Net Migration and the Intergenerational Report

I was going to write a long post about the migration implications in the Intergenerational Report released today. But this would be largely pointless.

Instead, here is the chart from page 12 showing the projected migration rate as a proportion of population:

Screen Shot 2015-03-05 at 9.29.57 pm

The government assumes that by 2055, the net overseas migration rate will be 0.5 per cent of population, roughly equal to the average rate seen between 1973-2006.

If this strikes you as odd, it should. Migration policies have transformed radically since this time period. You can see this with reference to the period 2007-2018.

How anyone can make this assumption is beyond me.

Until you consider, in the words of the IGR:

  • “Lower levels of net overseas migration would lead to lower population growth rates over time and, therefore, lower economic growth.”
  • “Migrants, on average, are younger than the resident population. Migration reduces the average age of the population and slows the rate of population ageing.”
  • “Migrants tend to be younger, on average, than the resident population, and therefore increase overall labour force participation rates.”

Got it? Migrants = higher economic growth. Migrants = slower ageing. Migrants = higher labour participation.

I wonder why anyone would want to deliberately pick a lower rate of net migration?

A comment on Tim Colebatch’s Inside Story article

Tim Colebatch has an important piece on the labour market over at Inside Story (read it before this if you haven’t already). He notes from 2011 to 2014, Australia’s working age population grew by over 1,000,000 people yet only 385,000 jobs were created. This phenomenon is largely underexplored.

Colebatch writes well and I think his point that we don’t do very well with our public discourse on the labour market is spot on. Perhaps it’s our obsession with industrial relations?

Regardless, one part of his discussion focuses on the increasing population. This includes a higher rate of migration that is currently about one per cent of the population. He doesn’t mention this but the current rate of net migration is one of the highest periods in Australia’s history (see here), another largely underexplored policy area.

Here is an extract from Colebatch on migration:

A net migration rate of more than 1 per cent means that each year Australia is adding between 200,000 and 250,000 more migrants than it is losing. I have no problem with that, if there is enough work around to employ new and old Australians alike. But the jobs figures make it clear that there isn’t.

The problem is exacerbated because a growing proportion of migrants are being brought here, on section 457 visas and other means, by employers to do specific jobs, rather than employers training Australians to do them. This inevitably means fewer job opportunities for existing workers.

This shortfall could be made up if the temporary workers spent enough money here to employ the existing workers they displace, but that is unlikely. The Bureau does not measure remittance payments – a serious omission in its database – but it is clear that many temporary workers are here precisely because they plan to send much of their earnings home to their families.

In good times, there’s nothing wrong with that either, but these are not good times. Immigration policies need to fit society’s needs; running a high immigration program amid low job demand is bad economic policy. The Menzies government knew better; it controlled the immigration tap to keep the long boom going. We should learn from our past successes.

There are a few things I’d like to address.

First, here are the most recent four year net migration forecasts he discusses, broken down by visa category:

Screen Shot 2015-01-22 at 9.29.40 pm

(Source: DIBP, Outlook for Net Migration – September 2014)

Colebatch is right that there are between 200,000 and 250,000 new net migrants forecast to arrive in Australia each year. In fact, in June 2018 its higher than that at 256,900.

However he disappointingly singles out the 457 visa as an example of employers bringing in migrants instead of training Australians. As the table above shows, the 457 visa makes up approximately 5-8 per cent of the net migration total. The larger cohorts of new migrants are international students, working holiday makers and family migrants. New Zealand citizens outnumber 457 visa holders in these forecasts (I’m not sure I believe this but that’s a different story). You could halve the 457 visa figure and still not make a even a minor dent in the net migration total.

This reflects the relatively poor state of how immigration is discussed in economic circles. People know what a 457 visa is and typically you are either for it or against it, with little middle ground. But in reality, the visa plays a small role compared to its oversized public profile, at least when talking about population (I’m as guilty as anyone here).

Next, Colebatch says it is unlikely new migrants spend enough money to replace the workers they displace. I’m not sure I agree with the proposition. While some new migrants likely act as substitutes for local workers, other new migrants likely act as complements. This means instead of displacing Australians, they are enabling more employment. New migrants – on average – have higher education levels than Australians and act to increase low-skilled workers wages. Further, we have very little evidence on how much new migrants spend in the economy. What Colebatch calls unlikely, I say is mostly unknown. This is especially pertinent if we account for the amount of money international students spend per year, as they are the single largest cohort of new migrants. Their consumption through tuition fees, rent and other spending is substantial. My economics is not good enough for a fiscal multiplier debate but I’d like to see one before we close this case.

