Bartlett's Blog

Andrew Bartlett has been active in politics for over 20 years, including as a Queensland Senator from 1997-2008. This blog started in 2004 and reflects his own views, independent of any political party or organisation.

Benefits of Migration

In the last year or so, those who regularly argue that migration levels somehow harm Australians and the Australian economy achieved much more political traction than usual, leading to all political parties sending various signals suggesting that migration should possibly be scaled back.  This has been one factor  (amongst four or five others) linked to a dramatic drop in the number of international students now coming to Australia, with flow on negative impacts on export earnings, employment opportunities, tax revenue, labour availability and more.

There have been many studies and much research into the social and economic impacts of migration in a variety of countries, regions and localities. In more recent years, the balance of evidence regarding the net benefits of migrationhad become sufficiently strong that the United Nations Development Program has found that migration, both within and between countries, under the right conditions, “has the potential to increase people’s freedom and improve the lives of millions around the world” and “can enhance human development for the people who move, for destination communities and for those who remain at home.”

Some extra evidence comes in a recent study by labour economist Giovanni Peri from the University of California. California takes in more immigrants than any other state of the USA.  It shows that these new workers have not hurt the wages and employment prospects of native Californians, but rather have played “complementary” roles which can provide better outcomes for both groups.

None of this is to say that unlimited levels of migration in all situations and all localities will always produce a better net outcome. But it does reinforce the evidence that, within the right regulatory and social frameworks, there can be net economic and social positives from freer migration flows.

(reposted from Migration Law Matters)


83 Comments, Comment or Ping

  1. kika

    california is almost bankrupt.

    andrew, i am disappointed that you have not mentioned the carrying capacity and sustainability of australia.

    in my opinion, many parts of our country are already overpopulated. we rely increasingly on imports for our food – we are already net importers of fruit, vegetables, seafood and pork.

    when the price of oil increases due to peak oil, how will we feed all our people? not to mention our increasing problems with water, the pollution produced by more people, the inadequate infrastructure, and the extra costs incurred by each migrant.

  2. Kika, I haven’t mentioned the carrying capacity of Australia in the context of migration because Australia’s carrying capacity (in as much such a loose term can be measured) is affected much more by the excessively wasteful and profligate lifestyles of people living in Australia, rather than the number of people living here. Australia has about the second or third lowest population density of any nation on the planet. To suggest we are ‘full’ or even close to it, is just plain silly, given our high level of wastefulness and the low number of people living here relative to the rest of the planet.

    As to the ‘extra costs’ of each migrant, the evidence is fairly clear that Australia gains more through revenue from each new migrant compared to the public cost. And regardless of how you measure the expenditure cost of each new migrant , it is significantly less than that required for newborns.

    In my view, overpopulation is a global issue, and in some cases a local or regional one, not a national one. And it is well established that the best way to reduce birth rates is by increasing educational and employment opportunities, especially for women and girls. One way (although far rfom the only way) is through freer movement of peoples both within and between countries.

    For a more detailed outline, see this post.

  3. Lorikeet

    From information provided by the CSIRO in 2010, we are able to feed 60 million people, even in drought conditions.

    We are a nett importer of food because our trade is largely controlled by the United Nations (World Trade Organisation) due to international agreements signed by Labor, and certainly not withdrawn from by Coalition during 11.5 years of government under Howard.

    We import food from China and other Asian countries, which sometimes comes to us via New Zealand, to disguise its actual country of origin. One example is potatoes, which are used by large corporations (e.g. McDonalds) to financially disempower our farmers. Lots of frozen vegetables are not sourced locally, but come from overseas countries.

    I think we are probably exporting most of the food to pay the bill for all of the cheap goods we import (steel, clothing, white goods, electronics goods) as the result of ongoing de-industrialisation of Australia. This is partly negated by the importation of food.

    One of the reasons we have had a strong immigration program for 20 to 30 years is that the birth rate has not supported a healthy Age Pyramid since the introduction of the contraceptive pill in 1961. Abortion has also been freely available since the late 1970s. Access to abortion is far greater than that allowed by legislation.

    While it is true that the coastline cities of Australia (especially capitals) have become overcrowded, there is plenty of scope to develop regional areas using water grids and infrastructure programs to encourage settlement and provide work.

    To my knowledge, the development of regional centres is supported by Nationals, Greens, DLP – not sure who else.

    In Australia we have a burgeoning foreign debt, which is given a healthy comparison with other countries, but only because they are doing a helluva lot worse! Japan’s economy is in a disastrous state.

    I believe we need to reduce foreign debt to maintain our national sovereignty.

  4. red crab

    mabe you should take a close look at whats happening in italy at the moment .
    this to could easely happen here to

    i would just like you to think about how to feed a population of say 50 mill in this country .
    think about just how fragile the food distribution industry is in this country
    when there was a truck strike in the early 80s it took only two weeks to empty the supermarkets in brisbane and i witnessed people fighting over food in the everton park coles store .
    there was less than 2 mill in S.E. queensland then .

    think about how much DRINKABLE water there is .

    floods now in two years there could be drout iv seen that to.

    plenty of water in queensland but how much can be used for drinking not much.

    but who cares lets fill er up and worry about any probs later we dont have to worry we wont be here BUT OUR KIDS WILL .



  5. Lorikeet


    I think Australia’s worst enemies are the large corporations (banks, retail chains, mining companies etc) which control much more than most people think. Citizens would be more aware of their power and control if they were forced to put their names on every building and business they own.

    The government could also stop large corporations (and others) from abusing both foreign and Australian workers by making them pay for English lessons for employees in need of tuition, and ensuring that all workers’ rights are upheld.

    People from certain countries could be put through a 6-month intensive course in English and Cultural Studies. This would give them the necessary skills to resist exploitation by employers.

    Indian students told me they cannot survive on 20 hours work a week. The government is certainly driving out foreign students by financially crucifying them through educational institutions, workplaces, housing and high living costs.

    Many of your fears could be addressed by encouraging a moderate environmental policy which doesn’t involve high rates of taxation, and the dispersal of populations to regional areas with appropriate infrastructure put in place.

    The building of more dams and completion of a water grid to harness rainfall from the northern tropics would solve water problems in both rural and urban areas.

    A television campaign to encourage people to manage their household resources (money, household goods, food, power/fuel) more responsibly would help the environment, while also disempowering the corporates who wish to give us a financial thumping in order to increase THEIR power and ownership.

  6. greg

    Andrew, where’s your plan to reduce domestic per capita consumption before additional millions enter into our profligate lifestyle? Without that plan, immigration merely increases our nation’s total consumption and its terrible burden upon the unfortunate communities and eco-systems from which our ever burgeoning cities suck their apparent needs and their evident over-indulgence.

    Underpinning this condition is the fact that the primary purpose of the current high immigration rate is to inflate domestic economic growth. This growth will necessarily deliver an increase in aggregate resource consumption and thereby an increase in the extraction burden that weighs upon those areas, inhabitants and natural systems inflicted with the supply of the resources demanded for our growth. How does this process assist toward any just or sustainable outcome?

    It seems that an obsession with per capita consumption blinds you toward the most critical factor at work which is aggregate consumption. This cannot be ignored when the express political purpose of high immigration is to inflate economic demand.

    This demand manifests via increased pressure and cost upon existing residents competing for jobs, pay rates, housing, water, energy, etc. It also escalates the impact upon the overseas communities who are economically enslaved to the production of 1st world cargo. It intensifies, not relieves, the local conditions that drive people to abandon their families and homelands to seek ‘opportunity’ in places like Australia. The overall dynamic is nothing better than a hellish convection engine that is not in any way either beneficial or sustainable over the long term.

    And Andrew, Antartica is an immense continent with the world’s lowest population density. By your logic large numbers of people should be facilitated to settle there. Or are there perhaps other critical physical factors involved other than the extent of available space?

    That’s by no means all but it’ll do for now.

  7. paul walter

    Lorikeet the troub’e is in thelaw. If you can’t get enough knowledgeable, intelligent, independent and sane people into parliament at a given time, you can’t change the laws. And the system is skewed against this happening and
    much more subtly than I think we know.

  8. Lorikeet


    I think the government is already reducing people’s affluence with new taxes and charges, and also allowing large corporations to rip us all off.

    I think the high immigration rate serves the following purposes:

    1. High competition for work = reduced wages and further disempowers unions

    2. Increases housing prices to break individual citizens

    3. Makes it easier for corporates to build and sell high rise apartments at exorbitant prices

    4. Creates racial and religious conflicts so the government can wipe both race and religion out, turning us into corporate clones.

    If I can think of more I will post it later.

    We have a huge foreign debt to repay. We need economic growth.
    Please read the Lima Declaration (Whitlam, 1975) and then give some thought as to how it is being used to crush our economy.

    Paul Walter:

    Yes, you’re right.

    Our parliament is ruled by corporations and our politicians are often not allowed to represent their constituents.

    Who knows? I may run for the Senate myself next time. How about you?

  9. kika

    thank you, andrew, for your reply. however, i was amazed when you wrote “In my view, overpopulation is a global issue, and in some cases a local or regional one, not a national one.”

    this is the same logic used by the coal mining lobby – ‘its not our problem. we just dig up the stufff and export it – its the users of coal who are producing the pollution’.

    i agree with your point that we australians are over-consuming and wasting resources, but the other side of the coin is our high birthrate (plus baby bonus) and high immigration rate.

    this flat, salty old country has poor, thin soils. less than 8% of the whole continent has arable soils with reasonable rainfall. in addition, our farming methods in the last 200 years have damaged most of the sub-soil, and poisoned much of the eco-system. water, too much or too little, continues to be a problem and this will get worse, especially if we continue to recklessly overpopulate this land.

