Glaring policy omission: Immigration numbers

When I joined, the Libertarian side of the Party put me off a bit. Lately, that aspect seems to be growing more extreme. Extremes tend to fail. That’s making me rethink my membership.

Libertarianism is among the least credible of political philosophies. To paraphrase one acquanitance:
Some “isms” may have crashed and burned, but Libertarianism failed to launch.
Going to extremes of something that hasn’t even managed to get to the point of failing doesn’t bode well for the Party.

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Please take this to another thread, or take it up with the DRC/NC. You’ve threatened to leave the party once before on this subject, so you’re basically trolling now.

The point of libertarian belief is NOT to take over governments and impose itself on everyone. That would be oxymoronic.

The point is to reduce government interference with people’s lives wherever possible, and that has to happen from within existing power structures.

No topics are really off-limits, with the possible exception of renaming the Party and in that case pretty much everyone weighed in at some point. It’s now considered off-limits precisely because everyone weighed in and there’s no real value to be gained by resurrecting it.

I’m not sure there’s really much in the way of quashing (or squashing) dissent, but there have definitely been some quite heated debates regarding a number of issues.

As for the role of certain office holders within the Party, remember that it is a very small Party by comparison to the four most well known and thus there will inevitably be a lot of overlap regarding both policy development and running the Party.

Those people are generally the ones who feel strongly enough about any given issue to weigh in and either have or make the time to do something about it. In doing so they have, no doubt, honed their own arguments regarding their position on any given issue and that may come across in discussions here.

I know it certainly has in my case, just as I know I don’t necessarily feel as strongly about every single position or issue the Party tackles. Including, by the way, this one (though I do with related issues, such as the asylum seeker policy).

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This is off-topic. Apologies for the minor crisis following:

Nonetheless davidb’s usage of “libertarianism” varies widely from how I understand the term to apply. Having read his Quora post I would assess it as a refutation of “liberalism” instead.

Have I gotten something wrong?

Having indulged in a quick search of the wiki I failed to find an acceptably (to me) detailed definition of the term as agreed by the Party and this apparent omission further concerns me.

I would appreciate a pointer to such definition if it exists — and may have to reassess my own situation if it materially differs from expectation. In short are we all even aiming for compatible ends — otherwise further discussion is rather pointless?

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I doubt it. @davidb’s Quora post is fairly non-specific and so it seems likely that he, like many people, takes the term libertarian to only apply to the libertarian right. This is most often epitomised by American libertarians and advocates of Ayn Rand. Over here you’ll find that lot skulking around the LDP.

There are multiple ways to refute the libertarian right, including @davidb’s Quora post. Though as you rightly point out that could also be an argument against liberalism, perhaps in the form envisaged by my grandfather and others in the wake of WWII when they joined under the leadership of RGM to form the party of that name.

Yeah, that’s one of the many skeletons in my family’s closet. :wink:

I don’t think it necessarily tracks with the libertarian left, which is more like the term bandied about here. Though it didn’t take off as an alternative name for our party, Brendan was right about it being a reasonable description of the politics of many of the people in this party.

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You probably don’t recall but I was one of those radicals back then who liked “libertarian left” as a possible name.

Thanks for alleviating my momentary panic. I think somewhere we ought to have a carefully worded glossary of agreed terminology ferreted away somewhere though.

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As Policy Development Officer, I can tell my personal view on immigration is the level should be restored to the 70-80k p.a long term average, and tied into some sort of planning index. The current rate does not meet what I perceive to be a good cost/benefit tradeoff, and I believe such a proposal strikes a good balance and compromise.

Australia does have a population report type document produced by the PC that I have seen, and it is recommending that population policy be formally developed and tied into relevant factors.

Why is there no PPAU policy?
As has been pointed out, there is wide spread opinion on the subject. However to date no policy has ever been developed or put to a vote, so no one can really say which way the PPAU base leans.

The real underlying issue is like many things in life, if you want something done you need to get it done yourself. I’m busy putting in time to develop policy areas which are of my interest and expertise. I’d like to see such a policy developed and would support its development, however I do not have enough resources to do it myself.

Other members need to step up and put their time where their fingers are. You can’t build significant influence in life generally (including this party) unless you get stuff done. The only factor limiting policy development and membership input in this party is participation (including human resources).


Any sort of general policy on reviewing immigration levels can be developed. Although if you wanted a specific proposal that put a number on it with the best compromise of the membership, you could try surveying the membership with a poll that takes the median estimate of what PPAU members support. Evidently for those who support open borders, some sort of limits of e.g. 400k+ would be necessary to prevent such a result being skewed by infinity being included in the sample.

Alternatively you could develop a policy with evidence and arguments to sway people to your view as a means of repositioning that median estimate so enough people will support it. And selling that policy to the membership before a vote at congress.

Personally I am willing to settle for any net number between 50-100k, provided there is some sort of framework and the number is subject to regularly review.

You mention no limit. From that, I infer that you see no limit to the population that this island continent can sustain in perpetuity. Is that the Party’s policy?

So was I, but ultimately I thought we’d lose more than we’d gain from the name change and through the perception of “selling out” in some quarters.

In fact, I think we’ll be able to see what would have happened if we had changed the name by watching what happens with the so-called Reason Party and how far it shifts from the values originally espoused by the Sex Party before Fiona Patten was elected here in Victoria. Expect a shift more to the centrist and generically “progressive” stance over the next few years until they fade into mediocrity.