Finally, Colebatch calls a high immigration policy in a poor economy “bad economic policy” and invokes the Menzies government as a model to follow in controlling migration. Unfortunately returning to a Menzies-era migration policy is, I think, akin to calling for the reintroduction of fixed exchange rates. The Hawke, Keating, Howard, Rudd and Gillard governments have changed immigration policy and willingly given up control to other actors, such as employers, universities and migrants themselves.

Colebatch may not agree with this but suggesting a return to the 1950s is misplaced in my view. One only need to look at the British government’s election commitment to lower net migration “to tens of thousands” to see how difficult it is to control migration so tightly. More than ever before, migration trends are dictated by two forces that governments largely do not control – relative economic performance in a global world and existing migrant networks. Australia, even in the current economic environment, is sitting right near the top in terms of global attractiveness to potential migrants (see here for a longer explanation on control).

This is not to say the government does not policy levers to use. The largest cohorts contributing to our historically high immigration figures – international students, working holiday makers, permanent skilled, New Zealand citizens, family migrants and humanitarian migrants – can all be affected by policy decisions. Yet to significantly lower these numbers would require very difficult choices. These should be spelt out when we talk about reducing net migration. In addition, Colebatch does not speculate on the potential benefits these migrants bring. I’ll not go into detail here, suffice to say I think these benefits are substantial and should not be dismissed without consideration.

By no means do I think our immigration framework is perfect. Some migrants get abused and a minority of employers seek profit at the expense of eroding wages and conditions. But I also think most employers do the right thing and the vast majority of new migrants are a net economic positive over the short- and long-term.

Tim Colebatch’s piece is a good read. Yet I believe it also shows how far we still need to come when even our most informed economic commentators remain at least partially unwilling or unable to fully explain the role of immigration on the labour market. Improving the system is difficult when the a callback to the 1950s is offered as a possible guide.

Government control and Australia’s population

I’ve just finished one of the best books I’ve ever read. David Halberstam’s The Best and The Brightest is a torrid tale of public administration on how the Kennedy and Johnson Administration’s undertook policy towards Vietnam.

My biggest takeaway was thinking about the concept of control. Again and again, Halberstam references how the principle figures involved – Johnson, Maxwell Taylor and Robert McNamara – sought to control events and their environment. Time after time, small failures led to larger and more costly failures because those making the decisions believed they were in control. Bad decisions compounded as the illusion of control proved impossible to shatter.

What struck me was how this relates to contemporary public policy and administration. I think it’s common many people believe the government of the day can and should control particular events such as interest rates, petrol prices and carbon emissions to name a few. Yet there are a myriad of external factors which make this harder than it used to be and, perhaps, harder than the government lead us to believe.

I was drawn to considering how this intersects with regard to Australia’s migration policies.

For the numerically substantive part of Australian migration – skilled workers, students, family members, amongst others – I think the Australian government has a decent degree of control over both the number and type of migrants who arrive. We are after all a large, isolated island, making this task easier for us than other countries who attempt the same thing (see the United Kingdom as the primary counter example). But while the government can dictate policy decisions, it is also dictated to by economic and social factors outside its control. No government can simply turn the tap on or off when it comes to migration.

This has been poorly explained by each government over the last three decades, particularly as some control of migration has been ceded – willingly – to external economic and social forces. This has a number of consequences (positive and negative) but in the public domain, none captures the imagination quite like the impact on population.

This debate is about to rear its head again. The Abbott government will release the fourth Intergenerational Report in early 2015 (date to be determined). IGR4 will show that Australia is adding between 220,000 and 240,000 people each year through migration. This means that by 2050, Australia’s population is on track for approximately 38-39 million people. This is slightly higher than Kevin Rudd’s “Big Australia” of 36 million from 2010.

There will be lots of commentary on this topic. But unfortunately much of it will likely miss a foundational question: does the government control the population of Australia? You can argue for a bigger or small population but outlining how this is achieved is more difficult.

This is because significant sections of Australia’s migration program are not capped by government. There is no cap on the number of international students who can attend higher education institutions. Employers can theoretically sponsor an unlimited number of skilled migrants. Millions of young people across the globe have the opportunity to live and work in Australia as backpackers without queuing for the right to do so.