    “sustainable” means to live within the limits of the local ecology. what is sustainable in europe or asia, with its deeper and more fertile soils, is not at all sustainable in most of australia. without cheap oil, how many people could survive here? perhaps it won’t be too long before we begin to realise just how over-populated we already are.

  10. Greg – you ask where my plan is “to reduce domestic per capita consumption before additional millions enter into our profligate lifestyle?” I have campaigned for decades for a range of actions to achieve this end, whether it be transport, energy production or food production and consumption. I can’t see any reason how our failure to act quickly enough in that regard justifies stopping other people coming here.

    Such a stance would be equivalent with those who argue there is no point in Australia reducing our carbon emissions because in aggregate it is such a small part of the global total. Or those who argue that larger (and much poorer) countries such as China and India mustn’t seek to haver access to the same levels of prosperity that we’ve enjoyed for so long because our environment can’t handle it – all while we do virtually nothing to reduce the profligacy which has gone hand in hand with out prosperity for decades.

    Migration does not increase population. It simply shifts people from one place to another. If anything, it reduces population by reducing the birth rate in the medium term, as migration tends to be linked to gaining better access to education and employment opportunities, both of which are related to reducing birth rates.

    It is a simple fact that Australia has lower population density that just about any other country. Trying to bring in Antarctica is a red (or white) herring. Sure there are parts of our country that have poor soils and low amounts of water, but the same applies for many other countries with less land space. Even a cursory glance at the soil and water availability of a large number of other countries shows Australians consume far more capita than most other countries.

    Kika – my comment is the exact opposite of the ‘logic’ you ascribe to the coal industry. The approach that you and Greg espouse is the one that suggests population numbers elsewhere is not our problem, as long as we keep people out of Australia.

  11. greg

    Andrew, your correlation of ‘stopping people coming here until per capita consumption is restrained’ with avoiding action on greenhouse is bizarre to say the least. If multitudes of people join us in our profligate way of life then our national greenhouse footprint will mushroom to even greater levels. How does that help action on greenhouse?
    Moving past this particular oddness in your logic, my point was not to advocate a policy nexus between consumption reduction and migration numbers. It was to illustrate how your proposed means (migration) does not deliver your ostensibly desired ends of social justice (and ecological sustainability, without which there can ultimately be no social justice for anyone).
    Quite simply, increasing our urban footprints treads ever more heavily upon those places and people from which we must draw our resource streams. The basic economic purpose of our record immigration levels has the direct effect of increasing our urban footprints, both physically and consumptively.
    Except for the relative few (considering global numbers and conditions) who might get a leg up by getting here, this expansion of resource demand makes life even harder for disadvantaged communities.
    But the current immigration context is not just a case of pissing into the wind regarding the just delivery of humanity’s broader needs. It actually binds us ever tighter to the very forces that underpin the global inequity problem. 
    The best thing we could do for the global community is become more self-sufficient, which includes both being more locally productive and imagining less need. We could then relieve our extraction from other people’s backyards as well as relieve our political interventions that act to keep those backyards helpless against the plunder that is perpetrated by corporation on our behalf.  
    Exponentially increasing the size and density of our cities takes us physically and politically further away from this end.

  12. “If multitudes of people join us in our profligate way of life then our national greenhouse footprint will mushroom to even greater levels. How does that help action on greenhouse?”

    That, and everything you have written following on from it, is therefore proposing or inferring that we do not allow others to migrate here until/unless we reduce our current levels of profligacy – and the poorer the place they are coming from, the worse it is.

    You might not wish to advocate “a policy nexus between consumption reduction and migration numbers”, but it is none the less what you are doing. In fact, all of your criticisms you have outlined here are based upon a concern that I haven’t made such a nexus.

  13. Lorikeet

    Kika and Greg:

    I think you have both been listening to nongs somewhere. Who are they anyway?

    Please re-read my previous comments about the birth rate, access to water and the amount of food we are actually growing, even in drought conditions.

    China will have a massive population reduction over the next 40 years, due to 30+ years of a One Child Policy. Unfortunately this will have been achieved using large scale abortion, mass euthanasia and high levels of prostitution.

    A re-distribution of populations across the globe will help even out high concentrations of people and increase availability of food and water in smaller countries.

    The main issue that needs to be addressed is equality of pay and working conditions so that all workers (regardless of ethnicity) are not abused by corporate greed. Consumers are also at risk of further abuse by the corporate sector.

    Overpopulation is certainly not a national (Australian) problem. It is a worldwide (global) problem and sometimes a local or regional problem. India, for example, is very overcrowded.

    To put it more simply:

    Australia overpopulated? Not by a long shot.
    India overpopulated? Yes.
    Planet Earth overpopulated? Yes.

    To my knowledge, for every 2 people who come to Australia through immigration, 1 person leaves.

    This is sometimes because people can get better pay and working conditions in the UK and Canada.

  14. Greg

    Andrew, I say nothing of the sort.
    What I am saying, and what you avoid acknowledging and responding to, is that the growth of our cities directly degrades the values you say most concern you – greenhouse, social justice and equity (overseas and domestically), species survival, ecological integrity generally, etc.

    Cities require more resources than can be obtained from their land base, which itself becomes increasingly degraded and unproductive as the urban form expands and intensifies upon it. These resources have to be drawn from other places, and ever more so as the growth continues. This urban demand, and the corporations that profit from supplying to it, incur resource depletion and multiplicitous forms of political oppression in those places ‘lucky’ enough to have the necessary resource reserves.

    Please tell me what else might cause such loss and grief other than perhaps the occasional natural cataclysm.

    The current high immigration rate is expressly intended to maintain economic growth, which in this economy means growth in material consumption, urban growth and mining activity.

    Your advocacy of both high immigration and consumption restraint is much like lobbying for augmentation to a large civic still and at the same time seeking mandated sobriety.

    Similarly your support of high immigration essentially defeats your efforts toward improved social justice, at the global and the local level. A relatively few individuals might get a boost via the program, but the conditions affecting the vast mass of people is made fundamentally worse by it. I’m not saying the existing horror and poverty should not be addressed. I am saying large-scale immigration to Australia is an in-effective and counter-productive means of doing so.

    You’ve worked over a long time for consumption mitigation and for social justice causes. The condition of both have deteriorated over this time. To improve your odds for success you need to understand the causative process at work.

  15. I very much understand the causative processes Greg. As I said, migration does nothing to increase population growth in the short term, it just means a person moving from one spot to another. Why are you so strongly against people moving from another country to this one, but not against people moving from one part of Australia to another?

    And as I also have said, in the medium term the movement of people to areas where they have greater opportunities for education and employment leads to reduced population growth – if you are concerned about the overall ecological impact of population growth, as I am, then why seek to block people from these opportunities – especially by using the justification that they should stay out because we are already consuming more than our fair share.

  16. Greg

    Andrew, if you do understand these processes then you are consciously in favor of having 50 million+ 1st world, over-urbanised Australians consuming the nation’s and the world’s resources, thereby imposing themselves heavily upon the vast majority who are unfortunate enough to be living on or amidst the dwindling resources that feed our desire.

    You’ve admitted no success in mitigating the consumption. You continue to advocate a major factor of our urban growth. You refuse to recognise the nexus between urban growth and rising consumption. You refuse to recognise the impact this growth has on the vast number of disadvantaged people who will never ever get here, or anywhere similar, to share the economic and civic bounty you say is so important provide.

    You seem to be unaware of the impediments that our mounting urban growth creates toward us being able to do the things that would most help the most people where they traditionally live, which, I’m sure, is where most would prefer to live were it no so difficult due to our economic and political impositions upon them.

    And then there’s the impending collision with mounting scarcity that looms ahead our metastasising urban footprints. There’s no credible hint anywhere that we have that contingency covered for current urban scale let alone an expanded one.

    I think you’re working with tokens.

  17. “Working with tokens”?!

    No, I’m talking about people and the planet. They aren’t ‘tokens’ and they aren’t numbers.

    I am afraid you haven’t given even the slightest explanation why you think keeping people out of Australia might make any positive difference to either population levels or consumption levels (unless you also think people living in Australia have a right to consume more resources or have a bigger ecological footprint than people elsewhere – in which case you should say so, rather than continue to avoid the central issue).

    You also haven’t explained how there is any link between more people living in Australia and your continued assertion that this somehow makes people elsewhere worse off (as the UNDP report shows, with the right policy settings it can benefit both groups).

    You also seem to be claiming that somehow urbanisation (as opposed to population growth) consumes more resources. Urbanisation is a worldwide trend & whilst I think Australia should decentralise its population, that is a different issue to migration, (and it also doesn’t mean people would be living in a non-urban setting).

    If we as a species can’t reduce our individual consumption levels (which we are doing in part, but nowhere near quickly enough), it won’t matter where on the planet people live, we’ll all be stuffed (except perhaps for the super-rich in gated, fortified and well defended areas, and even that would probably only delay the inevitable).

    We can’t seal ourselves off from the rest of the world, however much we might like to.

  18. Lorikeet

    I have now been told that I made a mistake here, and that the Greens DO NOT support regionalisation, or accompanying infrastructure and employment programs. Is this true, Andrew?

    I am told that a lot of migrants leave Australia due to dissatisfaction with red tape, and the high cost of producing accompanying reams of paperwork, which greatly outstrips government requirements in the UK.


    I see no evidence that you are capable of thinking across a number of related issues on an interactive basis. Here is what I find particularly amusing:

    “the corporations which profit from supplying to it (urban demand) incur resource depletion and multiplicitous forms of political oppression” ….

