Labor and Liberal MPs voted to quash a Motion by Clifford Hayes to clean up political donations in Victoria, proving their dependency on the flimsy and corrupt status quo. The Motion was defeated in the Legislative Council in May.
Sustainable Australia MP Clifford Hayes commented,
“Once again, the major parties have shown their true colours and proven they are totally dependent on Victoria’s flimsy and corrupt political donation regime.”
The following is an excerpt from the Guardian, 14/03/2022, pertaining to Premier Daniel Andrews. Andrews also suggested the “great Australian dream” of owning a home was less important to younger generations, especially given the increasing cost of property – the median price of a home in Melbourne is now $1.1m.
It is extremely frustrating and disappointing that the Government has used its numbers on the Committee to suppress this crucial inquiry into Victoria’s planning system and conveniently palm off embarrassing hearings until after the state election. It is obvious that this Government doesn’t want any verbal evidence, which would be heard by the press, presented to the inquiry in an election year because the evidence given will be a dire indictment on their leadership.
"Today, with little warning and a lot of malice, the Liberal and Labor parties teamed up to pass legislation requiring minor parties to prove they have over 1500 members within the next three months - up from 500 - before the 2022 federal election." (William Bourke, President Sustainable Australia Party, 27 August 2021)
The Sustainable Australia Party (SAP) began as the Stable Population Party of Australia some time ago, but gradually, without losing this orientation, it has developed a more complex democratic and economic platform around this, and a new name.
William Bourke writes:
"SAP had already passed the Australian Electoral Commission's test of 500 members last year and therefore (seemingly) had clearance to contest the upcoming federal election.
Now, we have a massive administrative project dumped on us just when we were selecting candidates and getting on with campaigning.
This is how the major parties make it very difficult for minor parties - through endless compliance and administration requirements.
Join today for $22/$11
While we technically have over 1500 members, it will be a big challenge to get everyone to respond to an upcoming audit.
Put simply, we need more members.
Sustainable Australia Party is an independent community movement with a positive plan for an economically, environmentally and socially sustainable Australia. We support a science and evidence-based approach to policy.
We campaign to protect our environment, stop overdevelopment and stop corruption.
We increasingly understand that systemic political corruption is at the heart of our growing problems including environmental crises, overdevelopment, rapid population growth, the privatisation of our publicly-owned natural monopolies and the de-industrialisation of our previously robust and self-sufficient economy.
Now they are coming for minor parties.
We are Australia's only true sustainability-first political party and we originally formed because no other party included a sensible plan to stabilise Australia's population within an environmental platform.
You may have considered joining us in the past.
Now is the time. It's only $22/$11.
We welcome both active and passive members. You will be under no pressure to do anything other than pay a small joining fee."
You may have been wondering when and who would point out the silver lining in the current situation, where the interruption of decades of mass immigration has seen employment prospects and living standards for many ordinary people looking good in Australia for the first time in decades. If so, you will be very pleased to catch the following interview between 2GB's Michael McLaren and the Sustainable Australia Party's William Bourke, on this very issue. We are living through fascinating times.
On 10 May 2021, Michael Mclaren (2GB radio) was joined by William Bourke, President of the Sustainable Australia Party, to comment on the RBA’s report that suggests that the pause in immigration due to the COVID-19 pandemic will lead to higher living standards in Australia and could spark wage rises in some regions and industries - even though the economy will be smaller than previously expected. In its quarterly statement on monetary policy the preceding week, the RBA noted, “The Australian economy is transitioning from recovery to expansion phase earlier and with more momentum than anticipated.”
[Candobetter editor: Note that this was done via automatic transcript then corrected by a human editor. Please let us know if you find any mistakes.]
MICHAEL : Well, there has been a lot of side-effects from the Cornona Virus … we’re probably all sick to death of talking about it but, one that probably hasn’t been mentioned is that it has done a couple of people probably out of a job – at the very least, it has proved them right – I’m talking about the team behind the Sustainable Australia Party – because, if nothing else, COVID has closed the borders. There are now no real prospects of masses of migrants coming in to work or to fill job vacancies, or whatever the story was, prior to the pandemic.
However, as I said, I think it has proved the point, because, for many years, William Bourke and the whole team behind him at Sustainable Australia and people like Dick Smith, who’ve supported them, have been banging the drum of logic, saying that Australia does not need unsustainable levels of growth in the population to remain wealthy, to remain prosperous, indeed to grow.
And, sure enough, they have now got an ally, I don’t know if they meant to or not, in the form of the Reserve Bank. In their quarterly statement, on monetary policy – it was released on Friday - most people don’t read it of course – but they made the point that the level of GDP – Gross Domestic Product – is expected to remain a little below forecast before the pandemic – mostly due to the lower population growth – however, in per capita terms, GDP is expected to be on a higher trajectory, supported by higher per capita household income and a strong contribution from public demand. In other words, the pause to Big Australia will lead to higher living standards and could spark wage-rises in some regions and some industries according to the Reserve Bank.
Now, the Big Australia advocates said this was impossible. Many of us said they were wrong all along and motivated by greed.
Well, William Bourke is the President of the Sustainable Australia Party and on the line. William, nice to talk with you again.
WILLIAM BOURKE: Good to be with you, Michael.
MICHAEL: Sadly, I suppose, COVID has done you out of a gig. The borders are closed. The population will flatline for a while, and the experiment that you’ve called for will happen, for no other reason than medical science has demanded it happens. I suppose, if you are proved right, you will go out a happy man, won’t you?
WILLIAM BOURKE: Well Michael, obviously population growth is something we’ve been concerned about, since we’ve been going – probably a decade or so. We’ve got some other issues we do stand for, overdevelopment and environmental issues, but yes, absolutely, it’s amazing that COVID has revealed, once and for all, that high immigration is notnecessary to either keep the economy growing, or to create jobs.
So, it’s great to see the RBA coming to their senses. And many other mainstream economists are also saying things like, ‘Lower immigration is equalling higher wages.’ So there’s a great lot of things that are coming out of this unfortunate COVID pandemic.
MICHAEL MCLAREN: And it’s logical, is it not, because, when you flood the economy with workers, obviously the whiphand is that of the bosses. They can say to Bob, well, if you don’t want to work for that amount of money, I’ll go over there to Frank. He’ll do it. But when the number of people available for jobs is smaller, Bob and Frank both start, all of a sudden, to have a bit of bargaining power, don’t they!
WILLIAM BOURKE: Indeed, and obviously, when you bring in highly exploitable people, who really don’t have a lot of bargaining power, who aren’t part of … I guess, unions and so forth, then you can beat down wages. And we’ve seen a lot of – you know – probably the lowest growth in wages over the last decade in the last century.
These things are now starting to see a pick-up in wages, and that’s a good thing for the average Australian.
MICHAEL MCLAREN: They are. I saw that Tom Dusevic of the Australian said, and I quote,
”During recent years, when population growth averaged a rich, world-leading, one and a half per cent a year [...]"
- which is just madness -
“with two thirds of it due to net-overseas migration, per capita incomes fell, even though national output was expanding at a fast clip, compared to our peers.”
In other words, the nation was getting wealthier – that’s National GDP, the individuals that make up the nation, that do the work, were actually going backwards.
WILLIAM BOURKE: Exactly, and the point there being that GDP per capita is really the proxy for living standards. So, the aggregate growth in GDP really doesn’t matter, if all of us are going backwards on average. And we know that there has been a lot of discussion about, you know, this 20 plus year run of ‘no recessions’ and so forth, but if you look at it on a GDP per capita basis, there were three recessions over the last 25 or so years, where GDP per capita went backwards, two quarters in a row. So, there’s a lot of misinformation out there, and we really need to look at the per capita of GDP, not the aggregate level.
