Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Will Gillard's Shift on Growth Be All Talk and No Action?

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Will Gillard's Shift on Growth Be All Talk and No Action?

Article excerpt

A NEW political party which aimed to test both Labor's and the Coalition's credentials on population growth will be missing from next month's federal election.

The Stable Population Party was due to be registered on July 26 and was set to run Senate candidates in all states and territories, but has been caught short by new Prime Minister Julia Gillard's rush to the polls.

Polls show as many as 78% of Australians feared the "Big Australia" ambitions of former leader Kevin Rudd and wanted the matter addressed.

The new party was formed to give those voters a choice in the face of a government and opposition who thought the growth issue was just about delivery of infrastructure.

Backed by Sydney businessman William Bourke and entrepreneur Dick Smith, the new party aimed to show that population growth was not just a "Not In My Back Yard" issue with voters and that they understood that continued population growth was unsustainable.

Instead, voters have been left to choose between the flip flop positions of the two major parties.

On the Coast in January, Treasurer Wayne Swan told me that continued growth was not an issue and that greater productivity was the key to addressing its impact on finite resources. He was dismissive of any suggestion that growth should be stabilised, saying that to do so would ruin our standard of living.

It was a message repeated only two months ago when Labor's pin-up girl from the 2007 election campaign, Maxine McKew, told a gathering of Coast business leaders that growth was coming and we would all learn to like it.

Ms McKew urged Coast residents to "reimagine the future". Innovation and creativity, she said, would help us cope with a doubling of the state's population.

Now it appears the government has changed tack. On the first full day of campaigning Julia Gillard was selling a "sustainable approach to population growth".

"As Prime Minister I will lead a strong and responsible government to take control of our nation's future,'' she said.

CyCyMy position on our nation's future sustainability is plain and clear. …

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