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Xenophobia Australian Style Population Immigration Data

What many do not realise is that in Australia xenophobia afflicts both sides of politics.

From The Conversation: “ ‘Good’ migrants and ‘bad’migrants: the Coalition’s policy paradox.

In his short period in office so far, prime minister Tony Abbott has been taken to task on two issues with important neighbours: asylum seeker boats arriving from Indonesia, and the rights of New Zealanders living in Australia on temporary visas. A recent Monash University report also warns that the increase in the Working Holiday Maker (WHM) program is contributing to the unemployment of local Australian youth. 

Constructing migrants as “good” or “bad” for Australia is a complex process. In the populist imagination, “bad” migrants are welfare-dependent, unskilled, and culturally different. “Good” migrants, on the other hand, are highly skilled, wealthy, independent and either culturally similar or willing to assimilate.

So, what do contentions around these very different types of migrants tell us about the way immigration may be framed in Australia over the next three years?…

…. At the coalface of the labour market, however, the realities of what makes a “good” foreign worker can differ from the public image of an elite, highly-skilled and English-speaking migrant. Particular industries in Australia desire migrants who are cheap, expendable, and willing to do dirty and dangerous work. 

Temporary visa statuses and weak language skills can be a boon to unscrupulous employers, as they mean that workers are more likely to put up with poor conditions and low pay.

Despite arguments from the Monash report that backpackers are “taking jobs” from local young people, it remains a very hard sell for employers to convince Australian youth to stay in small towns and work in abattoirs and orchards when they have the alternative options of studying or receiving unemployment benefits.”

Monash University report?  More precisely Birrell and Healey of Monash University’s CPUR have yet to find anything positive about “immigrants” and “population growth”…… and from the comments, the message is appealing for many, yet misleading.

“Immigrants” are generally known as permanent arrivals, but again neither “experts” nor media make a distinction between temporaries such as international students when reporting, makes for inflated “population” or “immigration” numbers for greater (negative) impact.

While conservative LNP have gone hard on refugees, Labor or the left goes hard on refugees too, and the rest…. e.g. international students, visas, workers, net overseas migration, immigration and population.

Recent article by Michael Pascoe in Fairfax’s SMH/The Age highlighted this more positively inIs Australia ready for 2.3 million more people” (inflated by temporary residents included in population data) and was also referred to and discussed negatively by Leith Van Onselen at MacroBusiness MB:

Can Australia handle rapid population growth?  The simple answer to Pascoe’s question is an unequivocal no. At the current rate of population growth – the lion’s share of which is via immigration  – Australia’s population is set to grow by 10% over the next five years, putting further pressure on Australia’s already strained infrastructure….

…However, while the big end of town is the clear winner from rapid population growth, it doesn’t wear many of the costs. That is borne by you and I.

As argued previously, while I believe that Australia could probably support a substantially larger population with improved policy settings and investment, like many Australians, I don’t hold much faith in our political class or policy making processes, which have time and again proven to be deficient in providing adequately for the pre-existing population (let also tens of millions more people), or that a substantially larger population would improve living standards anyway.” 

The above, although claiming lack of confidence in planning etc. for infrastructure, still fails to assess the qualitative aspects, and merely reinforces the over population and runaway immigration meme that has infected Australia.  This could easily have been a cut and paste from John Tanton’s magazine The Social Contract Press or Bob Birrell’s magazine People and Place, hardly progressive, is it coincidental?

MB who have gained a reputation for rigourous analysis of real estate, property, economic and related data quantitatively, also claim to be of the left socially, but do the ‘lurch to the right socially’ by only barely (or not) acknowledging the qualitative make up of population, population growth and immigration. They highlight a perceived problem based on flimsy data and do not offer solutions?

Accordingly, commenters (both SMH and MB) with expertise in finance, property etc. claim to be of the left, but veer into stereotyping, claims with out evidence etc. about immigrants, population, the Chinese etc. till near end of the comments one of the few dissenting voices who understands the data on immigration and population:

willy_nilly “The ignorance in the comments on the SMH article is astounding. Get it through your heads…


1. The baby boom turns into a death bust and our NOM will not double or treble to compensate.
2. Global population growth peaked in 1962 and has been declining since.
3. Half the nations now have less than replacement fertility.


“Oh dear…. In 2006 we started to count temp visa holders into our official population growth rates, against OECD advice.  Our permanent migration is about 90,000 pa at the moment and no data source, outside of Oz, counts the 1.8% as being accurate at all. All internal OZ projections predict a fall in the pop growth rates. 5.3 million boomers will leave the home planet in the next few decades….”

But even in the face of there being questions about the veracity of population and immigration data “presented” by “Australia’s best demographer” and media, claims of Chinese buying up our property based on anecdotal evidence etc. this is not a good look for our supposedly “progressive” side of politics (and media) which is doing a good job of masquerading as conservatives, or ageing white males….

Louis Christopher of SQM Property research in the Sydney Morning Herald:

Fears over Chinese property ‘raiders’ are baseless.  Sadly, however, throughout this time, many in the Chinese community have been subjected to prejudice and fear, in particular when it comes to the real estate market.

This notion that the Chinese may buy everything up and leave the rest of us with nothing is a false prejudice that has been in existence for quite a long time now. Indeed, the White Australia Policy was established in 1901 to minimise the number of Chinese immigrants that were coming here because of the gold rush.

We can look back and gasp at this concept, but to some extent many of these beliefs have continued to trickle down through the decades and are still rife within Australian society.

This fear that the Chinese might buy all our property once again is nothing but xenophobia…

…In summing it up, no one has given me hard evidence that foreigners, whether they are Chinese or not, are flouting the rules. And until we do get hard evidence, I think those who are fear mongering should be seen as purely that: fear mongers.”

Maybe Christopher could ask MacroBusiness to repost his article and ask MB commenters to refrain from negative remarks that inevitably appear when immigration, population, Chinese etc.. come up, too often in Australia.

While such perceptions and convictions are held by the left, it remains a victory for over population bigots and white nativist lobbies who wish for a return to the White Australia policy.

One Response to “Xenophobia Australian Style Population Immigration Data”

  1. Good example of how to encourage zxenophobia is found on MacroBusiness

    The author Van Onselen makes no attempt to make a distinction between permanent and temporary immigrants, making various correlations which supposedly impact Australia negatively …… sounds just like Bob Birrell?

    Macrobusiness commenters claiming to be of the centre left make Catallaxy centre right to be very soft on social issues, is this the influence of DLP like ideology in Australian contemporary politics?

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