NAB Chairman and former Head of Treasury Dr Ken Henry (Image: AAP/Erik Anderson)

In the face of coronavirus, Australia has a great economic weakness. We depend on population growth to drive our economy ever onward, and our population growth is about to be greatly diminished in the COVID-19 era.

It was Ken Henry who explicitly put population growth at the centre of Australia’s economic architecture. The former Treasury secretary proclaimed his three P’s framework -- productivity, participation and population.

These three have powered Australia’s many years without a recession, but one of the P’s -- population -- was doing an outsized share of the work.