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Despite 1m migrants in 2022-24, the Budget barely slackens the war on voters.

By Stephen Saunders - posted Friday, 17 May 2024

The Budget showstopper, Future Made in Australia,was telegraphed well in advance. The economy, so Treasurer Chalmers proclaimed, could unlock lasting prosperity, via pre-selected industries such as "green" minerals, renewable hydrogen, "clean energy" manufactures, and quantum computing.

Yep, it that's "global energy superpower" trope, same as last Budget.

But how could suchlike flourish, with Treasury rusted onto the same old economic model? Australia as the dumb luck quarry of the world, addicted to dumb levels of immigration.


Government-favoured economists agree, Treasury has structural problems. Rues Ross Garnaut, the decade from 2013 is Australia's first ever, that has lowered real wages. Adds Martin Parkinson, in the Migration Review, productivity growth over the 2010-2020 decade was the slowest in sixty years.

Neither they nor the Treasurer will admit a (the) root cause. Twenty lost years of Big (now Huge) Australia has decimated productivity and capital formation.

Australian manufacturing has collapsed further, this century. We don't have energetic R&D (or venture-capital) cultures. Manufacturing inputs are costly. Our east-coast gas cartel, far from fuelling any Made in Australia, is driving manufactures to the wall.

Wouldn't the USA and EU just love to have, Island Australia's easily manageable border-control "problems". That's what makes Labor's all-time immigration numbers so reckless and reprehensible.

As against ecologically sustainable net-migration of perhaps 50,000-80,000 per annum, or even the incredible Kevin Rudd record of 560,000 in two years, the Albanese Government will run up a staggering one million net (give or take) in its first two years.

An astonishing 80% of our population growth is coming from immigration. It's poor form in polite circles, to call this population replacement, like, for lower wages. But it's nigh on that.


This Budget's net-migration estimate for 2024-25 is 260,000. Don't believe our "churn and change" Treasurer. He will overshoot, yet again.

Recall his corresponding estimates, in May 2023 (315,000) and October 2022 (235,000) Budgets. Both (ahem) "updated" several times. Both eventually overshot, by huge margins.

Even with 2023-24 nearly gone, he's not being honest with us. The Budget claims 2023-24 net migration will pan out at 395,000. On numbers to hand, 450,000 plus, even 500,000, looks the more likely result.

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About the Author

Stephen Saunders is a former APS public servant and consultant.

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