Generally, the response from the right to Tony Abbott’s speech calling for a modest reduction in the immigration intake was unhinged. You had a range of deluded, deranged and downright hysterical responses from The Australian’s Greg Sheridan, declaring that anyone who wanted to cut immigration was really a Leftist on par with the Greens, to Peter Dutton contradicting his own comments about cutting the annual intake from only two weeks before.
The response from the Left was much more predictable, In fact so predictable it was slightly scary.
The best article of its type that typified the breed was that of Greg Jericho at the Guardian.
If you remember Greg, it’s probably a vague recollection of a Canberra public servant working in the film section of the Department of Environment, Heritage, Water and the Arts who caused a bit of a stir when it was revealed in 2010 that he was the anonymous author of a blog called “Grog’s Gamut”. In his blog Greg had called Tony Abbott a bullsh*tter, Coalition frontbencher Greg Hunt a coward and declared that Peter Garret had done nothing wrong in overseeing the rollout of the “pink-batts” insulation scheme (which at that stage had already led to multiple deaths).
So naturally, being an expert in film with a strong loyalty to the Left side of politics, when the Guardian decided to open its Australian branch in 2013 they hired Greg as its chief economics writer.
To be fair, despite having absolutely no background in economics Greg was still more knowledgeable on the subject than most of his new colleagues at the Guardian. This is, after all an outlet that publishes the musings of Socialist Alternative founder Jeff Sparrow, Anarchist fanboy Jason Wilson and deranged, far-left stalker Van Badham.
It’s worth going over Greg’s column since it serves as such a template of its kind, ticking all the leftist talking points like a demented, half-drunk monkey repeatedly head-butting a broken typewriter.
He opens with:
“It says something about the level of political ineptness Tony Abbott has reached that he was not able to discuss immigration without being smacked down by senior members of his own conservative party – and we should all be glad that they did.”
At this point the warning bells should be sounding for Scott Morrison, Greg Sheridan, Peter Dutton and Mathias Cormann. The Guardian opinion page is happy about something you did. Even more pertinent, a writer on the Guardian opinion page who is well known for hating you, your side of politics and everything you supposedly stand for is pleased with you.
That’s a slight red flag there.
Greg continues by saying that the argument of Immigration lowering wages is so seductive that even he once believed it himself, but fortunately the rest of the leftist tribe corrected him during an online struggle session and now he knows the truth, which is that:
“Yes, immigrants increase supply of labour, but the demand for labour is not static – it grows, and one reason it grows is because of the increased activity of migrants.”
This is the true seductive argument for leading the feeble minded down the garden path; it explains that the hole in the bottom of the bucket doesn’t matter because the tap above it is still on.
Migrants do indeed increase economic activity simply by existing, and that activity in and of itself creates new jobs. But the fact that this is true doesn’t mean that they don’t have an overall downwards effect on wages. That is after all why the billionaires of big business spend so much time lobbying politicians of all sides for more “skilled migration”.
Greg also dismisses the argument that our infrastructure is ludicrously underdeveloped for the population growth we are now experiencing, declaring that infrastructure is never one hundred per cent good enough to take the strain of population growth – so does that mean we should stop population growth via immigration altogether?
Well, now that you mention it Greg..
If Greg’s talking points sound familiar, that’s because they’re the same ones used by the half dozen members of the Liberal Cabinet slamming Tony Abbott last week. When the Left and the Right are both furiously echoing arguments so flimsy you can poke holes in them with a damp finger, it’s time to get suspicious.
Greg throws up a couple of straw men, meanders around a bit, and then finally dispenses with pretending that he knows the first thing about economics and gets to the red meat the Guardian readers have been waiting for:
“Immigration – because there are many desperate to hate – must be treated with extreme care by politicians and journalists, and certainly with more care than Abbott seems capable. The inherently racist parties will seek to use any discussion and any seeming evidence of the negative impact of migrants as fuel to burn their fires of hate.”
Ah now I see.
You shouldn’t complain about your country having the highest level of migration per capita in the developed world, because shut up you racist.
Greg really could have made that sentence his entire article. It really is, after all the only message the majority of his readers want to hear.
Greg reluctantly admits that wages growth has been steadily falling over the past decade of massive immigration (to the point where it has been overtaken by inflation) but confidently declares that this was not as a result of importing millions of people into the labour market but rather because Tony Abbott and evil conservatives like him just kinda wanted wage growth to stall.
He of course doesn’t point to any policy that Abbott put in place to do this. Presumably Greg believes that Abbott keeps wages down with super-secret invisible money-destroying lasers that he shoots from his Speedos.
Greg also grudgingly admits that the absurdly high rate in growth for house prices over the past two decades has indeed been affected by the immigration of hordes of humans into our capital cities but declares that much more to blame is John Howard for cutting capital gains tax in 1999.
Leftists are still finding ways to blame John Howard for things even eleven years after he left office. That man didn’t just live rent free in their heads; I’m pretty sure he built reinforced concrete bunkers with machine gun positions up in there.
Greg then blames the lack of infrastructure on Tony Abbott trying to fund the East-West link in Victoria in preference to public transport, blames the housing affordability crisis on Tony Abbott not reforming negative gearing, and presumably blames his wife’s inability to conceive on Tony Abbott’s overwhelming masculine aura.
In fact Greg admits that all the problems Abbott mentions are indeed problems, and that some of these problems are as Abbott claims related to mass immigration, but that Abbott is wrong anyway because the problems are in reality caused by the stubborn refusal of people like Tony Abbott to do exactly what people like Greg think they should do.
And now everyone needs to shut up and stop talking about immigration, otherwise the stupid redneck Bogans out in the suburbs might start thinking racist thoughts.
The members of Malcolm Turnbull’s cabinet who once considered themselves conservatives need to start asking themselves: If people like Greg Jericho are praising me, where the hell did I go wrong?
Photo by David Jackmanson