A very confused Dick Smith

Dick Smith today has announced a prize (very dubiously called, The Wilberforce Award – see more below) of one million dollars to be awarded to a person aged under 30 who can devise a means of reducing Australia’s population.

Smith’s objection to a higher population is a crazy mixture of concerns about the environment, social amenity and excessive consumerism.

I’m not sure anyone has pointed out to him that in the near term at least, Australia’s population and labour force will continue to grow even if a complete moratorium were placed on permanent and temporary immigration. Without GDP growth, therefore, unemployment would quickly rise assuming that real wages did not fall to deal with this new state.  So Dick Smith for unemployment needs to be part of his motto.

As to using the Wilberforce name, this really is a bridge too far.  Born a well-t0-do aristocrat, Wilberforce led an indolent and pointless life until being converted to the anti-slavery cause within an Evangelical Christian framework.  He worked tirelessly for over forty years to achieve the abolition of slavery in Britain.  To link his name to a quest to reduce Australia’s population (and I guess we can all think of some quite rapid means) is quite shocking, in my opinion.  (See William Haig’s wonderful biography of William Wilberforce.)

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57 Responses to A very confused Dick Smith

  1. C.L.

    Dick Smith today has announced a prize… of one million dollars to be awarded to a person aged under 30 who can devise a means of reducing Australia’s population.

    Julia and Stedman masks compulsory at all night clubs.

  2. Peter Patton

    I have long said that Dick Smith is just Pauline Hanson with a helicopter.

  3. Dal

    Is Martin Bryant under 30?

  4. pedro

    The Hiram Maxim Estate should claim it.

  5. JC

    Smith should change his name to Dick Head, as it would be more appropriate.

    Smith’s objection to a higher population is a crazy mixture of concerns about the environment, social amenity and excessive consumerism.

    Here’s a disingenuous loon that made his made from what would seem to be the apex of “excessive consumerism” … he established and owned Dick Smith electronics…. and he’s peddling less consumerism. Nice thing for a wealthy guy to be doing.

    If he was truly honest in his objection to consumerism he’d take all the money he made from his adventures into that sector and give it all to the ATO with compound interest included. Otherwise he’s a suffocating loon and ought to be treated that way.

  6. daddy dave

    This is a dangerous development. If his ideas catch on, we’re in for what Confucius euphemistically called “interesting times.”
    If his ideas don’t catch on and remain on the fringe, then of course we can all have a good laugh at his expense.

  7. THR

    I think Bird should have this million in the bag. Between relocating everybody to the Simpson Desert, mass-executions, and abolishing currency in favour of a liquid coal bartering system, he could halve the population in no time. He could also encourage people to jump off the top of buildings, since, after all, gravity is merely a scam perpetrated by ‘science workers’.

  8. JC


    The loon’s prize to the idiot he chooses isn’t going to go anywhere.

    We’ve seen this sort of shit before, such as when an entire German city was taken over by a religious loon. It went nowhere and other than causing disruption to the people in the city life went on as before in the rest of the world.

    So he gives a prize to some idiot kid. The kid pockets the money, does a little grandstanding while the rest of us get on with our life as before and Dick Head can fly around his helicopter bought by the money that he made selling consumer products to the masses extolling the virtues of living a simple life.

    It’s all too funny.

    My hunch is that the irrepressible publicity junkie is thinking about another foray into the consumer business field and using this as free PR.

  9. .

    This is stupid. We should be having an X prize to our energy and infrastrucutre problems, not ignoring them and stopping people having children, immigrating or being prosperous.

  10. JC

    Yea THR. Dick Head and Bird Brain should get together.


    Here’s my idea. Force everyone (hetros) of child rearing age to wear a condom when having sex.

  11. jtfsoon

    exactly dot. if he really wanted to help he should set up a prize for commercially viable cold fusion.

  12. one million dollars to be awarded to a person aged under 30 who can devise a means of reducing Australia’s population.

    Im a few years too old, but haven’t we still got those Smallpox canisters?

  13. JC

    No doubt the kid will get a guest spot answering questions on Fatty Tony Jones Q&A program.

    My best id the loot will immediate go into securing an inner city apartment, not that there’s anything wrong with that.

  14. Crowbar

    Pretty simple really. Abolish capitalism which is predicated on multifarious anti-democratic tyrannical-leaning regimes all competing with each other within the framework of endless growth in a finite planet.

  15. Infidel Tiger

    Or we coud shoot all the pinkos.

