Labor MP, Anne Aly, has been widely publicised objecting to immigration and population being mentioned together by Kristina Keneally, Shadow minister for immigration and citizenship, and NSW Premier from 2009 to 2011. Aly's tired cliches have predictably summoned up a dog-pack of growthists claiming to hear dog-whistles and to see Pauline Hanson look-a-likes. The growth lobby and its spokespeople are panicking, because the chickens of their land-speculation are coming home to roost, as COVID-19 dries up immigration. The more Anne Aly supports them, the more publicity she will get - always useful for an aspiring politician - and damn the consequences for Australians.
Kenneally's 'offending words':
"As a result of COVID-19, Australia will soon have an opportunity to do something we have never done before: restart a migration program. When we do, we must understand that migration is a key economic policy lever that can help or harm Australian workers during the economic recovery and beyond.
We must make sure that Australians get a fair go and a first go at jobs. Our post-COVID-19 economic recovery must ensure that Australia shifts away from its increasing reliance on a cheap supply of overseas, temporary labour that undercuts wages for Australian workers and takes jobs Australians could do." (Kristina Keneally, "Advancing Australia," Sunday Age, 3 May 2020.)
Anne Aly's 'indignant' response:
Showing woeful or feigned ignorance of the components of population growth in Australia, to the acclaim of the big end of town, Labor MP Anne Aly has objected to immigration and population being mentioned together by Kristina Keneally.
In fact immigration has, until a recent pause due to COVID-19, composed more than 60 per cent of Australia's shockingly rapid population growth for nigh on a decade. So, what's Anne Aly's problem with the truth, that she thinks gives her licence to attack Kristina Keneally (or by implication anyone else) for voicing it? Worse, Aly, who is supposed to be representing Australians, has criticised Keneally for wanting to put Australians first. If not Australians first, then who, Ms Aly?
Aly is not the only one doing service for the growth lobby in the ALP, which is known for its massive investments in property finance and development. (See, for instance, /node/1781.)
The ABC's The Drum ran an item on this on Monday 4 May 2020. The clip starts around the 30 min mark on the ABC podcast. Geoff Gallop and the rest of the panel, including Abdul Rizvi (ex immigration public servant from 1990s to 2007), uncritically recited the usual propaganda about how immigration creates jobs, Australians don't want to do some jobs, Australia needs it to cope with ageing (they must be pleased with COVID-19's lethal effect on the elderly), falling natural increase, etc. A union representative did mention the problem of exploitation through the short-term work visa system. Rizvi acknowledged this is a problem. As an incorrigible immigration advocate, however, he claimed it is solvable. Whilst it might theoretically be solvable, like world hunger, it has actually been getting much worse, due to legal and constitutional changes. As we have come to expect from the ABC, unfortunately, there was no sign of an articulate representative of an opposing view.
Kristina Keneally was interviewed by Fran Kelly on Tuesday morning (5 May 2020) on ABC RN. Kelly basically accused Keneally of dog whistling and undertones of racism in her weekend article. (This was also articulated by Australian Director at Human Rights Watch, Elaine Pearson, in a punishing tone last night on Q and A, egged on by the presenter of course.) I thought Keneally held her position very well in the face of Fran Kelly's interrogation, and came across as coherent and reasonable. She also put her position in a human context, with her call for temporary migrants who are stuck here due to Covid 19, being given government assistance, as are Australian workers. The part of what Keneally wrote, that Kelly latched onto, was that Keneally advocated Australians being catered for first in the post COVID-19 job market before importing workers from overseas.
This was supposedly sounding like Pauline Hanson and that is bad because Pauline Hanson said it (!). Furthermore Pauline Hanson has thrown the spotlight on it as something she's been saying for years.
Seems we are still stuck in a closed circuit where anyone who raises the issue of immigration in any form will be hammered back in the media with accusations of racism. It has worked so well that those who benefit from it will never tire of it.
