Monday, 20 December 2010

populate or perish

The majority of Australians seem to be unaware of this concept: Populate or Perish. It is something from our past and as an underlying precept has driven our planning for immigration for some time.

One wannabe wize wanka regularly writes a column in the Australian and encourages divisive discussions. Typically however he just derides anyone who disagrees with him but pats those on the back who agree with him.

One reader called him out on this and essentially his thought full reply was "talk to the hand"

What a wanka. Jack claims to want to encourage mature dialog but then essentially panders to those who agree with him, derides those who do not; so much for mature discussion.

Essentially many people are defending our migrant and refugee intakes (yes, they are different) by saying we have room, why not bring in more.

Well the population has grown from just under 4 million at around federation, to a little over 20 million now. So in the time since federation our population has grown by something like 5 times.

Now lets look at that for a moment in the light of ABS data.

I took that data from this ABS datacube and graphed it.

I only took the data from about federation (1901) because at that time we stopped being a bunch of colonies and we became Australia

Things were going along at a rate which would see our population hitting about 14 million now (following the rate of growth by the yellow line).

But something happened in about 1946 ... our population really took a high step in growth.

As you can see from the orange line since then we are now growing at a a much faster rate, nearly double. If we had continued as we were in the pre-war growth then we would be in a situation now where we would have the population we did back in the 60's.

The simple truth of this is that in the post war period the government made a determination that we needed to alter our growth to populate or perish. The determination of increasing our population growth by 1% looked innocous to people who don't understand maths, but essentially amounted to doubling our growth rates.

Its a bit like the movie Ember, where a city was built to under ground where people could shelter from a catastrophe for 200 years. Well the plot is that along the line of time the reasons for why they were living there were lost, and the need to get out along with it.

The same is true for us here in Australia right now with the "populate or perish" idea.

We have long ago developed enough population to fulfill the requirements of that report, we have at our disposal technology which helps reduce the needs for manual labour of all things from agriculture mining and defense.

But still the idea seems to remain today even if people have lost any idea of why. For instance you can still find people in the media making observations such as:

Ideally, Australia should absorb even more than 30,000 refugees annually. Our abundant resources and infrastructure could accommodate a vast increase in humanitarian arrivals.

well ... I don't know about you, but in the parts of Australia I live in I do not see abundant resources and infrastructure. Right now we're having floods but it was just the previous year we were under severe water restrictions. Normally I see:
  • congested roads
  • under supplying public transport
  • water restrictions and drought
  • insufficient electrical infrastructure
  • insufficient telecommunications infrastructure
  • housing prices in bezerk growth (essentially fueled by demand which outstrips supply)
  • unemployment as people can not keep pace with the changing nature of jobs and there is no plans to help them skill up (its cheaper to get in skilled migrants)
The current strategy of the media (and their owners) seems to be to whip up sentiments which amount to racism to polarize the population and at the same time feed them messages about how their racism is wrong.

This keeps their eye off the ball of real arguments and keeps them mired in the most basic issues and feeling somehow bad with themselves at feeling this way.

The above author (Mirko Bagaric who apparently is the co-author of Migration and Refugee Law and a former member of the Refugee Review Tribunal)
Australia gives priority to boat arrivals for just one reason: misguided homage to an outdated international legal instrument.

The 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees requires countries to give asylum to people within its borders who have a genuine fear of persecution in their country of origin because of their race, nationality, religion, political opinion or membership of a distinct social group.

The convention was drafted with a view to protecting mainly Europeans fleeing after World War II. It is designed to give safe harbour to people who manage to hobble from their country to a bordering underline

The convention was never intended to apply to migrants who roll out a world map and strategically plot which of the 140 countries that have signed the convention they think will best advance their economic prosperity.

So even the advocates of our assistance of refugees understand that there are stark differences between what was formulates in the past (again, just after WW2) and now. This has enormous implications on our intake of refugees.

the present

I would argue that we need to wind back our migration levels right now. We need to take stock of what will happen as the existing recent migrants start to apply for family re-union visas for their family members back in their home land and what the impacts are on our society of the changes.


Noons said...

The only way we can populate more is if we get away from this mentality that a country three times the size of Europe can only have 6 major cities.

We just cannot continue to cram more people into Sydney, Adelaide, Brissie, Melbourne, Perth and Darwin: gthe cost in additional infra-structure is astronomical.

Basically, we'd need to build along the East Coast one 1 million people cities every 200Kms or so. That seems to be the average distance between cities of that size in other similar countries.

Then, yes: assuming sufficient resources and infrastructure are provided to each of those cities to support their population with minimal quality of life, we indeed could increase our population like the luminaries want.

We still would have the major problem that we offshored our industrial capacity a decade ago and we are about to offshore our retail sector as well.

Exactly in what then do we employ all those extra people?
Never heard an answer to that one from the "pop or perish" mob!

Although of course the greenies claim we need to change our jobs to the "smart" industries. As if any of them knew what that means...

obakesan said...

>Although of course the greenies claim we need to change our jobs to the "smart" industries.

arhh ... the service sector ;-)