This is a Post Growth Australia podcast, and you can learn more about these here: Post Growth Australia Podcasts
Script by Mark Allen of Population, Permaculture and Planning and Michael Bayliss of Sustainable Population Australia.
A very successful opening night of Tough Crowd last night with short filmed interviews all on the "sensitive" issue of population, included a performance by singer/ comedian Jude Perl. The event was hosted by its creator, Michael Bayliss, media officer for Sustainable Population Australia.
The venue, "Long Play" in alternative, fashionable North Fitzroy, inner Melbourne, provided a convivial space in which to hang out following the show, have a drink and chat with fellow audience members. There may be some spare seats for tonight. Check it put at ‘try booking' Tonight, the last night of two. The live attraction is Rod Quantock, who also features in the short films The event is part of the Sustainable Living Festival. I expect tonight to be as wonderful as last night.
Congratulations to Michael Bayliss who who is both the force behind the this event and the endearing host, uniting all its unique segments.
The Victorian branch of Sustainable Population Australia (SPA) expresses deep concern that Australia will reach 25 million people this week. In anticipation of this milestone, SPA literally took to the sky on the issue by flying a small plane over Melbourne to see first hand whether bigger means better.
In an ex-military Cessna Birddog ideal for photography, SPA member Dr. Graeme Dennerstein and professional photographer Tanya Fry flew over Melbourne during a morning week-day rush hour to investigate the magnitude of traffic congestion, urban sprawl and high-rise development which are progressively impacting the people of Melbourne as the city reaches a population of 5 million this year.
Photographer Tanya Fry said of her experience:
“We flew over Melbourne city all the way to Kerang. Camera in hand I thought I knew what I was about to see. The sights I saw from the tiny plane both shocked and saddened me. I expected a long urban sprawl and traffic jams of course but nothing like the scale I saw. The urban sprawl went on and on as far as the eye could see. Every freeway was at a standstill.”
“ When we finally did reach the outer parts it was the treeless paddocks all the way to Kerang that was so surprising. Where have all the trees gone? What is wrong with us humans.”
“From up in the air high above you see what we are doing to this great land of ours. If only there was more respect and more consciousness about how much we are thoughtlessly destroying.”
SPA Victorian/Tasmanian Branch president, Michael Bayliss, said: “It is impossible to imagine what Melbourne will look like from the air if the forecasts are true, if the city’s population reaches 8 million in 35 years time by 2050.”
“Our country, our capital cities and our regional centres are growing much faster than expected and this can’t go on indefinitely. Already our infrastructure is struggling to keep pace as we continue to build new suburbs over our precious food bowl, green space and wildlife habitats. We are leaving a poor legacy for future generations. Australia does not yet have a population policy and this has now become a primary concern for most Australians. It is time that our political leaders take notice and take action.”
Sustainable Population Australia (SPA) describes itself as an Australian, member-driven environmental charity which works on many fronts to encourage informed public debate about how Australia and the world can achieve an ecologically, socially and economically sustainable population. It expects to launch several new projects this year in order to encourage more public discussion around the impacts of population growth. It will be releasing a web series ‘Tough Crowd’ where Rod Quantock will interview other comedians and entertainers on the challenges of discussing population in wider society. It has also released a ‘PopCulture’ webpage and a series of videos to highlight the impacts of population growth on job security, traffic congestion and housing affordability.
Michael Bayliss, spokesperson for Sustainable Population Australia, speaks up for wildlife and for a sustainable population policy in Australia on Vocal Animal. Note that Michael also advocates a vegan diet for humans, but we do not, even though we publish pro-vegan articles from time to time. A major reason we do not advocate such a diet is that it does not satisfy requirements for animal-sourced vitamins, and can be fatal and disabling. See Incurable Alzheimers or curable B12 deficiency? An epidemic of wilful medical ignorance. (Sorry, Michael, but thanks for a really great interview on population, sticking up for animals. Also, feel free to comment and argue this point.)
Michael Bayliss – Sustainable Population Australia Victorian / Tasmanian branch President
Population Matters. So let’s talk about it.
Australia’s population increases by one person every 1 minute and 22 seconds, needing the equivalent of a new city the size of Canberra each year.
Michael discusses why there is a shift in people’s willingness to discuss population, the drivers of Australia’s population growth and outlines SPA’s population policy.