Jobs and growth
The Financial Review editorial for 4 May 2020 would have the reader think that Australia and Australians have been prospering over the last three decades. Ordinary Australians have lost heavily and continue to.
Jobs and growth have not brought prosperity. In fact "jobs" has meant overwork for some and underemployment stress for others. "Growth" has meant overcrowding, housing stress and reduced quality of life, including destruction of the environment. What's growing is just the number of people partaking in this!
The Financial Review editorial criticises the need to even talk about immigration numbers policy in Australia, since the numbers have dropped with the closing of our borders due to COVID-19. But this is precisely when we should talk about it, because, to a certain extent, the pressure from the growth lobby has to relent during this pause. Or you would think so, however, they are coming out in force, as we can see from the above.
Sometimes you hear the other side, as in this SBS article:
'Industry professor Warren Hogan, an economist from the University of Technology, Sydney,has said now was a good time to have the debate about migration levels. “There is no doubt that Australia is probably the highest immigration nation in the world. This is a chance to think about if that’s the right strategy going forward,” he said.' (Source: Jarni Blakkarly, "Reimagining a new Australia': Experts back calls for a debate about Australia's migrant numbers post-coronavirus," SBS News, updated on 4 May 2020.https://www.sbs.com.au/news/reimagining-a-new-australia-experts-back-calls-for-a-debate-about-australia-s-migrant-numbers-post-coronavirus)
But if you read the whole article, Professor Hogan is outnumbered, two to one, by pro-immigration 'experts', with their mass-produced cliches.
"University of Sydney Associate Professor Anna Boucher agreed it was an opportunity to examine Australia's migration program, she said it was important to acknowledge migrants have an important role to play in the recovery."
(Source: Jarni Blakkarly, "Reimagining a new Australia': Experts back calls for a debate about Australia's migrant numbers post-coronavirus," SBS News, updated on 4 May 2020.https://www.sbs.com.au/news/reimagining-a-new-australia-experts-back-calls-for-a-debate-about-australia-s-migrant-numbers-post-coronavirus.)
"Associate professor of human geography Alan Gamlen from Monash University said migration levels would need to stabilise at around the same rate as pre-coronavirus in order for Australia to return to the same level of economic growth." (Source: Jarni Blakkarly, "Reimagining a new Australia': Experts back calls for a debate about Australia's migrant numbers post-coronavirus," SBS News, updated on 4 May 2020.https://www.sbs.com.au/news/reimagining-a-new-australia-experts-back-calls-for-a-debate-about-australia-s-migrant-numbers-post-coronavirus.)
The real problem is that greedy land-speculators who have been running the country for years and who have borrowed to build apartments to sell to new migrants, are now looking at financial collapse, while the rest of us are looking at a lower cost of living as population-pressure on housing-prices finally falls.
But the growth lobby knows how to put the wind up the powerful, and the Australian Prime Minister knows which side his bread is buttered on:
"Cutting immigration would hurt the economy and communities: Morrison." Sydney Morning Herald, 5 May 2020.)
Hallelujah! It didn't take him long. But what about COVID-19? It hasn't gone away. The Prime Minister also said he was going to a football match despite the pandemic, then backed down, shortly before we all went into lock-down.
Panic among the growthists
The growth lobby and its spokespeople are panicking. Maybe because they don't want Australians or those living here to realise they enjoy aspects of their lives now, not tearing around, having some time for themselves off the work-commute treadmill. They (the growth lobby) are saying, "Don't get used to it. You must take The Economy's medicine, even though you don't like it. You all understand why chickens are raised in crowded conditions. It's good for the bottom line. Likewise, when you are more crowded in, it is better for the bottom line - not yours exactly, but that of your owners - just like the chickens. You just have to believe that what is good for someone else's bottom line is good for yours. It takes a certain way of thinking. You have to believe.
 "Coronavirus: Aussies-first rhetoric must stop in immigration debate, says Anne Aly," The Australian, 4 May 2020.