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The rapidly changing faces of Australia


The writer is in Australia.

THE news has come through that Australia now has 27million people, what with our current open-door policy on immigration. 

We don’t (currently) have Europe’s or America’s problem with illegals arriving at will – Tony Abbott stopped all that here, in an astonishingly short time – but we do have a problem. Not everyone thinks so, of course. An unholy alliance exists of businesspeople, who like cheap labour and lots of customers, leftist multiculturalists who like new people and hate many of our existing tribes, and governments (of both persuasions) who think – without much real evidence – that more migrants mean a better economy. No, they only mean a Ponzi economy, and more economic and social problems, such as housing shortages, overcrowded transport systems, urban sprawl, clogged roads, higher housing costs and enclaves where English is seldom spoken and old-world enmities seem to find their way to our shores. Just ask Australian Jews, many of whom now live in fear.

Leith van Onselen at Macro Business has written about the latest data. 

The demographer Mark McCrindle has also analysed the trends. 

The 27million figure is the headline number, but some of the other numbers matter, too. One that is noteworthy is the 624,100 increase in population over the past year. This is equivalent to adding the population of the entire state of Tasmania (572,800) in just one year.

Another is the speed at which we are growing. Based on the latest annual growth rate of 2.4 per cent, Australia’s population will be 41million by 2042, 16million more than the 2002 forecasts.

This is astonishing, and no one has ever demanded it or voted on it. Partly because the major parties are in cahoots on the desire for a big, and more importantly, a diverse, Australia. It is happpening under the radar, though there can hardly be a more important political issue, one that demands popular engagement with decision-makers.

One final figure to note: it is the balance of 737,200 overseas arrivals and 219,100 departures which has led to record growth.

Australian demographers seldom talk about population ‘churn’ at either the national or the local level. This is the addition of the two numbers, rather than the subtraction of one from the other to get a net population increase figure (factoring in births and deaths, of course), which is by far the more popular calculation. If you add the new arrivals to those who have left, you will get the total number of ‘different’ people. Over the last year, that figure is close on one million. This shows just how quickly the make-up of the population can change, locally, regionally and nationally.

The churn number is ultimately about replacement. When a lot of new people come in and a lot of existing people leave, you get a very different mix. Especially when the origins of the immigrants are constantly changing as well. Just look at where China and India were in 1997, in contrast to 2020, in the linked moving graph/article (you need to scroll down).

The question becomes, is this intentional (policy) or simply the way the numbers fall once you have committed to a huge immigration position?

It is held to be both controversial and offensive by some to entertain the idea that governments and the progressive elites that control them are seeking a different racial mix to the one that has characterised Australia in times past. Or, for that matter, that any government anywhere would want to do that.

Whether or not anyone has meant to do it, the outcome of open borders and non-discriminatory mass immigration will be clear. And inevitable. Fewer whites and fewer people for whom English is the first language; more enclaves; multi-mono-culturalism rather than multiculturalism. Especially in the ‘global cities’ we now have, cities that have far more in common with other global cities than with their own rural hinterlands.

Population replacement might be seen, benignly, as simply an outcome of inherently mobile populations, a necessary thing and a good thing. Australians are a very mobile people, within local areas and from region to region. This is often linked to ‘time of life’ moves. Children leaving home and forming new households, partnering up, starting families (in the burbs), downsizing in retirement, lifestyle moves (sea change and tree change). Add to this the modern phenomenon of moving to an ideologically compatible location, as gay communities do. Or perhaps white suburbia.

In a former life, I studied, wrote about and taught on these things. (See here.) 

On the other hand, it may not be so benign. Churning population is inherently unstable, and goes against the grain of Roger Scruton’s notion of ‘oikophilia’, the love of located community. 

Churned population is slightly reminiscent of Trotsky’s permanent revolution. Both words here are key. Permanent revolution is the strategy of a revolutionary class pursuing its own interests independently and without compromise or alliance with opposing sections of society.

Or reminiscent of the core values of post-modernism and relativism. (Multiculturalism is the bastard child of post-modernism.) Or the core notion of capitalism, creative destruction, so eloquently described by the Austrian economist Joseph Schumpeter.  Or the localised utopias described by the Harvard philosopher, Robert Nozick, in his 1974 libertarian tome Anarchy, State and Utopia. Nozick spoke of individuals and communities forming mini-utopias within the context, and with the protection, of a benign, minimal state. 

What all ‘utopias’ end up as is anything but stable and anything but benign. Don’t ever let anything settle and traditions, especially those rooted in place, cannot readily form. Think of self-contained, gay enclaves on the one hand, and the infiltration of children’s libraries, classrooms and curricula on the other. Not to mention the State and elites-inspired attacks on the family, and on the sacredly held traditions of ‘other’ communities. And the private armies (fact checkers, anyone?) that are employed to crush opposition. (Nozick spoke of private armies as enforcers of private interests in a pre-minimal state; they still exist, indeed, prosper, in our very own, far-from-minimal state).

It is a nice way for governments and elites determined to keep we-the-people under effective control. Community, like family and church, always used to act as a mediating force between the individual and the state. These are the institutions of ‘tradition’, the core value despised in equal measure by both free market champions like Virginia Postrel (most notably in her 1999 book, The Future and Its Enemies) and by post-modernists for whom there are no core, unchanging values. Tradition is the sworn enemy of radical individualism in all its ideological forms. Not coincidentally, this is the shared philosophy of those who have attained cultural, social and political power in our age.

None of this need have anything to do with race or crushing xenophobia by importing new people, but it just might. And it isn’t remotely ‘off’ to think it.  It is fascinating what boring demographic data can reveal!

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Paul Collits
Paul Collits
Paul Collits is a freelance writer and regular contributor to Quadrant Online

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