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Immigration is the elephant in the election room

By Peter Wilkinson - posted Wednesday, 22 June 2016


And it is a very big elephant; the bipartisan target is over 200,000 for 2015/16, about the population of Hobart. Over half will squeeze into the over crowded cities of Sydney and Melbourne. There is a conspiracy of silence about immigration numbers. The Coalition has given it one line in an obscure press release, lack of mention by the ALP means acquiescence. Bill Shorten did not mention it in his campaign opening speech. (He has proclaimed in the past that he is in favour of a 'Big Australia').

Commentators and journalists have not raised the numbers anywhere, including in the leaders debates. How come such a fundamental issue is ignored?

Manufacturing consent is a concept popularised by Noam Chomsky. Simply by totalling ignoring one side of a topic the people go along with the other side because of lack of knowledge. This is far more effective than attack. The issue of immigration in this election is a perfect example of how the wishes of the people are being subverted.

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The most recent surveys of attitudes to high immigration show the the majority of people think immigration is too high. There was a recent SBS survey (which perhaps did not give SBS the response that they were looking for) . Late last year Sustainable Population Australia commissioned a survey by Dr Katharine Betts on the question "Do you think Australia needs more people?' 38% said Yes, 51% said No. 11% don't know.

There has no mention of the immigration target for 2016/17 anywhere, except on the Write On website and subsequently Independent Australia. Write On uncovered that the immigration target is not disclosed in the Budget Papers, but gets a mention in a press release. Almost all of the latter Is devoted to border protection. The last two paragraphs are:

During 2016-17 Australia will continue its generous resettlement, with 13,750 places available in the Humanitarian Program to those most at risk.

Up to 190,000 places will be available for permanent migration in 2016-17. This will include up to 128,550 places for skilled migration, 57,400 for family migration and 565 for migration under the Special Eligibility stream of the managed Migration Program.'

This comes to over 200,000, the same as last year. There is also the one-off 12,000 Syrian refugee quota. Note that all the debate is all about the refugee intake, a very small portion, diverting attention from massive overall intake of immigrants.

There have been some articles pointing out immigration raises the GDP but does little or nothing for GDP per capita (Ross Gittins). Victoria's GDP grew 2.5%, but per capita only 0.7%,last financial year, and GDP per capita was negative in the previous two years (Josh Gordon).

So one must ask the question about high immigration - Cui Bono (Who profits)?

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The answer is businesses that that depend on increasing volume sales. This includes the media, developers, retailers and so on. MSM plays its part by rarely publishing anything critical of high immigration. Developers hand over large donations to political parties of all persuasions. Other volume dependent businesses add their support. And of course there is the very vocal multicultural industry.

We must grow our per capita GDP, not the nominal overall GDP. Meeting the needs of massive increased population requires massive capital spending on infrastructure, and hence increasing deficits. We already have a backlog of infrastructure needing catch up.

Only two parties advocate lower immigration; One Nation and Sustainable Australia. One Nation has done so for a long time, but not all of their policies are acceptable to many. After a name change from Stable Population, Sustainable Australia is now campaigning with more emphasis on lower immigration, indeed it is now on their logo. They are standing Senate candidates in Qld, NSW, ACT and Victoria. they do not offer preferences. Go to http://www.votesustainable.org.au. for a list of candidates

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A version of this article was published on Independent Australia.



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About the Author

Peter Wilkinson was a research scientist who gravitated to planning in a large corporation, finishing up as Business Environment Manager, which took in company lobbying and impact on the natural environment.

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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