Something to look forward to ….. Sustainable Population Australia is currently producing a web series called ‘Tough Crowd’ hosted by comedian Rod Quantock interviewing comedians about their thoughts on population. Fully-funded but you can find out more here https://pozible.com/project/tough-crowd
Sustainable Population Australia https://population.org.au/
Sustainable Population Australia Facebook https://www.facebook.com/population.org/
Hi, we are Michael Bayliss and Rod Quantock from Sustainable Population Australia & our mission is to create a web series called 'Tough Crowd'. This ‘first of its kind’ project will be made for Australians from all walks of life, especially those who are keen in participating in an open dialogue around one of the most interesting, complex and often controversial of issues: POPULATION.
Rod Quantock is a comedian of 50 years standing as well as a tireless front line environmental warrior. Off the heels of the East West Link, campaign he has just finished his sold out stand up comedy show 'Happy Birthday To Me' for the Melbourne Comedy Festival. His many contributions to society have earned him a Medal of the Order of Australia.
Michael Bayliss is an environmental and social justice campaigner with a background in post growth economics and sustainable town planning. He is also Communications Manager for Sustainable Population Australia (SPA), a member driven environmental organization which works on many fronts to encourage informed public debate about how Australia and the world can achieve an ecologically, socially and economically sustainable population.
Population is an issue that affects each and every one of us, but it can be a thorny subject to talk about over the dinner table! Many people have different opinions on the issue. For example, should we be having small or large families? How many people can Australia and our capital cities support? Could we solve the problem by moving to the country or building more high rises in our cities? Should we have open borders or should we review our migration policies?
'Tough Crowd' wants to explore all these tough questions and more. Rod Quantock will host a series of four 10 minutes episodes as he interviews a range of Australian comedians and entertainers to discuss their own experiences and challenges around discussing the issue among their friends, family and the wider community.
'Tough Crowd' will also interview key members of the public who will offer unique viewpoints to this conversation. Examples include people who have chosen not to have children and the reasons why they came to their decisions. This may also include overseas born people on their ideas on what Australia's migration policy should look like. If the project expands, we would also be keen to interview politicians, refugees, and indigenous activists who have strong views on the issue. Further possibilities could include open discussions between child free people and those with large families and the reasons why they reached their decisions.
'Tough Crowd' will have a public screening in Melbourne followed by a publically available web series. It is our mission that it is possible to have a conversation around population that is entertaining, laid back, insightful - and even funny!
'Tough Crowd' is seeking funding to supplement the cost of video, sound and editing equipment, for the production of the video shoot, to financially compensate people being interviewed, venue hire for the series including the public screening and for advertising costs to promote the series.
We think this is a new and exciting project with much potential and possibility. We hope you think so too! We can't make this happen without the help the help of our supporters and kindly strangers alike, so we’d love to have you on board.
The budget will include -
Reimbursments for contributions to video projects (e.g. for public figures): $1500
Venue hire for filming and public screening: $500
Additional backup funds: $150
Additionally we need to purchase the following -
Video Camera: $3000
Shotgun Microphone: $400
Wireless microphone kit: $1000
Spare battery and Camera Bag: $100
Video editing software: $200
We may be able to cover half of these costs, however we need to raise a minimum of $4500 for this project to be viable.
1. To keep costs to a minimum, we will be aiming to film the series over 1 - 2 days intensive days with a small production team. To get around this challenge, we will do as much prior preparation as possible. We have existing experience in film production and have professional contacts in the film industry that we can call on to assist us in our processes.
2. There may be logistic challenges in finding the right dates and times that will suit all potential interviewees for the series. It is important to find a range of people interested in being part of the project so that there are options if some interviewees have difficulties around taking part.
3. Due to a small team, there will be a high workload around the filming production, editing, promotion and public screening of the series. As such, we will stagger this process in several stages, with the final release of the web series launched towards the end of 2018.
4. Tough Crowd is a new type of project. Although the 'conversations in the pub' style of web video has been done on a range of issues, this approach has not be done around population in Australia (as far as we are aware). We have observed that population is a unique issue that has many different points of view. Current mainstream opinions can be difficult to predict. As such, it is difficult to predict the magnitude of success that this sort of project will have. All efforts will be taken to promote the web series to the wider community and to use marketing advice to target specific audience groups. However, due to the nature of the issue itself, it is invevitably difficult to predict the exact degree of crossover mainstream success that this project may have.
