Monday, December 1, 2014

Second Victorian Government Brought Down by Rapid Population Growth

Rapid population growth is political poison, and has brought down a second Victorian Government in four years. In the past decade Australia's migration rate more than doubled. The greatest consequences of this dramatic increase have been in Melbourne, which started growing by more than 200 people a day, 1500 each week, 75,000 each year.

As I pointed out at the time, the adverse consequences of this growth for planning, transport, the environment and the cost of living were crucial in bringing down the former Labor Government.

But the incoming Liberal Government did not understand why it had won, and fell for the trap of believing its own propaganda. Melbourne's population growth continued apace, and Ted Baillieu said strong population growth was vital to the state's economic future. He did not last long.
His successor Denis Napthine did not last much longer. How he must be wishing he had put money into Victoria's emergency services and TAFE, instead of allocating billions to a new tollway to try to fix population driven traffic congestion.
I congratulate new Premier Dan Andrews on his remarkable win, defeating a first term government for the first time in sixty years. He showed great courage and foresight in supporting public transport approaches to Melbourne's traffic chaos, such as Melbourne Metro and removing level crossings.
The Federal Liberal Government must also accept its share of responsibility for this defeat. Both Denis Napthine and Dan Andrews have been professional, predictable and measured in their actions and campaigning. Tony Abbott has stomped into this relatively tranquil environment like an out of control Tyrannosaurus, attacking students and pensioners, cutting health, education, and the ABC, and trying to cut the Renewable Energy Target.
Prime Minister Abbott is out of touch with Victorians. Victorians want action on climate change and support renewable energy. Victorians support higher education and don't want to see a university education become unaffordable. Victorians support manufacturing industry and are dismayed at the Federal Government's contempt for the car industry and for SPC Ardmona. The result in Shepparton bears that out.

If the Prime Minister does not change, he too could lead a one term government. He should demonstrate that he is prepared to listen by abandoning his calls for the East West Tollway to proceed. This is an incitement to the new Labor Government to break its election promise on this. There was a time when Tony Abbott was very big on keeping election promises, on honour and trust in politics. He needs to remember what he used to say, and work with the new Government to implement its election commitments such as Melbourne Metro and the under grounding of level crossings.


  1. The election issues in Victoria were all very fundamental, and basic issues that we should be moving beyond! The crush of high population growth means stress on our services, and overloaded infrastructure. It means continually needing more ... of everything! The public are meant to pay, just to keep up to demand instead of moving onto more important issues such as the Great Central National Park, alternative energy sources, job creation, education, training and maintaining our standards of living. Victoria must arrive at some point, at a stage of maturity. We need to arrive at a stage of consolidation, enhancement and refinement, not be slogged by the pressures of continual population growth! If budgets surpluses can't cover the cost of maintaining services required, then it's time to end any population booms that blow out budgets even further.

  2. Spot on Kelvin, as usual!. This rate of population growth is killing Melbourne. No government will ever be able to keep with the need for increased infrastructure and services needed to match this rate of growth. And more future governments will be turfed out in their first term. Two percent annual growth is on a par with the fastest and poorest countries in Africa. This Ponzi scheme supported by a collusion of government and business must be exposed in any possible way. Government is keen to have high growth to show that there is economic growth, a folly since on an individual basis we stay in the same place or go backwards. Business is only interested in enlarging their customer base. We know that Ponzi schemes do not end well, and ultimately, we will all pay for this folly with lower standard and quality of living.

    1. I was interested to see on ABC news the other night that our GDP has been on a markedly downward trend over recent times. As we know, Net Overseas Migration has been massive at the same time. A graph of both together would have made it blindingly obvious to all that GDP per capita is decreasing at an alarming rate. And GDP includes growth in disaster recovery spending so that the decrease in true growth must be even faster.

  3. I have read Kelvin's comments and I admire anyone that so passionately and doggedly work to put the population issue at the centre of the debate.

    Frankly, I can't think of anything in our society that would NOT benefit from a scientific and realistic approach to population issues.

    Regardless of political colour and heritage, Australia need to see many more honest and unselfish politicians like Kelvin Thomson come forward and be heard!

    This should be the one issue all Australians should unite about - for the sake of their children and ... and particularly for our future great-great-grand-children!!

    I think many adults like me feel a deep shame over what beautiful world our parents and grand-parents left in our care, compared with how our generation have cared for our children's future heritage. Frankly, I think my reckless and selfish generation has got a lot to answer for in this respect.

    With many more visionary people like Kelvin Thomson in important positions, this may change and it must!

  4. I am more than happy to endorse Kelvin's remarks together with the comments made by the three other contributors (so far) to this site.

    I look forward to the day when more ALP and Green members join in and support Kelvin in this most important campaign.

  5. Well put Kelvin. Why don't other politician's come clean on the overpopulation issue?