27 June 2010
by Mark O'Connor, author Overloading Australia
The new PM Julia Gillard's views on population growth were not known till this morning (27 June) when she is reported as rejecting the notion of "Big Australia".
She promises a significant reduction in immigration, and has renamed the Minister for Population Tony Burke (whom Rudd appointed a few months ago in what was probably a piece of window dressing). In future he is to be called " the Minister for Sustainable Population".
Members of Sustainable Population Australia remain cautious, with comments on Australia's on-line population forum including "At last a Prime minister who can read opinion polls" and "She talks the talk. It won't be long until we see whether she can walk the walk..." and "Might be rhetoric, but good to see some change in the stance."
However it is already clear (see the Age article below) that Julia Gillard is aware of public resistance to population growth; and we will learn in time if she is genuinely sympathetic to the public mood.
In her ability to "read the polls" Julia seems ahead of some of the commentators, who continue to deny that Rudd's "big Australia" rhetoric was a reason the public turned against him so decisively. Robert Boni comments on population forum:I cannot believe that the mass media analysis on Kevin Rudd's popularity free fall in the last couple of months, have all skipped population as a reason, and blamed his problems on an array of other issues. It's like some sort of conspiracy. It is unbelievable that his attitude on population had nothing to do with his popularity problems.