MICHAEL MCLAREN: Yep. Now, none of this is to gloat. There are some sections of the economy which are doing it particularly difficult. The business model was heavily reliant on the migrant labour workforce. Hospitality, for example, their business model has been disrupted. A lot of people are doing it tough, but on a per capita basis, the average Australian looks like they may come out in front. And, of course, again, to be completely up-front, a huge amount of stimulus from the Federal Government also helps in that respect, and to remove that might have created a different story, but it just goes to prove the point, does it not, William, that you don’t need record levels of migration to continue economic growth?
WILLIAM BOURKE: That’s exactly the point. There’s a lot of studies out there about the impact of immigration on the economy, but a lot of it is based on, you know, assumptions. This is empirical evidence. This is very very very clear now, that where there is no immigration, we are still growing our economy and we are still creating jobs, and we have actually reduced the unemployment rate. So we’ve gone from seven odd per cent down to about five and a half per cent, and we look like going down to around four and a half per cent. That’s because a lot of people who have been long-term unemployed are now getting an opportunity to get a job. And isn't that a great thing?
MICHAEL MCLAREN: Well, it is and the tighter labor market Also pushes an important extra emphasis on behalf of government, and even business, on the issue of skills or re-skilling the Australian population, including those that are unemployed.
Most unemployed people want to work. They take they take no pride in not having a job but they may not have the skills to do it, so, you know, it's great. We've got the budget, of course tomorrow night. There may be something in there about this too, but there is a greater emphasis on business and government to say, well, look, you're not going to get the fresh blood in anytime soon. There is a bit floating around here though that needs a gig. Train them up, get them in a job.
WILLIAM BOURKE: There's a much greater focus on training and education as you say Michael and I'm sure that Treasurer Josh will be mentioning much more investment in training and education in the budget, and I've seen, you know, some media reports to that extent. So that's it. That's a really encouraging thing, because at the end of the day, we do have the labour here in Australia. We do need to continue to evolve our economy and evolve our skills. And that's what's happening right now, and it's a good thing.
MICHAEL MCLAREN: And, Will, to add to all of this, the re-emphasis, or the newly emerged emphasis, on needing to be more self resilient, more independent, instead of relying on international supply chains and there. And, there again, all of a sudden, you are incentivising people to re-establish, or freshly establish, sovereign industries in this country, particularly manufacturing-oriented industries, which – again - will help mop up a percentage of the unemployed.
WILLIAM BOURKE: Exactly right. And, at the moment, you're probably aware, the Upper Hunter by-election is on in New South Wales. We've got a candidate running there and he works on the railways.
He's an engineer working on railway maintenance and, you know, we built the Tangara trains in Newcastle, you know, the Hunter area and now we're importing them from South Korea. So we need to turn back to making our own trains. And manufacturing, you know, our medical supplies. All of those issues that we thought we can just outsource overseas. I think we're now realizing finally that that's not a sustainable way to run an economy.
WILLIAM MCLAREN: Why then for so many years, we mention those record levels of immigration, despite the average Australian not wanting it. People are in favor of some immigration, sure, a bit of fresh blood doesn't hurt, but there's sort of nonsense of one-and-a-half percent growth per year. It was just a disaster on the property , on traffic – everything. Services. Why did it persist for so long? I mean, I'm a bit ignorant, I suppose, but I thought that democracy was basically the elected officials representing the will of the people, but on that issue, it couldn't have been more opposite. So, why did it persist for so long?
WILLIAM BOURKE: So, I think Michael there are some groups in our society, in our economy, in our political environment, they have a little bit more power than the average person. And obviously, you know, the property industry, you know, big business and so forth. You know, they have a fair bit of sway. They've been complaining, even very lately about skills shortages and, Immigration Minister Alex Hawk, has just allowed a doubling of the hours of foreign students from 20 to 40 hours a week. So they're having a lot of influence, you know, because of political donations and other aspects of the body politic. And I guess that it would be nice if we did have a plebiscite or a referendum. Do we want to grow our population at this extreme rate of 1.5 plus percent when the developed world really should grow at, you know 0.2 per cent at the most.
MICHAEL MCLAREN: I was a little facetious early when I said that covid had probably done you out of a gig. Sustainable Australia, as you quite rightly said, stands for more than just a population issue. Just talk us through a little of what else it is that interests your party.
WILLIAM BOURKE: Well, we're a fairly centrist party Michael. So, you know, we talk about the big picture issues that matter. Obviously sustainable is about protecting our environment, and we really do want to make sure that, you know, we're not sprawling our suburbs, over our agricultural farm land. For example, we really want to stop overdevelopment and return planning powers to local communities.
I'm running in the North Sydney council elections in a couple of months. So, you know, making sure that local people have a say on the character of and the heritage values of their neighborhood. So those are some of the issues.
Corruption is an increasingly big issue that we're focusing on and I think there's a bit of corruption in this Big Australia, where vested interests are influencing our politicians rather than the public interest being put first. So that's just a couple of things that we stand for.
MICHAEL MCLAREN: A lot of common sense. Always good to talk to you. We’ll speak again, soon, William. Thank you so much for all that time.
WILLIAM BOURKE: Thanks for having me. Michael.
MICHAEL MCLAREN: That's my pleasure William Burke. As I said the President of the Sustainable Australia Party
Clifford Hayes, MP., of Sustainable Australia Party, asked Mr Jennings MP (Leader of the Government) to investigate selling public spaces to local governments at a nominal amount, given that population growth is driving ongoing decline in open space per capita in Melbourne. Mr Jennings' 'nothing to see here' response smacks disingenuously of avoiding the obvious context of the government's massive population growth-engineering and overdevelopment, which is driving an accelerated reduction in space and all kinds of ammenities, as well as democracy.
Question without notice - Public Land Use (Wednesday 17 October 2019)
Mr HAYES (Southern Metropolitan) (12:11): My question without notice is to the minister representing the minister for finance. I refer to the report in the Age on 9 October by Noel Towell that the government intends to sell off more than 2600 hectares of publicly owned land from over 150 sites in Melbourne and country Victoria. Given the dramatic ongoing decline in open space per capita in Melbourne as a result of population growth of well over 100 000 per annum and the alarming decline in Melbourne’s vegetation cover, will the government investigate offering these parcels to local councils for a nominal amount subject to an enforceable condition that they are turned into, maintained and retained as public open space?
Mr JENNINGS (South Eastern Metropolitan—Leader of the Government, Special Minister of State, Minister for Priority Precincts, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs) (12:12): For the benefit of the house I will just indicate that the Assistant Treasurer is the minister who is responsible, and I will take the question. There is not a minister for finance in the current government, although the function that Mr Hayes has referred to has been the domain of the minister for finance in previous administrations. So with that clarification, in terms of the issues for which Mr Hayes seeks a response, I am certain that the Assistant Treasurer will provide you with a written response.
