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Population is the hot topic! ... This Sunday!! North Melbourne

Meeting 29 November - details end of story

Overpopulation will worsen if government has its way

Australia's population is now rising at about 2% per annum. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has announced that our population could rise to 35 million by the middle of the century. Other experts estimate that 35 million is a conservative figure and it could be more like 40 million. It is certain that If the current growth rate continues, the population will double in 35 years. That means our population would be 44 million by 2045.

Natural and Vital resources becoming rare and unaffordable

Australia's environment is under stress already with 22 million people. Not enough water reaches the mouth of the Murray River to keep the lakes of the Coorong alive. In Victoria water restrictions prevail and a desalination plant is being built. This means there is not enough fresh water in the state for people's current needs.

Who do our leaders represent?

Why are our political leaders so pleased about the level of population growth when it causes so many logistical and environmental problems?

Democracy now

A handful of politicians voice an opposing view to the prevailing glee about growth.

The Hon.Kelvin Thomson MHR for Wills is notable amongst these.

Come and hear Kelvin Thomson speak on:

- "Population reform- Political challenges"

3.00p.m. Sunday November 29th 2009


Meeting Room 1 North Melbourne Library (upstairs) 66 Errol Street, North Melbourne

(next to the Town Hall and Post Office near the corner of Errol and Queensberry St. (Parking usually available in surrounding streets.) Tram No 57 from Elizabeth St. travels along Errol St.

All welcome ! This is a public meeting held by
Sustainable Population Australia (Victorian branch)

Please join us for afternoon tea and meet Kelvin Thomson afterwards.


Jill Quirk President: Sustainable Population Australia (Victorian branch) (If that doesn't work messages will be forwarded from astridnova[AT]



Australia’s agricultural industries are projected to be some of the most adversely affected from climate change, given the climate’s influence on agricultural productivity. Agriculture accounted for 35 per cent of Australia's merchandise exports over the past 5 years (average $30.8 billion per year). The projections for Australia’s climate make it clear that farmers and other Australians should be prepared for a hotter, drier future. Changes in temperature, rainfall, and extreme events will affect water availability, water and soil quality, fire risk, and the incidence of pests, weeds, and disease.

Land in the Casey-Cardinia growth area in Victoria is about to go the same way as the orchards of Doncaster. This is high-quality agricultural land, with a combination of food soil, a ready and secure supply of recycled water from the Eastern Treatment Plant and close access to the Melbourne markets. It is one of only two significant vegetable-growing areas close to Melbourne; it produces at least $400 million of food, including much of the fresh food in our supermarkets and creates more than 2000 jobs. This is under threat from urban sprawl, despite the lack of infrastructure. Planning means spending money on infrastructure, and this is not covered by the economic stimulus of growth.

Urban sprawl is driving housing estates into fertile food growing areas. The food bowl that was the Murray-Darling Basin is fast drying up - the CSIRO expects cuts in irrigation water availability of up to 85 per cent by 2030 in Victorian regions.

There is no population plan, or strategy to deal with population growth - in Victoria or Queensland or any State. It is like adding animals into a paddock and having no plan for when they run out of food or water! Our environmental "capital" has not quantitative value, and is ignored by our $$-driven leaders. Farmers must calculate the carrying capacity of their land for livestock or else suffer spiraling cost of over stocking. They must suffer the costs of providing for food and water artificially, or losing their animals to starvation and death, and losing the value of their land through the environmental impacts of over grazing. However, the same logic does not seem to apply to the risks of over population of people. Immigration means that our States are still flooding with people despite the threats to our food and water production. Will it help to be reassured that in the future we will have a Prime Minister willing to say "SORRY" for over populating Australia and causing risks to our livelihoods through lack of action on climate change?

Rudd's national apology for the stolen generations and now the forgotten generations is easy as a politican. Speeches are a politician's core business. Apologising for the actions of others is also easy, especially when the problems stemmed from a previous government in a previous era'.

Apologies are hollow without follow up. To many follow up should be tangible like just monetary compensation, changing the laws, and even putting perpetrators on trial, if they're still alive. But has Rudd asked the victims of government policy and of criminal assault what they want 40 years later from governmemt?

Whitlam never apologised for his Balibo abandonment and cover up.
Why would Rudd commit to a moral undertaking not budgeted for according to re-election policy?

Rudd's legacy seems set to urbanise the entire coastline and hinterland up the eastern seaboard of Australia, congesting lifestyles.

If Rudd has a hope to leave a positive legacy for Australians he has kept it to himself.

While OK in itself, the PM's apology implies that abuse of children in care has ceased. Not so. Child protection bureaucracies continue to abuse these children by taking social workers away from their clients & immersing them in paperwork. In SA, at least, whenever a problem arises in the bureaucracy more bureaucracy is thrown at it. The growth in bureaucractic structures is almost exponential as problem piles on problem & bureaucracy piles on bureaucracy. And it is impossible to get rid of these useless bureaucracies because their managers fight tooth & nail to protect their turf. Yes Minister is like a Sunday School picnic compared with this lot.

A child in care is fortunate indeed if he/she sees his/her social worker at all, let alone as needed. Many carers have left the system fed up with fighting bureaucracy for the things needed by the severely damaged children in their care & fed up with the lack of support from a child protection system which simply isn't focused on their needs.

