Australia could be at risk of invasion without significant growth to the population

A state Liberal leader is downplaying his own suggestion that Australia could be invaded if it failed to maintain high population growth.

NSW Opposition Leader Mark Speakman says it is in the country‚Äôs best interests ‚Äúeconomically and strategically‚ÄĚ to have ‚Äúsustained but sustainable population growth‚ÄĚ.

The country’s booming population since World War II had made it a stronger nation, including having a larger tax base in order to afford a strong defence force, he said.

‚ÄúI‚Äôm not suggesting we‚Äôre going to be invaded in the next year or five years or necessarily at all,‚ÄĚ Mr Speakman told Sydney radio 2GB on Wednesday.

‚ÄúI‚Äôm just making the point that, in the long run, you have a stronger economy and a stronger country if you have a steady increase in population.‚ÄĚ

The former attorney-general‚Äôs comments came after he told the Daily Telegraph there was a risk Australia might not be able to ‚Äúsecurely maintain occupation‚ÄĚ of the continent without significant population growth.

He noted that Australia was ‚Äúlightly populated ‚Ķ at the bottom of Asia‚ÄĚ, which was home to half of the world‚Äôs population despite ‚Äúincredible‚ÄĚ strains on resources and the potential for widespread displacement due to climate change.

In contrast, Mr Speakman‚Äôs federal colleagues have accused the Albanese government of a ‚Äúbig Australia by stealth policy‚ÄĚ that had worsened housing shortages through high immigration.

NSW Health Minister Ryan Park called on the opposition leader to explain exactly what he meant.

‚ÄúThey‚Äôre bizarre comments, very bizarre comments,‚ÄĚ he said.

Mr Speakman later said his comments were ‚Äúa bit too colourful‚ÄĚ and part of a ‚Äúfree-flowing conversation‚ÄĚ with the publication and he did not believe Australia‚Äôs immigration rates were appropriate.

Australia’s population grew by more than 550,000 people, or a rate of 2.2 per cent, in the year to the end of March 2023, four-fifths of which was driven by net overseas migration.

‚ÄúThat‚Äôs way over the 250,000-a-year average we had pre-COVID, so I think there‚Äôs a case for taking the foot off the accelerator a bit at the moment because we‚Äôve got enormous problems in housing,‚ÄĚ Mr Speakman said.

 

Peter Bodkin
(Australian Associated Press)

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