Dick Smith Asks, “Is it Time for a New Political Party?”

February 1, 2010 • Daily Email Recap

Thanks to Mark O’Connor for this media release

Businessman Dick Smith believes Australia’s rapid population growth has become a major threat to the nation’s future. He asks if it’s time Australia had a political party dedicated to reducing and containing the growth of its population.

He will speak further when launching a revised version of the book Overloading Australia (see www.australianpoet.com/overloading.html) at Dymock’s City Store at 424 George Street, Sydney at 11.00am Monday 1 February 2010.

“Ideally one of the major parties should take up the issue and give voters a choice”, Dick Smith said. “Failing that, I expect we will end up with a new party that is dedicated to the issue.

“It’s not as if the voters need convincing. It is evident that our cities and our environments are not coping with the increasing population. Everywhere you see crowding, the loss of backyards and personal space, traffic jams, and sky-high house prices that make people mortgage slaves.

“When I was a boy ordinary families on a single income could buy a house in the suburbs, with a front and back garden. Today that’s mostly for the rich. “Australia’s population is now growing at 2% a year, several times the average for industrialised countries. If we maintain that rate, we’d double every 35 years until we run out of food. Half our population increase over the past decade has come from the surplus of births over deaths, and we still have twice as many births as deaths each year. Yet the government pays baby bonuses to persuade us to have more children.

“And the federal government has supported a near tripling of immigration. We need to get immigration back down to around 70,000 per annum. That’s still huge, relative to our population, by world standards. It would still allow for a large non-discriminatory intake, and an increase or even a doubling in our humanitarian intake, which was less than 5% of last year’s 285,000. We also need to stop pirating trained people, including doctors and nurses, from much poorer countries.

“I’m angry that we’ve been fed so much biased information about needing a larger population. I myself was taken in, until my daughter asked me what I was doing about “the elephant in the room” in relation to climate change: that is population growth. My young granddaughter, Charlie Brown, could be alive at the end of this century when Australia’s population would be over 100 million if the 2% growth stays the same.

It’s also hypocritical that we talk about reducing the nation’s emissions while facilitating an increase in the number of people responsible for the emissions! Meanwhile we’re selling off in decades stocks of minerals and coal that took millions of years to accumulate, and some foolish economists and politicians even demand a larger population so we’ll have the labour to ship our assets off even faster!

You don’t need a large population to be wealthy. Look at the USA. It has fifteen times our population, but we already have a similar GDP per person to the USA1, and they don’t even have universal healthcare. More people will simply mean less for each of us.

Of course it’s true that business folk want growth, and many will donate to political parties to ensure the policies they want. It’s easier to make profits in a growing economy, and I have personally benefited from this growth. However, commonsense alone will tell you that this can’t go on forever. It would be gutless for me not to try to communicate the problems of constant population growth.

Overloading Australia helped convince me of that, and I believe it will convince other Australians,” Dick Smith concluded.

On Overloading Australia contact Mark O’Connor 02 6247 3341 or mark@Australianpoet.com

For further information contact Dick Smith on 02-9450 0600, mobile 0408 640
221 or email dick@dsi.com.au

1 Figures based on 2008 data compiled by the Market Information and Research Section, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (http://www.dfat.gov.au/) .

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