Interview outtakes (II): Sam Dastyari on bipartisanship, immigration and the public

I’ve been interviewing a range of public figures about immigration, population and multiculturalism, amongst other topics. However its impossible to squeeze everything said into written form so I’m posting bits and pieces here which I found interesting in one way or another. Earlier this week was Andrew Leigh on immigration, unions and the labour market.

Below is from Sam Dastyari, on the question of bipartisanship on immigration:

“Broadly the idea of migrant intakes has been bipartisan. But the Australian public haven’t been brought in on that journey. It is almost as if it’s a secret that has been kept from them.

The danger is, as we are going to have to make some tough choices around things like transport and housing, at what point do we turn around and say there is a housing crisis in Sydney and we are going to be increasing the population? How do we increase density in the inner city?

There is a huge federal government role in this and no-one is having this discussion. This is not a sexy thing to talk about about the moment but this will be the big issue.”

Dastyari spoke about these issues in his maiden speech which I wrote about here. He has been vocal on the need for politicians to talk about population more. This is a fascinating topic, as there certain appears to be a level of bipartisanship on population that is not apparent on other issues yet you rarely hear about it. The federal-state dynamic between migration and infrastructure is horribly under-explored in policy circles, which in a period of high population growth is probably sub-optimum.

I’ll post links to more of his comments exploring the intersection of population, immigration and asylum when I’ve found the appropriate place to publish.

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