500 signatures reached
To: The Prime Minister
Australia requires a public inquiry to determine a basis for the optimum rate of population growth
Perform a comparative analysis of the social, environmental, economic and humanitarian consequences (both domestic and international) of a range of Australian long term population growth rates; using zero population growth as the Base Case benchmark.
Why is this important?
Based on Australia's current population growth we will have 8 times as many people in 120 years from now. If the world followed our lead, world population would reach 56 billion over the same duration.
This is NOT about stopping refugees from entering Australia. Most of the migrants entering Australia are already relatively wealthy by world standards. This is about critical review of Australia's rates of growth.
All major political parties, including the Greens, went to the 2013 Federal Election with rapid population growth policies. The rates of population and GDP growth have fluctuated around the long term averages since 1900. A primary basis for these policies appears to be reactionary adherence to a status quo which has remained in place for over 100 years.
The world has changed since 1900 and it is time for government to acknowledge that human impact on the environment, including mass extinctions and global warming, cannot be sustainably managed if the rate of population growth is ignored as if it is irrelevant. Australia’s fossil fuel based emissions rose over 30% between 1990 and 2010 in a chaotically expanding carbon-based economy. Over the same period Australia’s population rose the same amount - driving the chaotic expansion.
This is a global issue and Australia's population and GDP growth rates in 2012 were 2 to 4 times the respective OECD averages. There is domestic and international evidence that such growth has negative social, environmental and economic outcomes that increase as the rate of growth increases. Australia stands out as a developed-world leader of extreme, unsustainable growth in conjunction with escalating private and public sector debt.
By damaging Australia's future sustainability with extreme population growth we will be less able to provide foreign aid to the over one billion starving and malnourished people in the developing world who rely on us to provide that aid to them in their homelands - while we build massive freeways and unused desalination plants, etc....... As indicated by Tim Costello before the last election; the cost to save a human life in the developing world is far lower than the cost of social welfare and infrastructure expansion for each additional Australian.
We need the public inquiry to provide a starting point for an objective evaluation of population growth policy that is free from political interference.
Some excerpts from the conclusions of government Research Paper 17 1996-7:
Unlike most developing countries, most Western countries do not have an articulated population policy. But then most, unlike Australia, do not have a substantial and long-term migration program.
Australia's population policy is implicit in its immigration program, but it is a policy by stealth, a policy without consensus..........
This is not a satisfactory situation.
Population policy has to be seen as much more than immigration policy.
.........An infinite number of arrangements are possible for administering population policy, but what is essential is that policy be sensibly determined in the first place.
Whether or not Australia adopts a population policy, it can be argued that provision should be made for a long-term advisory body on population matters that brings together not only government agencies but also representation from academia and community groups. Population policy is important for the future of every Australian, and therefore deserves to be debated and discussed as widely as possible.
How it will be delivered
To the Prime Minister in person in conjunction with a press conference; if feasible.