This article forms the basis of a brochure, , prepared by Roland Johnson for the Victorian and Tasmanian Branch of Sustainable Population Australia.
‘The modern plague of over population is soluble by means we have discovered and with resources we possess. What is lacking is …universal consciousness of the gravity of the problem and the education of the billions of people who are its victims’. 
Photo: Martin Luther King, 1966 (revered symbol of human rights)
But powerful forces have opposed population control and the world’s population has more than doubled since 1966 to seven billion, with three billion desperately poor. Migration to rich countries is not a solution. Watch Roy Beck’s YouTube video , ‘World Poverty, Immigration and Gumballs’, to see why.
In the screenshot below, one gumball equals one million people; the tall jars represent the three billion poor. The wine glass holds five years’ migrant intake at one million a year (the current intake of the United States). Even if Australia took one million people a year (nearly four times our current intake) the numbers of the poor would continue to grow at around the rate of 80 million each year.  Besides, Australia’s immigrants are more middle class than poor.
Poor people desperately need help where they are, including with family planning. We must stabilise our numbers, both nationally and globally. Currently the world is finding it difficult to feed all of the seven billion already here.  It won’t get easier if the global population grows to 9.75 billion or more by 2050. 
From 2007-13 Australia’s net migration averaged over 230,000 p.a. which, added to an average annual natural increase of 157,000 p.a, meant growth of 387,000 p.a. and an annual growth rate of 1.8 per cent.  This is among the highest in the world.  It is destroying Australia’s ability to help the world’s poor and this growth will take us from 24 to 64 million in 2100.  It must stop some time.
WHY NOT NOW?
A sustainable Australian population
Australia’s total fertility rate (TFR) is around 1.9 per woman,  technically below replacement— 2.1. But the population is still youthful. So we would keep growing due to natural increase until 2046, leveling off at 26 million. A policy to stabilise our population closer to 26 million rather than 64 million is needed.
The growth lobby of big business, developers and media moguls is forcing Australia’s growth to be among the fastest in the world. Our total increase of 387,000 a year is more than the population of Canberra (381,488 in 2013).  This growth is against the wishes of 70 per cent of voters.  Our 1.8 per cent p.a. exceeds Canada’s high 1.2 per cent & NZ’s 0.8 per cent. 
The Immigration Department is overloaded
Immigration Department files reveal “…enforcement capacity has collapsed…nine in ten skilled migrant visas may be fraudulent …[investigation into] a Somali people - smuggling cell linked to a terror suspect … ceased due to a lack of resources’. 
Two thirds of new arrivals are on some kind of working visas, which are issued by licensed agents subject to rorting and bribes. Many visa holders, through a well understood system of visa churning, eventually gain permanent residency. 
Immigration policy can be changed. Around 80,000 people leave Australia permanently each year. This means that we could have a refugee intake of 20,000 p.a., plus other special cases, and achieve nil, or at least very low, net migration.
Dr Jane O’Sullivan’s submission to the Productivity Commission, re ‘Public Infrastructure Report’ shows that each new person added to the Australian population costs taxpayers over $100,000 in infrastructure. 
“[P]opulation growth and ageing will affect labour supply, economic output, infrastructure requirements and government budgets… Total private and public investment requirements over this 50 year period [to 2060] are estimated to be more than 5 times the cumulative investment made over the last half century…”
 Building the equivalent of a new Canberra every year is not cheap.
The Federal Government is dominated by the growth lobby and State governments compete for the prestige of a higher population. They promote immigration and advertise for immigrants. They rezone prime agricultural land for housing. Local governments then increase rates, which forces the famers off the land. Local councils also convert pleasant suburban streets to high-rise ghettos to collect more rates. The costs of the extra services are paid for by existing tax- and rate-payers.
‘Population growth is great for business but governments can’t keep up. Roads are clogged and public transport is groaning. The health and education systems can’t cope with demand’. 
With many new workers and the loss of our manufacturing capacity, we are already unable to employ many of our young.
‘Between 2011 and 2014 the number of jobs increased by 400,000 but new migrants took 380,000. Some 240,000 more young Australians entered working age compared with those who retired, but they had to compete for only 20,000 extra jobs’. 
Australia looks big on the map but it’s an old, dry, infertile continent. Sprawling cities are taking some of our best land—land high on the two factors of good soil and reliable rainfall. (These are the areas shaded dark green on the map.) Much of Australia is marginal agricultural land (shaded yellow), and the greater part is unsuitable for any agriculture (shaded red).
Australia might be able to feed a domestic population of 60 million for a while, but this would leave us without food for export to pay for imports. A sustainable population must stay below 30 million; over that we start to sink to third-world standards.
Climate change will badly affect Australia’s agriculture with reduced irrigation in the Murray-Darling Basin and marginal land becoming arid. The so-called inexhaustible Great Artesian Basin is now declining. The idea of Australia as the food bowl of Asia is a myth!
Iron ore reserves were once thought to be almost inexhaustible. But all of the high grade, easily accessed mineral deposits in Australia have been mined out and energy consumption in mining has increased by 450 per cent in the last 40 years.  We are one of the world’s largest exporters of LNG, but this leaves little for the local market.  In order to find more, pressure for fracking access to coal-seam gas builds up. This risks polluting underground water and increasing food insecurity.
THE GROWTH LOBBY
While all Australians pay the cost of population growth, big business profits from it. Their self interest in growth is understandable. But it is unconscionable that politicians, most journalists and many academics support them. (See ‘How the Growth Lobby Threatens Australia’s Future’, James Sinnamon.) 
The growth lobby finds ways to silence its critics. In the USA the prestigious Sierra Club was given $100 million on the understanding that it would not continue to oppose the one million p.a. migrating to America. 
The slur of racism by the growth lobby has stifled the population debate.