But as an immediate response, can I indicate to you that there is absolutely nothing that is unusual about the identification of parcels of land across Victoria that may be sometimes considered by the government of the day in relation to what its appropriate public value may be and what alternative use it may be put to. There is absolutely nothing that is unusual with that circumstance. In fact every government does it. They continue to do it on the basis of being aware of the public land estate—there are millions of hectares of public land estate across the Victorian landscape now and there will be into the future—and of identifying small parcels of land that may be able to be put to a multitude of purposes. Some of them may be appropriate in the circumstances that Mr Hayes refers to. Some of them may be appropriate for some form of housing development, some of them may be appropriate for some degree of civic development and some of them may be appropriate for commercial development. It is incumbent upon the state to use its resources wisely in balancing the public interest. It does so on a continual basis and will continue to do so to assess the appropriate way in which we can maximise the value of public land to benefit the Victorian community.
So Mr Hayes may appreciate that. He is certainly a very clear and consistent advocate for appropriate public land values, environmental values and sustainability, and the government should respect that. I believe we do respect that. I look forward to the answer that the Assistant Treasurer will give you to provide you with overall confidence in that. I am not certain whether he will agree to the specific elements of either the terms of transfer or the ultimate use of any parcel of land prematurely, because that should be considered within the appropriate balance of what greater public benefit should be derived and maintained for the people of Victoria, but the Assistant Treasurer may augment my response to you.
Mr HAYES: I have no supplementary question, but I thank the minister and look forward to a written answer.
Steven Armstrong is a prospective Sustainable Australia Party candidate for the upcoming federal elections. He has run before and has a history of hard work on the issue of sustainability and the unsustainable problem of our rapid population growth in Australia. His political experience and skill has grown along with his experience. Although Steven has financed previous candidatures, the cost of merely registering to run in the election has suddenly leapt from $350 to $2000 under the LNP coalition. This can only be in order to reduce democratic opposition. So please consider helping Steven in his gofundme campaign! He needs $2000.
Hi, my name is Steven Armstrong.
Soon we will be having an Australian General Election.
I have been pre-selected to run in the Division of Macnamara for the Sustainable Australia Party.
Politics is an expensive thing to undertake. The LNP coalition have increased the deposit (democratic entry fee) from $350 to $2000.
They fear an alternative voice of the people and seek to silence us. Show them that they will fail. This campaign will allow me to give a choice to those of us that seek a better and sustainable Australia.
Sustainable Australia is a community movement from the common-sense political centre advocating for an economically, environmentally and socially sustainable Australia. This includes secure jobs, affordable housing, better planning and a sustainable environment for all Australians.
We are a group of committed Australians from backgrounds in business, science, the environment, health, academia, demography, politics and many other ordinary citizens; from World War 2 Diggers to migrants born on every inhabited continent on Earth.
The opposition leader said this week that the next Federal Election will be a referendum on wages & the Reserve Bank Governor was saying he couldn’t understand why wages weren’t going up more given the underlying strength of the economy. Michael McLaren of 2GB Radio is joined by the Hon. Kelvin Thomson, former Federal Member for Wills now advisor for Sustainable Australia Party’s Clifford Hayes to talk about Bill Shorten’s declaration that the upcoming election will be a ‘referendum on incomes’.
Michael is joined by the Hon. Kelvin Thomson, former Federal Member for Wills now advisor for Sustainable Australia Party’s Clifford Hayes to talk about Bill Shorten’s declaration that the upcoming election will be a ‘referendum on incomes’.
The opposition leader said this week that the next Federal Election will be a referendum on wages & the Reserve Bank Governor was saying he couldn’t understand why wages weren’t going up more given the underlying strength of the economy.
This seems a remarkable thing for him to say given that the answer is obvious… that Australia’s high migration program of the last 15 years has provided a pool of surplus labour which is used by employers to keep wages down.
Yesterday’s commentary by the Reserve Bank Governor suggested that the issue was not confined to Australia, and that it was a 21st century phenomenon.
Other Western countries have also seen employers using “open borders” to keep wages down, and in Australia’s case the migration numbers took off from around 2004 – so yes it has been a 21st century development.
"My objective, with your help, honourable members, is to make Melbourne, and even Victoria, a great place to live. Not merely a great place in population size or area to rival such places as Shanghai, New York, London or Sao Paulo. Such greatness would be mere obesity, with all the disadvantages of such. Not a city or a state where people are crammed into dogbox apartments, living on crowded and congested streets in an environmentally unfriendly concrete heat island. But a spacious city with open skies, open and tree-filled streets, with gardens. An environment where children can play safely, where the car is not king but a servant.
Walkable patchworks of various styles of housing, where one would enjoy walking, cycling or travelling through by public transport. A city of learning, education, the arts and self-supporting industry, where families and communities can thrive. Where the less fortunate who may be living on lower incomes are not segregated into high-rise towers but live in affordable detached or medium-density housing spread throughout the suburbs. Where their children have the same opportunities as other children. Where ghettos of crime and despair are not created. A city where the environment—the living environment—is prized and of prime importance. A sustainable city or cities in a sustainable state. This can only happen when people are proud of their neighbourhoods and where they, as citizens, have control over what they create—the built form, the environment, the infrastructure. This is what, I believe, we as a Parliament can achieve." (Clifford Hayes, Extract from speech.)
[This speech was paragraphed by candobetter.net editor. It was taken from the unproofed Hansard transcript and will be revised if there are changes.]
Mr HAYES (Southern Metropolitan) (16:54:47): President and honourable members, especially new members, congratulations. I grew up in Brighton, the son of a doctor and a school teacher, so in many people’s eyes I had a life of privilege, but my parents had just bought a house, my father was starting his own medical practice from scratch and I was sent to Gardenvale state school. However, I did not like school, particularly getting the strap in my first few days there for playing in the third graders’ playground.
So when I learned to read, quite well, I told my mum I wanted to leave school. She laughed and told me I had to do another 12 years before I could leave.
I was devastated. By grade 3 my parents were able to send me to Brighton Grammar.
But in grade 4 my father suffered a terrible car accident, which affected him and his earning ability for the rest of his life. Mum worked, which was not that common in the early 1960s, and Dad brought in some money, so we got by okay. My two sisters and I managed to finish at private schools, but my father's situation got worse, and he relied on drinking and heavy medication, which by the end of our schooling left him totally incapacitated.
Being a bit of a rebel and not a great student, I decided on a very different course to the academic life so beloved by my parents. I had become interested in photography and filmmaking, and to my parents’ horror I wanted a career in the film industry. So I left home and went to work.
The Australian film industry was almost non-existent then. I found a job in the nascent television industry with Hector Crawford at Crawford Productions in Collins Street. My first job was on Homicide as a music editor, although I only had the vaguest idea of what that job entailed when I started. Over the next few years Crawfords produced the top three or four highest rating TV dramas in Australia at that time.
I went on to become a freelance film editor, and in 1979 I won an Australian Film Institute award for my part in editing Mad Max.
The PRESIDENT: As tempting as it is, can we hold the applause until the end.
Mr HAYES: However, it was my experience working in the Northern Territory on the feature film We of the Never Never that changed my view on how we treated the first inhabitants of this land, and I came home a firm believer in Aboriginal land rights.
My parents, particularly my father, who was a keen advocate to the few who would listen back then for Indigenous recognition and other social issues, were both academic and left wing in political inclination, which was a pretty unusual stand compared to many of my friends’ parents in Brighton. So I was always interested in politics and comparing and arguing various points of view.
However, it was travelling overseas for six months when I was 24 which opened my eyes on how we lived in Australia. I was trying to find my way around the gridlocked streets of Bangkok, and looking over a bridge I saw swarming below a mass of humanity living in shacks on the side of a city canal, which would be no bigger than the Elwood canal down our way. A couple of hundred people were living down there—working, living and laughing.
