and allows politicians, the media and the RE industry to deflect attention away from the real issue. Avoid!

2: If we, the Australian people demand cheaper houses, then this gives recourse for developers and the government to do so, by lowering living conditions, and creating far smaller houses, on smaller plots. Remember, than a new house which is on 50% of the land the old one was on, but costs 90% as much, is technically cheaper, much in the same way 500mL of milk at $1.50 is technically cheaper than 1L at $2. You are paying more per unit of land, getting far less space per dollar, but you have a 'cheaper' house. If we push for "cheaper houses", that is EXACTLY what we will get, slightly cheaper, far worse value houses, and more expensive land. All the "expensive" decent properties will be demolished to provide units, barely cheaper, and we'll be told "mission accomplished".

Instead, always frame the issue in terms of land price. We should demand that the government examine policy which drives up land prices. It is important we emphasise the underlying expense is the land, and that only reducing the price of land, can an acceptable solution be found. This issue cannot be solved with infill, increased investor activity, towers, smaller blocks, subdivision and such. It will actually result in a true correction of prices, rather than an superficial adjustment which leaves the underlying issue in place, but forces people to make concessions in order to give the facade of a solution.

Totally agree, Dennis. Note that I cited you in the above article. Your statements about how subdivision makes land more expensive go right to the heart of the matter.

Sheila N

The housing Ponzi scheme is being promoted as one of our few economic activities in Oz, and it means going to the extremes of selling to foreigners - due to the fact that first time buyers have been largely priced out - and selling air space! It's assumed that "planning" is the silver bullet to keeping the whole pyramid scheme together, and will somehow solve any problems. Just ignore the growing number of homeless, and families being pushed out of unaffordable rental properties and the ghettos!

Our government has sold out to the banks, and their huge power and profits, and property developers. Keeping alive the real estate ponzi seems to be one of the few vibrant economic activities we have.

Housing is hiding a weak economy, and plastering over the cracks caused by excessive population growth, high demands on our economy, smaller budget surpluses, traffic gridlocks, and high costs of living. The Ponzi scheme is cruel, like a free market economy. The "market" might thrive, but be hostile to the participants, and erode our lifestyles.

The government has called their enquiry a "Senate Inquiry into Affordable Housing." Of course "affordablity", or in the situatuion we have now, "UN-affordablity" is about unaffordable land prices.