Frequently Asked Questions
The following is a list of questions with responses to each:
- Is SPA a political group?
SPA is not a political party and is not affiliated with any party. We are political in that we try to educate politicians as well as the media and the general public on the population issue in Australia.
SPA has no official relationship with the similarly named political party the Stable Population Party of Australia which came into existence in 2010.
- Just what is SPA?
SPA is a non-profit volunteer environment group. Unlike most others, we focus on the importance of population growth - the human impact on our natural, rural and urban environments.
- Is SPA a local branch of a foreign organisation?
No. SPA was started in Australia, by Australians and our primary concern is the Australian environment.
There are many organisations around the world that share similar goals to SPA. We list some of them at Links page
- Why don't we just call ourselves Zero Population Growth?
We believe that Australia will probably have to do more than just stabilise the population level. We most likely have to reduce it in the long run. People might be confused if we talked of negative growth. It sounds like a contradiction and besides, it may not be needed everywhere. The important thing is to strike the right balance between nature and numbers.
- How do we lower the birth rate?
There are plenty of non-coercive things that could be done. Experience in the third world shows three things are vital: Access to and information about contraceptives.
The ability of women to decide their own future, including the number of children.
High health levels and low death rates of those children. In Australia this means putting money back into family planning clinics. Parenting courses in schools. Better sex education and access to contraceptives. Spending more on children's health and welfare services. Encouraging girls to pursue their education and careers further. Launching a "Two Will Do" campaign, making it clear that large families are not economically necessary or environmentally desirable to the nation.
All sorts of financial discouragements to large families are made by other countries' governments. Hopefully, none of them will be needed if we start on the softer options soon.
- Racist - what does it mean? - Is reducing immigration racist?
Definition from Collins English Dictionary Australian Edition 1990:
racialism or racism n.
The belief that races have distinctive cultural characteristics determined by hereditary factors and that this endows some races with an intrinsic superiority over others.
Abusive or aggressive behaviour towards members of another race on the basis of such a belief. - racialist or racist
Applying the above definitions and by any other definition, controlling immigration on an 'across the board' basis is certainly not racist. Item 5 of SPA's aims and objectives is:
"To advocate low immigration rates while rejecting any selection of immigrants based on race."
If simply controlling total immigration numbers were to be recognised as racist then the great majority of the more than 170 countries in the U.N. would qualify to be called racist. The objective of controlling immigration in Australia is to help guide the destiny of our country. It is to help ensure that Australia's population will ultimately be an ecologically sustainable population. It has nothing to do with race, racism or racialism.
- What about Refugees?
There is no need to reduce the current refugee intake, and in fact SPA has advocated that it be increased by 25%. Australia's current refugee intake is around 4,000 per year - equivalent to less than 15% of the approximately 28,000 people who leave Australia permanently every year. This still leaves room for some immigration (e.g. close family reunion, some special skills) without causing a net increase in population.
- Isn't Conservation more important than population?
This is like asking if your heart is more important than your brain. Both are vital to survival. Taking action only on conservation and ignoring population is like mopping up around an overflowing bath without turning the taps off. No matter how hard you work, you just can't win in the long run.
- What is I = PAT?
The impact on a country's resources and environment is most clearly explained by the Ehrlich equation:
(Environmental) Impact = Population x Affluence x Technology
or I = PAT, where
P = Population size,
A = Affluence, which is the average individual consumption, and
T = an index of the environmental demand that a Technology imposes to supply goods consumed.
Communities need to limit the size of all three factors: it makes no sense to pretend that only one or two of them are important. Today, even those planners sympathetic to the environment cannot avoid imposing further burdens on it in order to satisfy the needs of ever more people.
We must work on all three fronts:
- to stabilise or, better, reduce our population;
- to change our personal lifestyles to use less energy and finite resources; and
- to adopt less damaging industrial and farming practices.