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Refugee posturing by politicians morally misguided

Sustainable Population Party rejects the moral posturing and political one-upsmanship surrounding the current Syrian refugee crisis, and calls for sustainable global solutions to the human tragedy of forced migration.

In an ABC Radio interview today, World Vision CEO Reverend Tim Costello says “the [refugee] intake is the pimple on the hippopotamus” and “not really the main game.”[1]

Reverend Costello added “It's actually giving people hope in the camps that they're secure, they're going to be fed, that they don't need to flee - and above all... go back home. That's what they want to do. They just want to go back home, not come here, not go to Europe.”

William Bourke, President of the Sustainable Population Party agrees, saying “Whilst an increased intake should be considered, the current game of moral one-upmanship by politicians is unhelpful and regrettable. The government’s plans to increase the intake by 12,000 will cost a conservative $500 million, or around $40,000 per refugee.[2]

“How many people would $40,000 per year help to live safely in UN camps? According to the UNHCR, a donation of $300 per annum ‘can buy an Emergency Assistance Package to give a family the essentials for survival and shelter’.[3] If we conservatively assume a family is four people, that’s $75 per person. For every one person Australia resettles, we therefore forego the opportunity to help over 500 people in what World Vision’s Tim Costello calls ‘the main game’. Given the scale of the Syrian crisis, $500 million would be better spent helping over 6 million people than 12,000.

”Rather than simplistic moral posturing over increased permanent resettlement numbers, we align with Reverend Costello’s overriding aim to help people live safely now, and ultimately sustainably in their homeland. To achieve this ultimate goal, we also need to address underlying drivers of resource scarcity and conflict in Syria, including rapid population growth.

“Syria’s population has exploded from 3.5 million in 1950 to 23 million today. This growth dilutes natural resources like food and water, and ties into “economic problems, education costs and living costs."[4] At the current extreme growth rate, Syria will reach around 35 million by 2050. This increasing resource scarcity fuels growing conflict between militias and religious groups.

“To help address the global population crisis, Australia should also increase its total family planning and reproductive health services foreign aid from $50 million to at least $500 million immediately and to at least $1 billion by 2020, Mr Bourke added. | ENDS




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Dear CDB

In reference to your editorial comment beginning with:
"[Editorial Comment: This article suggests that Syria is in trouble due to overpopulation..."

I'd point out that the SPP media release did not say Syria is in trouble due to overpopulation. It said:

"To achieve this ultimate goal, we also need to address underlying DRIVERS [plural] of resource scarcity and conflict in Syria, INCLUDING rapid population growth."

It clearly states therefore that rapid population growth is just one of the factors involved.

Your editorial therefore is based on a false premise and introduces irrelevant issues such as comparisons with Australia's population growth. In my view it would be best be removed so as not to confuse readers.


You make your point, William, I have removed the comment, and am now putting it here, slightly altered.

I suppose my problem was that the press release left out a step for the average reader, which is how such wars are caused by overpopulation. Without saying this (and I understand that a press release does not give much space) readers could get the impression that endorses the widespread idea that the Middle East is just an out of control high birthrate third world region and always was, which would be very far from the truth. It is that kind of impression that is being used to excuse Australia's mad droit du seigneur bombing venture.

The problem is that Syria was in fine shape until 2011, despite the population growth it experienced. It was neocon driven 'interventions' that caused an inflow of refugees from the neighboring countries and it is neocon intervention that drove sectarian conflict. You could say that our resource wars in the area are driven by our huge populations and their need for resources to fuel our industrial economies, but most people would not make that connection without help.

At the moment Syria needs all the help it can get, so it is important to show that its problems are not of its own making and to give people details. To do this I prabably should simply have cited parts of your press release in a new article of my own. Sorry; it was an error of judgement, made under the intense stress of our leader taking us into a terrible war that will only make more people miserable and exacerbate population mayhem in that region and in Europe.

I felt that it would be helpful to Australians to see how parallel the trajectories of Syria and Australia have been - both experiencing unprecedented population growth due to high immigration since the second world war, because both countries are similarly at the behest of power elite policies. I also wanted to point out how Syria has helped its neighboring dispossessed populations, such as the Palestinians (one reason that Israel targets it).

Syria's population growth, like Australia's, has been severely impacted by migration due to wars and economic 'interventions' among its neighbours. Syria is the only country that has given Palestinians their own area and citizenship status. It has also absorbed a large proportion of Iraqi refugees since the US-NATO intervention there. Syria is a non-sectarian state and its president was democratically reelected in June 2014 by an outstanding majority. It is not known for a high birth rate and the birth rate is in decline at about 2.25 in 2014, unlike some of its neighbours, such as Saudi Arabia (Ref:

Feel free to say more, William. You can get your party's message across in this way too.