We’re no longer alone in highlighting John Howard’s big secret of boosting migration levels beyond any multiculturalist’s dreams. Smage columnist Ross Gittins has caught up with Crikey’s back issues:

There’s a saying among journalists that news is anything someone doesn’t want you to know. So let me tell you all about John Howard’s immigration program. It’s a key part of the Government’s economic policy, but one it rarely talks about.

Why? Because Howard wants his Battlers to think he shares their dislike and distrust of foreigners, especially boat people. And it wouldn’t help his image for people to know he’s running the biggest immigration program we’ve ever had.

The admirable Gittins proceeds to run my numbers from 17 May albeit without (1) bothering to add the parts up to arrive at the obvious headline whole of about 300,000 immigrants next financial year or (2) acknowledging their source. (Bad form, Ross –you’re normally better than that.)

With the benefits of time and space, Gittins fleshes out the numbers a touch, but I still find the missing total curious. There’s also a saying among journalists that you lead with your best punch – you certainly don’t leave it out altogether.

It’s only a guess, but I suspect gentle souls like Gittins might be a little concerned about the consequences. Tell the hoi polloi 300,000 migrants are turning up next year and it rather quickly leads to talk of no-white-faces-on-the-tram-anymore, too-many-Muslims-cause-all-the-trouble and print-out-the-article-and-confront-your-MP, as you can see here when The National Forum ran the Crikey story.

Nonetheless, having broken the number in Crikey and given it a rev on Fairfax Digital, the story must now be considered mainstream if Gittins has it. Wonder what the Murdoch stable of conflicts will do.

The combination of spending a few days in Perth talking to resources types plus last week’s GDP and labour force numbers all point to high immigration levels being a necessity while our economy is running at capacity.

When miners start offering middle-aged journalists jobs as trainee truck drivers for $95K a year – more when qualified – you know we’re desperately short of workers.

Peter Fray

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