Politics | Sustainable Population Australia

An independent not-for-profit organisation seeking to protect the environment and our quality of life by ending population growth in Australia and globally, while rejecting racism and coercive population control. SPA is an environmental advocacy organisation, not a political party.

Politics

Any topic relating to political parties

Can We Curb Our Growth Obsession – Is Bigger Always Better?

When:  World Population Day, Thurs 11th July, 6pm to 07:30pm

Where:  Melbourne, Victoria
             New Internationalist Bookshop, Trades Hall

 

Australia’s Economy is centred on the belief that we need GDP and Population growth for prosperity.  However, GDP tells us nothing about quality of lives, and gives no regard to the depletion or degradation of natural resources.

This event will explore alternative (Non-GDP) models for progress from New Zealand and Costa Rica, and discuss the impacts of population growth on town planning and climate change.
Presentations will be followed by a panel/Q&A sessions, with refreshments including wine and cheese.

This event is open to all members of the public

 

Event Speakers

 

Kelvin Thompson (Event MC)

Kelvin is a former Federal MP and President of Sustainable Population Australia (Vic/Tas).  He is passionate about the environment, and supports ‘population reform’  to ensure a more sustainable future for Australia.

 

Bronwyn Plarre

Bronwyn is an activist who has worked with the Climate Guardians & Galilee Blockade among other groups. She is an active member of Urban Coup, an organisation that is focused on community based resilience.

 

Mark Allen

Mark is a former planner and environmental campaigner who co-founded Population Permaculture and Planning and started the holistic activism movement to promote less conflict and more critical thinking into activism.

 

Michael Bayliss

Michael is the Communications Manager for Sustainable Population Australia. He is a long term grassroots environmental activist, with a particular interest in post-growth societies.

 

 

This is a free public event with limited seating capacity (40 people). This event is in recognition of world population day and the event has been facilitated by the Victorian and Tasmanian branch of Sustainable Population Australia.  However, this event serves to promote a diversity of views and perspectives on the the topics of post-growth societies and population growth. Therefore, we strongly encourage an environment that mutually respects different opinions.

Thank you to the New Internationalist Bookshop for hosting this event.

 

Please find link to the Facebook event here

June 28 2019

Federal election candidates will explain their position on Australia’s rapid population growth at SPA forum

 

Federal election candidates will explain their position on Australia’s rapid population growth at a free public forum on Saturday 27 April, to be held at Griffith University.

 

The forum is organised by the environmental advocacy group Sustainable Population Australia (SPA), in the interests of more open and informed debate about the impacts of population growth.

The forum also includes expert speakers on the topic, including ecologist Dr Hugh Possingham, Chief Scientist at The Nature Conservancy, and journalist Crispin Hull.

April 23 2019

Victorian Members - write to your newly elected parliament about your population concerns

 

To our Victorian members, Victorian supporters, and anyone living in Victoria concerned about the record population growth in the state.  Growth which is threatening to liveability and long term sustainability of both Melbourne and regional Victoria.

With a freshly elected Victorian state parliament,  we suspect that population will be a hot topic for the next parliamentary term.

Therefore, it is an ideal time to write to your serving MPs to tell them exactly why high population in Victoria is not serving you.

The more of us that write to our politicians, the louder the voice for change in population policy will become.

For this reason, we have written a pro-forma letter that we believe covers the main points, makes a convincing argument and is keeping to the style that we believe politicians will read.

Please feel free to use the entirely of this pro-forma or to personalise it when sending to your local lower and upper house MPS.

You can search for your own representatives at the website here

 

Thank you and good luck!

 

Sustainable Population Australia (SPA), Victoria and Tasmania Branch

 

 

pro forma letter below:

 

 

{local member}

{date}

Dear (Title and name) ,

I am writing to you today in relation to the rapid rate of population growth within our state, particularly within Greater Melbourne, which is growing at over 100,000 per annum.  The only debate within government and the media is centred around “where Victoria should house all of the population growth”, but surely the bigger debate is on the merits of population growth, and whether it is a good idea at all?

Population growth is an issue which exacerbates many of the common concerns of today:congestion, liveability, environment, water security, public-debt, and housing affordability.  Therefore, it is essential that the all levels of government consider these issues against any future population growth. 

