Dick Smith Anti Growth Anti Immigration but He’s OK
Now the nation’s election campaign has been hijacked by the idea that we should slow economic growth by cutting immigration.
Australia must be the only developed country seriously arguing that its economy is growing too fast. This confusion was on full display this week with the ABC’s broadcast of Dick Smith’s Population Puzzle….
…..Pauline Hanson’s anti-immigration backlash stemmed from battler-class insecurity fuelled by the early 1990s jobs recession. Smith’s more acceptable ABC version comes from green growth complacency at the top of a mining boom.
For the wealthy helicopter commuter, it begins with an overpopulated world hurtling toward climate-change catastrophe. The world’s resources are “finite” so growth must surely end….
…..So the bipartisan retreat from Kevin Rudd’s “big Australia” has been driven by forces other than Smith’s zero-growth environmentalism. First is the battler backlash against Labor’s boatpeople failure. Second is the revolt against urban congestion and rising electricity prices (in turn partly the result of the mandated switch to expensive renewable power).
Smith’s program aims a low blow against pro-growth KPMG partner and columnist for The Australian, Bernard Salt, while anointing immigration sceptic Bob Birrell as the grand old man of Australian demography.
But neither Smith nor Q&A featured Australia’s actual pre-eminent demographers, Ian McDonald and Graeme Hugo, who could have explained how the latest immigration surge was driven by the unexpected strength of Australia’s mining boom.
Curious how white middle class “usual suspect” Australians from comfortable suburbs claim they are speaking for those in congested suburbs, or the environment, or social cohesion etc. yet cannot offer any solutions…… the bottom line is it that they just want to stop what is perceived to be “Asian and Middle Eastern Immigration”…. wagging the dog, dog whistling….?