No ‘Big Australia’: @GuinevereHall meets Sustainable Population Party for #WAvotes

Guinevere Hall

Guinevere Hall

Citizen journalist at No Fibs
A real estate rep and mother of 3 daughters, Guinevere has lived in Perth since 1980, but was born in New Zealand and still barracks for the NZ cricket team. "I am an avid reader with an interest in bookcrossing. I watch little television, but play too much World of Warcraft" she said. "My interest in politics originated during my University days when I studied politics and history. I love people-watching and am described by my eldest daughter as an amateur psychologist."
Guinevere Hall
- 2 weeks ago
Guinevere Hall
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Peter Strachan, candidate for the Sustainable Population Party in #WAvotes.

Peter Strachan, candidate for the Sustainable Population Party in #WAvotes.

Last week I caught up with the Sustainable Population Party’s candidate for the WA Senate election, Peter Strachan, and party founder and president, William Bourke.

Mr Strachan has always interested in the population issue, having worked 11 years in a variety of countries, he has seen the impact of unsustainable population growth.

“When I arrived in Kenya in 1974, their population was 12.7 million, the same as Australia at the time. Kenya now has 48 million, while Australia has increased to 23.4 million, and one of the world’s biggest slums is now in Nairobi. This is not an improvement,” he said.

“I arrived in Cairo in 1977, the population of Egypt was 39 million and Australia was 15 million. Egypt is now 86 million and completely unsustainable, they import 50 per cent of their food.

“One case study is Iran after the Ayatollah came back in 1979. He deemed it a ‘good Muslim thing’ to have lots of children. However, when Rafsanjani became President in 1989 he saw this was unsustainable. Now every woman has access to and education on family planning.”

Mr Strachan came to Perth from Melbourne in 1995, when the population of the city was 770,000. Now it’s 1.7 million.

“Births are double deaths in Australia. Even if we had zero net migration we would still grow by 3 million over the next couple of decades. Migration does not change the ageing structure. The Productivity Commission has stated that clearly and yet ministers of the government have continued to push this myth,” he said.

“The Green’s solution to that is new technology, but for the past 200 years people have been bringing the best technology that’s available to the table. In fact, it is technology that has bought us to where we are today. To expect some sort of paradigm shift that this green technology is going to ‘make it all better’ is to deny what has happened in the past 200 years.”

I asked William Bourke about the Sustainable Population Party’s solution.

“It is a global issue. Every country must take responsibility on population, and through our foreign aid budget we can target that,” he said.

“On the economic front, what we are advocating for is real growth. What that means is transitioning scarce economic capital away from unproductive uses like building high-rise apartments, widening freeways, and housing developments, into things that create wealth per person.

“If you have $100 million of scarce capital, do you spend it on a housing development or on a cochlear implant factory? If you transition money away from speculative investment in land driven by population growth, into productive assets like Switzerland and Norway does; stabilise population; and invest scarce economic capital into things that grow your per capita wealth – sustainable development – that’s where your real per capita GDP comes from,” he said.

“Overpopulation leads to resource scarcity, war and forced migration, that’s why we shouldn’t be worried about taking a few more or few less refugees, we should focus on the global vision of population versus scarce resources. Overpopulation drives boats.”

I was interested to know how the Sustainable Population Party hopes to go this time.

“We have hopes of doubling our vote from 2013,” Mr Bourke said. “As far as preferences go, I think the minor party alliance has fragmented. We do talk to micro parties on philosophical grounds. Some of them are with us on population, but not with sustainability. The Greens, Labor and the Liberals are deliberately supressing the population issue in federal parliament, so we have to get new blood in there to talk about the issue. If The Greens continue their recalcitrance on this issue then we will be forced to speak to other minor parties.”

The Sustainable Population Party preferences show they are indeed speaking to micro parties. They have also been endorsed for the WA Senate election by Dick Smith, who appears in a video on their website.

1 Mutual Party
2 Australian Voice
3 Building Australia
4 Australian Motorists
5 Australian Democrats


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Comments


  1. Actually, I arrived in Kenya at the port of Mombasa on a ship, 3rd class from Bombay via Karachi! Egypt’s population in 1977 was 39 million and Cairo was 15 million, the same as Australia. Look how well Egypt has done since!


  2. Reads like an opinion but no realistic solutions or strategies.

    Major logic & factual flaws:

    “over population drives boats”, what? Not war or persecution – asylum seekers are economic migrants, eh?

    “invest scarce economic capital into things that grow your per capita wealth – sustainable development – ” Does investment considerations of other scarce resources like human, intellectual and natural come into the mix? This analogy would mean public education is a bad investment decision.

