- Tim Murray, http://sinkinglifeboat.blogspot.com or http://biodiversityfirst.googlepages.com, said,
"I came upon an orchestration, the environmental movement, and all
the musicians were playing violins to the tune of "Overconsumption,
overconsumption, overconsumption." They refused to play any other
tune or use any other instrument to compliment that narrow repertoire.
Apparently some corporate donors were paying them to be a one-trick pony.
- The following oped, an oped, an Australian poll on immigration,
and an Australia broadcasting corporation interview provide three telling
differences between Canada and Australia on the immigration issue. You
may inspect the third part below.
- 3. A recent ABC, Australian Broadcasting Corporation,
interview featured representatives from the two sides of the immigration
issue. Canadians should take special note because our CBC has given virtually
all publicity paid for air time on the immigration issue to views
of the pro-immigration lobby.
- The following is an excerpt from a recent ABC interview
with Mark O'Connor (a writer and co-author of a book titled,Overloading
Australia, and a minor party Senate candidate in New South Wales at
this election) and Robert Mellor (the managing director of economic housing
and immigration forecaster for BIS Shrapnel, which advises business and
government). The two participants discuss whether Australia should continue
to take large numbers of immigrants and whether Australia should cap its
- INTERVIEWER : And what in a nutshell, very briefly, is
the economic argument from your perspective for a substantial immigration
program like the one you're describing?
- ROBERT MELLOR: Well, see the trouble is it is not really
an immigration program. It is partly an immigration program because the
number of permanent residents coming in can get up to 150,000 - and maybe
higher at the peak - but that is not where the big increase in the numbers
- It has come because we have allowed a significant increase
in the number of people on long term visas including the 457 visas (Temporary
Foreign Workers) to come in through the period when the economy was really
booming in 07 into 08. And they came in and they relieved pressure in the
- If they hadn't have come in at that point in time, we
would have had significantly greater inflationary pressure in wages and
that would have flowed through to even higher interest rates than we had
at the time---remembering that we had housing interest rates in the middle
of 2008 around 9.5 per cent.
- So I think there is an economic argument in terms of
our labour requirements given the ageing of the population that we will
need more people. And secondly there is a decision we have to make with
regard to whether we want an increasing number of students. Because we
have probably gone from 200,000 to even 500,000 students in the country
at any one point in time in terms of overseas students. So that is a critical
export market for us.
- INTERVIEWER : Okay. Mark O'Connor, in arguing for serious
population limits, including much lower caps on immigration I assume, how
do you address the economic concerns that limits to growth will also seriously
limit the nation's, and therefore individual, prosperity?
- MARK O'CONNOR : That is very much the view from the big
end of town that we've just heard. It's quite different from the figures
I'm hearing from demographers and certainly from the figures that (Monash
University Professor) Bob Birrell was offering in the Sydney Morning Herald
- You always get this argument, particularly not so much
from small business - which often finds that its rents are going up and
it's being squeezed in sorts of ways by population growth in much the same
way as ordinary people are.
- But when you are the biggest fish in the pool, you just
want the pool to be big and you get this argument that we need more labor,
that immigration is actually determined by the labor shortage.
- I do not believe that for a moment because there is no
labor shortage in Australia. We have 5 per cent unemployment.
- What we have is an unwillingness by many employers the
pay the market cost of labour, which in most countries - most other advanced
countries - means training people.
- But if you can actually con the Government to bring in
skilled laborers ... whenever you say you're short of them, then why would
you take an Australian teenager and train them for four weeks or six weeks
or six months at your own expense? Or why would you pay them enough that
they would then actually find it worth their while to do the training themselves?
- It's easy to get somebody who has just been brought into
the country who has already got labor experience. It saves perhaps $10,000
per person but it costs the taxpayer an enormous amount.
- INTERVIEWER : Robert Mellor, I know you acknowledge the
need to manage sustainable growth but why should we have any faith in government's
capacity to do that - provide proper infrastructure, proper social planning,
proper protection for the environment - when governments have failed so
dismally to do precisely that in the past?
- ROBERT MELLOR: With respect to the need for overseas
workers here, I think the critical thing is to explain to people that we
need the infrastructure and then there is an actual commitment to deliver
on that infrastructure.
- While there may be a whole range of xenophobic views
out there on the immigration issue, I suspect that putting that aside for
a certain group of people I think probably the biggest concern is people's
worry that their environment's going to change significantly - both at
the local level, they don't want the high rise or even the medium density
occurring in the backyard. And you know, they are concerned - I think as
Mark made the comment in one of his speeches - the fact that the trains
might get rid of the seats and we are all standing up on the trains coming
from in the outer suburbs.
- So they are the sort of things that concern people and
I think if government actually took a longer term view and started to address
those infrastructure issues and sold the view to our community that rather
than spending an hour and a half or two hours in your car or more every
day we are actually going to be committed to infrastructure and you are
going to be paying more taxes to meet that, then I think there would be
less of a debate on the whole immigration issue.
- INTERVIEWER : Well I'll come back to the taxes in a moment
but Mark O'Connor would you be any more relaxed about the kind of population
growth at the top end if the numbers of people were being spread more sensibly
around the nation away from the population hotspots that we are seeing
- MARK O'CONNOR: All advanced nations struggle with infrastructure
and there is a simple way of thinking about what the problem is.
- Infrastructure lasts about 50 years, which means that
with a stable population - which is what most advanced countries basically
have - you have got to replace about 2 per cent of it a year,... a very,
very large amount of GDP has to go to it.
- If you have a population growing at 2 per cent a year,
then just to stay in place and not have things get worse you have got to
spend double the amount on infrastructure - and by a standard economist's
rule of thumb that's well explained by Jane O'Sullivan from the University
of Queensland - you then have to use about a quarter of all GDP ...(that
is) extracted from the taxpayer and put into infrastructure.
- And that ain't possible! That is why none of these places
where you have got rapid population growth are actually keeping up with
infrastructure despite all the optimistic talk that we hear.
- Frosty Wooldridge has bicycled across six continents
- from the Arctic to the South Pole - as well as six times across the USA,
coast to coast and border to border. In 2005, he bicycled from the Arctic
Circle, Norway to Athens, Greece. He presents "The Coming Population
Crisis in America: and what you can do about it" to civic clubs, church
groups, high schools and colleges. He works to bring about sensible world
population balance at www.frostywooldridge.com He is the author
of: America on the Brink: The Next Added 100 Million Americans. Copies
available: 1 888 280 7715