I have a rotten cold right now and watched last night’s leaders’ debate through the prism of a moderately high fever. My fever was probably the hottest thing going, as the debate was quite lacklustre. Yes, on strictly debating criteria Julia Gillard won. (I used to be a debate coach/adjudicator.) On the other had I couldn’t but sympathise with the Tweeter who wrote that it was rather like seeing two people trying to sell you the same car.
Legal Eagle didn’t watch it at all: What’s wrong with me?
Rob Bainton pretty much agrees with me: The Leaders’ Debate — Gillard Just…
While not about the debate as such, Club Troppo’s Don Arthur in We’re not full raised some interesting issues on our current population argument.
Shrinking suburbs in growing cities
"Lunchtime midweek in Campbelltown’s main street in the heart of western Sydney is a slow-moving affair", writes the Australian’s Jennifer Hewett. "Cars drive in and out of the one-way street at a leisurely pace. Business is not exactly booming in most of the small, tired-looking shops. There’s plenty of room on the footpath for pedestrians."
And it’s not surprising there’s plenty of room in Campbelltown.Between 2001 and 2006, the population of the Campbelltown LGA fell by 2.1% — a net loss of 3,019 people.
As the map below shows, many areas of Sydney experienced population decline between 2001 and 2006 (pdf). Some of the booming new suburbs of the 60s and 70s are slowly emptying out. While the children have grown up and moved on many of their parents have stayed behind. And when these empty nesters own their own home, there is little incentive to move. To pick just one example, between 2001 and 2006, Sutherland Shire added 2,494 new dwellings but failed to arrest the decline in population. With fewer people in each home, the number of residents fell by 1,015 (pdf)…
See also Jim Belshaw’s Sunday Essay – scoping Mr Abbott’s immigration targets.