Instead of caps, migration is regulated with other policy tools. Barriers such as age, work experience, qualifications and language are used to determine who is eligible to migrate as opposed to the number of migrants. This naturally limits the number of people who are eligible while allowing others to determine the level of migration.

I like to think of this as a soft cap (shout out to any NBA salary cap nerds). As an example, the government could regulate the minimum salary for a 457 visa holder as $1,000,000 and watch as employers stopped hiring new migrants. Technically, no cap on the number would have been imposed but the program would be impossible to use. This is primarily why most business advocates argue for lower barriers while unions argue for higher requirements.

Under this framework, the actual number of people who come to Australia under each visa category is impacted a variety of factors but not directly controlled by the government.

Economic forces play a primary role. The number of Irish immigrants to Australia skyrocketed as Irish unemployment rose from 2009 as the Australian economy was relatively excellent compared to Ireland. International students will likely increasingly choose Australia – relative to other countries – because of the cheaper Australian dollar. For a generation, New Zealand citizens came in great numbers to Australia yet over the past two years, New Zealand is experiencing a net inflow of people from Australia given it’s improving economy.

Social factors also play a strong role. Social networks formed by diaspora communities act as links to other countries and encourage future migration. This occurs through family migration channels but also through economic migration channels as existing connections reduce the cost of migration. In Australia, a growing Chinese community is laying the groundwork for future Chinese migrants. The same is likely true of the Indian community and new humanitarian communities, such as the Karen and Sudanese. Even if economic forces were completely neutral, these social links would dictate migration trends regardless of government regulations.

While the government could take measures to directly cap the number of migrants, this would have flow on effects. Universities would have to accept less funding or require an increase in public money. Businesses would go without filling skills shortages. Opportunities for Australians to travel overseas would be restricted. Existing migrants would experience frustration. Instead, both the ALP and the Coalition prefer to use regulation to shape the number and type of migrants who come to Australia.

This is radically different from what used to occur but three decades ago. I also find that not many people are aware this is how migration now works. This explains why our population debate is seriously uninformed.

There is one thing the government has strict control over: the number and allocation of permanent residency visas. Each year in the Budget, a number of permanent residency visas is chosen. For 2013-14, this number was 190,000 for skilled and family visas.

In the past, this number accurately reflected the number of likely immigrant arrivals. A new migrant would arrive with a permanent visa, with the vast majority making Australia their new home. Yet today, the majority of people who receive a permanent residency already live in Australia and hold a temporary visa when they arrive. This means the government’s primary tool in historically controlling immigration has been lost.

Therefore the current policy framework is less effective, less controlling, at determining the number of people who arrive as immigrants in Australia. You can argue whether this type of temporary migration is good or bad but its akin to arguing whether we should return to a fixed exchange rate. The world has changed and Australia has changed with it. With it, the fundamentals of the population debate have also changed.

So when you see a hot take in the coming months about Australia’s population, remember to think about why this has happened and what the ramifications might be of sudden, knee-jerk reactions to a toxic debate.

Net Overseas Migration: June 2014 Forecasts

The June forecast for Net Overseas Migration was recently released by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection. The forecast for September 2014 is 4.5 per cent higher than the latest ABS estimate.

Here is the key table (Table 4, p.9):

NOM Sep-14 Dec-14 Mar-15 Jun-15 Sep-15 Jun-16 Jun-17 Jun-18
Temp. 143300 147300 153900 156700 159400 162700 146400 145200
Perm. 76400 75200 74000 72400 72300 72400 72300 72300
Oz -3700 -500 -1700 -1400 -2100 -3400 -3500 -5000
Kiwi 24600 22300 20400 19300 18300 17000 16600 17000
Total 246300 250300 252300 253300 254100 255200 238100 235800

(Note: total is not equal to other rows given I omitted the “other visa” category)

246,000 additional net migrants in the 12 months to September 2014 is high by recent history. The Treasury assumes 180,000 in it’s Intergenerational Report from 2010. In revisions from previous forecasts, student migration in particular is rising, the main cause of growth from now to June 2016.

The fact DIBP releases these forecasts should be commended. It’s difficult enough to forecast economic growth. Trying to predict if people will move into and out of countries is one step further.