I realized that there were many ways to live the life that I thought was normal from my little bubble in suburban Melbourne. I also realized that which so many Australian travellers come to see: we are all so enormously privileged to grow up and live in the open spaces and remaining nature of our suburbs and the surrounding countryside.
I lived in Sydney for a while working as an editor. Here I was in the heart of the film industry and lived the life of a continual after-work party—restaurants, bars, parties, picnics, drinking, eating and all that goes with it. It was the 1980s, and Sydney was a beautiful city and definitely the place to be. Few would disagree that most of the beauty around the harbour has now been spoiled by overdevelopment.
I got married and divorced in fairly quick succession. I bought an old farm house in a small town, Deans Marsh—between Geelong and Lorne—as a weekend retreat, and I became more and more interested in small-scale farming, self-sufficiency, agriculture and alternative lifestyles.
I got married again and we had a daughter followed by a son a couple of years later.
Computerisation had swept through the TV industry, enabling me to work from our farm house but often requiring travel back and forth to Melbourne. I studied for a diploma in applied science, farm management, by correspondence through Melbourne University, with a view to starting a small vineyard, which would certainly supplement my growing wine cellar. That was when devastation struck and my life had to change.
My wife wanted out, citing my lifestyle, the working, the drinking, the parties and generally being away from home too much. I was not much use as a father—and what is more, she was taking the kids. My drinking, smoking and party life had to stop.
I realised my health was being affected and my lifestyle was costing me more than money. I was losing friends, my lucrative business and now what I valued most—my family. I sought help and I found it through an organisation which pointed me to a path of spiritual recovery. As a result I no longer drink or smoke, nor do I take any mind-altering substances except caffeine, and have not done so for many years.
However, I did start that small vineyard on the Mornington Peninsula with a business partner. After a while I managed to reconcile with my family, and though my wife and I did not resume our marriage we became good friends and I had the opportunity to be the father I had always wanted to be to my children.
In 2003 I sold the vineyard and I moved back to Brighton again, buying an older style apartment with a backyard, where I still live today.
While I always had a political interest, my real political activity was about to start in the most unlikely way.
My mother, who still lived in the old family home nearby, told me that a developer had plans to build a 5-storey building of more than 100 apartments right behind her house. The whole street was affected, most of the houses being single storey.
All of our neighbours were up in arms: 'They can’t do this here!’. And the reply from our council: 'Oh yes, they can’.
It was Melbourne 2030, and we had been declared, without our knowledge, to be living in an activity centre.
What is more, the council had plans for more 4 and 5-storey buildings scattered around North Brighton.
Our group of residents decided to run someone against the local councillor. I was the only volunteer, and I ran on the issue, opposing high-rise development.
With huge community support, I was elected by a sizeable majority seeking to maintain our village character. Once elected, I had the full support of council in moving for more restrictive height controls in our village-style shopping centres and surrounding residential streets.
The minister, through his department, would not allow the changes, but after much lobbying he did grant so‑called 'discretionary’ height controls but at heights greater than the council’s decision.
The developers were still not happy and took the council to VCAT, where the VCAT member overruled the council’s refusal, saying discretionary controls gave him the discretion to break them. What is more, he and other members over the years took it upon themselves to give council lectures about our housing policy, developed out of widespread community consultation, for being too restrictive.
VCAT continues to grant permits for building heights far in excess of our meaningless discretionary controls as granted by the state government.
So much for the wishes of the community, or democracy, where elected bodies such as municipal councils can be overridden by a bureaucrat and increasingly by the state government.
This is where I discovered the general attitude of the planning bodies.
Senior planners in the government said to me, 'Councillor, if you don’t want high rise, you must want sprawl’.
I said, 'I don’t want either’, to which they replied, 'Well, where will you put the population?’.
Research showed me how population growth had been ramped up in recent years from a long-term average of 70 000 per annum to 200 000 people per annum. Melbourne is now growing by 2500 people, seeking accommodation, every week.
This fact is used by the government to overpower councils on the issue of planning in particular. Most government planners advocate urban consolidation and the destruction of our valued Australian suburban life. They talk of high-rise schools. Where will the children play?
To achieve this so-called consolidation, governments, planners and developers want to bring in more and more people, not from the outer suburbs but from overseas, to densify the inner city.
Who benefits? The developers and the property industry.
After being elected mayor of Bayside I joined an organisation called Planning Backlash. Led by the awesome Mary Drost, OAM, we represented planning groups with similar issues all across Melbourne and regional Victoria.
This group has led the campaign for greater say for residents and councils and has regularly met with all planning ministers, both Liberal and Labor, up until this minister, who no longer consults with us.
Rapid population growth has been connected with our planning problems.
Around this time I saw Dick Smith’s documentary and found the policies of Sustainable Australia. I came to see that global population growth and the corresponding increased pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, species decline and habitat destruction have made population growth the major environmental problem, both globally and locally.
Yet population growth was not even mentioned by the major political parties, including the Greens.
The Greens advocate lowering consumption, and rightly so, but until they realistically tackle the population issue they cannot address the current rate of environmental destruction and greenhouse gas emissions in this state or in this country.
This issue has nothing to do with race or religion, nor should it. For no matter how much we reduce consumption and the ensuing pollution per person, if we increase the population at the same time, we will make zero or even negative progress.
And we in this country are growing at rates far above the world population growth rate, and our greenhouse gas emissions keep on rising.
A similar charge could be made against the major parties, Labor and Liberal, who cry economic ruin if we reduce population growth by returning to 1980s or 1990s levels of immigration, as our party advocates.
They say the current rapid population growth raises gross domestic product. Yet, as we all know, GDP per head of population growth and wages growth have been stagnant over recent years as we have imported more and more workers.
In 2010 I met William Bourke and joined Sustainable Australia. Their policies on local planning, affordable housing, infrastructure, the environment and a more diverse economy appealed to my frustrated desires, particularly at a local level.
As to planning in this beautiful city and this bountiful state, planning should be a good thing, not like here, with our planning system—deregulated, discretionary and encouraging the atrocious.
Then we, the residents, hopefully with the support of our councils, try to make the proposal less bad. Even this process is under attack, with planning bodies such as the Grattan Institute seeking to remove third-party appeal rights. Even less local democracy is being demanded.
Planning, we believe, should be conceived at the local level, initiated by local planning groups or citizen juries. Planning should then set the agenda, set the social and environmental goals, the population density and height controls. Then developers would have to conform to these established local requirements—a democratic process.
Finally, just before I finish, I would like to thank a few people who helped me take this journey to find my way to this most historic and honourable chamber: William Bourke, our hardworking federal president and an invaluable mentor; Mary Drost, of indomitable spirit, and the committee of Planning Backlash; Richard Rozen and my supporters in Brighton Residents for Urban Protection; Derek, Evelyn, Kerrie, David, Beth, David and John of Restore Residents’ Rights; Jill Quirk, who ran in an election with me; Kelvin Thomson, a former MLA and an early advocate on population growth, who is now my fantastic chief of staff; Noel Pullen, a former MLC, who helped us in the planning battle; Alex Del Porto, James Long, Sonia Castelli and Bayside councillors past and present; my family, especially my two children, Alice and Harry.
My objective, with your help, honourable members, is to make Melbourne, and even Victoria, a great place to live. Not merely a great place in population size or area to rival such places as Shanghai, New York, London or Sao Paulo. Such greatness would be mere obesity, with all the disadvantages of such.
Not a city or a state where people are crammed into dogbox apartments, living on crowded and congested streets in an environmentally unfriendly concrete heat island. But a spacious city with open skies, open and tree-filled streets, with gardens. An environment where children can play safely, where the car is not king but a servant.