    Where have you been? May I ask who you work for? Most people know we have a CORPORATION-KISSING government.

    Perhaps you could check out the parliamentary records on foreign debt to see how it has escalated apace for more than 20 years before writing any more comments about “economic growth”.

    It was very recently reported in the media that individual debt has reversed the long term trend and gone down. I don’t think this is because everyone is flush with money, but largely because no one can afford to repay a loan on a house, nor do they trust corporations (banks/insurance companies) to do the right thing.

    Why do you think people are squeezed into high rise ghettoes, which is also known as “urban growth”? Because they are rich, with limitless resources?

    I reiterate that we are already growing enough food for 60 million people. That’s nearly 3 times our current population. Our current birth rate of 2.3 children per couple barely meets Zero Population Growth, and that’s with a Baby Bonus in place. I think it has long been a well known fact that educated people have the least children.

    An “impending collision with mounting scarcity” is little more than a furphy.

    Things would also quickly change in third world countries if they were supplied with contraceptives.

  19. Lorikeet

    My understanding is that the Greens do support regionalisation, along with the appropriate infrastructure (one of many reasons why I think the NBN is a good idea).

    You are certainly right that many potentially permanent migrants leave Australia due the unnecessary complexity, inefficiency, unpredictability and unfairness of our ever shifting migration laws.

    According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australia’s fertility rate in 2009 was 1.9

  20. Lorikeet

    Thanks, Andrew.

    I guess that maybe some Labor policies are being attributed to the Greens. Labor talks about regionalisation, but not much action seems to be happening.

    A couple of weeks ago Tony Z. (DLP) told me the birth rate has recently risen to 2.3 per couple. It seems to vary reasonably often. The previous rate was certainly 1.9, and before the Baby Bonus, I remember a figure of 1.5 being quoted.

    Since the government has means tested the Baby Bonus, maybe some people are getting in quick before they reduce it again, or it gets cancelled completely. I am concerned that a Baby Bust will follow.

    In 1969, I was told that Zero Population Growth requires a birth rate of 2.3. In more recent times I have seen it quoted at 2.1.

    Migrants who come here to do nursing quickly want to leave again due to terrible wages and working conditions.

    From the preliminary report of the Productivity Commission into Aged Care, it seems they are recommending the uncapping of bonds so that huge sums of money can be collected by service providers, with NO PAY INCREASES for aged care staff. The proposed bond on High Care would force some elderly people to put reverse mortgages on their homes.

    The final report of the Productivity Commission is supposed to come out in June 2011.

    On Monday I was speaking with a nurse who escaped a war zone and came here from Somalia 13 years ago. When she was a student nurse in a hospital, she was treated badly by Aussie nurses; even worse by patients. She is a Muslim and wears a headdress which is a cross between a head scarf and a turban.

    She told me employers are definitely underpaying foreign workers, which is one of the primary causes of racial conflict. I recently saw a television report which said that Korean workers were being paid half as much as other workers in the building industry.

    The Slave Labor Party clearly doesn’t care how ANY workers get treated. They pander to large corporations in both urban and rural areas.

  21. Greg

    Andrew, population growth is urbanization. This is the densest, most profitable form for its facilitation.

    You seem to be avoiding the very basic causal links I keep putting to you. Perhaps you might address these specific observations and queries.

    The transparent purpose of the current high immigration rates is to maintain economic growth. In this economy such growth means urban expansion and intensification, mining activity and retail demand. If this is not higher domestic resource consumption as a direct result of high immigration then what is it?

    This growth continues and increases the burden of demand upon the global localities that furnish the resources required for our urban operation and expansion. It continues the underlying condition whereby corporations and governments find it profitable to inflict economic and political oppression upon less powerful communities and their landscapes. Not so? What force, other than the consumption demand escalating from within and contingent to expanding cities, is at the nub of the dispossession and dislocation pressing upon so many millions of people within their homelands?

    Underpinned by current immigration rates urban growth is spiraling the market value of land and housing. This directly increases private debt and income stress. The (always lagging) infrastructure provision is escalating public debt. Spiraling demand and supply ‘challenges’ are ecalating the cost of basic resources such as energy, water and food. Debt and political stresses inherent within this continuum degrade the capacity and the will for any genuinely scoped foreign aid. Please tell me how this is not so.

    These conditions are generating an increasing structural inequity within our domestic population. The process is effectively developing a third-world socio-economic order within Australia. I think you have little idea of the degree, the extent or the creeping expansion of financial stress being experienced across ‘ordinary’ Australia

  22. Greg

    I’m not talking about blocking the paltry few thousand refugees accepted into the country each year. I’m pointing to the 2-300,000 entrants annually that are comprised largely of skilled workers, middle class and upper class students, and long-term economic and ‘business’ visas.

    An intake somewhere between 50,000 and 100,000 per annum would be sane with regard to sustainability across the board. There’s no reason not to increase the refugee intake to 20 – 40,000 or more within that lower overall number.

    The key point in these numbers is that the bulk of the current immigration profile are not in any great need. Its purpose and its result is venally economic, not humanitarian.

    Many in the skilled categories are much more needed in their home communities that invested precious resources into their training. Even with a hugely expanded number of entrants with genuine need, the benefits would still be only a token with respect to the huge global numbers in great disadvantage. Until we seriously address the structural mechanics at work we are, at best, pissing warm feelings onto our own egos and residual guilt complexes and, at worst, ratcheting inequity into even greater scope and pressure.

    BTW – are kiwis an underprivileged community needing our unquestioned succour?

    Also, regionalism means simply building more cities beyond the perimeter of the current ones. How is this a solution to anything? More-over it will only occur as and when it is profitable to the development industry to do so, no doubt assisted by various and massive public subsidies – aka even more public debt.

    As for ‘right policy settings’ to balance trade relationships, where are these actually working to diminish real inequity rather than just being pleasingly comfortable notions that numb our necessary outrage toward Business as Usual?

  23. Lorikeet

    It seems to me that nearly every government process (no matter who it involves) requires huge volumes of paperwork, multiple processes and SEVERAL financial charges.

    A woman who came here from the UK to work in the advertising industry said their paperwork and red tape was nothing like Australia’s huge requirements. It costs her twice as much to get her brochures printed here than in the UK, with comparatively tiny costs if she gets them printed in China.

    A DLP member who is working with me on an improved Aged Care Policy said service providers are being slaughtered by the huge cost of employing people to do paperwork.

    Aussie nurses returning to Australia from the UK, and UK nurses coming to Australia for the first (and last!) time, have reactions to our health and aged care systems that are about the same … grossly annoyed!

    I’m fairly certain that the Labor government will soon allow The Macquarie Group to completely take over aged care, hospitals, other health care services, and also the entire education system.

    I’m sure this will involve high levels of rationing and low rates of pay, despite the payment of fees and charges by all users. TMG also has an interest in The Arts. For those who aren’t aware, TMG is already collecting a percentage of traffic fines here in Queensland.

    I can’t remember whose idea it was that small business people should get a tax rebate of $20 per week to reimburse them for the time taken to collect the GST, but I think this is excellent and should be implemented immediately.


    One minute you’re telling us that we are expanding economically and industrially, and the next you are saying we are placing a burden on third world nations to produce what we need. This doesn’t make any sense.

    Take a look at our burgeoning foreign debt before you tell us the same again. There is no shortfall of water, electricity etc, only excessive corporate greed.

  24. Ah I see – so if a person with the label ‘refugee’ comes here it is solely and nobly humanitarian, but if they’re labelled ‘migrant’ then it is soley for ‘venal’ economic growth.

    And you nobly talk about the economic stress many people in Australia are enduring (whilst throwing in the cheap – and false – shot that I am somehow unaware of this), but then say migration for economic reasons I just ‘venal economics’.

    Saying migrartion is about nothing but economic growth is as facile as saying having children is just about economic growth. And if by some magical (tho unexplained process) an extra person being here equals economic growth, then having one fewer person wherever they’ve come from would equal reduced economic growth.

    If you are going to keep ignoring the simple question of how you can assert that a person moving from one spot to another equals population growth, then you’re never going to get out of the illogical, circual – and unjust – argument you keep trying to put.

  25. Lorikeet


    In effect, our country is being de-industrialised.

    There is no “supply challenge” for food, water or energy. This is just a lie to help the wrong people make ever increasing amounts of money, e.g. Woolworths (the third largest company operating in Australia), Unitywater, and AGL.

    In Canberra, AGL collects revenue from the supply of electricity, gas AND water.

    Our country is going backwards economically due to the government allowing corporates to collect its revenue from income producing assets and utilities, and the ongoing use of public/private partnerships that require the taxpayer to set up the infrastructure, while the corporates collect the bountiful supply of cash.

    Free Trade Agreements benefit third world nations, not Australians.

    Where immigration is concerned, I think it is important to understand that half of the total number leave the country each year. If immigration programs are cut, we will be leaving some countries in a grossly overcrowded state while our Age Pyramid continues to suffer.

    Some of the people coming from Asia to train for apprenticeships don’t belong to the middle and upper classes. They are being used by corporates to hold wages down and do further damage to working conditions, the same as is happening with their more wealthy counterparts.

    This is just one of the reasons that everyone needs to join unions to prevent corporates ripping us all off. Otherwise they will end up with an even larger power base throughout the world, and then we won’t be able to stop them.

    It is important to remember that Labor and Liberals support corporatisation. They don’t give a stuff about the citizen as a worker, consumer or pensioner.

  26. red crab

    so tell me how has migration benifited christmas islanders
    now before you tell me a load of !!!
    they are about to run out of power fuel supply is critical so who will be turned off first the detainees or the local ppl who have lived there for generations .
    second the word is that you are soon to see boat migration in numbers not seen before .