Martin Luther King understood the cost of growth. Was he a racist?
‘I don't think slowing the rate of growth is blaming immigration or ethnic communities’
(Voula Messimeri, Chairwoman of the Federation of Ethnic Communities Councils of Australia). 
Immigrants also suffer the effects of population growth. Poor migrants suffer the most.
The lobby promotes the fear of an ageing population
But the Australian Bureau of Statistics reports that ‘Even large difference in the level of net immigration will have a relatively small impact on the age distribution’. 
Natural increase is still strong so our population would not decline without net migration. Immigration makes us bigger, not younger. Besides the aged contribute to society in many ways—ways worth billions of dollars. 
What about humanitarianism?
Australia’s policies serve the growth lobby, not the greater good. There is no virtue in luring away the best and brightest from poor nations. Australia poaches doctors and nurses from developing nations to service the huge rise in our population. We take about 1000 doctors and 2800 nurses a year. How many more come on temporary or 457 visas?
Most of Australia’s migrants come for economic reasons; this is no way to help the world’s poor. We should accept refuges and provide desperate women of the third world—who procreate even when their children are starving—with the means of family planning.
‘Instead of controlling the environment for the benefit of the population, perhaps it’s time we control the population to allow the survival of the environment’. 
Sir David Attenbourough (celebrated conservationist)
The World Wildlife Fund reported in 2014 that the world wildlife population had been halved between 1970 and 2010. The human population doubled in the same peroiod contributing directly to 82 per cent of the loss of wild life. 
We are already destroying the environment by overstocking our poor soils, habitat destruction and deforestation all of which causes soil loss and salination. We are doing this in 2015 to support nearly 24 million people. What would we do to support 64 million?
Global warming is our greatest immediate threat and as Figure 3 shows, Greenhouse gases increase with the world’s population.
And Australia’s per capita emissions are the highest in the OECD. 
Our responsibility to other people, those now living and those yet to be born, and our responsibility to other species, all mean that Australia must curb its runaway population growth. The world must slow down and stabilise too.
Prepared by Roland Johnson for Sustainable Population Australia Vic/Tas.
This material is available in pdf form for downloading and printing here:
 accessed 18 January 2015
 Roy Beck, World Poverty, Immigration and Gumballs The Population Reference Bureau’s annual World population data sheet shows a world population of 7.238 billion in mid 2014 and 1.137 billion in mid 2013, an estimated increase of 101 million people, 98 million of this increase in less developed countries. See www.prb.org
 Roy Beck, op. cit.
 Paddy Manning, ‘“Global” risks on food security mean us too’, The Age, 3 December 2011, p. 16
 The United Nations’ projections for 2050 include 9.746 billion (medium), 16.218 (medium high) and 24.834 billion (high).accessed 18 January 2015
 Data on growth calculated from the ABS, Demographic Statistics, Catalogue no. 3101.0 various issues. The average NOM for 2007 to 2013 was 237,000 pa and the average annual growth rate was 1.81 per cent
 See World Bank accessed 18 January 2015
 Projection series 20, published online with, Australian Bureau of Statistics (2013), .
 The average total fertility rate from 2008-09 to 2013-14 was 1.9085. Calculated from ABS, Demographic Statistics, Catalogue no. 3101.0, June 2014, p. 39.
 See ibid.
 ABS, Demographic Statistics, July 2014, Catalogue no. 3101.0, p. 26
 Katharine Betts (2010), ‘A bigger Australia: opinions for and against’, People and Place 18(2), pp. 25-38
 World Bank data bank
 Nick McKenzie and Richard Baker, ‘Terror touches down’, The Age, 7 August 2014, pp. 1, 4.
 See Dr. R Birrell, Sydney Morning Herald online , 7 August 2014.
 Jane O’Sullivan (2014), ‘Submission to the Productivity Commission Inquiry into Infrastructure provision and funding in Australia’, p. 3
 Productivity Commission (2013). An Ageing Australia: Preparing for the Future — Overview. Melbourne, Productivity Commission, p. 2
 Alan Kohler, ‘Healthcare and infrastructure spend tearing budget apart’, The Australian, 6 May 2014, p. 30
 Source: Department of Infrastructure and Transport, Bureau of Infrastructure and Transport, Road vehicle-kilometres travelled: estimated from state and territory fuel sales, Report 124, Canberra, Department of Infrastructure and Transport, 2011, pp. 372-3
 Bob Birrell and Ernest Healy (2014), Immigration and Unemployment in 2014,/em>. Monash University, Melbourne, Centre for Population and Urban Research
 Simon Michaux (2014) ‘The coming radical change in mining practice’ in Jenny Goldie and Katharine Betts (Eds) Sustainable Futures: Linking population, resources and the environment, CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood, Victoria, pp. 75-76
 See ‘Reform needed to minimise LNG export impact on manufacturers: report’, ,em>Gas Today, 24 July 2014 accessed 25 November 2014
Kenneth R. Weiss, ‘The man behind the land’, Los Angeles Times 27 October 2004
Quoted in Mark O'Connor and William Lines (2008), Overloading Australia: How governments and media dither and deny on population, Envirobooks, Sydney, p. 145
ABS (2000), Projections of the Populations of Australia, States and Territories: 1999-2101, Catalogue no. 3222.0, p. 2
For more on the benefits (and costs) of demographic ageing see Katharine Betts (2014), The ageing of the Australian population: triumph or disaster?, Centre for Population and Urban Research, Monash University
accessed 25 November 14
accessed 25 November 2014
Population data are from United Nations Department of economic and social affairs ; Carbon emissions data are from Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Centre (CDIAC)
The Garnaut Climate Change Review, Chapter 7, ‘Australia’s emissions in a global context’ 2008, updated in 2011