    Talking about private capital or public investment? They usually have different objectives. Or is Population Party advocating free market economics?

    Since when has infrastructure been ‘unproductive’: Isn’t the Internet infrastructure and essential to postindustrial economies & their continuing productivity? New highways may be a waste of money but alternative transport systems are needed to distribute goods and services.

    “take responsibility on population … through our foreign aid budget” – Don’t think Australia is big enough to have an impact. It does have influence in pacific region but that region isn’t where the migration is coming from.

    “To expect some sort of paradigm shift that this green technology is going to ‘make it all better’ is to deny what has happened in the past 200 years” So 200 years of industrial technology created the industrial economy but sustainable technologies will not bring about a similar change? Mmmm, think that’s a unique economic theory.

    Then look at preferences.

    Thanks I didn’t know much about the Population Party.

    http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=15382


    • You don’t think Australia is big enough to have an impact? Sorry you lost me there.

      Changing a system or process never happens without everyone in the existing system complaining. Doesn’t mean it’s not good, and never means it shouldn’t be attempted.

      Remember the ludites.


    • “Climate change is already destabilizing nations and leading to wars.”

      The US Military Joint Chiefs of Staff gets it
      the CIA gets it
      the Pentagon gets its
      Now in the face of sfa being done to deal with it they being the ultimate pragmatists are planning on how to deal with the wars that are the inevitable consequences of our governments inaction.

      But in our house flipping hole digging cargo cult long weekend society she will be alright – mate.

      http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2014/04/20/how-us-military-preparing-climate-change-war

      While the Greens wring their collective hands about human rights, overpopulation is THE big threat to human rights, but they do not want to see it.


  3. S Balfour, I am interested to hear about your solutions or don’t you think that 7.4 billion people, expanding by 80 million pa represents a challenge to humanity?
    Your correspondent Mr King (AKA Cheryl) is a paid lobbyist for the growth industry that impoverishes us and reduces our quality of life. I prefer to look for guidance and inspiration from people such as Dr Jane Goodall and Sir David Attenborough.

    Application of new technology over the past 250 years has mostly enabled us to consume more at a lower cost. From the water mill to steam engine and internal combustion engine and then jet engine an photovoltaics, each step has been more efficient than the last.
    The first sign of madness however is said to be repeating the same action and expecting a different outcome. How then will the application of these fantastic renewable energy technologies alter the situation if nothing else changes? Ultimately we must use renewable technologies because we are already at peak oil production, but unless we change something else, the outcome for humans will be the same as all the other technologies that have been so eagerly absorbed. More consumption more emissions and more loss of the biophysical environment that sustains life on earth.

    When we look around the world at trouble spots, it is strange how they all suffer from some combination of scare resources and overpopulation. Ethiopia, Sudan, Syria, Egypt and the list goes on. Forced migration is a function of overpopulation. I have found that people are generally very happy to live in their own country, but when they are hungry, they get angry with their rulers and civil strife breaks out, forcing people to relocate. People don’t generally want to move away from their homeland and family, but hunger, along with the accompanying civil disturbances, will drive them out. So overpopulation and its effects is at the core of forced, mass migration.

    I could go on about loss of biodiversity, mass extinctions, global warming, rising pollution levels but I fear that my words will be wasted. Perhaps you would like to glance at some work by experts?

    http://www.canberratimes.com.au/environment/climate-change/ipcc-warns-climate-chaos-will-worsen-harming-australias-economy-20140322-35a4g.html

    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/earth-insight/2014/mar/14/nasa-civilisation-irreversible-collapse-study-scientists


    • “Correspondent”? Looks like Mr King has created another alias in order to give himself a friend.


  4. If you don’t grow the popiulation the new highway is not needed and existing infracture can be maintained properly and the Government might actually catch up. Peter Strachan makes a lot of sense, but are we clever enough to stop population growth before we destroy our quality of life. Current politicians think it won’t get too bad in their life time so bugger the future generations.

  5. Matt Moran says

    “Reads like an opinion but no realistic solutions or strategies.”
    Actually, very realistic and sensible solutions and strategies: http://www.populationparty.org.au/. Do we wish to continue to grow at 3rd world rates or do we recognise the obvious decline in quality of life and rapid loss of species/biodiversity?

    ” Major logic & factual flaws: ”
    You can verify the facts presented yourself. They are accurate.

    ‘“over population drives boats”, what? Not war or persecution –
    Of course it does. Overpopulation is at the heart of all resource driven conflict.

