Thursday, July 20, 2017

A debate we’re not allowed to have in Australia

IT’S the debate we were never allowed to have.

Until relatively recently, Australia’s population grew at a stately pace. There was an influx of European immigration in the mid-1940s, and pause from the mid-1970s, but in the 100 years after Federation in 1901, net overseas migration averaged 70,000 people a year.

Then in the early 2000s, Prime Minister John Howard opened the floodgates. Over the last 12 years, Australia’s annual net overseas migration has tripled from its long-term average to 210,000 people per year.

Our cities are bursting at the seams, roads and services are congested, and house prices are skyrocketing — particularly in Sydney and Melbourne, which attract the lion’s share of new Australians.

Over the last 12 years, Sydney has added 20 per cent to its population, or 800,000 people. Melbourne has added one million people over the same period, or 27 per cent.

According to state government projections, Sydney will add another 1.7 million people over the next 20 years, which works out to 87,000 people a year, or 1650 people per week. Melbourne is forecast to add 97,000 people per year, or around 1870 people per week, for the next 35 years.

“It’s clearly unsustainable,” said Leith van Onselen, chief economist with MacroBusiness. “The problem isn’t that immigration is good or bad, it’s just that the level is far too high for Australia to digest.”

According to Mr van Onselen, dubbed the “Unconventional Economist”, Howard “effectively ran a bait-and-switch policy”.

“He scapegoated the very tiny number of people coming by boat, and at the same time opened the floodgates on people coming by plane,” he said.

“Howard never articulated why he was doing that, he just did it, and unfortunately the following governments, Rudd, Gillard, Abbott and now Turnbull, just followed.”

Mr van Onselen, who is one of the few public commentators calling for a national debate about Australia’s annual migration intake, says there is now “tri-partisan support” between the Liberals, Labor and even the Greens to not discuss the issue.

Behind the scenes, the “growth lobby” of retailers, the banking sector, the property industry and “erroneously named think tanks” all push the “growth-ist agenda”. “Unfortunately there’s not really anybody on the other side,” he said.

Late last year, high-profile entrepreneur Dick Smith came out in support of Pauline Hanson, warning that Australia would be “destroyed” if One Nation’s immigration policies weren’t taken seriously.

Mr Smith had previously spoken out about the need for a “small Australia”, with a population of 26 million rather than 50 million. At current migration levels, Australia’s population will hit 40 million by the year 2060, compared with 33 million if the intake returned to its historical average of 70,000.

“Unfortunately you can’t have a sensible debate,” said Mr van Onselen. “The main problem is the perception of racism. The easiest way to shut down debate is to call someone racist. Our politicians and media won’t mention it because they’re afraid they’ll get associated with Pauline.

“It’s nothing to do with race — it’s an economic and living standards debate. It’s purely a numbers game, that’s all that matters. A body is a body. If you’ve got an extra car on the road, an extra person on the train, it doesn’t matter where they’re from.”

The common public argument used to promote mass immigration, particularly by the likes of the United Nations, is the need to replace an “ageing” population. The behind-the-scenes rationale is to artificially boost economic growth numbers.

Both justifications fail to stand up to scrutiny. According to the Productivity Commission, which has debunked the ageing population myth numerous times over the past 15 years, “changes in migration levels ... make little difference to the age structure of the population in the future, with any effect being temporary”.

“The reason is very simple — immigrants grow old,” said Mr van Onselen. “You can bring in a whole bunch of young people now, it will lower the age temporarily, but in 30 years time those young people are old and you have to repeat the same trick all over again. Really it’s just a Ponzi scheme.”

Which ties into the second justification. Japan, with its sluggish headline economic growth and simultaneously ageing and shrinking population, is commonly cited as an example of why mass immigration for population replacement is necessary.

At the same time, Australia’s record run of economic growth, coinciding with record immigration levels, is held up as a positive example. “All other things being equal, if you increase the population by 1.5 per cent a year, you’re going to get 1.5 per cent economic growth,” said Mr van Onselen.