  27. The asylum seekers on Christmas Island are being forcibly imprisoned there – they aren’t migrating there.

    I agree it is presenting a major hassle for the residents of Christmas Island (although no doubt a few businesses are doing well out of it, but as you say, it is massively distorting the entire local economy and putting a huge strain (and cost) on resources (incl the local school).

    It’s just another reason why locking thousands people up for months and years on the island is such a stupid policy.

    I completely oppose that and always have – but it has very little to do with the migration debate.

  28. Wondering

    Red Crab – well if you are predicting that once this monsoon/fierce weather to our north ends, those people who are in desperate need of escape to a safe country will grab a chance to try to get to one, let me make a prediction of my own, equally banal and predictable: the sun will rise tomorrow.

    I think you are getting confused about who are the victims in the christmas island situatiin – BOTH islanders and asylum seekers are.

  29. Greg

    Andrew, you’ve twisted my words to divert from the points I put to you. Your avoidance is glaring.

    Regarding your straw men:

    Immigration rates into Australia are all about economic growth. It’s obvious that I’m not referring to migration per se.

    Economic growth (and contingent consumption) due to inward migration is obviously greater than the reduction realised respectively at source. Comparative levels of consumption, public infrastructure and public services are worlds apart, literally.

    However most economic growth here is founded upon debt-based ledger entries that finance land speculation, construction and retail. The only ‘real’ economic activity is mining which urban expansion compels us to maximise to pay the interest bills on growth-driven public spending. Thus urban expansion drives debt and mining. You OK with that?

    It is doubtless that current domestic immigration rates deliver significant population growth within Australia. With that these migrating numbers do nothing to reduce the population related problems underway in the nations of origin. So what is the net result of that equation? The only distinct benefit gained is to the actual immigrants themselves.

    We can’t accommodate the tens of millions who might want to come here. Given limits, people in situations of deep danger and disability should rate high on getting entry, especially if their problems arise from our economic and political legacies. I’m surprised that you see such people as equivalent to the huge number of middle class residency seekers who are not in any great difficulty at home but who are seeking to improve their material well-being (increase their per capita consumption).

    Why should I and loved ones be inflicted with spiraling costs in rent, food, utilities, congestion, ecological damage, etc., to accommodate that aspiration? Per capita consumption does need reduction, but how will large numbers of additional aspiring consumers help build the political will to do that?

  30. Greg

    Andrew, the previous post responded to each of your excursions. How about you return the courtesy and address the discrete points I’ve already put to you?

    Also the 2000 character, two post per day limit makes timeliness and adequacy a challenge.

    the issues with employment visa rip-offs are tragically real and to be deplored. What Leightons are up to should see the board put in jail. It won’t happen though because, as you say, the Govt. is an agent of Corporate not public interest.

    However these rip-offs are just one facet of the immigration disco ball. Lower class families aren’t paying the fares and tuition fees to gain hairdressing certificates as a step toward permanent residency. Neither are they amongst those who are readily given entry because they have the means to buy a house or three.

    Resource scarcity issues are very real.
    Food surplus comes at the cost of severe waterway impacts and soil depletion. It also requires masses of fossil fuels. Oil and gas are on the brink of reserve decline, massive price increase and supply uncertainty. Coal will quickly follow suit when it is made to fill the yawning energy gap left by oil depletion. Plus this use is destroying the atmosphere.

    Huge urban water price hikes are due to the cost of complex infrastructure needed to maintain supply to populations that have completely outstripped their catchment’s capacity to provide.

    Aquifers supporting major agricultural locations around the world are in advanced depletion.

    It’s a long list. Try reading Peak Everything by Richard Heinberg.

    Corporate investors do profit from this scarcity but the process is even more evil than withholding stock and technology. They encourage demand growth beyond supply capacity and then provide ‘solutions’ at a price. Who is going to pay $4 to drive 2 klms of road unless congestion and times delays are hellish otherwise?

  31. red crab

    when was the last time you payed $8 for a lettese
    with food at a premium on the island and freezers full who do you think will have a hard time when the power is gone
    the xtra drain on the infrustructure is causeiing big problems out there
    this is an opitunity for the govt to make a study of what could happen when a place is overpopulated
    but they wont will they
    i can garantee that one group on the island wont go with out
    the focas is on one group but the group that hepled pull them from the water have been forgoten already .

    buy the way wondering i dont make predictions with out first hand knolage of what im talking about ..

    andrew i dont belive they should be locked up either but i allso belive that ALL states should take there fare share that meens that 6 out 7 should go to some where other than w.a..i think that would be fare what do you think?
    mabe the govt is still trying to hid its real adgenda on imigration from the australian people. who live mostly on the eastern side of ths country.

    but as you say, it is massively distorting the entire local economy and putting a huge strain (and cost) on resources (incl the local school).
    that is an understatement and resentment is really high there .

    so question is the govt or any uni student doing any form of study of what happens when there is such a sharp increse in a population
    and if so could it be used as a model for future problems that may happen in the future in australia if it were to happen here .

  32. Lorikeet


    I think you should cease reading books and look at these issues at the coalface of human experience.

    There is no shortage of coal, oil, food or water. Profiteers put this rubbish about so they can charge higher prices and/or make you feel guilty for filling your car, travelling anywhere, or even turning on a light.

    Then they justify RATIONING everything in order to lower your standard of living (works in well with the higher prices, don’t you think?) while selling more product/power to the third world at cheaper prices.

    I can understand your fear of the doomsayers, but even with current technologies in place (and discounting future advancements such as aeroponics) we are already feeding 60 million people – a population almost 3 times our size.

    Water used to fall free from the sky, before the government turned it into a marketable commodity for the benefit of the corporations who wish to “ration and rule” us.

    A lot of migrants are quite young people (singles and couples). Some have no marketable qualifications until they are trained in our TAFE colleges.

    Even those who are Registered Nurses or Teachers in their countries of origin have to pay to upgrade their qualifications to meet Australian standards.

    When Indians come here to study in our universities, they have to pay an enormous amount of money. In 2009 alone, the government made $46 billion educating foreign students, while returning nothing to our own students.

    A lot of Indian students have to drive taxis at night to earn a living, but are only allowed to work 20 hours a week. If things were as crash hot as you believe, why have many foreign students decided to leave our shores?

    Individual debt has fallen in Australia in recent years, which may sound good, until you dig below the surface. Australians can no longer afford to take out a mortgage or personal loan, because they don’t have the income or job security to service it.

    Our living standards are progressively being lowered.

  33. Wondering

    red crab – you are assuming that I live somewhere that people can get lettuce. I would not make that assumption if I were you. For lettuce to survive more than a couple of days withoug refrigeration, even wrapped in damp newspaper, is a rare event where I go to work at times.

    I have been the victim of both high freight costs and profiteering many times.

    I return to my point. All the empathy in the world for the unlucky people on Xmas Island does not make me think the asylum seekers are to blame for their plight, nor that the asylum seekers are better-off. I don’t blame the Xmas Island folk for being bitter – I would be too. It is no fun living in a mining town, either, on a small wage when miners come to town and push the cost of living through the roof.

    Asylum seekers are only a very small part of the new arrivals – unless and until we look really hard at how we use water, land and resources we have no business ramping up our migration rate – not because of who they are, or where they come from, or why – but because we have not got the balance right with the people we currently have. It is not my opinion – just look at what is being done on the outskirts of our cities – good food-growing land being paved and little mansions built there. The waste is shocking. You can’t eat money nor drink profits, and we will find that out way too soon.

    In a way I agree with you, but you need to word your entries so that it is clear you are not prejudiced against the asylum seekers – unless I’m wrong, and you are?

  34. Lorikeet

    Here are the 3 Rs that the corporations are inflicting on us. They are largely supported by both Labor and Liberal policies such as public/private partnerships, where the taxpayer sets up the infrastructure and the corporation collects the revenue.

    1. Rob.
    2. Ration.
    3. Rule.

    The more they rob the people as individuals and as taxpayers, the more commodities and services THEY can afford to buy/control.

    The more they ration the resources, the more people they can rob.

    The more they own, the more say they can have, and the more powerful they can become.

    The more debt we rack up as individuals and as a nation, the more chance they have of ruling us completely.

    In the end, it matters little to them whether or not we are citizens, migrants or asylum seekers. We all serve as fodder for their money-making machine.

  35. red crab

    it would seem we are on the same page
    i am not prejudiced against any one but i do belive thaat the boat ppl are jumping the que as the do take the place of someone elce who has applyed to come here .
    the lettuce was used as an example any food out the is imported so when some local is paying way too much for something and it is being rubbed in there face that the asylim seekers get what they want for free then there is a lot of resentment there
    for example the school banned fizzy drinks i/e. coke etc and who should turn up at the school with there lunchboxes containing the product band buy the school was it taken from them no who supplyed the item the govt and where did it get rubbed give you one gess kids will be kids .
    the govt can afford to pay 300thousand dollars to charter a jet but hey cant get fuel onto the island sos there is power to run the mess they have created . i dont have a problem with chartering a plane but where is there prioritys . NO POWER ON CHRISTMAS ISLAND MEANS NO FOOD FOR ANY ONE .
    will the govt lern from this situation i dont think so
    if for example a city in australia was to double its population over a two year period then most of its infostructure would collapes .
    this is whats happening on christmas island we should be takeing notes sos it wont happen here .
    if the govt was seious about stopping ppl smugglers they would have there own boat charge the same as the smugglers and put the money into the local community and pay for there accomidation then there is no reason for resentment .

    just a point to make boat assyim seekers are more than just a small part of our overall asylim seekere now they are close to 50% now and growing . with the easeing of the swells there is a good chance they will be in the majority.

