Majority say Australia does not need more people: TAPRI survey

11 April 2024

Media Releases 2024


According to the latest survey from The Australian Population Research Institute (TAPRI), a decisive 71% of voters say Australia does not need more people.

Jenny Goldie, national president of Sustainable Population Australia (SPA) says there is a large and growing voter constituency concerned about the level of immigration despite support from Business, Labor Government and Treasury for a high intake.

Australia’s population surged by 659,800 people (2.5%) in the year to 30 September 2023, of which 548,800 was from net overseas migration (NOM). This was even higher than NOM of 518,100 in the year to 30 June 2023.

The survey Australian voters’ views since the voice referendum: key messages, by Bob Birrell and Katharine Betts, was released on 10 April. It found some 49% want a drastic cut in immigration. A further 25% wanted somewhat lower levels, while only 14% wanted to maintain the current high numbers. A further 13% had no opinion.  

“This survey notes that the 49% opposed to high immigration is well up on the 42 percent share who felt this way in TAPRI’s September 2022 survey,” says Ms Goldie.

“The fact that more voters wanted population stabilisation than wanted large cuts to immigration suggests that many people are unaware of the extent to which immigration is driving rapid population growth. If they understood the numbers, it’s likely they would favour bigger cuts to immigration.

“Voters opposed to high immigration thought it was contributing to congestion, deteriorating access to services, notably hospital services, and to higher costs of housing. The strongest concern was about the implications for the cost of housing.

“Most voters did not think population growth was vital for Australia’s future. They clearly rejected the Big Australia paradigm.”

The survey notes that immigration has not become a major political issue, partly because no major political party has tried to make it an issue.

“It is inevitable, however, that it will become a political issue,” says Ms Goldie. “The link between high demand for housing and mass immigration cannot and will not be ignored by voters at the next federal election.

“There is a cost-of-living crisis. Nearly half (48%) of voters surveyed saw themselves as financially insecure, in that they were ‘just about getting by’ financially or ‘finding it difficult to get by’.

“As the survey report notes, the cost-of-living crisis may abate as inflation declines but the housing crisis will undoubtedly worsen. This is because the level of construction is unable to accelerate fast enough to match unprecedented growth in housing demand.

Birrell and Betts conclude that young voters are serious losers. ‘As their prospects of home ownership decline, so a life of renting beckons and so does the prospect of financial insecurity later in life.’

“Let this survey stand as a warning to all political parties. If you expect to win votes, you need to heed the opinions of voters and not be beholden to those who profit from rapid population growth, fuelled largely by mass immigration,” says Ms Goldie.

“This survey reinforces that fact that Australian voters are saying NO to a big Australia .”


Sustainable Population Australia is YOUR voice on Australia’s population future.  Help us to say NO to a Big Australia by adding your signature to our position statement.

Dr Katharine Betts is a patron of SPA.  Find our more about Katharine here.


Federal Government , immigration , Media Releases 2024 , Opinion , Politics , population , survey , TAPRI
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