“More inputs in people means more outputs in economic activity. But the problem is, although it makes the overall growth figures look good, it doesn’t actually help you on a per capita basis, which is what drives living standards.”

In fact, despite Australia’s population surging 21.5 per cent since 2003, compared with the OECD average of 8.5 per cent, Australia’s GDP per capita change has just barely outpaced the OECD — 16 per cent versus 15 per cent, despite going through the biggest mining boom in our history.

“We’re effectively spinning our tyres importing all these people, wearing out our infrastructure, making housing more expensive and degrading the environment for absolutely zero gain, in the material sense,” he said.

“The immigration program used to be a supplement to the economy, now it’s seen as a driver. Governments are using it as a lever to stop Australia going into recession. The tail is wagging the dog.”

Japan, meanwhile, has grown its GDP per capita by 11 per cent since 2003. “Japan’s unemployment rate is nearly half of ours,” said Mr van Onselen. “It’s hardly a terrible situation they’re in. They’ve got good growth at a per capita level and basically anyone who wants a job can get a job.”

According to the UN’s Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, “replacement migration” is the “solution to declining and ageing populations”.

“Population decline is inevitable in the absence of replacement migration,” the UN said in a recent press release. “Fertility may rebound in the coming decades, but few believe that it will recover sufficiently in most countries to reach replacement level in the foreseeable future.”

Mr van Onselen described it as “ridiculous”. “The UN pushes a sort of open borders, globalist agenda,” he said. “It is a myth. We just need a national debate. There’s no strategy, it’s all just ad hoc. How big do we want Australia to become? How are we going to accommodate people? Is this what people want?”

Writing in The Australian, economist Judith Sloan pointed out that in 2011, Malcolm Turnbull made the “astonishing claim” that “anyone who thinks that it’s smart to cut immigration is sentencing Australia to poverty”.

“It is important that we have a measured and informed debate about our immigration policies, in terms of both numbers and the integrity of the visa categories,” she wrote.

“Are people really happy that Australia’s population will exceed 40 million in 2060? Are we really testing for skill when we set the visa categories? Has the migration program simply become a way of allowing universities to charge very high fees to international students on the understanding that the graduates can attain permanent residence?

“These are the questions we should not be afraid to pose and politicians should not be afraid to answer.”

Greens immigration spokesman Nick McKim told “The Greens believe in a broad and non-discriminatory immigration policy. In particular, we believe that Australia’s humanitarian intake should be increased to 50,000 people per year.

“Australians are a friendly and welcoming people and we have long and proud history of multiculturalism, which has added so much to the fabric of our country.

“There will always be debates about immigration, and it is disappointing to see so many commentators and politicians resorting to xenophobia and racism.”

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton and Labor immigration spokesman Shayne Neumann did not respond to requests for comment.


Students ‘not target’ in QUT rights case

Cindy Prior’s “chief target” in her racial vilification case over Facebook posts was not the students, but her wealthy employer, the Queensland University of Technology, according to an investigation by a senior lawyer appointed by Gillian Triggs.

Angus Stewart SC ran a closed-door investigation into complaints by three of the ­students — Calum Thwaites, Jackson Powell and Alex Wood — that their human rights were breached by the Human Rights Commission in its mishandling of the matter.

Mr Stewart found that while the students did not suffer any unlawful discrimination and that their complaints were misconceived, the commission could be criticised for having made an “error of judgment” in failing to notify the students.

The Australian has obtained his 53-page report which states that “such prejudice as the ­(students) suffered as a consequence of receiving late notice (from the commission of a conciliation conference) was not brought about because they were white males”. The report, which has not been released by the commission despite it having been provided three months ago, ­includes evidence which was suppressed until fresh orders in May.