These migration forecasts are based on existing and announced government policy and economic factors. As an example, slower economic growth forecasts in the Budget sees the forecast growth in 457 and working holiday visas flat over the next four years. As a policy example, when the ALP increased the humanitarian program to 20,000, this was reflected in the forecast then removed after the Abbott government lowered the humanitarian program back to 13,750.

While these forecasts are helpful for policy-makers and other bureaucrats, we should keep in mind some questions.

Is it likely permanent migration will be maintained at 190,000 over the next four years? No. However the forecasters cannot possibly know what level will be chosen by government.

What subtle forces are at work as we see rising departures of Australian citizens? Forecasting emigration is perhaps the hardest of all migration given the lack of government policy control.

Will the New Zealand economic recover maintain its vigour, meaning less Kiwis in Australia? The coming election may transform perceptions of the country by New Zealand citizens.

Will the European recovery ever happen, stemming the tide of Working Holiday Makers from countries like Ireland?

Is the link between domestic economic growth and 457 visas a robust predictive indicator? What is more employers become aware they are eligible to use the program?

What is the theoretical upper-limit of international students, particularly in a higher education policy environment which appears in flux?

These questions do not mean the forecasts are useless. Far from it. But we need to be aware they are subject to change as other indicators and policy change.

Some thoughts on population figures

I’m waiting. I know it’s going to happen. And it’s going to be ugly.

The debate about Australia’s population is never pretty. Out of the shadows come deep convictions, straight from the gut. We hear big numbers, unbelievable numbers and we gasp.

Earlier this year, Andrew Leigh gave a speech to the Lowy Institute about Australia’s population (conflict of interest note: I provided comment on a draft). The main thrust of his argument was migrants – on balance – provide economic justification for a larger population and we need to focus on ‘who’, as well as ‘how many’.

I wholeheartedly agree. Yet this argument will get swept away when our collective consciousness is diverted by the appearance of a new set of numbers.

Debating who gets to come is a first-order priority with third-order public interest. Students? Workers? Family members? Asylum seekers? For each of these categories, there are eligibility criteria and such. The legislation underpinning much of the migration program is cumbersome, off-putting.

Yet Australia, for about a generation now, has experienced seismic change in terms of who arrives. This has been driven by the bureaucratic machine along with occasional support from political interventions (such as the FitzGerald report in the late 1980s).

Public interest in the who is not just limited, it simply doesn’t exist.

Leigh’s speech was hopefully read in full by those who make decisions about who migrates. But to see just how hard it is to talk about who instead of how many, the headline of his op-ed in the Daily Telegraph was “Don’t be scared, let’s populate and prosper”. Not much nuance there.

This is because on the numbers, everyone has an opinion that can be vividly supported by anecdotes and facts.

So, what are the numbers looking like? Thanks to some probing questions by Senator Sam Dastyari at the February Senate Estimates, we can piece together a couple of important trends.

In 2010, the third Intergenerational Report (IGR3) said Australia was on track for a population of 36m by 2050. 36m is a forecast, a number plucked from the middle of a range (28m-44m).  This range depends on how many people arrive and depart in Australia and how many births occur.

36m was the best guess at the time which combines medium migration with medium fertility. It’s also called Scenario B by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Four years later, these forecasts have shifted. Scenario B is now estimated at 37.6m, a 4.4 per cent increase from IGR3.

This shift is nearly all from the change in migration trends. The ABS says net migration has a 10-year average of 195,000 while a five-year average of 234,000.

Migrants are now making the biggest contribution to our population than at any point in the 20th century. This means past trends like the 10-year average are now below even the lowest level of migration forecast used by the ABS (Scenario C uses a forecast of 200,000 – the lowest migration scenario). If I were a statistician at the ABS, this unlikely situation would be giving me pause (and probably some level of discomfort when it comes to answering questions from politicians).

To Andrew Leigh’s point, who are these people? According to the ABS, in the last five years have seen students (~30%), permanent skilled migrants and their families (15%), New Zealand citizens (14%) and permanent family migrants (13%). Please note the lack of asylum seekers. From a policy perspective, indeed from an economic and social perspective, this is the key question.

But we don’t like that question. Coverage and discussion of population is akin to a heart-rate monitor. Nothing happens… an explosion of activity… nothing happens.

