Immigration was the key issue in both the Brexit referendum and Trump’s election, and in Australia, immigration is always a policy battleground. One Nation has won senate seats largely due to their anti-mass-immigration stance. One of the recurring characterisations of the supporters of Brexit, Donald Trump and Pauline Hanson is that they are a backward and parochial lot. Commentators often parrot the talking point that these people have been left behind by modern society, culture and the economy, and are lashing out in a xenophobic, persecution-complex-inspired upraised middle finger to the political establishment. This seems a convenient way to easily dismiss the issues and grievances of these voters as overly emotional paranoia.
The ABS did a population projection in 2013, which projected changes in Australia’s population from 2012 through to 2101. The projection contained three different “series”; these are essentially three different projections which are varied by making different assumptions about fertility, immigration, life expectancy etc.The ABS noted that, “Series B largely reflects current trends in fertility, life expectancy at birth and NOM [Net overseas migration]”
Seeking to find how the net overseas migration would affect the population over the length of the projection, I compared Series B which I termed the “Base Case” against the same set of assumptions except that net overseas migration is nil. Subtracting the population of the “Net overseas migration” data from the base case data allows you to isolate the amount of the population that is an immigrant to the country after 2012 or descended from the aforementioned post-2012 immigrants. I have termed anyone in the country by 2012 a “2012 native” for ease.
Immigration can transform a country, and it’s somewhat shocking to contemplate that on the current immigration, life expectancy and fertility trends that the ABS expects to occur the following is expected:
- In 2022, more than 10% of people in the country will have arrived or be descended from people who arrived in Australia after 2012.
- It hits 20% by 2033, 30% by 2045 and 50% by 2076.
These newly arrived “Australians” are a significant presence almost instantly, due to the size and rapid growth of their numbers. They can vote, work and consume like any other Australian citizen, and as an Australian citizen have a right to influence Australia politically and culturally. It is certainly not baseless paranoia to posit that immigration at present is rapidly changing the demography of the country, and if the mainstream parties in Australia are not able to explain and evidence how immigration at this rate benefits Australians, then they should not be surprised to see One Nation and other anti-immigration parties continue to grow in prominence.
Photo by RubyGoes