  16. JC

    endless growth…..? Did you miss the GFC? If only.

  17. JC

    oops rong fred. (end of homer channeling)

  18. C.L.

    Greenies did their bit with the bio-fuels holocaust.

  19. Crowbar

    The GFC was a form of global indigestion. But gourmands will always keep on wanting to stuff themselves silly.

  20. Infidel Tiger

    I call my plan the Great Leap Forward.

    Cash only, Dick.

  21. Import Kim Il-Jong, or any of his offspring. That should do the trick.

  22. JC

    It really takes a great deal chuzpa to be peddling shit like this:

    Smith’s objection to a higher population is a crazy mixture of concerns about the environment, social amenity and excessive consumerism.

    When there’s this:


  23. ken n

    OK leave the poor fellow alone now.
    For years he has been desperately working to stay in the news with wackier and wackier stunts.
    Best ignore him.

  24. JC


    Didn’t he once try to fly around the world in a chopper?

  25. FDB

    “He worked tirelessly for over forty years to achieve the abolition of slavery in Britain.”

    I think you mean “… of the slave trade in the British Empire” – slavery itself wasn’t abolished for another coupla decades, and in any case continued in weak forms in Britain for long after that (workhouses, etc). But yes, what a legend of a man, and WTF is his name doing attached to such an anti-humanist award? It’s completely arse-about.

  26. JC


    Please! Someone is posing as FDB as for once he’s made a decent comment and it can’t possibly be him.

  27. “I have long said that Dick Smith is just Pauline Hanson with a helicopter.”

    More like Bob Brown. let’s not forget that it’s the Greens who are responsible for this Malthusian bullshit.

    Pauline Hanson and the One Nation fascists don’t think there’s too many people. Just too many black people.

    Dick Smith, Bob Brown etc think that humans in general are a threat to the planet, which makes them much more dangerous imo.

  28. FDB

    Oh please, JC. Turn off the projector dude.

    I have never been Malthusiastic here or on any other forum.

  29. ken n

    JC Yes, always got a stunt he has.

  30. asf

    Apparently Dick has two kids. Which one is he willing to sacrifice for Gaia?

  31. Pete

    Have any of you not listened to what is being said? Or is it your first world consumerism life and comercialism that has totally screwed with your senses? As a biologist we see population booms and busts every where in the natural world. Why should we, Humans be any different? The thing is, we ARE NOT!! Take the bacteria growing in an agar dish (sorry to any dolt that doesnt know about simple biology..get reading!! lazy bastards) they multipy use all the nutrients in the agar and then “astonishingly” die. They have exhausted their resource (agar) and end up drowning in their waste products.. Earth is very much like this. So instead of Dising this mans concerns. take a simple look around you. There is only ONE earth..

  32. Bring back Big Brother, backmask subliminal suicide do it do do it messages. Presto! population reduced and mean intelligence level raised.

    Gimme the mill.

  33. Boris

    The funny thing is that he does not understand how funny it all sounds. EVEN IF you believe in this stuff about over-population.

  34. I’m suin’ Smith for ageist discrimination. Under 30. Hell it’s the over 30s you want. They have more experience in genocide.

  35. Myrddin Seren

    Maybe Dick isn’t totally confused – before our Gen Y communications guru goes slapping down an order for next year’s Porsche – there is some illogic in the idea of gifting a pile of consumerist dosh on an advocate for non-consumerism.

    Dick says: ‘The Award will go towards advancing the momentum the winner will have already achieved.’

    One suggests that there might be a few strings attached to Dick’s munificence, such that the Champion of Non-Growth might not have too much say in how the cash is spent.

  36. daddy dave

    There is only ONE earth..

    So how come it hasn’t got used up yet by all the species inhabiting it?

    (Pete, don’t answer… that’s something for you to go away and think about for a while. I already know the answer)

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  38. Boris

    I think there is only one earth but it is not an agar.

  39. TerjeP

    I’m offering a million dollars to anybody under 8 who flies to Neptune in a hot air balloon. I call it the Gandhi award.

  40. BirdLab

    I’m with you, THR. Bird wins it.

    He could then blow the entire mill. on constructing the world’s largest pie.

  41. It appears that most readers here fail to see any logic behind slowing population growth. Also, you all seem to assume that Dick Smith wants to kill people off when all he wants is to slow the rate of growth towards zero over time.

    Also, there really is no economic argument for greater population growth. The only beneficiaries are monopoly (or close to) business owners whose products are purely domestic (supermarkets, media, property developers etc).