Take the recent debate about university funding stemming from the Budget. I saw very little analysis about international students. This is despite international students making up 30 per cent of the increase in population by migration over the last five years. When talking about the ‘who’ in immigration policy, this is the perfect example. Do we want more international students in Australia? Do more international students want to come to Australia? Is it good for universities? Is it good for students? What impact does it have on other immigration policies? There are many unanswered questions.

At the bottom of his op-ed in the Tele, Leigh writes: “If we want to have a healthy migration debate, then ensuring that our migrant mix reflects our national values and priorities matters more than fretting about the next set of demographic projections”.

We could do this by talking about these values and priorities regularly, such as international students in the context of higher education policy. But we don’t.

IGR4 is due sometime in the near future and with it a new number to shout about for a small amount of time. The best guess for 2050 is 38m. If you want a preview of this coming debate, just google “2010 population debate”.

Net migration and population: The past and future

Matt Butlin’s set of slides last week got me thinking about other immigration related historical data.

Too much commentary is based on numbers out of context. For example if you are talking about population and you only look at the number of immigrants arriving, you will miss certain things. When discussing population you want to account for people who leave Australia (emigrants) also. Then, to better understand the relative contribution of the number of net migrants (immigrants – emigrants), you can compare the figure to the population at the time against history. This leaves us with: net migration divided by population as a good indicator of the migrant contribution to Australian population. Here is that figure, graphed since 1925:
Nompop19252011(Source: ABS)

Before I started working at the immigration department, I thought of the post-war immigration programs as large but not massive. In addition, I thought the boom of immigration continued right up until the oil shock recession in 1973.

You can see in the graph, both of these beliefs weren’t correct. 1949 and 1950 literally jump off the page when looking at net migration as a contribution to Australian population. At 149,270 and 153,685 people respectively, each year was nearly two per cent of the population, something which hasn’t occurred since. We also see the rate of growth start to decline before 1960, as the government slowly draws back from further increases in immigration.

The next graph shows the historical data and includes the forecasts for net migration divided by population (drawn from the ABS and immigration department). The forecasts are to the right side of the grey line:


I’m a big Australia kind of guy and these figures should be pleasing. The graph shows in the next four years, if the forecasts hold up, Australia is entering unprecedented territory with regards to trend population growth from net migration. This does not mean our population is growing faster than at anytime in the past. Fertility rates are substantially lower now than in the 1950s, meaning total population growth was faster in the post-war period. But this does mean is that the trend for population growth from immigration is higher than at any point in the 20th century. Indeed, if the forecasts prove accurate (a big if), it would be the first time ever to have five consecutive years of above one per cent population growth solely due to immigration.

If you look at policy decisions instead of rhetoric, this should not be surprising. Despite the talk of sustainability, no government in the last two decades has introduced or reformed any piece of immigration legislation or policy explicitly designed to restrict immigration to Australia (outside of asylum policy, which is doesn’t even play a marginal role in this debate). At every step along the way, Liberal and Labor, expansion has won out of restriction. Larger permanent migration programs and the introduction and expansion of temporary migration programs (students, 457s and working holiday makers) combined with a growing economy has created this trend growth.

Undoubtedly, the next economic slowdown will change the trend and its likely in the future there will be some reform to temporary migration programs which may slow future population growth.

Yet what is displeasing, and should be concerning to any bigger Australia advocate, is the complete lack of attention this growth receives in terms of the challenges presented. This isn’t theoretical anymore. We shouldn’t be arguing over 36m by 2050 anymore because with every passing year, it becomes more certain this is likely a floor figure instead of the best estimate. Current trends suggest 38-40m instead. A lack of planning, coupled with a popular backlash, will likely result in rushed, populist reforms to immigration programs, helping no-one.

The disconnect between urban policy at the state level and immigration policy at the federal level has arguably never been more acute. NSW and Victoria are the big winners from immigration yet sprawl and infrastructure capacity are serious issues in need of serious innovation. We could start with a better discussion about land taxes…

(Note: In the second graph, I used Scenario C for population estimates from the ABS, the highest growth estimates. See here for the assumptions behind these scenarios. This is because I believe this to be the most likely scenario given current immigration forecasts for the next four years. Using Scenario A or B would have generated higher trend growth for net migration divided by population, given the lower dominator)

(Note 2: Data for the graphs)


The emerging population* debate (read immigration): a response to Nicholas Stuart

Nicholas Stuart had an op-ed in the Canberra Times this week arguing against a bigger Australia.

