Population growth has profound impacts on Australian life, and sorting myths from facts can be difficult. This is the first article in our series, Is Australia Full?, which aims to help inform a wide-ranging and often emotive debate.
Australia lacks an overarching population policy or strategy. Over the years, multiple inquiries have recommended such a policy. Population policies the world over typically focus on births and migration.
As part of post-war reconstruction, Australia adopted a 2% population growth target. Mass immigration was a defining feature, and couples were called on to populate or perish. Immigration was successful, but women were big losers in the push for births.
The 1975 National Population Inquiry proved a significant moment in Australian demography. The inquiry found that Australia should not seek to influence population, but should anticipate and respond