ABC TV's Tony Jones' current affairs debate this evening 'Dick Smith's Population Puzzle' provided first prominent Australian, Dick Smith, with a heart-felt concern about the uncontrolled, unplanned immigration surge impacting Australia, then second a rigorous but too brief a debate from nevertheless a fair cross-section of what appeared to be informed observers.
It was a good start and that's all it was. Where to next?
It was disappointing to hear the two ethnic voices, one Asian woman on the panel and a young Bangladeshi man, both critical and disrespectful of deep seated Australian notions of what constitutes Australian cultural values. New Australians do not help their cause when they outwardly condescend local cultural sensitivities. It is read as immigrant prejudice and would not matter which country they were in. Criticism of local values risks unnecessarily inflaming dormant nationalism. And nationalism in Australia is mild compared with that across the subcontinent.
Useful issues were presented from many quarters - Bob Brown from The Greens highlighting the global issue and the finite resource issue, Labor Minister for Sustainable Population Tony Burke MP seemed to have a balanced grasp of the key drivers and problems, Shadow Minister for Immigration and Citizenship Scott Morrison offered constructive input, a developer in the audience pushed the 'growthist line for migrants at all costs, as did trolling boomer John Elliott. The mayor of Mt Gambier presented a constructive tangible example of regional inequality and opportunity. His example is one that should be extended to other regional centres. Other issues raised escape me from short term memory.
Encouragingly, all speakers on the panel and those Tony selected to speak from the audience, offered constructive ideas and input in one way or another. So let's not close off this valuable discussion while the topic is merely at an early chapter in public/political awareness and maturity.
One key observation is that Dick Smith, who dared to initiate the debate and invest much in the documentary, insightfully concluded that at least Australia is mature enough to start publicly debating the subject, but what needs to be thought through next is a national plan for a sustainable population for Australia into the medium term future.
Well done Dick Smith!
May the debate continue into the public arena hereon! CanDoBetter has been leading this debate on population for years, so it is good to see the mainstream media catch up!
Although human population is a global threat, Australians need to embrace the problem of population in Australia first and recognise it as a core driver of social problems in Australia - lowering quality of life, higher costs of living, urban congestion, overburdened public infrastructure, etc. Australians need to become more mature in tackling the debate and not let it slip into unrelated racism and refugee issues. In the process we need to be wary of self-motivated lobbyists and more attuned to the interests of all Australians at heart - indigenous Australians, ancestral Australians, birth Australians, new Australians, Australian society and the Australian disappearing natural environment last, but not least.
Frankly I am so glad now that Big Kev and his 'Big Australia' madness has been condemned to history.