Melbourne reached 5 million in 2018, and is now projected to be a Megacity of 8 million by 2051.  This would be a very poor outcome for residents:
A Melbourne of 8 million is not a liveable city.
A Melbourne of 8 million is not a prosperous city.
A Melbourne of 8 million is not a sustainable city.
A Melbourne of 8 million is not an affordable city.

The Victorian government’s plan to continue to expand the suburban fringe (i)  has created large pockets of sprawl, which offer a poor quality of life for residents.  City fringe residents face commute times of up to 2 hours, and confined to a 300m2 block (ii) , yet don’t enjoy any of the benefits of rural lifestyles.  However, with median house prices in excess of $1 million for the majority of Melbourne’s established suburbs, few families have a choice but to live in these fringe estates.  

The alternative of increasing the density of Melbourne with more apartments is no panacea either.  Historic buildings and family homes have been replaced with cranes and constructions sites across all of inner Melbourne.  It is a property developers’ paradise.  For residents, however, high density living has been shown to have adverse mental and physical effects . 

The Property Council and business lobby groups will insist that more infrastructure is the solution.  Planning consultant Marcus Spiller has said, “We are now just so far behind that there's almost no way to catch up with the growth". (iii)  Current infrastructure projects such as: the level crossing removal ($4 billion), the Melbourne metro project ($11 billion), Northeast link ($15 billion) are a huge impost on the state’s budget, and are at best a band-aid on the city’s growing congestion.  Furthermore, the huge cost of this “growth infrastructure” is diverting funds away from other essential services, while piling the state under a mountain of debt.

The Treasurer, Tim Pallas, has trumpeted the benefits of population growth as a boon for the Victorian Economy.  This ignores the fact that per capita, the Victorian economy has gone backwards in four of the past eight years (iv).  Our current trajectory towards a future of 8 million Melbournians is perilous, and not in the best interests of the electorate. 

I urge you consider the following actions:
1. To actively debate the topic of population growth within state parliament, and to seek public consultation on the current growth agenda
2. To develop a population policy which considers all of the impacts of population growth on Australia’s:  economy, health, environment, and living standards.
3. Negotiate with the federal government to reduce Australia’s immigration intake in line with long-term historical levels of 70,000 per annum.  Net migration is responsible for 60% of Australia’s annual population increase, making immigration policy our ‘de facto’ population policy, at present.

I look forward to your response.

Regards,

{your name}
 

 

(i)  https://www.domain.com.au/news/melbournes-urban-sprawl-continues-to-the-...

(ii)  https://www.realestate.com.au/news/blocks-shrinking-in-melbourne-housing...

(iii)  https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/newslocal/city-east/sydneys-high-densi...   story/46f635cf0c437e9018b1d58ca50576a9?nk=bca1a77baadc9f7b0118f33e2cebeba5-1544224777

(iv)  http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/4-million-5-million-8-million-how-big-...
 

December 22 2018

Write to you federal MPs with your population concerns before the election

 

 

Sustainable Population Australia is inviting all Australians who are concerned about our unsustainable population to growth to contact their Federal MPs before the next Federal election.

Now that population is a hotter topic than ever in the halls of parliament, the next few months are an ideal time to contact our MPs to give a loud and clear message that we, the voters, do NOT want a big Australia.

The more of us that write to our politicians, the louder the voice on this issue will be heard.

We have prepared a pro-forma letter to provide the style and content which we want to be communicating to our politicians.  We invite you to personalise and to use as much of this letter as you wish when contacting your MP.

To find your local federal members, the search function can be found here

Good luck!
 

 

Pro Forma letter:

 

{MP name}

{date}

Dear (title and name of MP) ,

I am writing to draw to your attention the need for a mature and respectful debate about rapid population growth and to seek your views on this issue.

Globally population growth has risen dramatically in the last two centuries. In 1800, the  global population was 1 billion people. By 2018, it had risen to 7.7 billion people. It is now rising by 80 million every year - an extra billion people every 12 years - and shows no sign of slowing down.

Population growth is the underlying cause of most wars - due to conflict over access to scarce resources, refugee movements, and a key factor in climate change – it’s hard to reduce your carbon footprint if you keep adding more feet!   The global population of
7.7 billion has had a catastrophic effect on the world’s wildlife, many species have been pushed to the brink of extinction.

