July 26th 2003

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY: Universities: battleground for next election?

EDITORIAL: Helping the disabled

SPECIAL REPORT: Ethanol: the untold story

STRAWS IN THE WIND: Star Wars / Provocative

AGRICULTURE: Murray River debate hotting up

QUEENSLAND: Values make a comeback

Will Saddam win Phase II of the war? (letter)

Anti-Western animus (letter)

Deflation causes (letter)

Australia's population challenge? (letter)

Christian victims ignored (letter)

COMMENT: Abstinence: the new trend in sex education

GOVERNMENT: Democracy needs a professional public service

COMMENT: Iraq and future US foreign policy

HONG KONG: Mass rally forces back-flip on national security law


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Australia's population challenge? (letter)

by R. Hughes

News Weekly, July 26, 2003

Your editorial on Australia's population challenge (June 28) has me a little perplexed. Our population growth rate, boosted by at least 100,000 migrants a year, is one of the highest in the Western world. Our birthrate is higher than any country in Europe with the exception of three (Ireland, France and Norway).

Japan and many European nations are close to zero population growth and don't exhibit too much angst about the situation. Socially and economically, they are miles ahead of the high population growth countries of the Third World.

What should be of concern is that our best and brightest tend to marry late and have fewer children than those less well situated on the bell curve. It's noticeable that migrant groups with the highest unemployment rates also have the highest birth rates.

This is no doubt partly due to the means testing of family support which results in those on welfare being paid maximum rates, and those who earn good wages getting little or nothing. Removal of the means test should be a priority for the government.

The editorial also claims that child abuse and pedophilia have become national problems, but where is the evidence of this? Mostly when we hear about the problems of pedophilia in the media it is noticeable that the offences occurred decades ago, and it's hard not to get the impression that the problem may not have gone away but is nowhere as bad as it once was.

R. Hughes,
Strathfield, NSW

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