On Dick Smith and immigration 

John Burke writes: Re. “Dick Smith versus the migrants” (Wednesday)

In ignoring Dick Smith’s overall approach to the population issue, Bernard Keane does no one a favour.

Sure migrants have built this country, sure we are all migrants or their close descendants, sure One Nation is a redneck abomination and sure more houses could be built if there were the will. Having said all that, it’s disappointing to see Keane lining up with the growth-without-limit merchants; those people whose well funded  lobbyists haunt the corridors of our parliaments: the rent seekers, the unthinking and the greedy.

As Dick has said often enough, we cannot have infinite growth in a finite world, or in Australia in this case. Our recent rates of population growth will see us with about 100 million people in another 100 years and with 200 million 50 years later and onwards exponentially. Now as we have grown from the Aboriginal population to almost 25 million over some 220 years we have wreaked huge environmental damage on our country. Think the Murray-Darling, think a huge mammal extinction rate and so on. Think of the devastation should we pursue growth at our current rates!

Plenty of European countries, as well as others like Japan, seem to manage well economically with zero or negative population growth, with wealth per capita being the relevant measure rather than GDP. As for Bernard blaming nimbyism for traffic and such issues, that’s just silly. If you don’t look after your own backyard then who will? The countless planning mistakes that continue to be made in the face of community opposition are testament to the necessity for ongoing nimby activity.

The interesting thing is that we don’t seem to be allowed to discuss the future of our population. Keane doesn’t want to, our political and business leaders don’t want to, out major environmental groups refuse to and so it’s left to a few people like Dick Smith to carry that flag. If we were to agree that population growth should stop one day then it behoves us to talk about by what process that will occur. Shall we, being rational beings, manage our own destiny or shall we let the rent seekers keep pushing until Australia is on its knees, environmentally, socially and economically. As David Attenborough has said, “There seems to be some bizarre taboo around the subject”.

Dick Smith cares about Australia and its future. He needs support and understanding rather than the sort of facile rebuttal dished out by Bernard Keane. 

 On Israel and Palestine

Marcus L’Estrange writes: Re. “Netanyahu’s visit intensifies pressure on Shorten to back Palestine” (Wednesday)

Many good points, but a more historical background is needed. In understanding the conflict in today’s Palestine a good starting point is Israel’s first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion’s statement in 1937: “We must expel Arabs and take their place…If we are compelled to use force….Our force will enable us to do so”. After WW2 it was never a land without a people for a people without a land. It was a land with the indigenous people already living there who had done so for thousands of years. Ben Gurion said “The Jewish state now being offered to us is not the Zionist objective. […] But it can serve as a decisive stage along the path to greater Zionist implementation. It will consolidate in Palestine, within the shortest possible time, the real Jewish force, which will lead us to our historic goal”. In a discussion in the Jewish Agency he said that he wanted a Jewish-Arab agreement “on the assumption that after we become a strong force, as a result of the creation of the state, we shall abolish partition and expand to the whole of Palestine”. On the Barak – Arafat negotiations, on 27 July 2000, Noam Chomsky wrote in Z Mag that: 

“The intended result is that an eventual Palestinian state would consist of four cantons on the West Bank: Jericho, the southern canton extending as far as Abu Dis (the new Arab “Jerusalem”), a northern canton including the Palestinian cities of Nablus, Jenin, and Tulkarm, and a central canton including Ramallah.” 
The cantons are completely surrounded by territory to be annexed to Israel. The areas of Palestinian population concentration are to be under Palestinian administration, an adaptation of the traditional colonial pattern that is the only sensible outcome as far as Israel and the US are concerned. The plans for the Gaza Strip, a fifth canton, are uncertain: Israel might relinquish it, or might maintain the southern coastal region and another salient virtually dividing the Strip below Gaza City. On 26/8/2014 in ‘The Times of Israel’ Mr. Netanyahu stated that “he could never, ever, countenance a fully sovereign Palestinian state in the West Bank.”

On 17/3/2015 Israeli PM Netanyahu said, during the then election campaign, that if re-elected, he would not permit an independent Palestinian state to exist. On 19/3/2015 he was re-elected. Bob Carr, former NSW Premier and Australian Foreign Minister: “Next time I looked settlement population numbers had soared another 150,000, something which left me with the distinct impression of having been conned – no, having been lied to – by the Israel lobby. Sure we subscribe to a two-state solution, they insist, but while you’re looking the other way we’re spreading settlements as fast as possible to render it impossible.” In summary, since the 1930s, the Israeli leadership class have never had any intention of having a two state solution. It was to be Israel from the Mediterranean to the Jordan River.