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.