Australia’s population growth is even more pronounced. Whereas our population was
10 million in 1960, it has now risen to 25 million, and is on track to be 40 million by 2050 and 100 million by 2100.

The principal growth driver is a big jump in immigration levels.  This was initially introduced by the Howard government in 2003, but this policy has continued by subsequent governments.    Net migration levels have almost quadrupled from the twentieth century average of 52,000 per annum, to over 200,000 per annum. 
The secondary growth driver is natural increase, more births than deaths - averaging 150,000 more each year (30% of births are to migrant mothers). The combined result of both migration and natural increase, is domestic population growth of one million every 3 years, with no signs of slowing down.
Our growth rate exceeds the global average, and is more than double the OECD average.

Our rapid population growth has led to adverse consequences for: housing affordability,
job opportunities for young people, traffic congestion, and carbon emissions.  Furthermore, the impact on our cities, open space, and on our wildlife, has been devastating.

Against this background, I am keen to hear your thoughts on rapid population growth. 
In particular, on four suggestions which I believe would make Australia and the world a better place both now and particularly in the future:

1. Increasing the proportion of our aid which goes to family planning. The international picture is dismal - family planning gets a mere 0.4% of international aid. Past evidence shows that spending money in this area works, and could stabilise global populations, whilst also raising living standards of recipient countries.

2. Returning Australia’s net migration to the numbers we had last century, rather than the rapid spike of the 21st. Australia will remain a multicultural, diverse country, even with more moderate immigration, and could maintain the current level of refugees intake. Indeed it is likely that public support for a compassionate refugee program would increase if the migrant worker programs, which are often exploited, were scaled back.

3. Australia’s rapid population growth happened without Australians being given a say in it.  Can we get a plebiscite about our population levels?  If this is not possible, Australians living in the major cities should at least have their say in planning matters returned to them. One of the many undesirable features of rapid growth in our cities has been the theft of a real say in planning decisions from local residents. Will you support measures to return a real say in planning decisions to the residents who are most affected by them?

4. Finally, are you prepared to support a mature and respectful debate around these issues? For far too long there has a been a deafening silence from Members of Parliament concerning population. The right has supported the greed of big business and the mantra of growth at any price. The left has become attached to the idea of open borders, an idea which is ecologically illiterate and hopelessly politically naive. The consequence has been the suppression of a debate our country needs to have.

We must stabilise our population to ensure a positive future, for both our children and the many other species on the planet.  What do you think?

Yours sincerely,

{your name here}

 

 

December 21 2018

Media Release: Tony Abbott and Peter Dutton on migration.

Australia has no coherent population plan other than to inundate the major cities with people.

Instead of a well though-out population policy, the strategy has been to stoke overall economic growth to support big business. This suits the property industry and retailers but GDP per capita growth is stagnating while ordinary Australians are worse off.

February 21 2018

POPULATION: HAVE WE MADE ANY PROGRESS AT ALL?

Jenny Goldie

This title was prompted by a recent question from a member of SPA, who wondered whether the considerable money he had donated over the years had been cost effective.

It led to my reflecting on whether SPA has indeed made any progress over the past 29 years since the organisation was founded.

May 4 2017

Answers from Political Parties 2016

Some weeks ago SPA sent a questionnaire to six political parties asking for their policy positions re population issues. In summary, we sought to find out from each of them:

  1. Their views on the optimum population for Australia and the basis for their figure;

  2. Whether they recognise that there are environmental constraints to population growth and which constraints are the most significant;

  3. Skilled migrant intake versus training local workers;

June 16 2016

Media Release - Coalition opposes free speech?

If the Coalition has its way free speech is to be confined to that which agrees with their dictates. This is clearly shown in a House of Representatives committee report released, so as not to be noticed, in the days leading to the calling of the election.

Hundreds of environment groups in Australia have been assessed by the Australian Tax Office as worthy of receiving tax deductible donations. The work of these groups usually includes advocacy, such as lobbying for the adoption of more renewable energy or arguing against more coal mines. This advocacy sometimes brings them into conflict with government policy.

May 13 2016