  36. Wondering

    I agree that we seem to be in agreement that people understandably get bitter when somethign they did not choose is foisted on them by forces they cannot control.

    Where we do not agree is on this “jumping the queue” issue. It has been said many times, but there is no queue. Do you imagine that in countries where there Are refugee camps full of refugees that there is some kind of orderly queue? “Ok, Mr and Mrs Singh, you were here earlier than Mr And Mrs Khan, so you get to go to Australia first” ??? No, it isn’t done that way and no government has ever pretended it has. We pick the refugees we want, and we were doing that in Europe after WWII.

    It is not first in, first served, and in many places there simply is no queue. Just explain to me, if you would, how someone who is in an ethnic or religious minority in Afghanistan goes to the government in Kabul, that’s if they can get there, and says to the very government that is supporting the people trying to rob them of land, or to kill them, “Excuse me, would you mind giving me an exit visa, and where is the Australian Embassy, please, I’d rather go there than live here in the land of my ancestors, whom I fear I’m about to join.”

    It would be very nice if every refugee in the world had a card with a number on it, so that our officials could immadiately recognise their place in “the queue” … but it is fantasy land.

    Be angry at the failure of successive Australian governments to plan properly, if you like. Be angry that people were put on that rock by means of drawing funny little lines on the map tha change the legal status of this or that place in an instant, for tricky reasons, but don’t be sucked in to this queue nonsense. Make the next person who says that tell you where it is, and don’t say it yourself if you don’t know.

  37. Wondering

    I have heard, by the way, that Adelaide has agreed to take a large number of asylum seekers at very short notice, arrange accommodation for them, though they’ll have to pay for that, just like other asylum seekers who live outside the walls of DIMMIA’s so-called community housing, and education will be provided for them, even though it will entail immediately having to put on night and weekend classes over and above the needs of hte ordinary students already there. I imagine there will be a shortage of space in the cafetria, the toilets, the libraries, etc etc and I imagine that there will be grumbles about the sudden influx, the strange accent and the unfamiliar cultural references.

    They are Kiwis from New Zealand, and the vast majority will be “white”.

  38. Lorikeet


    Can you tell us what the Kiwis from New Zealand are seeking asylum from?

    If they are seeking asylum from Christchurch’s terrible earthquake disaster, would they not know that Mother Nature will be out to get them EVERYWHERE they go?

    Are you telling us that the Australian government has taken citizens of Christchurch on a temporary basis, because their living accommodation has been demolished and the water supply has been fouled by sewerage?

  39. Lorikeet

    I think if we asked the already processed refugees sitting in camps on the Thai/Burma border if they could join a queue, the answer would be “Yes”. Some have been stuck there for generations, while more “enterprising” people finish up on Christmas Island and are resettled comparatively quickly. Some might see this as “queue jumping”.

    According to a nurse who came here as a refugee from Somalia, 1 in 12 of the people claiming to be asylum seekers are not. They are simply jumping the immigration queue and coming here illegally.

    It concerns me that the government is setting up expensive legal processes to aid asylum seekers who have been rejected as refugees.

    I can certainly understand Red Crab’s concern for Australians who feel they are being treated as second class citizens.

  40. paul walter

    Yes, there is little doubt that, with New Zealanders, the over arching problem would be in language…eg ,what is Fush n Chups?. If it’s to do food, do they mean lamb chups or pork chups? Or are fushnchups people who go out to sea to harvest seafood?
    A further illustration of inherent problems would reside in the Kiwi obsession with rugby, a curious cultural artifact known in more civilised locales as”bumsniffing”.
    If Kiwis are escaping here to escape earthquakes, I’m against it- they could bring their rotten earthquakes with them…obviously an act of god to punish them for being bum sniffing, sorry, rugby fans and lousy cricketers and we more manifestly worthwhile beings risk dire consequences from above that may come from supporting these wretched folk

  41. Wondering

    Hundreds of tertiary students from Christchurch are being offered the chance to study in Australia as the New Zealand city recovers from its devastating earthquake last week.

    Adelaide University has announced a plan to take up to 500 students from the University of Canterbury to study in Australia for the current semester.

    Vice-Chancellor Professor James McWha says the university was keen to help out.

    “If they have more than 500 then we’ll expand the program and take 1,000 if that’s what they’ve got, but we’re working on the basis of up to 500,” he said.

    “Qantas have very generously come to the party and they’ve made an aeroplane available and, as I understand it, that would be available this weekend for up to 400 students.”

    NZ students will not be charged extra tuition fees but might have to pay for accommodation in Adelaide.

    But the university is asking its staff, students and former students if they can offer cheap or free accommodation to students choosing to cross the Tasman.

  42. Lorikeet


    Thanks for the information. That’s excellent.

  43. red crab

    dos not australia have an imigration policy ? that has a quota or a set amount of ppl it can or will accept each year.
    if this is a fact then someone who arrives here without gowing through the right procedure and is accepted into the country then would they not be takeing someone elces place ? who has tried to do the right thing .
    i know there is no physical queue
    im sick of getting b.s. info from so called educated ppl and then hearing what ppl see who are actually living with the problem and see it every day

    one example
    an afgani arived at curtin detention centre with a hearing problem
    so the govt in its wisdom sent him with his minders to perth for testing and a hearing aid estimated cost was $20.000.00.
    this person had arived at curtin a few days prior .
    i know this because i know the person who tested him .
    so now go tell some one who was born in this country and worked all there life payed high taxes that they cant have a hearing aid because there is no more money because they gave it to some one who arived here on a boat without an invite paying up to $ 12000 to get on that boat.

    iv been told that christmas island is costing the tax payers 80 mill per month is this correct ?
    i wont tell you here what iv been told buy the locals of what is really going on there because its not good .
    mabe you should go an see for yourself and ask the local people who it is affecting the most.
    i have .
    the govt wont and the media wont because they are afraid to tell the truth
    immigration in all its forms has made this country what it is today but this is not the 1950s 60s or 70s this is 2011 and things are different now
    we need new policys on this issue as australia as a land mass has its limitations of water and food so in saying that uncontroled immigration could possibly do as much harm in the future as good it did in the past .

  44. Wondering

    “I won’t tell you …”

    “You don’t know hte truth …”

    “If you only knew what was really going on … ”

    S**t or get off the pot, red crab.

    That sort of thing got tiresome in Primary School.

  45. Lorikeet

    Red Crab:

    We have no limitations on food or water, and there is plenty of room for population growth.

    But I certainly share your concern that Australians are missing out on the vital services they require, and are being discriminated against in their own country.

    I further resent the accusation that you could be smoking pot.

  46. paul walter

    “We have no limitations on food or water…” Lorikeet.
    Obviously written before you could watch the 4 Corners on the Murray-Darling tonight?
    Lorikeet, as to Red Crab’s pot smoking, is it the fact that he actually smokes the stuff, or someone accused him of it. Would he be a form of smoked seafood, like Eel??
    Sorry, things fall apart.. woo hoo..!!!

  47. Wondering

    My apologies to those mystified by my previous remark – “sh*it or get off the pot ” means either proceed with an action or abandon it completely. My intent was to urge red crab to say whatever it is that they are hinting at or stop all this secret squirrel type hinting around.

    If someone has had a hearing aid fitted so that they are able to be properly questioned about their claims for seeking asylum then that is a good hting, don’t you think? Maybe they could rip it out of his ear if he fails the test and is sent home. Or give it to your grandfather – if your grandfather hasn’t got a hearing aid, whinge about that – don’t try to deprive someone else of one.
    red crab asked : “dos not australia have an imigration policy ? that has a quota or a set amount of ppl it can or will accept each year.” As I understand it yes, we do have a policy, but the actual numbers set do very according to all kinds of factors, such as wars breaking out, natural disasters, skils shortages, etc etc.

    I have been told, by my secret squirrel informant, which is briefing papers to the Parliament that in 2009, Australia received 6170 asylum applications, just 1.6 per cent of the 377 160 applications received across 44 industrialised nations … Of the 44 nations; Australia was ranked 16th overall and was 21st on a per capita basis. Despite Lorikeet’s assertions, I believe we need to take a hard look at how we use our land and water, but it is hard to ignore the fact that we could organise ourselves more efficiently and accept more people if all you are worried about isinfrastructure. I belive a bit of decent leadership would assist the very small social problems we are no doubt facing – people talked about ‘different cultures’ and all that hooey in the early 1900s – I thought we had grown up a bit since then. Not all of us, it seems.

  48. paul walter

    By geez that was a good post, Wondering. People are so complacent, things have gone well for a bit and currently people are happy to have their little sleep. Besides, what can you do against the gummint and big business?
    So people pull a face and turn their back on issues that need attention.
    On an another issue, this “secret squirrel” might be an Iororua (Irish)squirrel?

  49. red crab

    i have never smoked pot or taken any form of recriational drug not even beer or wine
    i think that when some people push an adgenda so hard like populating this country as quik as they can one has to ask themselves WHY SUCH A HURRY.

    when some very informed ppl in this country say lets have a good think about how we are suposed to feed and water these new ppl.

    and some more informed ppl say that we are overpopulated already .

    why not slow down and have a good look at whats happening here

    i watch the insite prog on sbs all the time the last debate they had on this topic was a joke an asian australian lady sead we should open up the north west for there is plenty of land there . well unlike her who prob lives in sydney iv been to the north west and i say good luck to anyone who wants to go live there .
    as far as whats happening on christmas island mabe you should go and see for youself and talk to some of the locals mabe you just dont want to know
    i think it is a great oppitunity to study what happens when the population of a community is more than doubled in a very short time .
    this type of study could be very important to the way we populate australia in the future.
    i know you mite not agree with me .
    mabe i mite have a go at this pot stuff and then mabe i will see your point of view.

    but i think there is only one reasion why the govt and big bussines want more ppl MONEY!!!.
    as a wise person once sead when all the resorses are used up and the land and water is poisond and the corperations have left only then will someppl realise you cant eat money.