Have you noticed the sudden unexpected coverage about population on the ABC? On the 12th of March, 4 Corners ran an episode called ‘Big Australia - Are We Ready.’, Directly following this was a panel discussion QandA on ‘A Big Australia’. Since then, population has continued to be one of ‘the’ major topics of discussion in the mainstream media, including ABC radio and the mainstream press such as Fairfax and News Ltd.
It is evident that much of the main focus from the media has been to manage the symptoms of a rapidly growing population rather than the cause. However, this has also been a time of great opportunity for SPA as we been very busy over the last couple of weeks getting ourselves out there and taking part in the greater discussion.
Now is a time to reflect and celebrate some of our successes.
Firstly, the panel on QandA included two SPA patrons, Bob Carr and Tim Flannery. Both provided strong arguments on the need for a population policy. Both provided great foil up against speakers from the Property Council and the Grattan Institute. Bob Carr in particular was a very strong voice for our cause and Tim Flannerry provided an environmental rationale.
Secondly, SPA was contacted by the ABC in the lead up to the QandA broadcast. The ABC specifically invited SPA members to join the Q&A studio audience. SPA facilitated a call-out to members via social media, a national membership email-out, and through the state branches. This resulted in a success for SPA in that one supporter, Matthew Bryan, ended up providing the first question to the QandA panel. The question was both articulate and emotive - well done Matt! SPA members also submitted many video questions to the QandA panel, which did not make the final broadcast. Presenter Tony Jones said on air that the population issue was receiving unprecedented interest from the public and warranted further attention. Candobetter published a critique of the program which provides a transcript of Matthew’s question and the panel responses.
Image: John Standish
SPA’s Communications Manager Michael Bayliss was then contacted by ABC Melbourne to take part in Jon Faine Conversation Hour the following Friday. The episode discussed ‘A big Melbourne’ as it reaches 8 million and on the issue as to whether we need a population policy. Michael strongly advocated for SPA’s position under some very tough questions from Faine and it encouraging that so many people who called or texted in were on side, including several members of SPA’s Victoria and Tasmania branch.
Finally, Michael has recently had an article published in Independent Australia. The article has been an effective way for SPA to articulate our position in the press on population policy, both nationally and globally. So far the article has received much positive attention, including international exposure via Population Matters. This has been important considering that there has been a lot attention on population from the mainstream press in recent weeks. Some of it has been positive but much more has been against our position. SPA member Mark Allen wrote a response article to journalist Joe Hildebrand for CandoBetter, who has recently posted some incorrect assertions on people who advocate for population sustainability in Australia.
SPA is proud of our achievements over the past month in this very important national debate, and we are cautiously optimistic that these recent events could be a turning point for a better national dialogue on population policy.
3CR talkS to Michael Bayliss from Planning Backlash about the development woes facing Melbourne and how this issue will only become more serious in light of plans to further deregulate the planning system. Whether it is increasing densities in the inner suburbs or developing the urban fringe, we are not getting the standard of development that Melbourne requires as we proceed to a low carbon economy. (Article adapted from one published on 3CR at https://www.3cr.org.au/citylimits/episode-201705310900/planning-backlash-and-development-crisis-melbourne. Interview begins at 13.10. [Note that the links to 3CR probably won't work unless you remove the 's' in https. We have added the 's' in order not to be stigmatised by Firefox browsers as displaying 'passive mixed content'.]
Wednesday, 31 May 2017 -
3CR talks to Michael Bayliss from Planning Backlash about the development woes facing Melbourne and how this issue will only become more serious in light of plans to further deregulate the planning system. Whether it is increasing densities in the inner suburbs or developing the urban fringe, we are not getting the standard of development that Melbourne requires as we proceed to a low carbon economy.
Michael also discusses the protest that is organised to take place on the steps of State Parliament at 1pm on Thursday June 8 (details below):
"This government is rapidly taking away all our rights about planning and development. New laws have been brought out and even worse ones are coming. We demand that they restore residents' rights. We must have a say in what can be built in our streets and in our city.
Please make the effort to be there. We need numbers to show them we are serious. Professor Michael Buxton will be speaking and the Planning Minister and Shadow Planning Minister will be invited to speak as well as some residents."