Mr Stewart found that ­although Ms Prior had always named in her complaint QUT and seven students (none of whom were notified by the commission or by QUT for a year) she had wished “to pursue her complaint initially and more aggressively against (the chief target) … with the deepest pockets”.

Mr Stewart said there was a “rational and objective basis” for the commission to treat Ms Prior’s complaint relative to QUT differently from the students, even though it was the students who were accused of writing Facebook posts which triggered her action and a subsequent $250,000 damages bid in the Federal Circuit Court. Ms Prior, who lost her court bid and a subsequent appeal, is expected to be bankrupted today for failing to pay the students’ legal costs of ­defending themselves over Facebook posts arising from her telling them to leave an indigenous-only room at QUT.

In finding that the students were not unlawfully discrimin­ated against by the commission, Mr Stewart stated: “I do not see a violation of human rights in such differential conduct.”

The students argued that they were treated shabbily by the commission and significantly disadvantaged because they were white, straight males, while Ms Prior, who was a QUT administrative officer in the university’s indigenous-only Oodgeroo Unit, was given preferential treatment as a Noongar woman.

One of the students, who had moved to Canada and was not ­notified by QUT or the commission of the complaint, was told by Ms Prior’s lawyer that he would need to make a cash settlement to prevent court proceedings. This student’s case was not examined by Mr Stewart as it was not the subject of a formal written complaint.

Mr Stewart found that in the early stages of Ms Prior’s complaint, a suggestion by one of the commission’s staff, Ting Lim, that the students not be pursued by Ms Prior “was clearly aimed at ­favouring them and it caused them no prejudice”.

He said that a year later, when the students had still not been told of the complaint in which they were named, Ms Lim was “motivated by a desire to protect the students from unnecessary notification of the complaints, and that that was at the request of QUT”.

Ms Lim told Mr Stewart during his inquiry that their sex, race or ethnicity had no bearing on the way the complaint was managed.

Professor Triggs, the outgoing head of the commission, has pledged that as a result of the QUT case there will “never again” be such a delay in notifying parties to a complaint.


Africa comes to Melbourne

Women in some suburbs are too terrified to leave home alone as marauding gangs of violent criminals run amok.

As gang members commit armed robberies, violent assaults and home invasions with impunity, families in Melbourne's crime-ridden western suburbs are moving out.

They say suburbs like Werribee have become too dangerous to raise children, leaving them with no choice but to leave their communities.

'I'm scared to be anywhere by myself with the kids, I don't want to walk down the street, I don't want to leave the house, I'm scared to be at home by myself,' local mother Alicia told A Current Affair.

'I'm in my 60s and Werribee used to be a lovely place and now you can't walk around after 7 o'clock at night,' said another man.

A masked gang broke into Ms Farouk's home in nearby Tarneit while she and her family were sleeping and she says crime is getting worse.

'It's getting more like a trouble zone, with the [new] Ravenhall prison, with the refugees moving in, it's getting hairy,' she said.

Home invasions are becoming all too common in Melbourne's west, as crime levels skyrocket.

Crimes that target other people like robberies and assaults have increased by 9.6 per cent in Werribee to 1015 cases this year, and a shocking 16.8 per cent in St Albans.

The new breed of brazen criminals are making life hell for business owners, holding knives to the throats of cashiers and smashing up stores.

A bottle shop owner, Mr Singh, said that young thieves did not even bother trying to hide, holding up the liquor bottles they were stealing for him to see.

Frustrated and scared residents now face the challenge of finding somewhere else affordable to live. Saying that suburbs like Werribee are no place to raise children, some residents are even considering moving into caravans to escape the street violence.

Victoria Police says it is satisfied with the progress being made against crime in Melbourne's western suburbs, but fleeing residents suggest not enough is being done.


Who’s afraid of the big bad climate monster?

IN Al Gore’s latest cinematic dose of climate scaremongering, a young Asian man is crying.

“I feel so scared” he wails, before vision of solicitous uncle Al patting his hand in an attempt to soothe away his fears of the apocalypse.

