Richard Allsop had a very good piece in the Drum today.
Immigration is a great issue for sorting the optimists from the pessimists.
Supporters of high immigration levels tend to believe that any problems caused by increasing Australia’s population can be overcome and we can have prosperous futures in vibrant big cities. In contrast, those advocating lower immigration argue that the problems are insurmountable and paint a bleak picture of waterless, congested cities.
Of course, using lack of infrastructure as an argument against immigration has not always been the first option for immigration opponents. Opposition used to be either economic (migrants will take our jobs) or cultural (migrants are too different).
Recent history has tended to discredit both of these. The massive expansion of the immigration program under the Howard Government coincided with unemployment falling to a 30 year low of 4 per cent, so it was hard to maintain the argument that migrants were taking jobs from those of us already here.
In fact, the traditional economic argument against immigration has now become so discredited that one of the nation’s leading anti-immigration figures, former NSW Premier Bob Carr, now argues the reverse, citing the fact that “immigration adds more to the demand for Labour than it contributes to the supply” as a reason to curtail it.
As a reminder, there’ll be a debate in Melbourne Thursday evening on immigration issues.