Singer and keyboard player, Michael Bayliss writes about this song from the digital album he performs with Scott Andrews, Shock Octopus: The purpose of writing "In A Box" was to juxtapose the 'reality' in the verses of urban life becoming ever denser, smaller, claustrophobic, compartmentalised, and restrictive, to a chorus that is is the polar opposite. That is, expansive, never-ending, full of possibility, free, and I guess beautiful. I wanted to juxtapose the difference literally in the music, from a hard sharp verse to a lilting chorus. Shock Octopus will be doing a live to air gig at 3CR 855 am at 2pm on the Burning Vinyl program.
In A Box
I live in a small white box
It is in a larger box
I live here with other people
They all live in boxes too
Our little box has no garden
Just a thyme plant in a pot
It looks boxed in
Just like me
So hard these days to buy some space
We work all week for our envclave
With a box above my head
With a box below my bed
And it goes right down the street
Box on box, box after box
I find it hard, so hard to breathe
With the whole world closing in
This house I live in
It has so many rooms
It would take many years
To wander through every hall
And nobody else
Lives with me in this house
It’s just me on my own
To get lost in my thoughts
I feel boxed in
I leave my box to go to work
I drive to work in a box
And share the road with other boxes
The radio blares from a box
My work is up a tall white box
I travel up a small grey box
I feel boxed in!
My office space, compartment box
I stare all day at a box
Excel’s full of little boxes
Lunch break go back down the box
And lunch today is a Bento Box
Tea tonight in front of box
My mind’s not here my mind has flown
To dream of bigger better things
This house I live in
It opens to a yard
It’s so large and so lush
And it goes on beyond horizon
And nobody else
Can find me way out here
It’s just me in the garden
To get lost in my thoughts
And I could walk all corners of my mind
And reach the edge, and I know, that here too I’m confined
I lost my job, I lost my box
I now work in a smaller box
I lost my home, I lost my box
I Live in a smaller box
Closing in, closing in
My whole damn world in closing in
Closing in, closing in
My whole damn world is closing in
I Feel boxed in
Background to this song.
Michael Bayliss is an environment and population activist who lives in Melbourne.
The purpose of writing In A Box was to juxtapose the 'reality' in the verses of urban life becoming ever denser, smaller, claustrophobic, compartmentalised, and restrictive, to a chorus that is is the polar opposite. That is, expansive, never-ending, full of possibility, free, and I guess beautiful. I wanted to juxtapose the difference literally in the music, from a hard sharp verse to a lilting chorus.
There are a number of influences in the song. Foremost is Talking Heads, who made an early career of putting urban anxiety to funky rhythms, 'Cities' is definitely one song people should check out. I was also moved by attending a Reconciliation Rally a while ago where an aboriginal activist equated western lifestyles to a series of boxes. Finally, I was really moved as a child by the book 'The Secret Garden' where there is an empty mansion with vacant hallways and rooms just waiting to be rediscovered, and an untamed garden that went on forever. That always touched me in a really profound way.
I think music has traditionally been a very powerful tool for expressing emotional reaction against oppression, it was a tool that always moved a generation in the 60s, 70s, and perhaps a lesser extent the 90s, and is something I would really like to see more of. That the urban space of our cities influences so much of our lives, moods, happiness, sense of space etc, I'm surprised that there aren't more of these kind of songs.
Right now the UK is politically divided on whether or not to leave the European Union and the mood in many quarters is ugly. It seems that there is a very strong chance that the forthcoming Brexit referendum could swing in favour of the Leave vote, something that seemed unimaginable a few years ago. The main reason for most people wanting to leave is because they are concerned with the UK’s rapid rate of population growth. This article is by Michael Bayliss (President of Sustainable Population Australia Victoria and Tasmania Branch) and Mark Allen (Population, Permaculture and Planning)
A proportion of the blame can be placed on those who have a narrow vision of what it is to be British in the 21st century and who are often misled by those parts of the media that take a more sensationalist approach.
However, the left also need to bear some of the responsibility because they have for far too long placed the topic of population in the politically incorrect basket. With net migration last year coming in at 300,000, people have a right to be concerned, especially when there is no end point to this rate of growth in sight. What is all the more concerning is that the refusal by many on the left to engage on this important issue has allowed the right to exploit this to their advantage by peddling all kinds of fear and untruths. Sadly it appears to be working.