  50. red crab

    Received this info
    on an email dose anyone know if this is correct.:-

    Three hundred boat people have been housed at RAAF Sherger Air Base in Weipa.
    All are being accepted into Australia .

    All are men.

    All receive the pension same as our pensioners – all get the same amount again for hardship payment – this equals twice what our pensioners get.

    All receive fifty dollars a day for spending money.

    Security staff employed to watch them.

    Chefs employed to feed them (one quarter of a tonne of chicken a day alone is cooked).

    They won’t pick up their own rubbish.

    There was a massive dispute because they didn’t like the radio station.

    Another dispute because batteries were flat for the Nintendo games.

    Tents set up for mosque prayers had to be air conditioned.

    The bores/wells set up to run RAAF Sherger adequately are now dry, because taps are left running all day long.

    Sewerage systems now blocked with condoms (???) supplied to them (and all of them are men remember)

    Dept.. of Immigration & Citizenship (DIAC) wants Dept. of Defence to pay all the bills so they can hide the costs of allowing three hundred refugees into the country from tax paying Australians.

    Australia needs to know.

  51. Red Crab

    There may be people detained in Weipa at the moment (the Govt spoke about using a Defence site near there some time ago, although I don’t recall seeing anything about that many people being sent there).

    Everyting that you’ve about receipt of money is 100% false – people in detention do not receive any money at all. Almost certainly everything else that you’ve mentioned after that is also either totally or mostly false. This type of garbage has been repeatedly peddled and recirculated by liars and hate mongers for years.

    (although I would hope that condoms are readily available in all detention centres)

    As for ‘Australia needing to know’ – if the shockjock types put even 10% as much energy into debunking these sort of widely circulating myths as they did in propogating the half-truths and distortions that feed such antagonism, things would be very different.

  52. Lorikeet

    When I last looked at immigration figures, large numbers were coming from Asia, Africa & the Middle East compared with previous intakes.

    I think providing infrastructure for both existing Australian citizens & immigrants is exceedingly important, & not to be devalued as Wondering as done.

    Paying lower wages to migrants or Aussie citizens, or providing ANYONE with services that EVERYONE cannot get (regardless of their citizenship status) is a recipe for racial & religious tensions.

    Our schools are overcrowded with both students & buildings, with playground space suffering. Both curricula & disciplinary standards do not meet the expectations of a developed nation.

    Our hospitals are third world, & our ambulance service is inadequate. One could be forgiven for thinking the ongoing payroll debacle was designed to get rid of Queensland nurses from the system & land them in a position of homelessness.

    Our aged centres suffer from staff shortages, especially in the corporate sector, where Aussie workers & visa holders are financially abused, along with the residents they care for.

    Each year we bring more migrants to help build our nation, workforce and age pyramid, while the government continues to send work offshore. Go figure ……

    I have often stated that the Labor Party has locked us into a worldwide redistribution of populations & wealth over the last few decades. At the same time, it has progressively kicked our agricultural & manufacturing industries in the guts, which will probably get an excellent kick along from a Carbon Tax.

    The idea that we can feed 60 million people here in Australia came first from the CEO of the CSIRO at the National Press Club.

    Then I heard it again from a man representing the CSIRO on “Landline”, screened on the ABC at midday on Sundays.

    I believe the Murray/Darling Basin Plan has been designed to remove our farmers from the land using high water costs & rationing, & turn the land over to corporates.

  53. Wondering

    red crab – had you read my explanation above you’d have ralised I did not say you take drugs. Please accept my apologies for the misunderstanding.

    As to why you peddle the absolute vile rubbish you do, I have no idea. But I accpet your word that you don’t use drugs.

    Your word about everything else you wrote is not accpeted, partly becuase at long last I do have my own secret squirrel in place now, and I can assure you, as Andrew said, that detainees do not get paid anything, if theya re supplied with condoms (which I doubt) but if theya re, it is surely better than encouragign the spread fo disease, and we are obliged to treat everyone on our soil in ahumanitarian manner. As for them all being MEN .. good grief. Surelynot! Have younot seen the desperate refugees tryign to get out of Libya? Thevast majority of thema re men, Families often split up so th men can go on first to face danger and try to preserve their womenfolk and children as ong as possible. More men leave .. soem survive, so many more men will be refugees. Good grief man, what have you been fed by way of propaganda? As for going to Xmas island, I know a married couple who work there, and you have been fed some miscievous nonsense mate.

  54. red crab

    i am awere that you know i dont take drugs of any kind .
    as far as absolute vile rubbish mabe you would be brave enough to say that to my sorse who is here with me at this moment . and is heading back there in the near future .
    buy the way he was there trying to get some of those poor buggers from the water .

    i was there before the centre was built i was there when it was getting built and i have been there since

    but this is beside the point im trying to make
    which is
    there is a good oppitunity to study what happens when a community is overwhelmed buy a sudden influx of ppl
    but you and i both know that niether the govt or some accademics who are in favore of a population overlode for this country will want to go anywhere near that will they! .

    lets see now the water is getting short the sewerage has been blocked and has iv been told had a 26 mill upgrade to cope but with out enough water whats the point . and mabe you could tell me againe that this has not impacted badly on the community giving rise to resentment .

    so mabe you could enlighten me as to where my sorse is wrong in regards to those problems .

    the govt knows that there is many more on the way than they are telling us thats why they are desperate to house them on the mainland

    BUT they are sttill not willing to place these poor buggers where they should be WHERE THEY COULD ACCESS WHAT THEY NEED
    n.s.w victoria and queensland,.
    so why are they putting them in some of the most uninhabitable arias in western australia.
    im interested as to what type of work do the married couple you know do out there ?

    i just had a thought the swell is easing now there are a lot of boats that will be on the way very soon so what better time than to bring up a carbon tax i bet it will all evaporate in a few months


  55. paul walter

    You know, the thread starter here was to do with the “benefits of immigration”. If the country was run properly with planning based on rationality and science, how many extra people,say unfortunate refugees, could we “carry”
    Yet, we see a planning paradigm most recently expressed in the Gunns decision last week, a decision that follows the sort of precedent set by state privatisations and infrastructure bungles created whilst trying to accomodate big business. Antics involving the Murray Darling and in general, certain types of mining and agriculture, also come to mind. Nineteenth century stuff for the twenty first century.
    Does any one here seriously beleive we have an effective and uncorrupted planning regime in place to ensure efficient use of resources for a larger population?

  56. Lorikeet

    Paul Walter:

    We are barely giving birth to enough babies to meet Zero Population Growth. In the future, we can expect our population to shrink to 7 million people, leaving us vulnerable to annihilation or takeover, unless an ambitious immigration program is maintained.

    Even then, half the number of migrants brought here each year leave the country again. That’s how great it now is to live in Australia.

    I expect that most of the food will soon be grown by large corporations, which will send it out of the country via privatised rail and ports, after Labor has finished shafting our farmers and graziers from their land with high water charges & rationing, and impoundment of their land under vegetation laws, with land rates and taxes remaining payable.

    As for your question as to whether or not we have an “effective and uncorrupted planning regime” in place, here is my answer. The government is as corrupt as hell. Their planning regime is un-Australian.

    BTW I saw an item on TV which portrayed Tasmania as a place without work, with lots of people leaving for greener employment pastures. Apparently a nice house can now be bought on the “apple isle” for $155,000.

  57. paul walter

    No, you misunderstand me, Lorikeet. I’m not saying we shouldn’t have an immigration program. We could have a win-win program, more efficient less unfair, if only our pol economic and commercial system was less inward looking and well, frankly, unless I’m wrong,”bent”. The venal aspect spills over into planning as the Gunns pulp fiction shows, also the nonsenses 4Corners uncovered a fortnight ago concerning the holding up by vested interests representative of agribusiness that you talk of, of meaningful reform to keep the Murray-Darling basin viable in future, as foodbowl for a population.
    Also, the privatisations and infrastructure farces.
    Bridge/tunnel/freeway to Nowhere?
    Why, the taxdollar will pay for it, even if it does create rather than lessen bottlenecks, despite the stated rational offered,that these are lessened if thepublic accepts the givenscheme.
    No doubt, many of your emigrants are hitech people off to takeup contracts elsewhere, many are replaced by folk recruited from India and the like. This is one area where globalisation does show promise and has become the norm.
    I do doubt that many Australians are leaving the slums of Indooroopilly or Point Piper to live in comparative luxury with the rest of the masses on the streets of Calcutta.
    I think your third to last para is largely correct. This para highlights the problem ts that have come of the corruption of market forces theory to accomodate vested interests. Much of this stuff wouldnt be even dreamed of by people with an understanding of economics, Just go to Prof Quiggin’s site for a REALeconomists take on neoliberalism.
    Tasmania could have been sorted out decades ago, but making things harder for folk down there is just been one more way of making Gunns activities and its filthy pulp mill acceptable to the uninformed and insecure in Tasmania.
    There’s no “socialist plot” in it- just the usual human traits of laziness, lack of imagination and greed.

  58. Lorikeet

    Paul Walter:

    I know that there really is a corporate neo-communist agenda being foisted upon us in this country by both Labor and Liberals. Labor is proactive in doing most of the damage, while Liberals never fix it.