    I challenge you all to provide a reasoned economic argument for population growth after reading the following articles:

  42. Jenny Goldie

    I’m with Pete. Animal populations will rise in numbers until the food runs out and then they crash. Those who do not take this population issue seriously are clearly in favour of letting the population blow-out until the crash occurs. It is not likely to be pleasant. The alternative is to stabilise populations as soon as possible, internationally and nationally, and keep overall numbers within the capacity of the Earth to produce enough food without detroying the environment in the process. Read Julian Cribb’s “The Coming Famine” that will be launched in Canberra at the end of this month if you’re not sure about food security issues.

  43. 2+2 = 4 ; population = e^(the rate we root) = were all fucked philosophically and literally

  44. Anna

    Wow! I am well pleased. Actually came across this site as I was searching for other people who DISPISE DICK SMITH ALSO, the media hungry/attention seeking idiot that he is, seriously how does this guy get his own tv show on population growth????

    I’m sure he would be happy to see as many ‘non-white, non Australian/Europeans culled as soon as possible…… it fits very well with his anti-immigration/racist views. disguised as anti-population growth… this from a man who has made his fortune from the importation of cheap electronic goods from overseas countries and cheap labour to make the goods, by countries with high populations! Ironic really, or is that hypocrisy. I didn’t watch the show (wouldn’t trust a thing that comes out of Dick Smith’s mouth) my views entirely of course 🙂

  45. ken n

    Gawd this is getting silly.
    Animals are hunters and scavengers. They do not produce food. Humans produce food in increasingly efficient ways.
    An extra human is both a consumer and a producer – he or she might not produce food directly, but something else that a food producer wants. Nothing like that among animals.
    Now, of course there is a limit to how many humans the earth can support but we are, from all the evidence, nowhere near it.
    Anyway, among demographers, the overpopulation panic is over. The earth’s population will top out at 8.5-9 billion in 50 years or so. Each estimate made has been lower than the last. The rate of increase is slowing about as fast as it can without a calamity.

  46. .


    See the open forum for more bile from moi.

  47. Edward Kelly

    Dick smith,
    I did have respect for you years ago, but with this latest round of disgracful ramblings I can now see you for what you really are. . . . a greedy selfish old man who wouldn’t help anyone unless it were known across the land what a generous and great man the fellow Dick Smith must be.

    Your latest attack against population growth has left me disgusted and ashamed, ashamed that there are still so many Australians who would not rather give to those that need it but rather keep it all for themselves

    …and that’s what it’s all about Dick isn’t it?
    Keeping the wealth, as much as possible, to as few as possible.

    I cannot express my disgust in what you have said lately. Words fail me

    If you would like to debate the matter in private please get in touch.
    I would like nothing more than to shoot down in flames a millionaire yet is too tight to help so many that need our help.

    Dick Smith, keep your far right opinions to yourself. Australia already is seen across the world as a racist nation.

  48. This current thread is becoming interesting.
    It started off with a plethora of comments highly critical of Dick Smith for what he was advocating as well as putting his own money, rather than the tax payers, where his mouth is.
    Two solitary posters then present opposite opinions and apart from the race card players and one other, the Smith critics go silent!
    Is it because since the thread was begun his doco was actually broadcast and what was shown did not seem to be that irrational, racist or xenophobic after all?

    P.S. the ‘one other’ was a reasoned argument but I think it still missed the point. The world may well be able to produce more food but that is probably because there is much fertile land in Africa and elsewhere that has not yet been utilized, or utilized to the maximum extent. As Australian farmers on the doco stated, Australian usable land is only about 6% of total land (we are basically a desert island) and we are quickly approaching that point where there is no more land to grow / harvest food. I think one obvious example of that is the example of those farmers who, obviously working the best land they could acquire, are still regularly applying for government grants to get them through the periodical droughts. Even if new technology can improve production it would be risky to assume that will account for our current 2.5% annual population increase rather than a regulated, due to immigration, .05%.

  49. Michael Froemmcke

    Not once did Mr Smith, perhaps appropriately named Dick, mention that life-style is a decisive factor when dealing with the carrying capacity of a country or geographic area.
    It is very interesting to note that Australia is by far the largest country in a group of ten countries with similar populations: Ghana? Yemen?Taiwan? North Korea, Syria, Romania, Mozambique, Australia, Sri Lanka, Madagascar, Cote d’Ivoire, Cameroon.
    Sri Lanka’s population is almost identical in size to that of Australia and it size almost identical to that of Tasmania. The population of Taiwan exceeds that of Australia by 1.5 million inhabitants yet the size is just slightly over half the size of Tasmania.
    All the countries in this small group are substantially smaller than Australia. Mozambique covers an area of just over 10% of the surface area of Australia.
    Though many people justifiably argue that not the entire area of the Australian continent is habitable it must be pointed out that Taiwan has a fair amount of mountainous regions.

