A bit of interesting commentary today on the population debate. First, on The Drum, Chris Berg who points out the struggles the Greens are having on their immigration policy:
Let’s be clear. If you are a refugee fleeing persecution, then a Green government will embrace you. But if you are fleeing something as banal and commonplace as poverty, economic hardship, low wages, a lack of opportunity or jobs, or if you’re just looking for a better life for you and your family – then the door to Australia is closed.
Actually, the contradiction arises because the Greens are moving away from their core issue. They should be arguing the population position solely on environmental grounds which generally means being neutral on movements of people and dead against ‘natural’ expansions in the population. That means having a Small World population policy and not having any specific views on the size of Australia.
John Quiggin then reacts to Chris Berg essentially agreeing with his point including pointing out that natural increases are surely more of the culprit than immigration if your problem is stress on infrastructure. You know, I’d like to see some evidence on that point (we have a century of data on the subject) but such congestion is at least theoretically possible.
But here’s the thing, John can’t resist labeling Berg as a “Big Australia advocate.” You know Berg may be a rabid right wing libertarian but that’s no reason to resort to abject labeling. As a matter of fact, there is nothing in Berg’s argument in favour of freedom of location choice that is advocating Big Australia. What it is advocating is a Frictionless Equilibrium Australia (FEA) with the size determined by the aggregate of the myriad of migration and emigration decisions of people rather than some centralized targeting. This labeling also invites the notion that those who are ‘FEA-Resistant’ or FEAR (for short) are ‘Small Western Sydney’ advocates. Is it really true that people are against migration to Western Sydney and want a quota?