    Hence they pass the ball back and forth between them, doing further damage all the time, because voters don’t take enough interest in what goes on.

    The DLP supports a Distributionist society in which income producing assets and utilities are owned by government, and goods/services are provided at the local level by small businesses, both rural and urban.

    The aim of corporates is to drive wages down using foreign labour, collect 12% superannuation contributions from everyone, charge for every service on a “user pays” basis and tax people to the eyeballs. Our government supports feeding these giants and giving them greater control of nearly every service, while constituents suffer financially.

    You are certainly correct in thinking that highly qualified people are leaving this country due to low wages and the government’s lack of interest in innovative technology.

    The lust for money and power is the primary driver of corporates.

    I’m afraid I cannot agree that tunnels necessarily create bottlenecks. They provide very fast transit times (for both public and private transport), and any bottlenecks created are generally ironed out.

    If there is money to be made on tollways, it should be coming back to our government coffers, not going into the vast holdings of The Macquarie Bank, along with the proceeds of traffic fines.

  59. wondering

    red crab – I believe I may have misunderstood where you are coming from. The vile stuff I meant was on the radios and papaers, particularly in Prth. If you don’t go along with taht, and are feelign we need to be humane to everyone, whether they end up settlign here or not, then I am in total agreement. I need to go – lost my Dad yesterday – arranging a funeral. Cherish those you love – you can lose them in an instant.

  60. red crab

    simpathy for your loss.

    paul walter.

    Does any one here seriously beleive we have an effective and uncorrupted planning regime in place to ensure efficient use of resources for a larger population?

    how true is that statement
    the centrel issue is that very statement they cant be trusted .

  61. paul walter

    Precisely my point RC and the major area of agreement between us.
    They prove again and again, they are not to be trusted- Gunns is thelatest example- but we keep having plans offered up for the future that refuse to take into account Australian and global politics and pol economy realities, and refer to the needs of developers rather than locales and their inhabitants.

  62. paul walter

    I couldn’t agree more, rc.
    It basically what I was saying meself.
    Although we do have a planning regime up for most things, its just it keeps getting corrupted. It’s functional and does a rough job and the wastage has been covered so far by abundance.
    Our problem is staying well enough informed to influence how it operates and toprevent the hijacking of it by vested interests.
    It’s the “system”.
    Lorikeet puts it in slightly different terms and comes from a different trajectory, but its recognisably the same “beast”and anyone with half a brain wants to know how to handle it, which is why we are lucky blokes like Bartlett put up blogs like this, for our consideration and thought.
    For example, Lorikeet and I may never agree on the exact detail of how it works or tyhelanguage to describe it and we have some small differences in agenda, but the basic conclusion is the same ( nice to know others are also concerned, if nothing else) and comes from the same motive for being involved; the belief that it is a normal thing for a citizen to participate, to find out facts and do the right thing for both one’s self and a better world.
    All stems from the the time of Socrates, Aristotole and Plato, and the first (Athenian) democracy, that people find life in and through life the community and its life and that “the unconsidered life is hardly worth living.”

  63. Lorikeet

    Paul Walter:

    Yes, you’re right. It’s a pity more people don’t take an interest in the world and what goes on in it.

  64. red crab

    just a bit of interesting trivia
    my son went back to THE ISLAND last week the day before he left he went a perchaced 2ltrs of milk to give to someone in the community who mite like if mabe for there kids
    the thing that suprised me was he told me how much 2lrs of milk cost there $17.00 with the problems the govt has made for the ppl of THE ISLAND its not suprising they are not happy with the govt and what they have done to them
    they dont get free meals .

  65. Lorikeet

    Red Crab:

    I saw footage of the Christmas Island facility on the television news last night. In the past I’m sure someone told us it was fairly well appointed, but it looked like a fairly ordinary place to me.

    Did the locals have to purchase a cow in order to get that milk?

  66. paul walter

    Was it four corners or lateline that was taking a close interest in events there (xmass)?
    It doesn’t really have us in a good light, the rest of the world will be watching. Altho I’d say it could be a law and udder issue just now, eh Lorikeet?

  67. red crab

    Did the locals have to purchase a cow in order to get that milk?

    i dont get the point.

    if you mean they should get a cow and dont complain
    then why dont alll the assylim seekers who have made there way there and payed a lot of money to get there do the same

    why are the ppl of christmas island treated as second class citisens in there own country.

    the reasion that there is trouble there is because they( have payed) to get there and think they have a rite to a free ticket to the mainland .

    question just how long will it be now before it happens in a camp on the mainland

    i predict less than six months.

    as far as population gos i would say take a good look at what happens when a place is over populated ( frustration and violence).


  68. Lorikeet

    Red Crab:

    You said it cost $17.00 for 2 litres of milk. I figured that a price that high would have to include both the cost of the cow, veterinary attention and its hay allowance.

    I still think you would be wise to address all of your concerns to the United Nations Human Rights Commission.

    Perhaps you could also write to Serco and let them know you’re not happy with the standard of their security measures. Perhaps the frustration and violence could be mitigated by giving the people something to do (e.g. household chores, recreational activities, crafts).

    Paul Walter:

    Good one! More milk should be made available, udderwise some people won’t be able to afford the breakfast cereal that goes with it.

  69. paul walter

    Yes, its true, Lorikeet.
    No milk, no cereal. Tell the truth, I’ve weaned myself off brekkie cereal-five dollars a packet for a bit sweetened wheat when I can do toast for a fraction of that?
    Serco used to run some of the buses down here in Adelaide- to no great effect- I had no idea myself just how huge they were. I agree that while we hold asylum seekers for checking etc, that we should use government agencies open to scrutiny, instead of buck passing responsibility for this to cowboys.

  70. Lorikeet

    Paul Walter:

    Maybe you could try cornflakes, wheat biscuits or quick oats instead of the toast sometimes. Add a bit of processed or unprocessed bran for extra fibre at minimal cost.

    There’s huge competition for high fibre cereals when they’re on special. Come to think of it, there’s huge competition for ANYTHING on special these days, which is a sure sign of a society doing it tough.

    I have to wonder what Serco serves on Christmas Island …. maybe the cheaper cereals as above, and a bit of canned fruit.

  71. Lorikeet

    Today I saw Scott Morrison (Coalition) do the National Press Club address on Immigration.

    According to him, 70% of migrants coming to Australia are currently unskilled workers. It would appear that the Labor government is actively preventing them from obtaining citizenship so they can be financially exploited in the workplace for as long as possible, and also used to hold wages down.

    He said the government has trained lots of migrants as chefs and cooks, but once they get their citizenship, they leave that kind of work behind them. I think this tells us that they are being overworked and underpaid, which is the main reason there are few Aussie workers interested in those jobs. I think we could say the same thing is happening in Aged Care.

    The government not only seems to want to rip visa holders off, but to rob them blind in our universities, prevent them from earning sufficient income to pay their household bills, before eventually sending many of them back where they came from. Most of the visa holders I have spoken with say they are often also being subjected to racist comments.

    I think visa holders should be encouraged to join unions, and all workers should stand together and present a united front against workplace exploitation.

    Scott Morrison said the number of 457 visa holders has dropped to 12% of the total. In resource-rich Queensland and WA, the number of 457 visas has been cut by 50%, due to the actions of unions. (This seemed okay to me, because I think that all workers are entitled to a fair rate of pay for a full week’s work. In our abattoirs, some Aussies are only getting a couple of shifts per week, while 457 visa holders from Brazil and China are fully employed.)

    From memory, he said only 40% of visa holders are now also students.

  72. ken

    Dietary advice…………take note feral

  73. The Feral Abacus

    Noted, Ken.

    Actually, that could be the answer to the Christmas Is cow & milk crisis. Soy beans! I’m sure they’d do well there. The island could become a paradise awash with soymilk, mock meat, miso and tofu.

    Plenty of fibre in those little beans too.

  74. red crab

    well feral you got it in one againe christmas was a paradise untill they build the new now transfer centre there
    david attinborugh once discribed it as the golapicas island of the indian ocean now no one wants to go there because of what this govt has done or should that be not done .

    may i sugest that y stand when you talk y seem to be muffling y voice

    have to wonder what Serco serves on Christmas Island

    well lorikeet the serve whatever there gests want
    iv herd from very reliable sorses that if they dont like what is served to them it is thrown into the ceiling fans .
    try that little trick when you are out for a meal next time and see how you get on.

  75. The Feral Abacus

    Red Crab: Serco will serve Serco. No surprises there.

    As for Christmas Is. being paradise lost, I’m sure that phosphate mining and army ants are the decisive factors in distancing Adam & Eve from Eden, rather than anything recent governments have done. And I’m pretty confident that David Attenborough would wholeheartedly concur with that.

  76. Lorikeet

    I think the UN is ignoring conflicts in various poorer countries, so they can continue with the plan to redistribute populations & wealth worldwide through the UNHRC and WTO.

    Labor signed away many of our sovereign rights to the UN decades ago, including decisions regarding Immigration and Trade.

    Labor and Liberals keep passing the ball back and forth to disguise the fact they are working to a common agenda. For example, Howard (Liberals) built the Christmas Island facility which sat virtually empty, while Labor complained loud and long about the huge cost of maintaining an offshore detention centre.

    Then when Labor regained power, they threw the floodgates open to fill the facility to bursting point, then had to re-open onshore facilities and even use army barracks to accommodate the masses.

    The UN has decided that the best way to fleece the whole world is to ensure that warfare continues and those who can afford it can flee to the western/developed nations, where they can be financially “shorn” with increasing taxation e.g.

    Water Tax
    Flood Tax
    Carbon Tax
    Waste Tax

    The Macquarie Bank will commence collecting Traffic Fines in every Australian state in June 2011, using the latest speed cameras which are operational from 400 metres.