Though I will be interested to see if they challenge the Greens for Richmond during the state election at the end of this year. Especially if the Greens don’t dump their current candidate for that seat, Kathleen Maltzahn. This is yet another case of the Greens being more interested in being seen to be good rather than actually doing good, with as poor a candidate selection as that time they selected Clive Hamilton. That was based on his climate change credentials, while being oblivious of his pro-censorship stance (which also make’s Hamilton’s current complaints of being censored by China more ironic than either Alanis Morissette or I can express).

It’s currently in storage along with most of my library, but I did used to have a copy of this on my desk at all times. Though I think my copy was a reprint of the first or second edition.

If you have something that provides access to this, however, it will no doubt be quite nifty. None of my library cards include a subscription to it, unfortunately, and that includes both the Victorian State Library and the National Library of Australia. Camberwell Library came close, though (recognised by the network, but no subscription to Oxford).



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In that case you just interpret it as: ∞ = ♁ − :australia: − 1

That is infinity equals Earth (population) minus Australia (current population, because they’re already here) minus one (me; because if everyone’s coming here then there’ll be some comfy stuff out there and I intend to enjoy it).


I’m not sure if an absolute number makes sense given the capacity of Australia to support people can be increased with technology and thus would change over time.
If you want some evidence based absolute number fine, although I don’t know where you’ll find such a number or calculate one.

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Having done a bit of thinking on the topic and the meta-topic, it’s obvious to me that we should attempt to run a PDC working group regarding Aussie population policy next cycle (2018-2019). For all our explanations of why it hasn’t happened yet, OP is right in that we ought to have policy in this space.

Things to consider at a minimum:

  1. natural environmental carrying capacity looking forward over the next 50+ years (could eg CSIRO be commissioned to re-evaluate this every decade?)
  2. built environmental carrying capacity (i.e. if you want more residents you need to fund more (effficient/effective) infrastructure and services)
  3. How (1) & (2) relate to demographic trends (I.E. yes, we can take some net immigration because otherwise we’d decline, assuming we haven’t hit capacity yet)
  4. in many ways as far as the above is concerned a net gain is a net gain, so what proportion of the net immigrants should be voluntary and what proportion refugees?
  5. What if we’re already over capacity according to (1)?

A bit of Googling turned up this:

… as long ago as 1994 the Australian Academy of Sciences advocated a maximum population for Australia of 24 million …

That’s the only unequivocal number I’ve found so far. We’re past that now and the country started looking pretty sick a while back.

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I think this actually a really good solution and I’m surprised it’s taken this long to enter the debate. Apparently you can put in conditions into visas that entice people to move into places other than Melbourne and Sydney. Give them bonus visa points, but also put conditions on people who take up that offer that moving into Melbourne or Sydney violate their terms of the visa and result in it being cancelled. It seems like a pretty good compromise to me. So long as we can put the screws on immigration into Melbourne and Sydney (the big problem centres) we can ensure the rest of the country is not affected from tighter immigration.
We’d also get a lot more decentralisation given new migrants would initially be forced into other parts of the country. Even if they eventually become citizens and move into Melbourne or Sydney, it would at least suppress the rate at which they can move into those cities. And who knows, maybe after living in other parts of the country they might even find they like it, and actually decide to stay?

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It’s tantalising on the surface, but what it amounts to needing to be effective is a federal government commitment to funding decentralisation.

The article recognises this:

the federal government sets the number of immigrants each year but the states are supposed to build the cities to absorb them.

It’s also limited in that it can only really apply to permanent skilled/choice migration.

  • Our refugee intake has to go where the support services can properly exist, which to my mind means only first-tier and second-tier cities (>80K population).
  • Our family intake is going where their families are (for the most part, that’s the big cities).
  • Our temporary skilled migration quietly got much more temporary earlier this year (but anyone covered by that is still likely going to reside in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane, Darwin, or Mining Boom Town of the Year).
  • Our student intake is going overwhelmingly to the big cities also.
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@Jesse_Hermans, we did cover that slightly in our immigration policy quite a long time ago.

Asylum seeking is lawful, and processing should not last longer than the minimum time-frame necessary to assess claims and conduct health and security checks. Approved asylum seekers can be brought into the community, provided with support and training, and settled in areas where jobs remain persistently vacant (the National Farmers Federation estimates around 96,000 jobs are unfilled in regional areas).[314]

Thinking was that it even resolves security concerns to some degree. Settling people in country towns, everyone knows everyone else’s business in places like that.

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The biggest issue I think with relying on this policy is historically it isn’t effective:

The main problem with skilled immigration is there has to actually be job demand for skilled migrants in regional areas for them to actually move there.
So creating a que jumping regional preference system while good, is only to extent that demand for those immigrants in those regions exists.

I don’t think it will have much impact. Maybe more effective if the overall intake is reduced, and competition for the limited immigration quota also entices people to also take the regional restrictions to que jump.

There is also the Grattan Institute argument that decentralisation is bad because businesses deliberately move to city where there is higher productivity, access to labour, customers etc. Although arguably those benefits are offset by higher land costs.

It’s also ironic Grattan takes this line when they also argue that agglomeration economics of transport don’t exist.

That said, the priority in incentivising relocation is better transport links to regional hubs. People will move into a place (I.e regional town) if they can still access the city within a reasonable commute. If you provide those transport nodes you effectively turn regional land into suburb land, which will be reflected in the increase in land value. That ties into a whole other land value capture point…

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