Walkable patchworks of various styles of housing, where one would enjoy walking, cycling or travelling through by public transport.
A city of learning, education, the arts and self-supporting industry, where families and communities can thrive. Where the less fortunate who may be living on lower incomes are not segregated into high-rise towers but live in affordable detached or medium-density housing spread throughout the suburbs. Where their children have the same opportunities as other children. Where ghettos of crime and despair are not created. A city where the environment—the living environment—is prized and of prime importance. A sustainable city or cities in a sustainable state. This can only happen when people are proud of their neighbourhoods and where they, as citizens, have control over what they create—the built form, the environment, the infrastructure. This is what, I believe, we as a Parliament can achieve.
The Hon. Kelvin Thomson, former Federal Member for Wills, is joining the Sustainable Australia Party. Mr Thomson served as an Australian Labor Party Councillor for the City of Coburg from 1981 to 1988, Member of the Victorian Parliament for Pascoe Vale from 1988 to 1996, and Federal Labor Member for Wills for over 20 years from 1996 until the 2016 Election. Mr Thomson will be advising Sustainable Australia’s first elected Member of Parliament, Mr. Clifford Hayes, who was elected as a Legislative Councillor for the Southern Metropolitan Region at the recent Victorian election.
Mr Hayes said, “Kelvin Thomson’s knowledge of all three levels of government, his campaign experience - he stood for public office 12 times in his career and was successful on each occasion - and his policy development expertise, having been a Shadow Minister for the Environment amongst other Shadow Ministries, Parliamentary Secretary and member of many Parliamentary Committees during his parliamentary service, will make him an invaluable asset to me, my office and to the Sustainable Australia Party.
Mr Thomson said, "I first joined the Labor Party in 1975. It was an honour and privilege to represent the Australian Labor Party in two Parliaments and three levels of government for a total of 35 years. To say the Labor Party has been my life is putting it mildly. So I have submitted my resignation from the Labor Party with a very heavy heart.
“For a decade now I have set out what I believe to be the myopia, greed, vanity and ecological illiteracy that drives Big Australia, Australia's policy of rapid population growth. I have arrived at a point where there are irreconcilable differences between the course I believe Australia and the world needs to chart, and the course that the Australian Labor Party is charting. I set out in my Valedictory Speech my great appreciation of the support I received as an MP from ordinary members of the Labor Party, and those sentiments remain true. I retain a hope that in time the Labor Party will embrace views about Australia's population that are more in keeping with the needs of this generation, the needs of those who will come after us, and the needs of the many other species we have the good fortune to share this ancient, beautiful and fragile country with.
"What this world needs now is not more people, but more courage."
Sustainable Australia Party Founder and President William Bourke said, "Kelvin Thomson played a key role in kick-starting the population debate in Australia 10 years ago, with a speech he gave in Parliament in August 2009, and with a media release he put out in September 2009, in response to Treasury figures showing that Australia's population would be 35 million by 2049, a massive jump from the previous projection of 28 million by 2049, made just a couple of years earlier. He described this as a recipe for environmental disaster and called for population reform."
"The Sustainable Australia Party, formed in the wake of that debate, is a party of the political centre, and Kelvin and other mainstream, like-minded Australians are very welcome here."
Kelvin Thomson's letter of Resignation from the Australian Labor Party 13 January 2019
Victorian Branch Secretary
Australian Labor Party
438 Docklands Drive
DOCKLANDS VIC 3008
This is a very hard letter for me to write. I first joined the Australian Labor Party in 1975.
Within a few years I had become a Branch Secretary, then Branch President, then delegate to the Victorian State Conference and President of the Wills FEA, Policy Committee member, and member of a number of local, State, and Federal Campaign Committees. I was later elected as a member of
the Public Office Selection Panel and served for a time as its President.
In 1981 I was elected as an endorsed Australian Labor Party Councillor for the City of Coburg, and reelected in 1982 and 1985, serving until 1988. In 1988 I was elected as an endorsed Australian Labor Party Member of the Victorian Parliament for the electorate of Pascoe Vale. I represented Pascoe Vale until 1996 and served as a Shadow Minister and Manager of Opposition Business during that time.
In 1996 I was elected to the Federal Parliament as the Labor Member for Wills. I was re-elected in 1998, 2001, 2004, 2007, 2010 and 2013, serving for over 20 years until I retired from Parliament in 2016. I served as a Labor Shadow Minister from 1998 till 2007. When Labor was elected to Government I became Chair of the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties, and later on served as a Parliamentary Secretary under 2 Labor Prime Ministers.
It was an honour and a privilege to represent the Australian Labor Party in 2 Parliaments and 3 levels of government for a total of over 35 years. To say the Labor Party has been my life is putting it mildly. As you know, I received my 40 Year Membership Medallion a couple of years ago. Since retiring from Parliament I have continued to provide assistance and support to Labor MPs and candidates in my area.
So I am writing this letter of resignation with a very heavy heart. There are many things I could talk about, but I accept this is always going to be true of any large political organisation. The one thing I cannot overlook is this. The world is undergoing unsustainable population growth – it has more than doubled in the last 50 years. I can’t do much about that, but Australia is one of the worst offenders. So too Victoria. So too Melbourne. The Australian Labor Party of the 21st Century has embraced Australia’s 21st Century rapid population growth, known by the shorthand expression of Big Australia. The 55,000 annual net overseas migration of the Whitlam years, when I joined, has turned into over 200,000 annual net overseas migration. Here in Victoria we have embraced Big Victoria
and Big Melbourne.
For a decade now I have set out what I believe to be the myopia, greed, vanity and ecological illiteracy that drives Big Australia. I won’t insult your intelligence by repeating my arguments. Suffice to say that I have arrived at a point where there are irreconcilable differences between the course I believe Australia and the world needs to chart, and the course that the Australian Labor Party is charting.
It is true that neither the Liberal nor the Greens Parties have any more enlightened approaches to the issue, but there is a Party – Sustainable Australia – which does get it. As they say in the US, everyone has the right to the pursuit of happiness. It is well established that an important ingredient of happiness is the opportunity to spend your days doing something you believe in. What I believe is that exponential population growth is not merely a problem, but that it is the problem that reinforces all others. I agree with David Attenborough – “I’ve never seen a problem that wouldn’t be easier to solve with fewer people, or harder, and ultimately impossible, with more”.
I have been given an opportunity by the Sustainable Australia Party’s Victorian MLC Cliff Hayes to do something I really believe in. It is an opportunity too good to pass up. Obviously that is not consistent with my remaining a Labor Party member, hence this letter.
I set out in my Valedictory Speech my great appreciation of the support I received as an MP from ordinary members of the Labor Party, and those sentiments remain true. I retain a hope that in time Labor will embrace views about Australia’s population that are more in keeping with the needs of this generation, the needs of those who will come after us, and the needs of the many other species we have the good fortune to share this ancient, beautiful and fragile country with.
Sustainable Australia Party's Southern Metropolitan region Upper House candidate Clifford Hayes appears to be elected to the Victorian Upper House, according to various media reports. For those of you reeling at the thought of a Labor Government, second time round, with the bit between its teeth on immigration, land-clearing and the scent of developer money in its nostrils, this news of a win by SAP, may give some hope. We need more SAPs in government, as fast as possible.
How the preferences worked
A quick look at the flow of preferences for Clifford Hayes Southern Metro Region so far is revealing. (Congratulations Cliff!)
