Sunday, August 12, 2007

Howard, immigration & electoral suicide

Could the Prime Minister lose his own seat in the forthcoming election? There's been much interest in the media in a new poll putting the Prime Minster behind his Labor Party rival.

But why would John Howard be facing this difficulty? The answer, according to an informative SBS article, has much to do with a demographic shift brought about by immigration. One part of the PM's electorate has become Korean, another part is increasingly populated by immigrants from China and Japan.

If it weren't for John Howard's status as PM, it's likely that he would already have lost his seat of Bennelong. As the SBS article explains,

The characteristic that separates Sydney inner-metropolitan electorates between Labor and Liberal is not income, or even property prices, but race. The dividing line is an ethnic mix of roughly 20 per cent of the population. Any seat with more than 20 per cent of its voters born in non-English speaking countries at the 2006 census has a Labor sitting member today with one exception - Bennelong.

This trend is also obvious in Melbourne. If you were to compare a map showing Labor seats and areas of the highest concentration of migrants there would be a remarkable overlap.

It's interesting that the tendency of migrants to vote Labor is holding true even of East Asians. If any migrants (of non-English speaking background) were to vote Liberal it would be this group. They tend to have higher incomes, to be engaged in business activities and they have been favoured by the Liberals in terms of immigration, employment and education policies.

But it hasn't worked. They don't follow the Anglo commercial class pattern of voting predominantly Liberal.

So is the Liberal Party taking stock of the situation and slowing down immigration to preserve its long-term viability? Not at all. It's doing the very opposite. The current Government has almost doubled immigration over the last ten years to about 180,000 per year.

Why 180,000? Because this is the magic number that business wants. For instance, in 2002 the Business Council of Australia Chief Executive Katie Lahey wrote that:

As we look forward, we can also see the importance of immigration to continued strong business and economic growth. We think immigration targets need to be higher - 140,000 a year, rising to 180,000 a year over the next decade.

Peter Hendy, a spokesman for the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry has pressed for the same thing:

In the current round of discussions on general immigration intake, we are pushing for an increase in the overall immigration intake to 180,000 people a year and a significant proportion of that will need to be skilled migrants.

So the Liberal Government has chosen to give big business what it wants, even if this means fatally undermining its own electoral prospects.

It's an indication of how much the Liberal Party is wedded to a right-liberal market ideology rather than a traditionalist conservatism.


  1. On a related matter, are readers aware of the Australian Critical Race and Whiteness Studies Association which I understand is somehow formally associated with a Queensland University?

  2. Mark,

    I've just had a brief read through the links you posted re 'whiteness studies.' I am genuinely speechless.

    But just to reflect on my own identity, although I'm not Anglo, I am white, and you know, I do actually feel proud of it in a way; and why not? I also have plenty of friends who are non-Caucasian, and so what? How is any of that really relevant to the idea of good citizenship, or gentlemanly virtue?

    People should be judged on their character, but damn anybody to hell who objects to my feelings of community with my extended kin.

  3. Hmm. . .I thought that the most immigrants to Oz these days were native Brits and other native Europeans fleeing "enrichment"? Strange how Koreans are emigrating despite the fact that their native country is one of the richest in the world and has a very low birth rate on top of that.

    Re: "whiteness studies" -- well that's part of the reason why I started to read blogs such as this one. (A year ago I would have been appalled by some of the posts on this blog as well as some of the commentators, frankly.) These hatemongers are well-entrenched in US academia, and now they're starting to bring high school students into their web of hatred. A few months ago there was a big controversy in Seattle when a Seattle high school sent some students to a "white privilege" conference in Colorado, using federal funds that were meant for improving education. I've no doubt these hatemongers would try to go lower than that, and spread their hatred to even elementary school kids, if they were allowed to get away with it. You can read about the Colorado "white privilege" conference here, starring the infamous Peggy McIntosh. The stuff put out in the name of this pseudo-science really is akin to something produced by a Nazi pseudo-scientist about Jews, and would be easily refuted, if refutation were allowed in the current poisonous atmosphere that reigns in the US. This is one of the main reasons why I fear for my children's future if "enrichment" continues apace in the US. I will NOT allow my children to be exposed to this kind of tax-payer funded hate-mongering. To be fair there are some valiant American "people of color" who are speaking out against stuff like this.

  4. Also anyone who believes that "white people invented racism" has never studied Islamic history and has never read the things that Ibn Batutta (the Arab "Marco Polo") wrote about Africans. Of course you could argue that Arabs are white too since they are Caucasion, but the whiteness studies hatemongers consider them to be "people of color."

  5. In addition the statement by the Sikh lady about white "racism" is hilarious. I was on a talkboard once which featured a lot of Sikh commentators and they were the most racist people I had ever met. (They come from an area of the SubContinent where the people are generally light-skinned.) They would write things like "ugly black Hindus" all the time. If you look at their religious paintings you can see very clearly how much they value light skin. Check out the blonde-bearded "guru" shown here link.

  6. I think Lenin summed it up "The West is so hungry for profits that they will sell us the rope to hang them with."

  7. Enoch Powell was the best Prime Minister Britain never had.

  8. On the topic of John Howard's electoral chances, I thought readers may be interested in this letter posted online at The Australian:

    "Acerbic Conehead
    Fri 07 Sep 07 (01:03am)

    "Janet, I don’t often disagree with you, but there is no-one to top Reggie Howard. You say he should hang up the pads, but the upcoming cricket season is the ideal opportunity for him to claw back some support. The lefties might be doing well in the polls, but don’t forget he has arranged a one-day game, probably early-December, between the Prime Minister’s XI and some pub team called Rudd’s Rubbish. From the publicity that this game will engender, the Man of Steal is hoping to get a bouncer in the polls. So far, the results have been trying to warne him, but the Man of Steal is still optimistic about being able to catch the lefties.

    "The socialists are cock-of-the-walk in their preparations, but they will need to have a lot more practice sessions in Dolly’s fish-nets. They think they are home and hosed, but the voters will take the shine off the lefties’ balls by giving them a good kick in the googlies. There is still lots of time for the socialists to make lots of slips, and at the drinks breaks they will make fools of themselves by quaffing the chardonnay. Then, even worse, at the tea break they will have the gall to order lattes!

    "And as for their hopeless captain, Run-out Rudd, and his vice-captain, that hussey Gillard, hopefully they will get stumped at the election. That rein issue nearly stopped play for Rudd, and then he went to that strip-joint to try and increase his scores. Talk about making a balls of things!

    "But the Man of Steal’s 20/20 vision is ready for the ultimate test. His battlers are ready to pitch in, bail him out and take to the crease on his behalf. He just needs to be careful he doesn’t get caught LBW (Liquidated Because of Workchoices).

    "So down with those fair-weather fans who are saying the Man of Steal’s hopes are turning to ashes. For him to win may require one hell of a ball tampa, but in any event, it would be wicket. It seams like Rudd is ready to make a declaration, but in the end the Man of Steal will certainly win by a cricket score.

    "So sprays Acerbic Conehead, from the Manuka Oval, where all the players are on AWA’s (A Wicket Away), hopefully near you."