First published April 19
Despite an overwhelming majority of Australians opposing mass immigration we continue to engorge our nation’s population like a force-fed goose.
Mass immigration is a bi-partisan strategy; both our major parties are in lock-step frog-marching the electorate down the road to Big Australia. It is the centrepiece of Australian economic dogma that no one voted for.
Long-ago John Maynard Keynes warned of politicians who unconsciously wed themselves to defunct economic ideology, deluding themselves of their practical policy credentials:
“Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influences, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist. Madmen in authority, who hear voices in the air are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years back.”
And there are none more frenzied or defunct than those promoted by Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman; scribblers who sought to replace the nation-state with the marketplace. Their slavish devotees oversaw an orgy of deregulation, trickle-down lunacy and sadistic austerity that has brought western society to the precipice.
Australia’s mad-dog policy of mass immigration is essentially such a neoliberal construct. It is predicated upon a quasi-religious belief in globalised markets that goes hand-in-hand with a practical distain for the will of the people. It’s part of the political pandemic that inevitably heads down the road to social dislocation and inequality.
Like most belief-based ideologies, neoliberal thinking requires a leap of faith - that everything in life is essentially an economic problem with one cure. With such blinker in place on a one-trick pony it is possible to dispose of the nation-state as an antiquated irrelevance.
Politicians on both sides of Australian politics have long ago decided that markets are their constituency. Markets make politics easy because no one needs to stand on principle - few have the intellect to do so unilaterally anyway. Markets can be blamed for failures. Markets donate. Instead, politicians can just chatter about values as they do the bidding of markets as they ride their ebb and flow and hope for the best.
Lobotomised of principle, both sides of politics in Australia have got on with the business of mass immigration flogging off the amenity once enjoyed by Australian citizens as an act of social vandalism born of political desperation.
It’s really all they are capable of doing; putting the national silverware up for sale once productivity had been put in the too hard basket.
And this is why mass immigration has never been tested as an electoral issue. At its heart is political apathy that has turned us into a market-based society where wealth determines your value. Even the far left has given up on egalitarianism as anything other than window dressing for PC-driven rhetoric.
It wasn’t always this way.
Once upon a time, before neoliberal rabies infected the minds of Australian politicians and policy makers, we lived in communities, not economies. We were aware of the amenity they offered in terms of public assets and facilities in a self-assured sort of way. As a consequence most of us felt we had a share ownership of a park, a state school, swimming pool and a public library just to mention a few public assets that boldly advertised the word ‘community’ and ‘state’ at their entrance. They enriched our lives.
Once in Sydney and Melbourne you could even park your car for free on public land, obtain a seat on a train or get a spot on the beach.
No one really though much about the amenity we enjoyed. Had we, it might have occurred to us that it had been paid for by our society over many generations - it was an inheritance and part of a unique national culture that made us very different to the rest of the world. It meant that for the price it cost you to live in your community you shared, maintain and expanded this public amenity, eventually passing it on to the next generation of Australians. And as an Australian you were somewhat smugly aware that you had access to a very high level of amenity and a high quality of life as a consequence. It was not luck that created this type of community, but a choice born of cultural values inherited from other generations.
This was how our society invested in its people.
But the neoliberal scribblers saw this very differently. To them our amenity was an unrealised asset that should be marketised. By doing so it had the potential to make a lot of money for a select few if the right sort of market conditions could be created. Because there were lots people in the world beyond our borders with far less amenity than you and I; people who were prepared to pay a far higher price for much less amenity if they could get their hands on it.
In a global market-place awash with money and debt there were lots of people who wanted to park their money in Australia.
What stood in the way of realising this new market was the idea that by virtue of our Australian citizenship we had a greater right to our amenity than they did. Australians demanded a higher standard of living and the protection of our communities. This concept, once at the very core of tangible community values, was anathema to neoliberal thinkers.
To them the days of the nation-state working to protect your standard of living had to come to an end. Your sense of entitlement that your nation, community and culture owed you a certain standard of living would be disposed of.
Myths and crises would be manufactured and trotted out to convince us that this had all been blind luck in the past - and that our luck had run out. One of the most enduring pieces of propaganda would be Australia’s ‘aging population’ crisis and other pending dooms arising from an artificially created ‘skills shortage’ - once TAFE had been hobbled, universities marketised and wages stagnated.
That done the globalist rent seeking vision for their new market swung into action.
Lots of new high-density homes were built in the communities of our major cities; authorised by compliant state governments and councils who had no real choice. Now wedded to funds generated from development in order to pick up the infrastructure bill, they were effectively pressganged into the business of mass immigration by the federal government stepping on the population accelerator in Canberra and sending the wheels spinning in Sydney and Melbourne.
Clearly the type of people shipped to buy into our share of amenity were carefully selected. Once more, globalists would provide the easy solution to this problem. The perfect people would be found in developing countries. They’d already received an education paid for by their nation’s scarcer public funds or by their own family; as long as it was someone else’s money it didn’t matter. In that way Australia’s tertiary institutions were kept as degree-mills for overseas students rather than providing the productive competitive edge for its own citizens.
And this was very simple for the neoliberals to achieve. They did what they always did and cut off funding and turned education into yet another marketplace in a constant crisis and in a competitive penny-pinching race to the bottom.
Accordingly, the legalised human trafficking and the looting of your amenity would be a carefully controlled process to benefit those at the top of the housing Ponzi scheme. Indeed, it would be our federal government, housing industry, immigration booster lobby and an assortment of dubious ‘demographers’ who’d decide who comes to this country and the circumstances in which they come.
Importantly the electorate wouldn’t. The very last thing the neoliberals wanted to do was to put Australian population policy to a vote.
Democracy could not be allowed to stand in the way of new people flooding in to fill the poorly built vertical high-density buildings that would make the donors to our political parties very rich and very powerful. Such buildings would be centrally placed to become Australia’s urban slums of the 21st century and not just because of their sub-standard construction but because of the low expectations that they contained within them.
These are politically incorrect things we are not allowed to talk of.
Because if the people who dwell there and invest in these boxes have an expectation of a much lower level of amenity and environmental quality than Australian citizens of the past, so much the better for the neoliberals. Such box-dwellers will pay far more for far less. Consequently, our capital cities can be filled with cladded concrete towers that once most Australians would not have though fit for a dog.
Like a lead weight attached to our cultural identity, our quality of life was dragged down by a new vision of cultural and class relativism. Our dog-boxes are cheaper and better than dog-boxes in China you see; just ask someone from China and let them set the demand here in Australia.
Of course, if you live at Point Piper or Toorak the fire sale of working and middle-class Australia’s amenity and our cultural values didn’t affect you. You were still be able to walk your dog in leafy streets and in near-empty and manicured parkland.
Long ago your community’s planning laws meant that you’d never experience high-density living or a need to pay the ultimate ‘great big new tax’ by relinquishing your access to public assets and space. Your standard of living will just get better as the gap between you and the rest widens - and that’s the whole point.
Because in your world amenity is called heritage, not entitlement. It is the law of the land where the few live in its sanctuary. It is the 99% underclass who will live in your economy with their ever-diminishing amenity sequestered by global markets and auctioned off from under them.
The lucky few of inherited wealth can sleep easily in a community behind a 10-foot wall safe from the ravages of the market-based society in the suburbs far away.
And if anyone ever calls out the rank immorality and injustice of this arrangement, like a guilty Pavlov’s dog caught with someone else’s dinner in your chops, bark out with your mouth full and act outraged - for they must be a racist.
*Dr Vino Veritas is known to the Editor ...