Australia the Lucky Country without Meaningful Debate
IT is a cathartic experience announcing your looming retirement, as I did this month. Having spent 21 of my 44 years as a dreaded lobbyist for the tourism, transport, property and infrastructure sectors, I decided it was time to step off the stage for a while.
Declaring your innings temporarily over brings with it a liberated perspective. This is lubricated by the experience the nation has been through in our federal election and its aftermath. I want now to reflect on some pressing issues facing the nation and tackle some of the myths that dominate economic and social public policy debate.
► We can’t afford a big Australia. Wrong. The most depressing, and dishonest, argument permeating politics is that Australia is unable to cope with population growth, and it’s one that has forged a coalition of the far-Left and far-Right.
We are a smart nation, blessed with a magnificent natural and human capacity and, with investment in urban and regional infrastructure, we can sustain a bigger population. Young, migrant nations such as ours are growing or they are shrinking. There is no in-between status.
Traffic congestion and social division are genuine considerations and we do need some limits on growth, but we cannot allow poor planning in Sydney and southeast Queensland, or bigotry, to dominate the debate……