So what lessons are there to be learned here in Australia? There is a parallel because we too are experiencing rapid population growth with net immigration in 2015 at 168 000, so the impact here is larger on a per capita basis.
While it may appear that this would be tempered somewhat by the sheer size of the Australian landmass, this population growth is centered mainly around the Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane conurbations. Until there are jobs, infrastructure and the political will, our boundless plains will continue to be just that. Considering that these plains are mostly desert and rangeland, there is an argument that they are mostly not suitable for new urban settlement anyway, so the focus is very much on our narrow strip of green along the Eastern seaboard. To put this in perspective, the populations of Sydney and Melbourne are growing by 1600 and 1760 a week respectively and people are beginning to feel it.
Meanwhile the government (and just about everyone else) are currently doing a good job of keeping our high rate of immigration away from the public radar. Instead we keep reinforcing the association in the minds of many people of migration with refugees. As John Howard famously promoted this very misunderstanding when he said on the radio 2014:
“One of the reasons why it’s so important to maintain that policy is that the more people think our borders are being controlled, the more supportive they are in the long term of high levels of immigration...And one of the ways that you maintain public support for that is to communicate to the Australian people a capacity to control our borders and to decide who and what people and when come to this country.”
However, the wool cannot be pulled over our eyes forever as the negative consequences of population growth only keep intensifying. Eventually more and more people will join the dots and it is then that we face the threat of the fear- mongering far right taking a foothold.
Do we really have to wait until then? If we engage in sensible rational discourse now about what constitutes a sustainable rate of growth we can avoid all of this. This means that the left have to come to the table. If the issue continues to be ignored we could end up with a situation similar to what is going on in the United Kingdom and it will leave the topic in the hands of those who feed off fear and hate.
This issue is only going to get bigger as Australia's population continues to grow by a new Adelaide approximately every three years. People of compassion need to be the ones who set the tone for the conversations that will ultimately come. If the compassionate fail in this responsibility, they will create a void where people with bigoted views will take centre stage.
Australia is a multicultural country with a proud tradition of supporting refugees and this needs to be the central message on the left. We do not need to be an apologist for the rapid population growth that is being used to justify an economic ponzi scheme.
It is time to put left and right ideologies aside and focus thoughtfully on delivering the most equitable and compassionate outcomes for all people and the earth as a whole. How rapidly we grow our population and how we distribute that population should be part of that discussion.
The views in this article do not necessarily correspond with the views of Sustainable Population Australia
Candobetter.net is pleased to publish Michael Bayliss's detailed account and innovative analysis of a population event that filled the Thornbury Theatre. Predictably, the official speakers were coy on the idea of population growth restraint in contrast with an audience keen to hear this addressed. Conversations from passionate members of the general community as well as the opportunity for members of the public to place the hard questions on panelists make events like this worthwhile attending. Unless one is prepared to stand up and question the experts eloquently, their business as usual paradigm will continue to be left unchecked, and the wider community needs to be shown that there are alternatives to the current paradigm that are both fair and make sense. It was perhaps telling that many of the Labor volunteers and staff at the event admitted to having never considered population issues before.
On Thursday 15th July, Michael Bayliss (President Victoria First) and Mark Allen (founder of Population Permaculture and Planning) attended the Sustainable Population Forum, a Labor Batman event hosted by David Feeney, Federal MP for that electorate. Speaking on the panel were:
• John Thwaites – Chair of Climateworks Australia and the Monash Sustainability Institute, who spoke on population in a global context.
• Lucinda Hartley – CEO and co-founder of CoDesign Studio, involved in urban renewal and public space projects, who spoke on population at a local (Melbourne) context.
• Prof. Kevin O’Connor - Professorial Fellow in Urban Planning at the Univity of Melbourne, who also presented on population growth as it applies to Melbourne.
The event was well attended, resulting in a full house at the Thornbury Theatre. Attendees were mostly comprised of Darebin residents with Labor affiliations in addition to members of Victoria First, Sustainable Population Australia and the Sustainable Population Party. On speaking to many new people at the event, the writer gained an impression that a large number of attendees were not content with both the town planning system and the quality of new housing and apartment developments in Melbourne over the past few years. Many were also concerned about population growth but unsure about how to address it.
Official speakers coy on accepting the need to address population growth in contrast with keen audience
If there was a common thread amongst the three speakers it was that they were keen to outline the negative impacts of past population growth whether that be in Melbourne or abroad but were coy to address the issue of slowing that growth.
