On May 30 The Institute of Public Affairs’ John Roskam discusses research on Credlin Sky News Australia that shows 60% of Australians want a temporary pause on the intake of new immigrants until more economic and social infrastructure, such as schools, roads, hospitals, and houses, are built.
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Below is a transcript of the interview.
Welcome back. Well, I’ve told you, haven’t I? Australians are cranky about migration. It doesn’t matter where they are on the political spectrum. Greens are cranky, Libs are cranky, so, too, are Labor voters.
In the latest Essential Poll published by the Guardian, 68% of Australians now want foreign investment in property to stop, but almost two-thirds of voters say they want a cap on migration until we have sufficient affordable housing. The most damning result of the poll app today, though, may well be the fact that 58% of us believe the current housing system is bad for future generations of Australians.
So I think everyone’s now woken up to the Ponzi scheme that is big migration numbers. Not saying we don’t want immigration, we do. Let’s get all the building blocks in place for those already here before we open the floodgates.
Joining me now to discuss this, media writer at The Australian, Sophie Elsworth, and John Roskam, senior fellow at the IPA.
Well, Sophie, Guardian, pretty left-leaning, but a major poll I have seen published polls and private polling. This is one issue, ever higher migration, that works right across the political spectrum. Now, you were a finance journalist before. Housing’s a massive generational issue, isn’t it?
Peta, it absolutely is and it’s something that generations now, probably more than ever, I feel like and seem to be locked out of getting their foot on the property ladder and the policies that have been in place to help first-home buyers arguably are not the greatest in this country. So I think people, especially young Australians, really feel like they can’t get their toes on the ladder.
But Peta, I must say it does come back to good old-fashioned saving and really trying to tuck that money away and be realistic about what you want to buy. And I think sometimes younger Australians want to live in that ideal suburb that they simply can’t afford, and they have to make changes about realistically where they can buy into and then set out a plan of how to get there.
Does it surprise you, John, that, as I said, right across the political spectrum and people are saying not right now, not at these levels, not till we get the basics right in terms of housing and infrastructure, but governments of all persuasion are not listening?
Well, they’re not, Peta. And what’s interesting about this poll in The Guardian is it’s nearly exactly the same result as a poll commissioned by the Institute of Public Affairs.
You’ve spoken about this, Peta, you’ve written about this. Politicians tell us the public want action on climate change so they’ll introduce climate change policies. The public want action on migration. They want it slowed until our infrastructure and our housing stock catches up. But they are not listening.
It seems that Peter Dutton and Dan Tehan are starting to listen. And when you hear Albanese and Chalmers try and explain the massive growth and increase in migration over the next two or three years, they can’t. They’re walking away from it. And we’ve also seen in the last few days economists saying that this massive migration program will push down wages.
Now the Labor Party used to be in favor of higher wages. They say they are, but their migration policy is not doing that.
Sophie, I want to go to this more today by Daily Mail, reported by Daily Mail in relation to Brittany Higgins and chat. It looks like we’ve got text messages reported by Daily Mail, a chat on those messages about book deals and all sorts of things. It looks pretty orchestrated to me. What do you think?
It’s interesting, Peta, looking at those texts that the Daily Mail did report. Now this, I think, doesn’t really look great for those involved, particularly Peter FitzSimons, and I wonder if Nine would be asking him questions about this. Obviously, he’s married to Lisa Wilkinson. She made that speech, the trial was delayed, et cetera, because of it.
So this probably to people in the public, I think, would look pretty concerning. It looks like there’s a muddying of the waters of specific roles here and commentators going in and doing bidding for book deals, I don’t think is a great look at all, Peta.
I have a grab from Question Time today, the PM under some pressure about timber workers. He’s trying to walk both sides of the street here saying he supports timber workers, but then trying to do deals with the Greens about all the environmental protection, so-called. Darren Chester, National’s MP for Gippsland. Have a listen.
What support has the prime minister and his government actually provided for timber workers across Australia? Or is this just another broken promise?
Why do you hate timber workers so much?
Oh, no. We need timber products and we want sustainable forestry jobs. We specifically set aside funding to support the forestry industry.
Now John, we’re old enough to remember 2004 when the then prime minister John Howard walked into mass acclaim in Northern Tasmania and the timber workers who were being squeezed out and Labor certainly on the table then had policies to do them out of a job.
Timber’s renewable so it comes back, you can grow it again. It sequesters carbon. Of course, we need it. So if we don’t grow our own timber, we’re importing it from places that have pretty dodgy environmental standards. I don’t understand why you’d run the industry out of town.
Well, you wouldn’t. But Labor, as you said, is trying to walk both sides of the street. And what was significant about John Howard in Tasmania and those union members and timber workers in their high-vis vest was it wasn’t just about timber workers, it was about all workers. John Howard were sending a signal to auto workers, to mechanics, to farm hands that one side of politics is on their side and another isn’t.
Here in Victoria, as you know, Peta, Daniel Andrews has said he’s just going to shut down logging in forest and we are going to be importing our paper when we have lots of wood and it’s going to be more jobs lost and the prime minister has to answer this.
John Roskam, thank you, Sophie Elsworth. As always, thank you both for your company.
This transcript with John Roskam talking on Credlin from 30 May 2023 has been edited for clarity.