A weight of 15,000 votes (from 148,000 ballot papers) actually comes from the overflow of successful Labor and Liberal candidates. This amounts to 35% of Cliff's vote count and is due solely to the way the two Major's preferenced him - not micros. Just saying this as it might help counter any complaints there might be about preferencing.
The difference in 'votes' vs 'ballot papers' in the above counts is of course because overflow ballot papers are reduced in weight each time they have already served to elect someone. Here reduced 90% in weight on average by the time Cliff got them.
Looking at the Group Tickets: Labour preferences for SAParty started at 12th of 45 candidates, Liberal at 22 of 45. ( Greens had us at 14 of 45). These are all pretty good for us. Anyone using above the line voting for these majors dictated their preferences would go according to these Major's tickets (not SAParty's of course).
The runner up here is the Greens. Cliff is ahead of the Greens by 4,000 votes. or some 8%. (No Green was elected in this Region)
Clifford Hayes speaking on developers and planners June 2017, when people tried to avert Labor dictatorship on planning
Some quotes from Clifford Hayes' speech: "We residents must have a say. The whole process has been corrupted." "It's a problem of culture: developers and planners sing from the same songbook. More housing, more consolidation, more appartments, more units, more highrise - all on existing infrastructure. And this forces the price of land and existing housing up. Bad news for our kids, bad news for our suburbs, bad news for us. Good news for investors, good for speculators, dramatic profits to be made. So this pressure makes property speculation and property development a government protected industry. And it's backed up by planners, VCAT, the government, the department: The whole problem has been left to market forces to sort out. This is great for people who see housing as a way for people to make profits, but for a community it's bad news. We lose all the things we value. As communities we need to get things right. Housing should be for families, not just for investors."
Last night I stayed home and watched as the election results revealed themselves on the television. Quite early in the evening they showed various venues with mature people dressed up in emblematic red t-shirts looking triumphant and trustingly happy. The meaning of this was that the Victorian Labor Government has been returned to power with an increased majority to govern for the next four years.
The fact that this came about was not a surprise to me, as a regular watcher of the TV news and current affairs. From a personal point of view, the leader of the Liberal opposition, Matthew Guy, comes across as a slightly anxious, scolding headmaster, in contrast to the studied relaxed style (that I now see as somewhat sinister) of the Labor leader, Daniel Andrews. Dan has a sort of affable nerdy, appearance, one lazy eye peering through conservative spectacles, an un- athletic stoop and a very measured, reassuring, quiet manner of speaking.
So Labor have a mandate to govern for the next four years against a depleted opposition.
Does this really matter? Is the red team all that different from the blue team? It seems to me that both red and blue, if in government, must be totally preoccupied with projects related to the expansion of the population. The difference between the two teams is only around the edges. They both have to deal with massive population growth and, it seems to me, can therefore do very little, if anything, to to improve the quality of life for the people of Victoria. The Coalition had planned to sell off (lease for 50 years) the sewerage system, which to me would be a disastrous move! We can possibly survive without electricity and gas but we cannot survive without the sewerage system. I would not trust it to the private sector!
With another 4 years of Labor, those of us in the middle suburbs of Melbourne will see massive changes to out local environments, as councils are forced to pack more and more people into them. Many developments will occur without warning. You will wake up one day and the bulldozers will be tearing down the house next door to be replaced with a multi-storey dwelling. That is our new reality, not overtly celebrated last night. Had the blue team won , the extra population may have been funneled into the larger regional cities, sparing the established suburbs and allowing their inhabitants to live in relative peace.
Under red or blue the natural environment will be pulled apart. A new concept of nature will be installed, involving tamed grassy areas and cycle paths. It will be a battle to keep our foreshore vegetation as councils will be won over by residents wanting a "sea view" that they never paid for in the first place. Agricultural areas will be built over with poorly conceived, tightly packed, banal housing in many series of cul-de-sacs. Land-owners will make a killing as their land is cannibalised for development. Wildlife, especially kangaroos on Melbourne's periphery, will progressively be boxed in by new roads and housing. With nowhere else to go, they will die a slow death of starvation and road slaughter. In our inner and middle suburbs most gardens will disappear and with them will our birds, insects and possums. As more and more major constructions with fence to fence cavernous excavations appear with concomitant loss of trees, the underground water routes will be disrupted and seemingly distant trees will wilt and die due to interrupted water supply.
So that is what we have to look forward to. I'm afraid I just don't get all that happy, confident red t-shirt clad celebration. If only I could be a "true believer" !
But maybe there is some hope in store!
At the time of writing with 40% of the vote counted it looks possible that a candidate for the Sustainable Australia Party (SAP)
will win a seat in the Victorian Upper House. If this happens it will be an historic election - the first SAP candidate to represent the people’s interests in an Australian parliament. It was interesting watching the Election commentary last night and seeing the scoreboard with the SAP candidates’ names but a seeming determination not to mention either the name of the party or the name of the candidates. No-one in viewing land would know what SAP stands for. Commentator Anthony Green had no hesitation in referring in full to the other minor party, The Animal Justice Party, however..
Professor Bob Birrell  calls for better planning to stop over-development, sustainable population policy reform at a Sustainable Australia Party event. "Net overseas immigration is completely dominating the figures." The politicians tell us, "We just have to get used to it, and the way we're going to deal with it is to throw literally billions at it ... and ... eliminate suburbia." "That's what they say. But rezoning and high density doesn't actually work. The houses are too expensive. The reason is site costs. The more people the more demand for housing. If you increase the opportunity for housing on the same site, the site values go up higher.... It doesn't work." "Nor does the high rise 'solution'. You know there are tens of thousands of these being completed. When we checked the 2016 census, what we found was, that in the two areas of greatest density, CBD and South bank, only 5% of all those appartments were occupied by families with children. Well, what are we going to do about it? We have to deal with high NOM (Net Overseas Migration), it's not inevitable - and this is the key point. The high levels of NOM at present are due to government policy or government non-policy. They are a deliberate consequence of government policy. Not inevitable. For example, overseas students. It is a fact that the biggest source of growth in Net Overseas Migration in Melbourne is overseas students. There are more overseas students coming in on a student's visa each year than are leaving holding a student's visa. Okay, we don't object to students coming here for an education. the problem is that, once they get here and complete their education, they can stay on, more or less forever. Our governments have deliberately encouraged them to do so. By providing, as of right, a two year stay here, with full work rights - even if your degree is in cultural studies - and, when you've done that, you can get another student visa. Or you can become a tourist, or you can get a working holiday visa, or you can apply for a 457 temporary visa. Or you can apply for a permanent entry visa. And, as a consequence, a big chunk of overseas students are just spinning out ... over the years. So, we can change that and that would have a major impact. There are many other areas we could change. I'll just give you one or two to finish, which you may not know about. You've probably heard a lot about 'regional policy' - 'maybe we'll put people in the bush, rather than let them stay in Melbourne or Sydney. Well, currently, there's a program near 30,000 visas strong for state and regional sponsorship. The problem is that these visas do not require people to actually stay in the states or regions that sponsor them. They very quickly move off and they end up in Sydney or Melbourne. Or, consider this, and I'll finish on this note, consider the policy on spouses. [...] what happens in Australia is that you can sponsor a spouse at the age of 18 and you do not have to show that you have a job or an income which will enable you to sustain that spouse. I'm not kidding you. This is the situation. Compare that with Europe. Most countries now, you've got to be at least 22 before you sponsor a spouse, and you've got to prove that you have the funds to support that spouse. I could go on. There is massive potential to bring down the numbers. [...] We have to get the numbers down if we are really coming to grips with Melbourne's crisis of overdevelopment. I'll just leave you with one final thought, and that is that at least public opinion is moving in the right direction. [refers to TAPRIS study] Some 54 % of voters now believe that immigration should be reduced. The polls this year are putting the numbers in the 60%, so the potential is there. May I wish [Sustainable Australia Party] the best in mobilising it."
