Kevin Rudd has expressed his desire for a "big Australia", contrary to public interests, without an independent scientific assessment of our "carrying capacity", and without any population plan or policy.
Australia is already a "big" nation. We have vast sunburnt plains, ancient rocky ranges, rugged coastlines that spread across the horizon, sparkling and pristine beaches, the envy of the world. We have the greatest Barrier Reef, and our biodiversity is one of the richest in the world with many flora and fauna species unique to Australia.
Australia is the driest inhabited continent on earth. Its interior has one of the lowest rainfalls in the world and about three-quarters of the land is arid or semi-arid.
Marsupials and monotremes (eg, kangaroos and platypus) are amongst the most well known endemic species. Although 70 species of marsupial occur in South America, Australia has the largest number in the world, with about 144 species.
Australia has the highest biodiversity of seagrasses in the world with 30 of the 58 species existing worldwide present in our marine environment. Australia has the largest uranium deposits in the world, with about 40 per cent of the planet's recoverable uranium resources. Deposits in the NT alone are thought be worth $12 billion. Australia has the largest identified reserves of bauxite, lead, nickel, tantalum, mineral sands, zinc and uranium.
(photo: old growth forest Brown Mountain Victoria)
The tallest reliably documented tree ever measured was the Thorpdale Tree, a Mountain Ash (Eucalyptus regnans) growing at Thorpdale in Victoria, Australia. The tree was measured at 112.8m (370 feet) standing and 114.3m (375 feet) on the ground after it was felled in 1884.
In 1995, an extraordinary Huon pine tree was found in Tasmania, Australia. What was thought to be many trees covering 2.5 acres, appeared to be just one tree - a very old tree. Some media reports claimed it could be 30,000 to 40,000 years old, one of the world's oldest trees!
Australia has the greatest risk of bushfires in the world.
In contrast to the "big" things to be proud of, a report by British risk analysis company Maplecroft has found that Australia has overtaken the United States as the world's largest polluter and is now leading the world in per capita emissions of CO2, topping a list of 185 countries!
Our wealth is in our natural heritage, not on numbers of people. What will make a few privileged people wealthy will impoverish our land and the majority of our people. We are not a colony or a territory but a sovereign nation that we need to protect, be proud of and cherish. We don't need more people to have a "big Australia"!
With the global population projected to reach 9 billion by 2050, there are now calls to rein in the growth to save the planet.
Deliberate population growth is all about greed and consumerism and a failure to appreciate what is naturally "big" about Australia.