Scott Morrison part of Canberra conspiracy to keep immigration rates high

Scott Morrison part of Canberra conspiracy to keep immigration rates high, by Judith Sloan.

Now I don’t use the term conspiracy often. But I have come to the conclusion that there is an immigration conspiracy going on involving Canberra bureaucrats and politicians, among others, who are only too happy to overstate the benefits of immigration while downplaying the costs. …

Let me emphasise, however, that the only legitimate measure of the economic impact of immigration is per capita gross domestic product (or other per capita measure of national ­income). Sure, having more people is associated with having a higher GDP, but this is not the economic measure we should be interested in.

This is where part of the conspiracy comes in. Treasury is so keen to see GDP continue to grow — don’t forget we have had more than a quarter of a century of continuous growth apart from a negative quarter or two, and thereby providing an ongoing bragging line for the government — that dips in the growth of GDP per capita are studiously ignored. …

And don’t be fooled by the idea that immigration is a solution to an ageing population. The Productivity Commission has made the point on multiple occasions that the impact of immigration on the demographic profile of the population is small and doesn’t last without ongoing higher immigration. That’s why many people call immigration a Ponzi scheme. …

When it comes to the distribution of the economic benefits of immigration, it is businesses, workers with complementary skills to the migrants and the ­migrants themselves who hoover up the gains. In fact, it is overwhelmingly the migrants and their families who gain the most. Workers with skills that compete with those of migrants lose out.

We also should note that most economic studies of immigration simply do not take into account the costs of immigration, such as the loss of urban amenity, ­additional congestion, stress on ­infrastructure, including schools and hospitals, and environmental pressures. …

We should also be wary when we hear that two-thirds of the permanent migrant intake is made up of skilled entrants. Very many of them are not skilled at all, having completed average, generalist undergraduate ­degrees in Australia. We know, for ­instance, from work undertaken by Monash University’s Bob Birrell and Ernest Healy that “nearly 70 per cent of Australian graduates aged ­between 25 and 34 in 2013 held managerial or professional jobs whereas only 31 per cent of non-English-speaking background ­im­migrants with a degree held such jobs”. Note that 80 per cent of the immigrant graduates were from a non-English-speaking background. …

That our population is growing at 1.6 per cent, largely as a result of immigration, when the population of almost every other developed country is closer to 0.4 per cent to 0.9 per cent simply beggars ­belief. There is absolutely no rationale, economic or otherwise, that would justify such remarkably high population growth and all the attendant pressures that are created.