Sunday, June 23, 2024

Living paycheck to paycheck and crammed into Chinese-style high rise apartments: Dick Smith predicts a future Australia that NO-ONE wants to see… ‘basically we’re doomed’

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Dick Smith fears today’s young people will have no savings and be forced to live in Chinese-style high-rise apartments unless immigration is urgently slashed.

Younger voters are the group least likely to criticise record-high immigration, even though they are the most likely to be locked out of the housing market, unable to buy or even now rent.

Mr Smith, who has nine grandchildren, said ‘woke‘ young voters are more likely to back the Greens and believe all critics of high immigration are racists.

But the veteran businessman and philanthropist says they need to understand the connection between a surging population and climate change.

The entrepreneur, who turned 80 last month, fears homes with a backyard in Australia’s capital cities will no longer exist by 2050.

He said the national population will have almost doubled to 50 million by then – and housing will have become even more ‘catastrophically’ unaffordable.

For young people now, that would mean a future living in overcrowded conditions like China, even if Australia’s annual population growth pace slowed to 1.6 per cent, down from 2.5 per cent now which is the highest levels since the early 1950s.

‘Basically, we’re doomed; we’re going to increase our population to staggering numbers,’ he told Daily Mail Australia. 

‘Jammed into high-rise like China, many very poor and who just live pay packet to pay packet and have no savings at all.

Dick Smith fears today’s young people will be condemned to being ‘pay packet to pay packet’ poor and only living in Chinese-style high-rise apartments unless immigration is urgently slashed (he is pictured left with his wife Pip in 2023)

‘Mainly capital cities, basically, will be like Shanghai. 

‘The beautiful houses with a block of land for the kids to play in the front yard and have a cubby house, that will go forever.

‘Every house will be knocked down and replaced with high rises.’ 

Mr Smith has also blamed the ABC for young people being less likely to criticise high immigration, even though they are suffering in the housing market as a result. 

‘The people at the ABC, being a bit lefty, you would think would support having a population plan,’ he said.

‘The ABC never, ever suggests we should have a population plan because then you’d have to talk about our high immigration levels, and in the ABC, if you talk about limiting immigration, you must clearly be racist.’

Mr Smith argued most young voters, obsessed with climate change, had failed to make the connection between a surging population and unaffordable housing – because of the ABC.

‘We have one great hope, and that’s the ABC; it’s independent, it should be able to tell young people that you can’t have endless growth and we need to have a plan,’ he said.

‘But they don’t say it. I can understand why the young people wouldn’t link population growth to unaffordable housing because they’re never told about it.’

Mr Smith suggested young campaigners against high immigration could make the link between rapid population growth and higher carbon emissions, with Labor and the Greens both committed to a 43 per cent reduction by 2030.

For young people now, they would mean a future living in overcrowded conditions like China , even if annual population growth pace slowed to 1.6 per cent, down 2.5 per cent now - or the highest levels since the early 1950s (pictured are Evergrande apartments in Beijing)

For young people now, they would mean a future living in overcrowded conditions like China , even if annual population growth pace slowed to 1.6 per cent, down 2.5 per cent now – or the highest levels since the early 1950s (pictured are Evergrande apartments in Beijing)

‘Younger people have been so frightened by what could happen with climate change,’ he said.

‘But there’s no leader out there saying, “If climate change is caused by human beings, if we double the number of humans in our country, we’re going to have double the problem”.’

Unaffordable housing 

Sydney’s median house price of $1.4million is so expensive, someone would need to earn $293,578 a year, and be among the nation’s top 1.5 per cent of income earners, to be able to buy on their own and avoid mortgage stress.

‘It’s a catastrophe,’ Mr Smith said.

The Greens had commissioned those figures from the Parliamentary Library but the party’s 32-year-old housing spokesman Max Chandler-Mather last month told the ABC’s Q+A program criticism of high immigration was a ‘distraction’.

Mr Smith revealed his friend Bob Brown, a former Greens leader, admitted his party was reluctant to advocate lower immigration because it didn’t want to be regarded as racist.

‘It’s quite incredible, the Greens have no population policy at all,’ said Mr Smith.

The Greens' 32-year-old housing spokesman Max Chandler-Mather last month told the ABC's Q+A program criticism of high immigration was a 'distraction'

The Greens’ 32-year-old housing spokesman Max Chandler-Mather last month told the ABC’s Q+A program criticism of high immigration was a ‘distraction’

‘I once had a discussion with Bob Brown about this and he said, “Yes, they should have a policy but they don’t and they’re not game because once again, people would try and distort it that it must be racist”.’

A record net 548,800 migrants moved to Australia in the year to September and Mr Smith wants that slashed to 75,000 a year, where it was until the late 1990s. 

‘That’s not going to happen – I can tell you we won’t be reducing immigration, we will be going to catastrophic population levels which will destroy Australia as we know it today,’ he said. 

