The End of the Australian Dream?

Lisa Pryor writes for the New York Times Op/Ed page:

SYDNEY, Australia — Let me tell you a fairy tale called Australia. Despite what you may have heard about snakes and spiders and sharks, the remarkable thing about Australia is not its danger but its safety. At its best, this is a peaceful nation, with health care and education for almost everyone, that has enjoyed over the past two decades the longest period of economic expansion of any developed country in modern history. Our cities are regularly judged to be among the most livable in the world.

But we are in danger of stuffing it up, which is an Australian way of saying we may be ruining it all.

In the past 20 years, Australia has become a nation where getting ahead is a national obsession, partly because we have come to expect a world where the natural course of events is to become a little bit richer each year. The winnings of our repeated economic booms have been squandered on inflationary policies that fuel the rat race.

What we are discovering is that when you have a nation full of people trying to get to the top, eventually most of the population is forced to run just to keep up. Our enviable quality of life is at risk.

Consider what has happened with the housing market, Australia being a country where real estate is not just a place to live but a ticket to prosperity and a statement of taste and values.

Generous tax breaks for homeowners and real estate investors have fueled the market to the point where the median price of a house in Sydney, our largest metropolis, is $1.1 million Australian dollars, or about $824,000. An entire genre of newspaper writing is dedicated to telling Australians what they could buy for the same money in other parts of the world — a small chateau in the South of France, even an apartment in Manhattan, for the price of an ugly brick house 40 minutes’ drive from the center of the city. We watch shows like “Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles” and laugh.

So even though Australians do not have to put aside many hundreds of thousands of dollars for college degrees, or tens of thousands of dollars for health insurance, we are still in huge debt through our mortgages. Australia has some of the highest household debt in the world, especially if you compare our debt to our incomes and G.D.P. We are poised for disaster if there is a serious economic downturn.

Even for those lucky enough to own their own home, there is a fool’s-gold feel to this property boom. After all, if you own a three-bedroom house five miles from the city and it increases in value by 50 percent, that means you still have only enough money to buy a three-bedroom house five miles from the city. This is not so much rising wealth as glorified inflation.

And for those who are not owners? The property boom is dividing the nation along lines of age and class. For young people, property prices represent dashed hopes and a looming intergenerational battle.

Steve Sailer writes:

Of course, the text string “migra” doesn’t appear anywhere in this piece.

Australia has a policy against low-skilled immigration, so it still has a more prosperous native blue collar class than the U.S., but it encourages high skill immigration. This is less self-destructive than the U.S. policy, but it has obvious effects like squeezing younger natives out of the home-buying class.

Comments at Steve Sailer:

* It [high-skilled immigration] is actually more destructive, inasmuch as it more effectively wrests control of the country from the native people and places it into the hands of a hostile elite. It much more akin to an overthrow or to conquest. (And hostile elites are more likely to open the flood gates to low-skilled immigration anyway.)

* Does Australia have a lot of foreigners parking their money in Aussie real estate for fun and profit?

* When is the average Westerner going to realize that mass immigration only benefits the wealthiest few while making life worse on average for everybody else? Australia was doing great before nonwhite immigration. Why did the population let those in power start to ruin such a nice and pleasant country.

* Mainland Chinese are driving prices to the moon in the 5 mainland Capitals, and Canberra.
Australian’s standard of living was pretty ordinary until the MidSixties.
The Whitlam socialist Government elected in 1972 removed protective Tariffs without warning or consultation, destroying the local Textile, Footwear and Clothing industries, and Britain’s entry into the ECM devastated farming.
Since Capital Gains Tax is exempted on one’s ”principal place of residence”, Australians’ main Industry, unless you’re either Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton, or Xstrata, is buying and selling houses in the capital cities for profit.