 Although Bob Birrell's publications in demography are very well known, his qualifications are much greater: Bob Birrell (PhD Princeton – Sociology) was Reader in Sociology and the founding director of the Centre for Population and Urban Research at Monash University. He was the joint editor of the demographic journal People and Place (with Katharine Betts) from 1993 to 2010. His appointment with Monash University finished in 2014. He has been a consultant and advisor to successive Australian governments on immigration policy, most recently as part of Coalition Government’s Evaluation of the General Skilled Migration Categories, published in 2006. His research covers Australian history (A Nation of Our Own – Longman 2005), Australian education policy, urban affairs and immigration practice and policy. His most recent international publications include, ‘Media Effects and Immigration Policy in Australia,’ in Gary Freeman, et al., Eds, Immigration and Public Opinion in Liberal Democracies, Routledge, 2013 and ‘Migration: the Australian experience,’ in Sasha Bangalay and Delphine Nakache, Eds, Immigration Regulation in Federal States, Springer, 2014.
2.30PM - Sunday 7th of October 2018. Open Public Meeting Stop Over-Development in Melbourne! Speakers: Professor Bob Birrell, Professor Michael Buxton, Mary Drost OAM Planning Backlash, Jack Roach, Boroondara Residents' Action Group, Leith van Onselen- economist. Venue: Zelman Room, Hawthorn Arts Centre, 360 Burwood Road, Hawthorne.
Zelman Room, Hawthorn Arts Centre, 360 Burwood Road:
By train: Hawthorne is a 250m walk from Glenferrie Railway station
By Tram: Stop 75 (corner Glenferrie and Burwood Rds), Tram line 16
It will now contest both the Victorian election on 24 November and the NSW election on 23 March, 2019. Importantly, local government elections in NSW and Victoria also now become possible.
The party says that a big focus for its state and local government campaigns will be better planning to stop overdevelopment.
It intends also to contest a federal election between August 2018 and May 2019, not to mention the current Perth by-election where Colin Scott is working very hard with the support of a dedicated local team.
"It's the first time we have run the Sustainable Australia brand in WA so we are effectively re-booting the party there," says William Burke, the President of Sustainable Australia Party.
He adds that the last 12 months has been dominated by these huge registration projects that have taken many hundreds of hours of work by a very small and mainly part-time HQ team, with the support of our volunteer state committees. He thanks everyone that helped, including the 500+ Victorian members and 750+ NSW members that returned the manual forms that were needed to register.
The Sustainable Australia Party is now looking forward to finalising the candidate selection process and doing more campaigning
Australia’s annual permanent migrant intake has fallen to its lowest level in more than a decade after a Federal Government crackdown on dodgy claims. Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton said the government had restored integrity to the migration program to make sure the “best possible” migrants were brought into the country through tougher vetting. William Burke from the Sustainable Australia Party spoke to Tim McMillan about the new figures.
Should Australia’s migrant intake increase or decrease?
Australia’s annual permanent migrant intake has fallen to its lowest level in more than a decade after a Federal Government crackdown on dodgy claims.
Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton said the government had restored integrity to the migration program to make sure the “best possible” migrants were brought into the country through tougher vetting.
William Burke from Sustainable Australia spoke to Tim McMillan about the new figures.
Are you sick of politicians stuffing up our country? We are - and we’re doing something. We're serious about:
- Secure #jobs
- Affordable #housing
- Better #planning
- Sustainable #environment and population
Watch our new NSW membership video:
If we all work together, we can reach the 750 NSW members needed to register our State party - and a seat in Parliament will be ours for the taking.
If you're already a party member, sign up family and friends in NSW.
If you're not a member, join today. It's FREE!
We’re trying to raise $5,000 to advertise this on Facebook to over 100,000 people in NSW. Can you help with a small or large donation?
Let's do this, together!
If you’re sick of politicians stuffing up our country, support Sustainable Australia today - we campaign for secure jobs, affordable housing, better planning, and a sustainable environment and population.
“The big issues we feel are job security, housing affordability, planning in our suburbs and our environment. And all of those major indicators are going backwards with this onslaught of rapid population growth. So, it’s changing our daily lives. It’s gone beyond some big number into the future. It’s actually hitting us in the face when we drive out of our driveway in the morning and we try and get to work. Or when we try to look up a job when we try to get our next opportunity. Or when we look at our green space in our suburb that’s disappearing. Or looking at our urban heritage… that’s just being bulldozed for this highrise development”. (William Bourke, Sustainable Australia Party, speaking on 3AW to Neil Mitchell)
William Bourke writes:
The release of the Census data this week shows that Australia’s population expanded by 372,805 people over the year to December 2016 to 24,385,625 people. There is no political mandate for this extreme and unsustainable growth. In the fight for an economically, environmentally and socially sustainable Australia, our party publicly questions this growth. It's a tough job...
Day after day the unholy alliance of big business and the globalist new left send out their propaganda merchants to try to stigmatise anyone questioning Australia's extreme level of immigration-fuelled population growth. But we won't be bullied. We won't cower.
We need a sensible level of immigration. We also know that the silent majority, that lacks the media voice of the abovementioned minority groups, rejects the ideological and greed-driven 'big Australia' agenda.
By the way, what ever happened to the old, real left - that cared about workers' rights and the environment?
Jobs, Housing, Planning, Environment
As a centrist party, Sustainable Australia will continue to fight this extreme growth agenda. We know that unless we do, we can't achieve a sustainable Australia with secure jobs, affordable housing, better planning and a sustainable environment. As part of a broader policy mix, we must return annual permanent immigration - from a record of over 200,000 - back to the long term average of 70,000.
This week I took this message to the media including 3AW's Neil Mitchell.
Macrobusiness published the text of the interview on 3AW and candobetter.net is republishing it here:
Mitchell: “When you look at these [Census] figures, how do you argue it’s changing Australia?”
Bourke: “It’s changing Australian in every way possible. We need to talk about the numbers rather than having racial rants. This is about an Australia being better rather than being ever-bigger. There’s no mandate for this rapid population growth. No party has taken this to an election, so that’s the starting point”.
Mitchell: “How is it changing the country…”?
Bourke: “The big issues we feel are job security, housing affordability, planning in our suburbs and our environment. And all of those major indicators are going backwards with this onslaught of rapid population growth. So, it’s changing our daily lives. It’s gone beyond some big number into the future. It’s actually hitting us in the face when we drive out of our driveway in the morning and we try and get to work. Or when we try to look up a job when we try to get our next opportunity. Or when we look at our green space in our suburb that’s disappearing. Or looking at our urban heritage… that’s just being bulldozed for this highrise development”.
Mitchell: “Do you believe that immigration should be based on race?”
Bourke: “Absolutely not. It’s an issue of numbers. The real issue is that the permanent immigration program to Australia – which is the key driver of our population growth… The key driver of our rapid population growth is our record immigration program of around 200,000 per year. That is triple the long-term average of 70,000 per year. And that’s why places like Victoria are growing by 150,000 people a year rather than its traditional 50,000 per year”
“All we need to do is wind that [immigration] back to what it was 20-years ago to that long-term average – no discrimination based on race or religion or any of those things – just dial it back to the long-term average”…
We won't give up. Join the fight today.