Scaremongering is what Gore does best, and fear is the business model that has made him rich, though his every apocalyptic scenario has failed to materialise.

In Australia last week to spruik his upcoming movie An Inconvenient Sequel, the former US vice president tried it on again, claiming Mother Nature was “screaming” and the world would ­descend into “political disruption and chaos and diseases, stronger storms and more ­destructive floods” unless we buy his snake oil.

Silly Labor premiers bought that snake oil last week, pledging alongside the grinning Gore that Victoria, Queensland, the ACT and South Australia would embrace renewables to produce zero net emissions by 2050.

They haven’t learned the lesson from SA’s extreme green experiment with renewable energy that has produced nothing but crippling blackouts and the highest electricity prices in the world.

Any normal person with such a woeful record of accuracy as Gore would be ashamed to show his face. Eleven years after his Inconvenient Truth movie scared little kids witless, his warnings of climate armageddon have come to nothing.

“Unless we take drastic measures the world would reach a point of no return within 10 years,” he told us then. Wrong. In fact the world has just been through almost 20 years in which there has been a hiatus in global warming, even as carbon dioxide has increased: an “inconvenient pause” as some wags put it.

Around the world people are waking up to the fact that their leaders have been crying wolf, while their electricity bills go through the roof.

Australia’s prosperity is built on the reams of cheap, abundant fossil fuel under our feet, and yet green zealots have forced us into an energy crisis.

But when Liberal backbencher Craig Kelly last week pointed out the logical fact that Australians will die because of high power bills, he was slammed as a “scaremonger” by the very people who worship at Al Gore’s feet.

Yes, cold kills, and electricity prices have doubled in the past decade, as uncertainty plagues the energy sector, and cheap coal-fired power is priced out of the market by government subsidies for unreliable renewable energy production.

The states, which bear much of the blame, continue with the fantasy that you can replace coal with wind and solar while simultaneously banning the development of onshore gas fields.

The iron-clad law of ­energy supply is that more ­renewables force out baseload power, which you need when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow.

Yet SA is pretending that the world’s biggest battery built at huge taxpayer expense by another global green huckster, Elon Musk, is going to save the day.

The diabolic task facing federal Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg is to wrangle agreement on something approaching a rational energy policy out of the recently ­released Finkel Review.

Unlike Donald Trump, this government doesn’t have an electoral mandate for pulling out of the Paris treaty.

Tony Abbott was a climate sceptic yet he signed us up to the Paris renewable energy target of slashing emissions by 26-28 per cent by 2050.

That was all he could get through Senate where even mining millionaire Clive Palmer had been got at by Al Gore. So this is where we are.

Appointing Alan Finkel as chief scientist was one of Malcolm Turnbull’s first tasks after he deposed Abbott. Like Turnbull, Finkel is a climate true believer who drives an electric car and powers his South Yarra home on ­renewables.

He’s also an accomplished scientist and entrepreneur with a PhD in electrical ­engineering.

He’s smart but he has produced a report bullish on renewables and bearish on coal.

Finkel is right that wimpish investors have deserted coal in Australia and that electricity prices have soared because of the uncertainty that ensued since Labor’s vandalism from 2007.

But coal is nowhere near obsolete. As the Australian Minerals Council points out, coal is the world’s leading source of electricity and will be till at least 2040.

In our region countries are busy building new clean coal plants. In East Asia alone 1250 new plants are under construction or planned.

Yet in the past eight years in Australia not a single new baseload coal or gas generation unit has been built.

That has to change.

Turnbull has now come around to that realisation, telling the Liberal National Party state convention in Brisbane yesterday: “Those people who say coal and other fossil fuels have no ­future are delusional.”

Fossil fuels are here to stay, despite Al Gore.


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here

1 comment:

Paul said...

I'm really hoping Africa robs the wrong house where someone has been smart enough to hang on to the so-called "illegal" post-Port Arthur weapon.