    “asylum seekers are economic migrants, eh? ‘”
    No. That’s not what Peter said. And you continue to deliberately distort the debate by continuing to equate asylum seekers with our nominal immigration levels.

    “invest scarce economic capital into things that grow your per capita wealth – sustainable development – ”
    Yes, the party is talking about more meaningful measures of wealth including a viable ecology and economy, access to nature, education, health and leaving something for future generations and wildlife.

    “Does investment considerations of other scarce resources like human, intellectual and natural come into the mix?”
    Of course. Again you are deliberately confusing the issue. See my comment above.

    “This analogy would mean public education is a bad investment decision.”
    No, please stop making fallacious claims. The party supports public education. It is the population growth policies you subscribe to that are undermining our capacity to provide education both here and abroad.

    “Talking about private capital or public investment? They usually have different objectives. Or is Population Party advocating free market economics? Since when has infrastructure been ‘unproductive’: Isn’t the Internet infrastructure and essential to postindustrial economies & their continuing productivity? New highways may be a waste of money but alternative transport systems are needed to distribute goods and services. ”
    Yes, but infrastructure investments are foremost a cost. If we weren’t growing our population at such aggressive rates, we would easily be able to afford the NBN, public health/education and taking care of our disabled. We need to spend around 12% of GDP to expand our infrastructure 1% and we’re currently growing at around 1.9%. The party is saying we should stop aggressively pursuing population growth which is bankrupting governments here and globally, and start focussing on quality of life here and abroad which can only be achieved by moving to sustainable, stable populations. For instance: http://www.prb.org/Multimedia/Video/2013/african-success-engage-short.aspx

    ‘“take responsibility on population … through our foreign aid budget” – Don’t think Australia is big enough to have an impact. It does have influence in pacific region but that region isn’t where the migration is coming from. ‘
    Australia can have significant impact by demonstrating true leadership and engaging more progressively on the global stage.

    Populations are rapidly growing in neighbouring regions and there is growing pressure on Australia to help out. But it’s far better if we take a more proactive step rather than sitting on our hands by working with our neighbours than sitting here waiting the for worst to happen.

    We cannot continue to accommodate 200,000+ economic migrants a year. You seem to have these confused with genuine asylum seekers which currently only make up about a 10th of that number. The party is supportive of our humanitarian efforts and family reunions up to a level we can responsibly accommodate of around 70,000 a year.

    “To expect some sort of paradigm shift that this green technology is going to ‘make it all better’ is to deny what has happened in the past 200 years” So 200 years of industrial technology created the industrial economy but sustainable technologies will not bring about a similar change? Mmmm, think that’s a unique economic theory.”
    Well, I don’t know what to tell you Malcolm. While it’s great to see green technology advancing, we are still rapidly increasing our more environmentally destructive exploits and fossil fuel usage. In particular, to pay for rapid population growth, we are increasingly heavily dependant on exporting our fossil fuels to China, Uranium to India etc. Further, we have to do a lot to just meet the needs of our 12-13 million homes in green technology let alone our currently rapidly growing housing requirements.

    And let’s not forget. Our primary moral responsibility is to look after people and wildlife here and demonstrate that you can have an economy without growth – indeed, there are some 43 countries with stable populations which have much more functional economies than ours. We are in the top few countries in terms of inequality and living costs – and that is a by-product of rapid population growth.

    If you pay attention, you just might learn enough to actually benefit yourself, your children and the people and wildlife here in general :).

    • S Balfour says

      So are you Peter Strachan’s ventriloquist?
      All you have done is made assertions without evidence or are making presumptions, which the candidate did not articulate in the interview.

      I am a not confusing asylum seeker your candidate did in the interview.

      Im not wasting my vote on you guys

  6. S Balfour says

    Agree it’s a problem but it’s not high on my priorities.

    Income inequality, incarceration rates, youth unemployment, education, environment and other domestic issues are higher on my list for selecting a senator to hold balance of power in this parliament.

    My solution would revolve around sex education, education in general, women’s reproductive rights and prohibition on child brides/forced/arranged marriage.

    “Growth industry” what are you talking about? Economic growth has lead to a higher standard of living in so-called developed countries.

    If you are relying on Dr Goodall or Sir David, I’m sure you can provide us with their endorsement of your policies or cite references, which support your solution to population control. My reading of both is they support sustainable development similar to Green policies and in line with UN development strategies. Will I contact them and ask?

    Green technologies will also increase the efficient & sustainable use of scarce resources. People can either agree or disagree.

    You haven’t responded to all my points. How does population pressure lead to refugees or people seeking asylum? Syrian, the Rohingya, Sri Lankan etc

    You haven’t said anything on which Abbott policies you would support and which ones you would not. Nor have you suggested any strategy of how you would implement your policies in the Senate should you be elected.