His argument is with Michael Fullilove, Director of the Lowy Institute, for his speech on ‘A Larger Australia’. I disagree with bits and pieces of Fullilove’s means, but on population, come down at the same end. However it is pleasing to see an emerging debate on this issue outside the confines of a federal election.

In familiar op-ed style, Stuart situates his argument within either/or:

Now this is one of those fundamental ideological positions you either hold, or you don’t. Intellectual arguments don’t seem to make much impression on those in favour or those against the idea that we can be “bigger”, and this is really a debate about population size.

I don’t believe this to be true and wonder if Stuart actually holds this belief, what is the purpose of his op-ed in the first place?

Stuart has three main arguments against a bigger Australia.

The first is to focus on infrastructure and the public cost of this provision. It’s an important point. More people require more stuff. Yet this only focuses on the demand migrants place on government and ignores the contribution from migrants. Most economic work on most developed economies shows the effect of immigration hovers around neutral. In Australia, we err on the side of positive because of the high-skilled nature of our immigration framework. Benign but limited as termed by the Productivity Commission in 2006. Therefore for Stuart to ignore the contribution of migrants to governments in the provision of public infrastructure is poor form. Yes, more schools and roads cost money. Thankfully migrants pay taxes too. His lament that “in the long run only a few benefit” is akin to claiming the only winners in the AFL last season were Hawthorn. While Melbourne may not have had a great year on the field, hundreds of people have good jobs because of the club and thousands more supporters gain enjoyment from participating. There is a good argument to be had about infrastructure in Australia, but blame state and federal governments as opposed to migrants.

Perhaps the most egregious part of his argument is his second point. Stuart co-opts Gina Rinehart as his main antagonist. This is despite the fact he goes to great lengths to explain one is not racist or anti-development to believe in a stable, low-growth population. In the same vein, one does not need to believe Gina Rinehart’s $2/day nonsense to believe in a larger Australia. Stuart is incorrect to state a big Australia means lower living standards. There is little proof to his claim. Australia today is the most populous and near to the richest we’ve ever been. This does not prove migrants are the individual equivalent of economic stimulus packages, but it does mean you require some evidence when you categorically state having more Aussies “simply means lower standards of living”. Stuart is dishonest by conflating Rinehart’s push for outlandish policy with the bigger Australia argument and the spectre of lower living standards. Even the most pessimistic takes on the impact on immigration see only very minimal impact on living standards (Borjas etc) while in Australia, the effects are generally small and positive (See Productivity Commission 2006).

Stuart’s last argument is the environment. “It’s fragile. Despite last week’s deluge, the rain isn’t coming when or where we want it. The soil is thin and old. There are limits”. All of this is true, but none of it precludes more people.

Finally, Stuart says:

There is another model. This week I’m in Sweden. In the 1600s this was a mighty power. Today it’s just a pleasant country; but I don’t think it’s lost anything in the transition.

Here is what Sweden has lost: the opportunity to take as many people possible on its journey to massive wealth. A nation is mostly a collection of the people within it. While Stuart laments our slide down the happiness and wellbeing measures (of course, Australia sits 2nd while Sweden sits 8th on the Human Development Index), since 1946 Australia has been busy integrating many people into high paying jobs, world class education and cultural exchange opportunities. Further, Sweden itself has run a pretty large immigration program over the past decade (just not for the past 400 years), something he would find if he ventured into the Stockholm suburbs in the south.

I think I understand the fear about more people from an environmental and economic point of view. There is a risk standards of living will fall with more people. Personally, I see this risk as much smaller than the risk of population stability in terms of wellbeing. In relation to the environment, unlike climate change, the issues of population are second order and based on tradition (i.e., water policy in Australia) rather than best practice*.

Stuart’s piece is more thoughtful (and pleasant) than the standard stable population writing that is spewed onto the internet by a small handful of excitable activists. However it contains many more questions than answers. I should note, I generally enjoy Stuart’s column in the Canberra Times as he explores matters at the margins as opposed to the general op-ed industrial complex which has arisen.

Other takes: Andrew Leigh has a more “factual” take on the population debate here, where he comes down on the side of more people (but only just it seems). Richard Tsukamasa Green has a different take to Fullilove here but supports a bigger population.

* Of course acknowledging people coming from low carbon economics to Australia increase Australia’s net carbon emissions. This is not an argument against immigration but for rigorous climate change policies.