  50. Michael Smith

    Thank god someone has the insight to begin this very concerning issue into the spotlight. Australia should be concerned for it’s future population growth it. Other countries around the world are struggling and suffering already as a result of over population. Just turn your television on…

  51. Michael Smith

    20 million homeless and in grave risk of death as a result of floods in Pakstian – can’t anyone see the world is buckling to cope.

  52. Denise Kidson

    Yes there are floods in Pakistan and 18 months ago Victoria had a big fire. There have Tsanami’s and a massive a earthquake in Haiti. Then again Exmouth WA got blown and washed away with a cyclone a few years ago. Australia contibutes Foreign Aid to many countries but for own natural diasters we got got together and fun raised with Telethons etc. With Australia’s growing population where are all the extra taxes going? Has new hospitals been built to cater for the growing population nearest to your area? In Perth there has not been a new hospital built since the 1980’s. That was Joonalup but they closed down the Swan Hospital in Midland. Since then Perth’s population has doubled but do gooders keep on blaming the baby boomers. Do you know what globalisation means? How much will other cultures give us when our turn comes for help? Does the money we give in Foreign Aid get to the necessary people? I don’t think so. It might have to do with corruption of some third world governments.

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  54. jm

    Dick is the naked emperor in new clothes. He lectures us on buying Australian after making his money in import. Now he is concerned about population and the environment after burning each week of his adult life more fuel than most do in a year.

    The man is a narcicistic hypocrite. Why don’t mainstream media give him more of a good grilling?

  55. John F

    It made me laugh when I read peoples arguments against Dick Smith’s views on population. There is a reason the man has been the success that he is, he sees the big picture. He doesn’t take what he was taught in university as gospel, he deals in facts. That’s the problem with education today. It breeds and brainwashes people who think they know it all yet have no basic concepts of the big picture. All that matters are the teachings of their professors at uni which they follow like sheep and they then think they are always right because they have superior educations. Anyone who disagrees with how they think must be an idiot. In this case its Dick Smith, despite the government’s findings by the world experts on population that the optimum sustainable population in Australia is under 20 million. If you want to rant about how 3rd world countries live with massive populations in small areas, go live there with their poor and then come write your stupid comments again.
    Dick Smith doesn’t claim to be perfect, he’s made his money and he gives back to help others. He doesn’t just sit on his arse and do nothing for others while thinking he is superior like most of the negative commentators on this site.

  56. Craig

    Dick is the worst possible messenger, I don’t like his self-serving manner, but his message is sound.

    It really is not in the interest of the current Australian population to grow the number of people who live here yet politicians of all persuasions argue for population growth in Australia. His book surprised me as a well researched and substantial contribution to the subject of population if you forgive him is lapses into self-admiration.

    Australia grows by 1000 people per DAY. We complete about 400 dwellings per DAY. the US grows by 6500 per DAY and India by over 40,000. It all adds up to a DAILY increase in world population of over 200,000.

    While environmentalists talk about global warming and vanishing habitats, there is no talk about the underlying problem of a completely out of control population growth.

    World energy consumption keeps growing because of it while our resources dwindle. Our entire civilization is based on oil including food production. There is no alternative in sight.

    In Australia we have seen what happened to the price of bananas when there is a shortage. Imagine paying $10 per litre for fuel. EVERYTHING will change as resources go up in price.

    Even the Greens don’t talk about population though it really is an environmental issue.

    Australia is a great country, but it won’t be if we have 100 Million people here by the end of the century.

    We either have foresight and deal with the challenge or nature will impose her iron laws without mercy. May you be prepared.

  57. Angelop

    Dick you are nothing but a hypocrite ….u claim to b Aussie …but u are the one who was first imported stuff from Asia ..nothing wrong with that ..but stop being a dog …u know exactly what I mean with My comment …back off ..go spend yr money.. Enjoy yrself …stop pretending u hold the interests of ordinary Aussies close to yr heart …if that was the case u wouldn’t have done what u did in the 1980’s that benefited u the most …piss off u wanker

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