    • Balfour you’ve missed the point here. I think you need to zoom out a bit and do some research of your own instead of putting out spot fires.


      • Wish Peter Strachan would answer my responses, after all he is the person seeking the senate position.

  7. J. Odgaard says

    You can’t have continuing population growth and finite resources and that’s what we’ve got. Will all lead to a nasty clash that our grandchildren will be forced to endure/resolve.

    • S Balfour says

      That is absolutely correct but I havent read any sensible or practical strategy from this party’s candidate to deal with this issue.

      • Matt Moran says

        Ah, but thats because you are Malcolm King and it is not in your short term business interests to support this party. Fortunately for you, you are in the minority as most Australians reject a big Australia which whether you like it or not, is better for you and your children in the long run.

        In any case, you repeatedly make the claim that the party isn’t offering a solution when a brief visit to the website would tell you otherwise. If you had taken the time to do so, you would have learned that our candidates all are from scientific and/or real world backgrounds. Peter is very qualified to talk about what he does and unlike you, has the interests of the majority at heart. Perhaps if you took the time to actually look at what’s been said more from the perspective of your children, you might grasp its significance.

        Vote 1 Sustainable Population Party :)


      • Matt, in any case Mal lives in South Australia so is inelegance to vote in WA :) Though it was patriotic of him to offer to vote. Let’s not waste any more time on him. He has already done enough here to become a laughing stock of this thread.


      • Ineligible! Though he is also inelegant .

      • spottybalfour8 says

        I am not Malcolm King, never met Malcolm King, dont know anything about him: I pulled the link to his article for the first time today from a Google search (I could have picked many other articles with similar opinions). I am a Western Australian voter.


      • I am not Malcolm King. Never met him, never heard of him until I Googled “Population Party” today. His article was one of a number of links with a similar opinion of the Population Party, which I could have selected.

        Unlike most WA voters I have bothered to ask you questions. Legitimate questions raised by the interview which I bothered to read. You haven’t answered. But you and party trolls have incorrectly accused me of being another person, incorrectly identified my sex, made incorrect assumptions about my parental status and qualifications. I don’t appreciate your belittling or your party trolls bullying. Says everything I need to know about your Party, character and judgment.

        I am a Western Australian voter and I vote micro party. I’ve gone from a neutral to hostile attitude regarding the Population Party. Good luck, you will need it.


      • Mr King, you have been deliberately hostile here from the word go, with deliberate misrepresentations and a link to your nasty and fallacious piece, but have been exposed by simple retorts from Matt Moran, etc.

  8. Mike Evans says

    It is about time a party came forward on what is obvious. Vote 1 sustainable Population Party :)

  9. Cassandra says

    Australia’s population is growing by over 1 million people every 3 years – the size of Adelaide.

    Population policy reaches in to almost every area of government policy, yet successive governments treat the symptoms of our problems, not their underlying cause.

    Thanks to the Sustainable Population Party, Australians now have a choice that has been denied by all federal parliamentary parties. A sustainable population of around 26 million, or 40 million and rising by 2050.

    Good Luck Peter Strachan, I wish you all the very best in the upcoming election.


  10. I’m all for quality not quantity. The books never seem to balance with infrastructure, housing and jobs when the population is rapidly growing. I’d like to see more of our overseas aid spent on education of women and contraception. Make it a condition of other humanitarian aid. The way the population is exploding is frightening.


    • Exactly. Just because we can do things to the limit doesn’t mean we should. People don’t drive everywhere with their foot to the floor, even though they could. There’s a sensible speed for everything.


  11. Mr S Balfour is a bit of a concern, he will not waste his vote on the SPP, but he will waste it on a party that has yet to acknowledge that population growth is an issue. The SPP will not form government after the 5th of April, it just hopes to be able to influence government for the benefit of future generations.


  12. Foolish and short-sighted to base a nation’s economy on the economic benefits of population growth! This should be a third world problem, not one of a leading first world economy. We are facing the threats of climate change, global scarcities, and shortages. We are walking into catastrophe if these politicians only see the economy as an abstraction of the real world, without considering the present day constraints to growth. What’s to be achieve by 40 or 50 million people that can’t be achieved by 26 million?


  13. The only complaint I have with this is that their policy seems no different to the greens policy, the solutions are almost exactly the same, family planning, sex education, refocusing international aid to address the issues which cause over-population, etc


  14. The problem with the greens is they don’t appear to have a policy, and are frightened to talk about population growth.