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Dec 5, 2017

Every Christmas, the same question: ‘why are there so many people in my city?’

“Why are there so many people in this city?” we ask ourselves between bursts of road rage. “Couldn’t they be … somewhere else?”

Jason Murphy — Journalist and economist

Jason Murphy

Journalist and economist

This yuletide time of year, traffic approaches an intensity that appears designed to torment. In the long periods of sitting stationary, bumper to bumper, the average Australian gets thinking about cities.


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3 thoughts on “Every Christmas, the same question: ‘why are there so many people in my city?’

  1. Laurie Patton

    Does it make sense for most of us to be jammed into a handful of increasingly overcrowded population centres? On the 45th anniversary of the election of the Whitlam Government a forward-thinking policy deserves revisiting for a digitally-enabled world.

  2. AR

    Our cities are not only wildly overblown by European standards – 4 to 5M for Mel/Syd – but as a proportion of our population off the charts.
    Is that because this country is so tiny, unlike huge nations like Belgium or Holland…?
    As for “Australia’s cities are nothing like the largest in the world. It will be possible for them to work well even when they’re a lot larger.” Possible is debateable but desirable?

  3. [email protected]

    We need to talk about immigration. We have run a very high immigration rate post-Howard (indeed it was Howard who pulled the old pea and thimble trick “Look over there at the dastardly boat people while I raise other types of immigration to paper over our increasingly tired economic model”).
    Many of the structural problems of our current economy and politics are exacerbated (not necessarily caused) by our extremely high rates of immigration/long term visas. Property bubble, infrastructure backlog, stagnant wages (held down by hundreds of thousands of international students, often exploited in the black/cash economy). The 7-11 wage scandal showed how vulnerable international students are to being ripped off, at the same time as depressing local wages for beginner level jobs.
    Big business, real estate, property developers, Murdoch, Gerry Harvey, overpaid university vice-chancellors etc – love high immigration rates. Why do they demonise asylum seekers but never talk more seriously about the choices we have made with our regular immigation program?
    Melbourne has added something like a million people in 10 years – no way this is sustainable, it’s lazy and spineless government going all-out for junk GDP growth (i.e. increasing the number of people, not income per capita). They also refuse to build the infrastructure that would support the new entrants.
    Nothing against any of the people who have arrived, and any reduction should be absolutely non-discriminatory. Hate the game, not the players.
    These issues discussed well – from a progressive point of view, here: