Source: The Australian, 15 July, 1998, p.4


Numbers won't add up under Hanson migrant plan

 
MICHELLE GUNN 
 Social affairs writer 
 
A POLICY of zero net 
migration, promoted by Pau- 
line Hanson's One Nation 
party, would see Australia's 
population begin to decline 
from the late 2020s, according 
to figures released yesterday 
by the Australian Bureau of 
Statistics. 
 
Under One Nation's sug- 
gested reforms, the population 
would grow to about 20 million 
over the next 25 years, before 
falling to between 18.3 million 
and 19.5 million in 2051. 
 
But even if current immi- 
gration levels are maintained, 
there will be no population 
explosion. 
 
Instead, the population will 
grow to between 23.5 million 
and 26.4 million by 2051, from 
18.5 million in 1997, before 
stagnating or starting to 
decline. 
 
Under this scenario, Aust- 
ralia's growth rate by the mid- 
dle of next century will be 
between 0 and 0.3 per cent- 
rates not seen since European 
settlement. 
 
Population Projections 1997 
to 2051 uses a series of assump- 
tions about births, deaths and 
migration to project the size, 
structure and distribution of 
the population well into the 
next century. 
 
It comes at a time when 
population growth and immi- 
gration policy are being 
fiercely debated around the 
country. 
 
Yesterday, the West Aust- 
ralian Department of 
Environmental Protection 
entered the fray, calling for 
State population controls to 
curb environmental damage. 
 
The ABS publication shows 
every 1000 net overseas 
migrants a year adds about 
77,000 to the total Australian 
population by 2051, although 
the level varies according to 
the fertility and mortality of 
these migrants. 
 
Fertility levels are import 
ant, with each shift in the total 
fertility rate of 0.1 births per 
woman changing the pro- 
jected population for 2050 by 
about a million people. Aust 
ralia's total fertility rate 
dropped below 1.8 births per 
woman in 1996 and the ABS 
has assumed that it will con- 
tinue to fall to between 1.6 and 
1.75 births per woman, before 
levelling out. 
 
Some countries already 
have far lower birth rates, with 
Greece, Hong Kong and Italy 
all recording 1.3 births per 
woman or lower. 
 
International comparisons 
also reveal that Australia's 
projected growth rate (of up to 
42 per cent) up to 2051 is far 
lower than the world average 
(72 per cent). 
 
There is a widening gap 
between Australia and South 
East Asian neighbours such as 
Indonesia and Malaysia. Mid- 
range projections from the UN 
show Indonesia's population, 
already 10 times that of Aust- 
ralia, could increase to almost 
319 million, or 12 times our 
projected population, by 2050. 
 
Malaysia, currently about 
the same size as Australia, 
could almost double the num- 
ber of its citizens to 38 million 
in the same time frame. 
 
On the other side of the 
equation, New Zealand is 
expected to grow by just 31 per 
cent to 4.7 million, and coun 
tries such as Japan and Ger- 
many are expected to decline 
below 1995 levels of 125.1 and 
81.6 million, respectively. 
 
 
 
Indigenous population rate races 
 
FIONA CARRUTHERS 
 
THE indigenous population is 
younger and growing faster 
than the rest of the nation- 
and could, reach 650,000 by 2006, 
compared with 386,000 at the 
1996 Census. 
 
Australian Bureau of Stat- 
istics population projection fig- 
ures show the indigenous popu- 
lation's present median age of 
20 is also substantially younger 
than the median age of 34 for 
the total Australian population. 
 
By 2006, people under 15 are 
expected to comprise 37 per- 
cent of the indigenous popu- 
lation and the median age is 
expected to increase only 
slightly, to 21 years. 
 
However, the indigenous 
population continues to suffer 
low life expectancy rates, with 
males expected to live until 57 
and women until 62- thus, 
dying almost 20 years younger 
than the rest of the population. 
 
The ABS population projec- 
tions find the indigenous popu- 
lation is increasing on average 
by 2 per cent each year based on 
natural "fertility and mortality" 
trends. This compares with the 
growth rate for the total popu- 
lation of 1.2 per cent. 
 
However, if an increase in 
indigenous identification-on 
the rise since 1991-is factored 
in, the average annual growth 
rate for the indigenous popu 
lation jumps to 5.3 per cent. 
 
On this rate, ABS predicts 
the population could reach 
just under 650,000 by 2006. 
 
On the 2 per cent growth 
projection, it would reach 
469,000 by 2006. 
 
It is estimated Queensland 
and NSW will have the largest 
indigenous populations by 2006 
(133,000 each), followed by 
Western Australia (67,000), the 
Northern Territory (61,000), 
South Australia and Victoria 
(27,000 each), Tasmania (18,000) 
and the ACT (4000).


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