From the sheep’s back to whose back?

Our growth comes from extremely high immigration rates – some of the highest in the developed world per capita.”  “All the major parties, including the Greens, spruik perpetual growth. It is easy to see why Pauline Hanson’s policy to reduce immigration from 200,000 per year to a more sustainable 70,000 is gaining more support.” (Comment: Hanson is a rare independent fearless politician who speaks for those ignored by the major political parties.)

Houses are already two times less affordable than the 1960s.”  (Comment: Homes in Sydney, and possibly in other major cities, are already beyond the capacity of young first-home buyers.)  “With modern robotics and automation, there are going to be less jobs than ever.”  “Our Sydney roads are already gridlocked and it gets worse every day.”  “… eight out of ten Australians I talk to don’t want a big Australia of never ending growth.”

The above extracts are from an advert. addressed to the chief planner of the City of Sydney in the 15 Dec. 2016 issue of the Sydney Morning Herald by Dick Smith (one of Australia’s outstanding businessmen).

I add the following thoughts: 

  • Relying upon an increasing population, through an expanding intake of immigrants and UNHCR-accepted refugees, to add to the nation’s income reflects a shopkeeper mentality: the more customers the better.
  • But, what is the source of the spending money of the new arrivals? Welfare? If funded by the taxpayer, for how long?
  • The tax subsidy provided by the ‘negative gearing’ of house purchases results in (a) other taxpayers meeting the shortfall in revenue caused by the subsidy; (b) additional competition faced by first-home buyers.
  • The so-called ‘mums and dads’ in federal parliament, particularly in the Coalition parties, are some of the beneficiaries of negative gearing. This benefits those with spare capital. What does it do for the nation?
  • Australia has no long-term plans for the economy. Once upon a time, it relied on the sheep for export income. Now it is education and tourism – both likely to be impermanent.
  • It has no population planning, no development plans, and apparently no capacity for investment in necessary infrastructure (to cope with the additional demands created by a fast-growing population).
  • In federal parliament, each side of politics apparently stymies the other side’s proposals. Petty politics seem to rule. Where goes the economy?

Mr. Smith has Buckley’s hope of a more realistic immigration policy – unless State Premiers back him. Individuals and community groups can, and will, be ignored, until voters jack up at supporting political laissez-faire.

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