John Thwaites was perhaps the most brazen in this juxtaposition. He presented the audience with sobering statistics for world population growth but followed that with emphasising the need to focus primarily on lowering per capita consumption. His main point was that population growth needs to be ‘decoupled’ from environmental impact (largely through green technology).
Land of vast conurbations takes over from ‘Boundless open plains’
Lucinda Hartley quoted some sobering statistics, particular with regards to Australia and Melbourne. For example, Australian cities have amongst the lowest levels of public space in the OECD coupled with the fact that loneliness is the largest health issue affecting Australians after drinking and smoking (which is ironic given the ever increasing size and densities of our cities). She mentioned that 50% of our current infrastructure is not yet built and that this doubling will need to take place in the next 30 – 40 years. Lucinda believes that cities need to be created by everyone compared to a select few and that we need to come to terms with the fact that we are a predominately urban nation and to plan with that in mind. This dispels the notion of Australia as a country of boundless and empty plains waiting to be filled with people. The reality is that the doubling of our population over the next few decades will be centred around our existing urban conurbations.
Don’t mention the population elephant
Kevin O’Connor presented as being very critical of current town planning issues and although he seemed (if one was to read between the lines) to view the current rate of population growth as a problem, he tended to skirt around the issue. Even in sustainable population forums it would appear that the speakers are reluctant to name the elephant in the room! However, he said that infrastructure needs to be built in anticipation of demand as opposed to the current ad -hoc approach. He was upfront that governments need to be more involved in providing future infrastructure (as the private sector are under no obligation to contribute meaningfully) and of course this would require a willingness to spend and go into deficit. He provided a case study with the Docklands development whereby a primary school is still waiting to be built and referred to the ‘lost decade’ of the Howard era where there were budget surpluses and very little new infrastructure to show for it.
Though the speakers were refreshingly brazen about the planning crisis in Melbourne as opposed to the feel good wishful thinking often dished out at similar events, the aversion to tackling population directly was all too typical. It was up to the audience to try to redirect the speakers back towards the topic at question time.
Many of the questions were very good. A couple questioned the effectiveness of town planning policy in our current paradigm of influential property developers and negative gearing while another commented on the impact of too many people on local ecosystems such as the Merri Creek.
Population Permaculture and Planning
Mark Allen, from Population Permaculture and Planning, questioned whether effective planning is possible with Melbourne growing at 100 000 people per year under a system that perpetuates urban sprawl and low quality yet expensive apartment building in the inner suburbs. He suggested that population growth be slowed, at least until such time that sustainable town planning policies are fully implemented and infrastructure requirements fully costed.
Kelvin Thomson’s 14 point plan for population sustainability
The writer asked the speakers whether they were familiar with Federal Labor MP for Wills Kelvin Thomson’s 14 point plan for population sustainability. (Mr Thomson is incidentally David Feeney’s political neighbour). The writer asked that given Thomson's plan achieves population stability whilst remaining fair to the humanitarian intake program, they consider consulting with him in terms of planning for growth.
Both questions received substantial cheering from the audience. However from the speakers it was only Lucinda Hartley and John Thwaites who responded to them.
Hartley agreed that urban sprawl is a serious issue and that the identity of localities is being eroded by poorly designed development.
Thwaites sees no issue with current rate of population growth!
Thwaites however disagreed and also made it clear that he disagrees with Kelvin Thompson's plan. He has no issue with the current rate of population growth and sees no problem with the capacity of current planning policy to absorb that growth.
Consfusing presentation of figures
Thwaites also referred to the latest figures showing that the largest contribution to net overseas migration was through temporary visa programs. On requesting to view his notes after the event, it was evident that the population growth charts were split into many categories which meant that net growth was still very high, even if temporary growth was the highest number. Besides, if temporary growth remains steadily high, it becomes effectively a permanent figure .
Most of the people who asked questions received much applause. The pro-growth sentiment from Thwaites received a smaller but committed fan-base coupled with bemusement and frustration from most of the rest of the audience.
David Feeney spoke with the writer following the event and came across as amiable and an advocate for more debate on the issue. Feeney did agree that the town planning policies in place in Melbourne require substantial review and that in future he would like advocates of population sustainability to sit on the panel (if he was inclined to, he could be spoilt for choice for the number of vocal population sustainability advocates out there in influential positions).