Monthly coffee meet up
We're starting monthly coffee meet ups across Australia, on the first Sunday of the month. Initially this will be in Brisbane and Canberra.
You'll be able to meet like-minded people, join the party (via your mobile phone!) and pick up stickers and flyers. Stay tuned for more locations in coming weeks and months.
Speaking of stickers, we can post you one (or two) for free, with 20 letterbox flyers for your street and/or family and friends. Please simply ask us via the contact us link below. Include your postal address if you're not a member.
New website address
This week we changed our main website address from VoteSustainable.org.au to SustainableAustralia.org.au. There may be a few short-term disruptions, including to website links in recent eNewsletters. [Candobetter.net Editor: Just use a search engine like https://duckduckgo.com to go to these addresses. Candobetter.net has not linked directly to these sites because they do not have SSL certificates - which is really no big deal - except that it makes Chrome and Firefox browsers remove the 'green triangle' from our site if we link directly and some readers then think there is something wrong. Sorry for the boring technicality.]
: Newsletter from William Bourke of Sustainable Australia
All five ACT electorates to be contested by Sustainable Australia. Sustainable Australia’s first state/territory campaign will see the party contest all five ACT electorates, represented by a diverse range of candidates from an Indigenous Elder to a 20 year old ANU science student.
Sustainable Australia (ACT) president John Haydon is representing the party in Kurrajong, and says he's delighted to have all five electorates covered in the party's first non-federal campaign.
Mr Haydon says, "Our campaign will focus on three key points: Save Canberra from overdevelopment; Lower rates; and Protect our trees."
"We will provide for proper community consultation in all development applications across the ACT.
"By slowing population growth, we relieve the ACT of the need to build and/or retro-fit so much budget-breaking complex infrastructure - like ever more trams, hospitals and schools. This budget relief will achieve lower rates than would otherwise be the case.
"And by saving Canberra from ever more sprawl and infill overdevelopment we are the only party with a sustainable plan to protect our trees and green space."
Ngunnawal Elder Violet Sheridan is standing for the party in the seat of Yerrabi, covering Gungahlin.
Ms Sheridan says, "It is important to provide better education opportunities for Aboriginal youth and all young Australians, as well as housing affordability for first home buyers and renters. I'm also passionate about protecting the ACT's Aboriginal and European heritage from overdevelopment."
The party's Ginninderra candidate Martin Tye obtained a Bachelor of Applied Science in Geography from the University of Canberra, and also has an extensive background in small business, running successful retail outlets for over 30 years.
"My extensive campaigning around Belconnen has told me that many voters are tired of the same old political choices, and want something different. Most voters want a common sense party from the political centre, and support our aim for an economically, environmentally and socially sustainable ACT," said Mr Tye.
Mr Tye's son Oliver is also running for the party, in Kurrajong in which his university sits.
"I'm loving studying science at ANU but would go to part-time study if I had the privilege of representing younger voters in the ACT Legislative Assembly," said Mr (Oliver) Tye.
Full details on the campaign can be found at our website:
*Slower population growth would include lower immigration, from our current record annual permanent immigration program of around 200,000 (which we say should be lowered back to the long term average of 70,000), not Australia's humanitarian intake of 14,000 refugees (which we support).
Our policy priorities are detailed within our comprehensive policy platform below.
Issues outside of our comprehensive policy platform are addressed on merit, if elected.
Sustainable Australia (ACT) policies
We registered for the 2016 ACT election - and developed local ACT policies: CLICK HERE
After the recent elections where I have been actively involved with campaigning and handing out how to vote cards, I have tried to gather some understanding of the Australian political psyche from talking to people and then from puzzling over the results of the various elections. Of course there probably is no such thing as an “Australian political psyche” since we are NOT in fact one but many (too many, actually with the population at over 24 million and the effects being felt very keenly especially in Melbourne, Sydney and Perth). It’s hard enough to understand just one person’s political psyche without trying to understand the nation's whole populace!
All the people I spoke to at the polling place yesterday largely remain an enigma to me. By the end of the day, it became apparent how fragmented most of the political views were. Or was it that I was not getting a real overview but just seeing a splinter of something that was important to each that prompted them to engage by doing as I was - distributing How To Vote material, or by being there to vote and entering into conversation?
My party was the “Sustainable Australia Party.” A man giving out Liberal HTVs sneeringly asked me “what’s sustainable? It’s just an abstract term.” I replied, “It’s no more abstract than Liberal." He then agreed with me.
I had as many curious conversations as I had the energy for with Greens, and Liberals, one with the actual Labor candidate which was tinged with what I read as, “God I wonder if I really should be speaking to this person, I’ve got no idea what this party is and no urge to find out.”
One conversation was with a young ex-policeman from the David Lyeonhelm (un spell-able) Party who was there as he was in favour of more participation of smaller parties. He mentioned, as something he objected to, the amazing number of traffic offences there are in Victoria that people can be booked for. The obvious examples are the large number of speed limit changes within small distances - a recipe for errors on the part of unsuspecting motorists. He thought they were way beyond reasonable. Population growth was not mentioned in this conversation but in fact fines for minor traffic infringements are a benefit to the State from population growth and a dis-benefit to the public who are caught in the state infrastructure web of fines.
A young woman outside the entrance to the school where the polling took place was gathering signatures on a petition against a “sky rail” which is to cater for increased traffic, fix up crossings and enable more capacity on the trains because of ……..population growth. Inside the gate was a Greens representative in green tee-shirt who told me she was opposed to the anti-sky rail woman’s stance because the overcrowding has prevented her from using the trains, although she wants to.
"This will fix it", she said. She had no idea of the underlying cause of all this. I think I could sum up her view like this: People are moving into the area because they like being close to public transport. They prefer to spend “$900,000 on a unit" in the area rather than on a house further out. This explains why all the old houses are being knocked down for units. It’s a trend - nothing to do with outside forces.
I could characterise the day by saying that people raised many issues that related to population growth, but did not acknowledge this as a cause. I raised it and got the occasional agreement but no great epiphanies.
Sustainable Australia says the Turnbull Government has no chance of making good on the Prime Minister’s announcement that he wants to build so called “30 minute cities”, where everything people need is within a 30 minute commute. Sustainable Australia’s Senate candidate in NSW, William Bourke, says that the Prime Minister’s vision of a congestion free future is delusional, while immigration continues to run at record levels.
Mr Bourke says, “The Prime Mister’s plan has three parts, each as preposterous as the next.
“First, he wants to pay a group of bankers $50 million to tell him what to build, and where.
“Then, he wants to borrow another $5 billion for new road and rail projects. That’s on top of the almost $500 billion of government debt racked up over the last 8 years.
“And thirdly, he wants to make the grandchildren pay off that additional debt, by raising the $5 billion by selling 30 year bonds, which will be honoured by a future generation of taxpayers, long after the PM is gone.
Mr Bourke says it is absurd for the Prime Minister to suggest that the government could build its way out of a congestion trap, and borrow its way out of a debt crisis.
“Sustainable Australia says there is only one way to fix congestion. It is decent public transport and a lower immigration intake of 70,000 per year, back from the current high of 200,000 per year.
“The truth is our high population growth is the real reason for our daily traffic jams, and overcrowded trains, buses and trams.
“If we want an Australia that is better, not bigger, then we need to lower immigration”.
View Sustainable Australia’s “30 minute cities” Video Here: