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Victorian state Liberal leader counsels opportunism instead of confronting population growth

A report in Melbourne's "The Age" newspaper August 25th 2008 tells how Mr Ted Baillieu the rather affable, reasonable sounding leader of the Opposition in Victoria howled down members from his Sandringham branch of his party who voiced a concern about Melbourne's massive population growth - about 1,500 people per week The Age quotes Mr. Baillieu as saying to a meeting of 700 . "Be very careful when you discuss these things. Don't allow anyone to say we are opposed to population growth, or that we are going to point fingers at migration. If we put out the stop sign then we are sending the wrong messages, and this economy will suffer long-term." He went on to say that Melbourne's problems with train services and the lack of water resources was due to lack of planning by the current state government. of greater Melbourne." (Melbourne's dams are are at a lower level than were this time last year despite recent rain and of course we have about 60,000 more people!)

According to The Age - the amended resolution, that council "recognises a deteriorating quality of life inherent in the ongoing increase in the population" was then passed. Mr Baillieu accused the Premier of poor planning and scapegoating immigrants after Mr Brumby this month warned of the stresses on services caused by Melbourne's high rate of population growth.

The following letter by me was published in The Age on the 26th August:

It's about people, not politics, Mr Baillieu

HOW disappointing to read the Victorian Opposition Leader, Ted Baillieu's, reaction to sensible policy proposals from the Sandringham branch of the Liberal Party and also to a recent responsible warning from Premier John Brumby regarding the high rate of Victoria's population growth ("Blame it on Labor, not migration: Baillieu", The Age, 25/8). Mr Baillieu seems to carry a child-like belief that correct planning can cope with any level of population growth.

Just as some sanity is emerging in his own party and from our Labor Premier, the Liberal leader panics and silences his party members, who are pointing out that the emperor has no clothes - we cannot keep growing at this rate and maintain our quality of life. It seems Ted scolded the naughty children and silenced their well-founded concerns.

In fact, Victoria's population cannot keep growing at any rate and be compatible with long-term survival - but I was not at the Liberal Party meeting and I'm not sure if anyone pointed this out.

See also: Blame it on Labor, not migration: Baillieu by Paul Austin in the Melbourne Age of 25 Aug 08, City of 8 million 'unliveable' by Cameron Houston and Royce Millar in the Age of 5 Sep 08

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Re the Age article, "City of 8 million 'unliveable'" by Cameron Houston and Royce Millar on September 5, 2008: Who does this ridiculous, pretentious rag believe it is fooling?

Presumably primary school children, if well taught, would recognise the difference between projections based on past trends and predictions.

Nowhere is it written (except between the lines by the corporate sponsors of the Age) that we HAVE to have 8 million.

We don't even have to have one million more.

It is all complete fabrication. The government could turn off the population growth now and the corporations would just have to put up with reality.

And the government SHOULD stop the high immigration and the baby bonuses now. Otherwise the overpopulation problem is going to make the 'aging population' so-called problem look like the mere bump in the python it is.

We do not need population growth. Moreover, population growth is endangering our most basic securities. Population growth is bad for Australia. Fairfax media's really stupid article here is also dangerous propaganda because it fails to inform the readers that 8 million in no way has to happen and it is dangerous to imply that it will.

Shame on the Age.

Sheila Newman, population sociologist
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"It is all complete fabrication. The government could turn off the population growth now and the corporations would just have to put up with reality."

I am also deeply frustrated by the way the media portrays the current immigration-fuelled population explosion as if it were some uncontrollable natural phenomenon rather than being a direct result of Federal Government policy. Duped by the pro-immigration lobby and its media mouthpieces into believing that mass immigration is an inevitable force that cannot be stopped, it seems that many Australians have resigned themselves to accepting ever-increasing levels of immigration, along with the adverse economic, social, and environmental effects that go with it.

Of course, ongoing immigration-driven population growth is not inevitable; Australia could reduce immigration to saner levels tomorrow with the stroke of the Immigration Minister's pen. All that is needed is the political pressure.

The fact that Opposition Leader Ted Baillieu has declared himself in favour of continued strong population growth in Victoria shows that our leaders need to have a strong scientific and/or environmental background. Neither Labor or Liberal have the leadership to ensure a safe environment for future generations. A strong population growth is, no doubt, good for keeping up the demands of goods and services, but how is it to help climate change? How does rampant population growth make it easier to maintain our rivers, soils and food production? Maybe they are under the illusion that money will be able to buy our way out of climate change? A strong economy does not mean an infallible ecosystem. There has to be a limit to growth and surely the warning signals are already here. With more than 10 years of drought, Victoria is on track for the worst-case climate change scenario. Instead of blaming migrants our leaders should be planning for a stable economy and zero population growth.