Big business interests also donate to Australia’s major political parties, ensuring there‘s high immigration outside of a pandemic whoever is in power.

‘That’s because the short circuits in the brains of the billionaires just want more money,’ he said.

‘And they drive the immigration and they drive the politicians – they drive the whole system; greed is unlimited.’ 

Australians oppose high immigration  

Most Australians oppose high immigration with the Australian Population Research Institute this week releasing a survey showing 71 per cent disagree with the question, ‘Do you think Australia needs more people?’

But notably, those critical of high immigration ‘is mainly composed of older voters and non-graduates’, based on TAPRI’s survey of 3,000 people in December. 

Mr Smith said that most people who stopped him on the street to endorse his campaign against higher immigration were over 50. 

‘The number of people who stop me on the street and say, “Dick, I agree with you about population” is just staggering – only older people,’ he said. 

‘Only people over 50.’

A young campaigner 

Jordan Knight, the 29-year-old founder of Migration Watch Australia who previously had a career in advertising, regularly makes social media videos highlighting the link between record-high immigration, weak real wages growth adjusted for inflation and the housing crisis.

He has now called for a two-year immigration pause, and launched a petition to lobby the government on this.

‘We’re calling for a two-year pause on immigration to put Australia back on the right path to let housing catch up, infrastructure catch up, to let social cohesion improve and to put Australia  back on the right track towards a better future,’ he said.

‘We want to give young people the best chance that they can possibly get of entering the housing market and having a good life.’

While Australia’s economy has avoid falling into recession, it has been in a per capita recession since the June quarter of last year, where gross domestic product per Australian has been falling.

Jordan Knight, the 29-year-old founder of Migration Watch Australia who previously had a career in advertising, regularly makes social media videos highlighting the link between record-high immigration, weak wages growth and the housing crisis

Jordan Knight, the 29-year-old founder of Migration Watch Australia who previously had a career in advertising, regularly makes social media videos highlighting the link between record-high immigration, weak wages growth and the housing crisis

Productivity last year fell by 0.4 per cent as the fastest population growth since 1952 led to more traffic congestion. 

‘Australia is a beautiful country but it is a country in decline,’ Mr Knight said.

‘It’s putting incredible amounts of pressure on our public services, our wages, our roads, our police, ambulances are getting ramped, hospital wait times are getting longer, life is getting harder in Australia and it’s for one reason and one reason only, politicians refuse to admit the problems that immigration is putting on Australians.

‘Immigration is supposed to help Australia, not hurt it.’

Capital city rental vacancy rates are at new record lows with new Domain data released this week showing Sydney and Melbourne having rates of just 0.8 per cent.

Australia’s two most populated cities received most of the new foreign influx, including a large number of international students. 

In the year to March, Sydney house rents surged by 13.6 per cent to a median weekly level of $750, as Melbourne rents soared by 14 per cent to $570.

Mr Knight said the evidence showed high immigration benefited politicians chasing votes and big business profits.

The Commonwealth Bank, Australia’s biggest home lender, pushes for high immigration, and during the last financial year made a record cash profit of more than $10billion.

‘For years, politicians have said that immigration is good for the economy,’ Mr Knight said.

‘But what they really meant is that it’s good for their economy.

‘It’s been fantastic for business profits and GDP growth and more votes for politicians.

‘But what they didn’t tell you is that it’s bad for your economy, it’s bad for your wages, your cost of living, and your day-to-day life.’

Australia less innovative 

Mr Smith said he was only able to establish Dick Smith Electronics in 1968, the year he turned 24, because housing was much more affordable then.

The fact an average-income earner on $98,218 can no longer afford a house on their own meant fewer people would take a business risk.

‘We’ll become less innovative and less entrepreneurial because so much money is going to be put into what is a basic right,’ he said.

‘Having a roof over your head is a basic right I would think in any democracy – it’s not a basic right here because it’s unaffordable for young people and that’s the greatest breakdown of our economic system.’ 

Mr Smith said he was only able to establish Dick Smith Electronics in 1968, the year he turned 24, because housing was much more affordable then (pictured is a Sydney store in 2016)

Mr Smith said he was only able to establish Dick Smith Electronics in 1968, the year he turned 24, because housing was much more affordable then (pictured is a Sydney store in 2016)

Mr Smith, who sold Dick Smith Electronics to supermarket giant Woolworths in 1982, has since made his money from renting out commercial office space in Sydney and regional areas.

But out of principle, the son of a salesman has never been a residential landlord, despite population growth pushing up house values.

‘I don’t believe in buying residential properties because I think that just puts the price up,’ he said.

‘Now, if I go and buy houses and put the price up and rent it to people, who can hardly afford it, that’s wrong.

‘I made a definite decision not to hold residential land so I’m not putting the prices up for people who can’t afford it.’ 

Daily Mail Australia contacted the ABC, the Greens and the Bob Brown Foundation for comment. 

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