* I’m always nervous of the already high and growing numbers of Han Chinese in Australia and New Zealand even more so with a resurgent China. Given their high numbers they will dominate in universities and universities push the social agenda. New Zealand is even worse because there is comparatively fewer ethnic groups there, making the Chinese more prominent. Could there be a prominent ethnic Chinese party one day? Or maybe a lot of Han MPs in one or the other. Then there is the question of a popular revolt or CCP purge leading to a mass exodus of Han oligarchs (Above what we’re already seeing) to those countries establishing significant wealth and political influence.

You could imagine large amounts of state assets being privatised or agricultural land being sold to China. If and when the sun sets on American military hegemony, Australia and New Zealand are a long way from the core of the West.

* Real estate price inflation has more to do with the lack of capital controls than immigration. And the ultimate cause is the lack of or insufficient land value taxation coupled with higher taxation on other things.

Domestic elites are wealthy people who own lots of real estate and other assets, and thus have an incentive to promote capital inflows that inflate their portfolios.

If the right-wing really wants to shut down immigration and capital flows, they should organize and push for land value taxation. Domestic elites will never tolerate significant land value taxation, as the lack of significant land value taxation is the ultimate source of their wealth and power over the rest of society. But if faced with the prospect of land value taxation, domestic elites will allow for immigration and capital controls to placate the populace and to prevent the land value tax and thus protect their rents and wealth.

* Wander through Melbourne and Sydney, the incipient Chinese colonies. Where does one find “tall poppy syndrome”? Where is the “mateship”? The media has had us sell our posterity for among other things, ethnic restaurants, aka a mess of pottage.

* Go to a capital city and try to catch a taxi with white Australia driver. Taxi driving is obviously an extremely highly skilled position.

* I recently moved from Wolli Creek, a suburb of Sydney about ten kilometres from the Sydney CBD. It is not completely representative of Sydney suburbia, being mostly built on reclaimed industrial land and largely comprising modern high-rise apartments. Two bedroom apartments sell for around $A800,000. There are several real estate agents in the immediate area and most of their marketing efforts are in Chinese. Marketing in English is very limited. My estimate of the ethnic make up of the area is that maybe ten percent of the residents are native Australians and probably sixty percent Asians, mostly Chinese, with some Thais and Japanese. The balance seem to be mainly younger white renters from England, Ireland and Eastern Europe. I think apartment owners would skew more heavily Chinese with most of the apartments being sold off the plan in Shanghai before anyone in Australia even knows about them.
From time to time the mainstream press raises the heretical thought that maybe allowing the richest twenty million Chinese to outbid young Aussies for Australian houses isn’t good for social harmony, but this never gets much traction, maybe because real estate advertising seems to be all that’s saving most newspapers from going broke.

* From the 1850s to the 1890s Australians’ standard of living (per capita GDP) was the highest in the world (few people, a lot of gold, wool and wheat).

It then declined modestly and for nearly the whole of the 20th century was around 80 per cent of the US level. On the back of strong Chinese demand for raw materials (we export massive amounts of iron ore and coal to them) it recovered from the 1990s and has been quite close to the US level (occasionally higher, mostly a little lower) since the early 21st century.

* …and when the SHTF Down Under, the disarmed white Australians will be powerless to do anything about it.

* Chinese buyers mostly, looking to park their ill-gotten gains in a country with the rule of law, good schools and clean air.

* If AUS/NZ want to get a glimpse of the future, they would do well to study the regions of San Francisco, Seattle, Vancouver. Those cities are choc full of Asian money causing real estate speculative bubbles likely far worse than in Sydney. The problem with allowing Asia’s elite to squirrel its money into getaway homes in North America is that this same elite won’t stay behind in Asia to fight for a civil society there, or help with general quality of life issues for the middle class. These fleeing Asian elites are either profiting from their homeland government’s corruption, and are simply quasi-fugitives, or they are devoid of noblesse oblige – with no regard for giving back to their lessers & societies. It simply looks like Universal altruism, or even regional altruism is a quaint outdated western notion. The winners from Globalism are increasingly just locusts. While many of these Asian expats may be ‘proud of their heritage’ – that is a just pose to conceal their raw materialism.