Summary of debate situation
To summarise, the conversations from passionate members of the general community as well as the opportunity for members of the public to place the hard questions on panelists make events like this worthwhile attending. Unless one is prepared to stand up and question the experts eloquently, their business as usual paradigm will continue to be left unchecked, and the wider community needs to be shown that there are alternatives to the current paradigm that are both fair and make sense. It was perhaps telling that many of the Labor volunteers and staff at the event admitted to having never considered population issues before.
Intellectual dishonesty of current policy
On a concluding note, it remains an ongoing juxtaposition that we talk of increasing infrastructure on one hand whilst de-coupling population growth from environmental impact on the other. As far as I am aware, all new roads, rail, hospitals, schools and power lines need to come from the ground upwards in order to provide the base material or the fossil fuel energy to piece it together and keep it all running. So talking of increasing infrastructure on one hand and saving the environment on the other becomes an increasing contradiction, especially in light of the environmental challenges facing the world over the coming years.
President, Victoria First.
This article features videos of the four Victorian based candidates for the Stable Population Party - Jill Quirk, Clifford Hayes, Michael Bayliss, Steven Armstrong and Jonathan Page - not necessarily in that order. It is very interesting to see what the candidates have to say and how they present. Australians have a chance of making a crucial difference by voting for these candidates in the Senate and in the lower house for the next Federal Election. Candidates are also running in other states. Check this website for details: http://www.populationparty.org.au/templates/pop/page/page_html_standard.php?secID=210
The first video is of senate candidate Jill Quirk, who gives quite a rundown of Victoria's population problems. Many candobetter net readers will know of Jill. It is good to see that the Stable Population Party is running a woman with such experience in population matters. Jill has been particularly active in campaigning for a sustainable population over the last 10 years after a lifelong interest and concern for the environment especially our native fauna. She approaches this issue as a writer and artist as well as leading and educating on the issue within an environmental population organisation. She is convinced that for future survival not only of Australia’s wildlife but ultimately for its people, we must plan towards a stable population living within the severe environmental constraints of our land.
Clifford Hayes has more than five years experience as a councillor at Bayside City Council in Melbourne. He held the position of Mayor and Deputy Mayor. Clifford was elected by the community on a platform of planning reform, opposing high rise over-development in Bayside (100,000 residents). Clifford also has significant experience in the film and television industry and farm management (viticulture). He enjoys swimming and the arts.
Michael Bayliss is running for Melbourne. Michael has post graduate degrees in both economics and sport science and has developed inclusive sports programs for people with disabilities in capital cities across Australia (was finalist in the WA support worker awards in 2012). He has also been an advocate and campaigner for disability inclusion, animal rights and sustainable town planning. Michael strongly believes that a stable population will help address Australia's housing crisis, environmental toll and infrastructure debt.
Steven Armstrong is an electronics contractor and a surfer. Steven became interested in the population issue 25 years ago when he was astounded to hear Bob Hawke urging us all on to 50 million. Having waited patiently for the major parties to come to their senses, Steven now realises this is not going to happen. In order to offer a democratic choice to the people of Melbourne Ports, and challenge 'big Australia' advocate Michael Danby MP, Steven has decided to act.
Jonathan Page is running for the seat of Lalor.
Jonathan has a professional background in science and a strong connection with the Australian environment, having spent much of his formative years bushwalking. He treasures the beauty of many other species on this planet and is pained when hearing about the next Australian species under threat due to land clearing or other human activity. Jonathan is also particularly concerned about the housing affordability crisis, which of course, is exacerbated by rapidly growing demand for a finite resource (habitable land in well serviced areas).
The last video is of NSW-based William Bourke, who is the leader of the party. I have featured this video in another article on candobetter.net. William gives a very clear idea of what the Stable Population Party is offering.
A better quality of life
SPPA calls for "A better quality of life" and articulates six reasons to vote for a stable population:
to Relieve overstretched infrastructure, incluidng hospitals, schools, roads and public transport;
to Ease cost of living pressures, including housing, energy, water and transport;
to Protect our environment, including food, water and energy resources, native bushland and animal habitats;
to Promote education and training to increase job opportunities for all Australians;
to Minimise overdevelopment, including high-rise and sprawl;
to Create a more resilient economy, to sustain and enhance prosperity.