    I don’t believe there is a plan to extend a Carbon Tax to third world participants. Once our government has driven the remainder of our manufacturing industries offshore, the poor peoples of the third world will be decimated by pollution, while we get taxed into financial oblivion.

    As for lentils being served by Serco, this is a definite possibility. Corporate greed will probably ensure they serve the cheapest possible food, no matter how unpalatable.

    The government may even instruct Serco to orchestrate a wholesale uprising on an unprecedented scale, by serving some kind of food the people won’t eat.

    This will clear detention centres quickly so that more displaced people can be accommodated and eventually fleeced.

  77. red crab

    the feral abacus
    to a point i agree with you
    when the govt has had enough of there troubles there and they leave the people of christmas island will be left with a devistated tourist industry and phosphate mining and its posible the govt in its wisdom will cut the mining leases
    when the dust settles and there is no more use for them what will our leaders do then .
    il tell you as they did for the ppl there who tried to help ppl out of the water NOTHING.

    small note get your facts rite the ants are called crazy ants not amy ants
    and phoshate minning the community there dose not have much elce to rely on they dont get much income from the new transfer centre .

    but not to worry the govt is running out of options in w.a.

    mabe the govt will do what they should have been doing all the time accomadate the new arrivals where they want to be and should be
    syd melb and brissy .

  78. paul walter

    David Attenborough. What a beaut surprise to turn the idot box on on Sunday and find him up a sixty metre tree in the tropical rainforest.
    He’s contributed as much to my life as anyone I can think of- a beautiful bloke and one of the best of our age.

  79. red crab

    have to agree with you there paul walter not too many ppl like him left in the world now
    and for a bloke his 80s hes doing prity good
    only hope that i mite have just a small amount of his energy as i get older .
    anyway back to the subject as govts seem hellbent on doing the will of the companys over the interest of australia and bring in workers rather than train there own ppl when the minning in qld and w.a has adown turn and the 457visa holders and there fammilys that have come want to stay with NO work for them then we will see if migration was a good thing.

    have you ever seen locasts migrating paul i have! you know whats left when they leave gess so when the companys and the govt over populate oz and the companys leave for better placses to plunder .

    just how do you suggest that australia feeds its people .

    dont say the same way we have for 100 years because you need fuel to farm you need fuel to pump water there will be very little because this country is obsesed with walking the world stage and trying to sold the worlds problems .
    so when are we going to get a real govt with vision its not this one
    lets have a carbon tax tets get more people here so the govt gets more tax .

    lets look at this subject from a different angle the world is over populated now so it dosent mater where people go the world is still over populated why you ask ( grass ) and the abillity of people to harvest it .water and the abillity to store it
    have a look at the middle east for thousands of years these ppl lived in the desert there population was determined buy the amount of avalible food and WATER now ad oil and wealth which lead to a population explsion. now think what would happen if the world suddenly went to alternitave energy which has been avalible for sum time and have not much use for oil
    what happens to the ppl who have nothing left but dessert a small amount of water and too many ppl to feed…

  80. Lorikeet

    Red Crab:

    I think you should stop listening to the doomsayers. Without a strong immigration program, Australia’s population will fall from 23 to 7 million by 2050. This will be the ongoing effect of overuse of contraception.

    Once the current middle aged and elderly people of China pass on, the population will drop markedly, because they had a One Child Policy for 30 years which has decimated their Age Pyramid.

    The main reason people are starving is because despotic regimes purchase weapons to blow each other away instead of buying and growing food.

    Most alternative forms of energy (solar, wind, tide) cannot provide baseload power e.g.

    a month of rain = no power
    no wind = no power
    ocean as still as a mill pond = no power

    The DLP has a scientist with an interest in newer forms of nuclear energy using less radioactive substances (Thorium, Helium), and Nuclear Fusion instead of Nuclear Fission. Fusion unites atoms. Fission divides them.

    If the government fleeces all of the people (migrants, refugees and citizens) with a Carbon Tax, the money will not remain in Australia. It will instead form a large part of the wealth which will be redistributed across the world using an undemocratic process.

  81. red crab

    i have to disagree with you i think that with this assult on our population buy the govt will only leed to problems
    buy 2050 there could be very little water here with out water just how many ppl do you think this county can hold .
    as for power there are alternatives its only that we have become adicted to 240vots
    just emagine if the plug was pulled
    where is our govt why are we not looking to protect ourselves aginest that situation happening

    i have had a thought i think te carbon tax beat up will fizzle out
    i think the govt is playing smoke and mirrors to deflect interest away from other issues and they are doing a good job at it to
    iv seen it many times before

    the govt is setting up accomidation for the ppl who are comming in tassie
    its your turn next they are running out of options and will soon have to exept the situation and place them in the main three states .

    then with them spread all over the place it will be interesting to see how they keep control
    they dont have much now .

  82. Lorikeet

    Red Crab:

    The government doesn’t really want to have any control in the shorter term. They are hoping to stir up as many religious and racial tensions as possible, so they can simply legislate away some of the freedoms which comprise the cornerstones of democracy.

    Then everyone will have to believe in the new corporate religion, and become part of the human race (to the bottom).

    As for your concerns about water, the planet is simply brimming with oceans and rivers full of water. The amount can neither increase nor decrease, because the planet is a fully self-contained unit.

    With water grids and dams in place to move and store rainfall from the northern tropics to service much drier areas, regional centres will grow and thrive with the proper government incentives and infrastructure programs.

    I think the issues the government is currently deflecting attention away from could probably be their plans to corporatise hospitals and schools, to tax the churches out of existence, make people responsible for managing their own superannuation, and make further contributions to an Old Age Fund.

    All of these plans will further empower large banking corporations over government and people.

    What do you think?

    I still think they intend to push a Carbon Tax, followed by a Waste Tax about 6 months later.

  83. don owers

    Dear Andrew, you claimed that migrants create more income than they cost to the government, I suggest you are wrong. At the moment we have a $770b shortfall in infrastructure, a figure that has been growing in proportion to population growth. We now import $9b worth of food, also increasing while our food exports are decreasing and will continue to do so as more agricultural land is swallowed by urban sprawl or mining. To suggest that our impact on the environment is solely due to lifestyle is missing half the equation, if we half our consumption it would be overtaken by population growth in 40 years.

Reply to “Benefits of Migration”

Mini Posts

  • Rhetoric vs reality

    I’ve had a break from writing for a variety of reasons, but the reckless approach the new Queensland government is taking to their spending decisions – and the straightout nonsensicality of some of their claims – roused me enough to pen a piece for New Matilda. Time will tell whether the Newman government will start trying to ensure their statements have some connection with reality – I suggest the way they respond next year to the findings of the inquiry into child safety which they’ve established will be a significant test.

  • End of LP the end of a blogging era

    Back in October, I wrote here about the decline or re-defining of blogs, at least in the Australian political arena.  The relatively few posts I’ve done on this blog since then shows how much less useful I find it to do my own blog than I used to, and as I mentioned back then, a big reason why I don’t read many of the blogs I used to is because the valuable links to many interesting stories, ideas and pieces of information can be found more easily through Twitter or Facebook, sometimes with comment threads which are also at least as good.

    The recent announcement by the Larvatus Prodeo blog that they are ceasing to operate is quite a significant one. (more…)

  • A final comment on Labor’s leadership laments

    Fundamentally, I don’t greatly care about the outcome of Labor’s leadership travails. As my previous post indicates, the bigger issue is that the ALP is being fundamentally damaged by the toxicity of this brawl, and the fact that the brawl is happening in this way is a sign of some much greater problems within Labor. Whatever the immediate outcome, I think those problems are likely to continue.  The outcome of the leadership contest (including the size of what will surely be a Gillard victory) will shape how those problems play out, but they will still be there.

    Not surprisingly, I see this as presenting an opportunity for the Greens to build some support, but more importantly it presets extra responsibility and obligation for the Greens to be a stronger counter to what is a seriously reactionary Coalition.

    But seeing we’re all pundits now, and despite having little inside knowledge, my prediction is that there will be no ‘third candidate’ in tomorrow’s leadership ballot.  Julia Gillard will win comfortably. The instability will not disappear. It’s quite possible there will be another leadership ballot before the election but Kevin Rudd will not become leader then either. No matter how good Kevin Rudd looks in the polls, that polling lead would disappear very quickly if he was back in the PM’s job.

  • The Ups & Downs of Ups & Downs – interview with Greg Atkinson

    I’ve mentioned before my liking for the 80s Brisbane band Ups and Downs. I got a chance to interview their lead singer Greg Atkinson on 4ZzZ FM a few weeks ago. They’ve released a compilation CD of 20 of their best tunes and played a gig in Brisbane earlier this month to promote and celebrate it.

    It was a fairly long interview, but I found it very interesting to hear the views of someone who has been active in the independent sphere of the music industry for so long about what has changed and what is the same.

    You can listen to the interview at this link.

  • Speeches to refugee rally + SIEV-X exhibition

    A local activist helpfully recorded speeches given by myself and by Julian Burnside at a refugee rights rally held in Brisbane last Saturday.  You can listen to them here and here. The rally was held to mark the tenth anniversary of the sinking of the SIEV-X.  353 refugees drowned when that refugee boat sank on the way to Australia on 19 October 2001.  There is a beautiful exhibition at The Studio on the ground level at the State Library of Qld this week, commemorating that anniversary. It finishes this weekend – I strongly recommend you try to get along for a look if you have a chance. The Library also has a screening of the documentary Hope on Friday October 28 – this film tell the story of Amal Basry, one of the few survivors of that tragedy.