* I realised a some years ago, returning to Sydney after having lived and worked elsewhere, that the local property market was for two-income couples who weren’t afraid of taking on a mountain of debt.

Being single, and a person for whom debt is a four-letter word, I had neither the chance nor the desire to buy into the market.

It was a shock to see the average price of houses in Earlwood, where while I was an undergrad I used to visit a girlfriend at her parents’ house, pass $1 million. Then the average valuation for houses in my parents’ suburb, not far away and in a seriously unloved part of Sydney, surpassed $1 million.

While at my job in Sydney about four years ago, I was asked to write a research piece on Australian property prices. In my research, I read somewhere that a contemporaneous survey taken in China revealed that something like 400 million of China’s new middle class would like to come and live in Australia.

It’s very real, and it’s a tremendously sobering statistic, given that our total population is about 5 per cent of that. The demand for Australian housing out of China is immense, the buyers are price-insensitive – they just want to get their money, and if possible their kids, out of the world-historical ponzi scheme and political prison camp that is modern China – and the Australian elite, both politicians and developers, realise that, at current prices, the money flowing in from China is the only thing holding the insanely-leveraged price structure up. All the powerful interest groups have an interest in keeping the inflation game going. Only the kids are appalled at it, but they don’t have voice.

Other causes of the catastrophe are government land-release policies aimed at minimising land-release for housing development, in order to maximise government revenues (massive moral hazard here), and the Reserve Bank’s having taken house prices out of the measure of consumer prices in 1998 in favour of a more theoretically-pure measure of cost of housing services, so that for 19 years massive rises in house prices have occasioned no tightening response from monetary policy.

“Australia has a policy against low-skilled immigration, so it still has a more prosperous native blue collar class than the U.S., but it encourages high skill immigration. This is less self-destructive than the U.S. policy, but it has obvious effects like squeezing younger natives out of the home-buying class.”

The anger about this among young people is white hot. Having been required to pay many thousands for their university educations, they are thrown into competition in the job market and the housing market with what looks like an endless supply of foreign workers brought to Australia by the elite to keep effective demand up and wages down. They are really, really pissed off, and yet the elite are refusing to change course. This should sound familiar!

* The US & Europe have immigration policy akin to jumping behind the wheel of a car and putting your foot to the floor driving as fast possible towards a cliff. Probably while knocking back copious amounts of vodka.

Australian immigration policy is more like getting behind the wheel, wearing a seatbelt and sipping low alcohol beer and driving at a sedate 50 mph – towards a cliff.

* I wonder why money from booming China flees to boring whitebread Oz/NZ/US/Europe and not the other way around?

* Australia’s net migration per capita rate is among the highest in the world. There are few countries that exceed Australia’s net migration per capita and they don’t include the USA or most countries in Europe. Australia’s rate is three times that of the USA’s.

To use your analogy, what Australia is doing is like strapping JATO rockets to your car and aiming it at a cliff. “What is it like to be a Tibetan in Tibet, or Dutch in Formosa (Taiwan), deep in the orbit of China? Well hop in, why don’t we find out!” – Australia’s politicians maniacally cackle out the window.

* What is often ignored is that the West is often not absorbing the “cream” of the developing world w/ investor class immigrants. We are simply absorbing the fugitive beneficiaries of a Globalist sweat shop orgy. These folks are just fleeing a nest they fouled in an industrialization free of pollution controls or labor standards . The negative externalities of China’s denuded landscape, poisoned rivers & smog are simply left to the plebs to choke on. We will see a lot more of this as the plutocrat veneers of other 3rd world countries try to bail out & take refuge in little Western pockets they will try to colonize. The lack of noblesse oblige in the 3rd world ruling elite, leads to even more migratory pressure into the 1st world later. Bottom line: immigration should be restricted across the board.

* Australia is under attack from financialization, globalization and mass immigration. When civil war breaks out in Australia, I hope the patriotic Australians will have the fighting spirit of the Australians who stopped the Japanese Empire in Papua New Guinea on the famous Kokoda trail.