Waste in child protection agencies is rife as so much work done has nothing to do with protecting the child & everything to do with protecting & promoting bureaucratic power. The child's interests are supposed to be paramount when, clearly, it's the interests of management & politicians which are paramount. Any help provided to a child in care is entirely incidental to the real business of protecting the power & careers of these people. And it matters not what the quality of a social worker's performance is as long as the social worker does nothing to threaten the career of the bureaucrats.

Sadly, there is no answer to this deeply ingrained problem. The vested interests in maintaining the status quo are far too powerful for change for the better to occur. Meanwhile children abused & neglected in their own families continue to be abused & neglected by the very agencies which are, ostensibly, there to help them learn to make better lives for themselves. The only hope is for social workers to conduct guerilla helping at the local level & to tell management up the food chain as little about it as possible.

It's the same for psychiatric nurses and psychiatrists and residents. The staff spend so much time on paperwork that the patients are lucky to see them a few times a week. The patients find some comfort and therapy with other patients, but otherwise they are alone. I often think that those who design our paper workloads simply don't have any idea of how hard we normally need to work. They assume that we sit on our bums as much as they do; they simply cannot factor in the idea that you might spend half and hour to an hour a day with each patient and more in fragments and patients present in need.

The other thing that interferes with our ability to carry out the human interface of our jobs is the multiple telephones - especially for nurses. The telephones shriek like babies which must be attended to. It is normal for a patient to remain at the door or the window as nurses and doctors, trapped inside the glass-office bubble, surrounded by expensive printed forms, manicly answer telephones and indicate by hand gestures through the window to the patients that they simply cannot afford to take time away from phones and papers to attend to their needs.

And it will mean about as much then as it means now when told to the aborigines - who were similarly displaced by capitalism gone mad.

Sheila Newman, population sociologist
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Should be a very interesting talk. Bob Carr has also been in the news over the last few days on this topic with an article in The Age online which unfortunately did not appear in the hard copy edition.

If your blood pressure cannot endure the torture of tuning in to the Background briefing podcast - just add a scathing comment- In a nutshell- it's all about how we have to give up the lifestyle we have enjoyed in past decades because of the extra 13 million we have to accommodate (as it will be far more than that I assure you!)- changes anticipated in Melbourne, Sydney Brisbane. Earlier I heard that Dick Pratt's son has just bought a property previously owned by Russell Grimwade for $20million and they congratulated him and said how nice it was that the developers would not get to it- (Of course it's quite OK for ordinary Australians' homes to be demolished- gardens bulldozed for townhouses or high rise.....)

Maybe I will have to re-think my own evaluation of that "Background Briefing" program, but I thought it was very good. To me it seemed that it gave both sides of the argument. I seem to recall that it did question the wisdom of increasing the population. I am certainly far from uncritical of the ABC as people may gather if they read my article "Brisbane's housing unaffordability crisis spun by ABC to promote property lobby interests" of 26 Jun 08,

This question is certainly worth pursuing. The full transcript should be avaialable here, some time after it is repeated on Tuesday night.

Anyway, here is a comment that I posted to the Background Briefing site:

Thanks for producing yet another excellent program about such a critical issue.

Given that Australia has demonstrably failed to cope with population growth in the past, why, unless our political leaders are completely stupid, are they planning to cram 13 million more into this arid, infertile land by 2050?

There can be no doubt that this will cause catastrophic declines in our living standards as well as the destruction of our natural environment. This will practically ensure the extinction of the Koala in South East Queensland, which some already fear will be gone in two years.

That our political leaders could possibly contemplate this insanity is symptomatic of something fundamentally rotten and corrupt in Australia's political system.

In order to give electors a choice to fix this, I will be standing as an Independent candidate in the forthcoming federal elections and encourage other likeminded people to also stand as candidates in other electorates.

Another comment which shows how well the Queensalnd Government 'planned' for past population growth is this:

As a resident of Chelmer in Brisbane I am horrified to learn of plans for apartments along the railway line. While it seems sensible on the surface, it can only work if nobody drives. While I walk to Chelmer station and would not consider driving to work, many see things differently or are not conveniently close to public transport. Oxley Road is now severely congested on weekends (especially Saturday) as well as on weekdays. It lasts all day on Saturday as people head in to Indooroopilly for shopping. Rapidly growing suburbs to the south feed more cars in to a road that, with Honour Avenue on the other side of the line, feeds into a the two lane Walter Taylor Bridge with a traffic mess in Indooroopilly. Numerous schools on or near Oxley Road, and more across the river compound the problem during school terms. Getting to somewhere not served by public transport is getting increasingly difficult. What is more, a less than reliable train service (late, cancelled and overcrowded trains, some with poorly functioning air conditioning and very limited parking for those not within walking distance) does not exactly encourage train use.

How can we be expected to trust the same political leaders to do any better in future than they have before? The kind of public transport system that would entice most of the residents even close to the railway lines to not buy cars would be astronomical.

It is not going to happen and our lying politicians know that, but they will do and say anything to allow the short term profits to continue to flow into the pockets of their corporate benefactors in the meantime.

James Sinnamon
Brisbane Independent for Truth,
Democracy and Economic Justice
Australian Federal Elections, 2010