Historians will look back and say the Australian Civil War era started with the Battle of Cronulla in 2005. The Battle of Cronulla was started by the interloper immigrants who presumed to sully the honor of the Australian beach babes. The culture clash brought on by mass immigration and multiculturalism created the conditions for the Battle of Cronulla.

Australian men had inculcated within themselves a method of superb nonchalance and stoic reserve while admiring their beautiful Australian females while at the beach. Pretty soon the beautiful Australian women were wearing next to nothing in the way of bathing suits. This was a wonderful thing that allowed the men to appreciate the gals and the ladies to show off in a highly civilized manner. Then the Muslims showed up. All was torn asunder. Darkness descended across the beach.

Muslims brought to Australia by the destructive policy of mass immigration started to dishonor the beautiful Australian females at Cronulla Beach. The proud and brave Australian men would not tolerate for one second their beautiful women to be mistreated by the Muslim marauders just because they were wearing skimpy attire on the beach. Battles broke out between the patriotic Australian men and the Muslim Misogynists.

The Battle of Cronulla will be refought again and again until such time that patriotic Australians can one day regain control of their beautiful country.

* Australian from Perth here. The migration system here is loose, and its focus on ‘high skills’ is easily rorted. I could go a whole year without being served petrol at a Servo by anybody who wasn’t Indian; they also seem to drive all the taxis; backpackers from Europe and elsewhere pick all the fruit. A generous welfare system means that the Australian born aren’t interest in low-paid jobs on the whole.

Australia’s isolation from other European countries means that there is a still a consensus in favour of an increasing population; if we don’t fill up this country, other people will. Populate or Perish!

The one saving grace of Australia’s immigration programme is that it’s not all from one place – it’s not all Mexicans (USA), Moroccans (Netherlands) or Pakistanis (UK); so such urban ghettos as exist are relatively small and transitory. I say relatively; I wouldn’t want to be a scantily-clad white woman in Lakemba (suburb of Sydney) at night. But most immigration communities eventually seem to blend in.

Plenty of migrants to Australia are also still from traditional sources such as the UK, NZ and Europe; and there are welcome new sources all the time. In the last year for instance, I’ve noticed a large number of middle-class South Americans in my city, particularly Brazilians.

I’d say almost all Aussies are pretty cool with Chinese immigration these days – there is a high rate of inter-marriage and cultural assimilation; property price inflation is limited to 2 cities only: Sydney and Melbourne. The rest of the country would probably welcome foreign real estate investment.

While Muslims are growing in number, they are a small minority of migrants. Of course they are grossly-over-represented in the media: no reality TV show is complete without a hijab-clad woman participant. This kind of tokenism is quite new; nobody in TV or the movies ever bothered for instance to ensure that the native Aboriginal population was similarly represented.

Notwithstanding widespread misgivings about the growth of the Muslim community in Australia, I don’t foresee those misgivings being transformed into any large scale public opposition to the legal immigration system in the future.

A return to White Australia (or some form of it) would be politically unpalatable, and Aussies wouldn’t welcome the international opprobrium that might bring.

In a dangerous world, Australia is still gingerly trying to pursue the goal of an increased population, for its own economic advancement and political security, without surrendering its culture. There have been a few mistakes (the Lebanese Muslims in the 1970s; the Sudanese refugees in the 1990s) but on the whole, provided illegal immigration is kept in check, the public seem to trust the government to administer this programme. For the moment.

* Alt-right logic dictates that if a country is corrupt, it’s because its people are corrupt (defective genes or whatever.) Hence Chinese should be barred from immigrating to countries that aren’t so corrupt lest they reduce those countries to vile situations of the kind found in Middle China.

* The Chinese mostly vote for the Australian Labor Party and The Greens. Since those parties are now only 1 seat [out of 150] short of governing Australia again, the floodgates are likely to fall off the hinges shortly.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
This entry was posted in Australia. Bookmark the permalink.