Future Forum participants (L-R) Talal Yassine, John Hewson, Juliet Pietsch, Tim Soutphommasane, John Barron, Robert Costanza, Dick Smith, Amanda Vanstone and Bernard Salt.

How many is too many? Future Forum tackles immigration

08 April 2013

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The HC Coombs Policy Forum is a strategic collaboration between the Australian Government and ANU, at the Crawford School of Public Policy. It focuses on supporting policy-relevant exploratory and experimental work at the interface between government and academia.

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The thorny issue of immigration was in the spotlight in the recent Future Forum broadcast.

The Future Forum is a co-production between ABC News 24 and the HC Coombs Policy Forum at the ANU Crawford School of Public Policy.

This Future Forum tackles the question ‘Is immigration key to Australia’s future prosperity?’ Since British settlement in 1788, Australia has been a nation of immigrants. Recent statistics have shown that around half of all living Australians have at least one immigrant parent or an immigrant themselves. While our national history may be rich with immigrant stories, some project that by 2050, the rate of Australian births will no longer exceed the rate of Australian deaths, meaning that population growth in Australia will depend even more on immigration.

John Barron, co-host of ABC’s Planet America, moderated the one-hour discussion between eight panelists. This panel included ANU academics Professor Robert Costanza of Crawford School, Dr Juliet Pietsch of the College of Arts and Social Sciences, and Crawford Honorary Professorial Fellows Dr John Hewson AM and Mr Talal Yassine OAM. They are joined by high profile businessman Dick Smith, demographer Bernard Salt, former Immigration Minister Amanda Vanstone and political philosopher Dr Tim Soutphommasane.

Some of the issues discussed include changing demographics and population growth, and economic implications to 2050; immigration’s contribution to the economy; and security, human rights and policy questions regarding refugees and asylum seekers.

Each Future Forum program brings together experts from various backgrounds to debate some of the most vital questions facing Australia. The focus is on key policy topics and how they affect Australia’s interests in the long-term. The program aims to engage the wider public – through intelligent, articulate and thought-provoking television – in an informed discussion on critical public policy issues. Previous topics have included ‘How will the Asian Century shape Australia’s future?’ and ‘Who wins and loses in a global green economy?’

Dr Mark Matthews, Executive Director of HC Coombs Policy Forum, said the program highlights the value that ANU expertise can bring to debates of national importance.

“It’s very satisfying to see our fourth co-produced program reach fruition. Our innovative co-production relationship has been an important component of the HC Coombs Policy Forum’s mission to contribute to national discourse on some of the key policy challenges facing Australia,” he said.

“It has also been really good to see this co-production arrangement opened up to other universities in Australia. Both ABC and ANU have a national remit, so both institutions are keen to bring in a wide range of perspectives and ideas to solve policy problems. We look forward to further developing this relationship with ABC News 24 in the coming year.”

To watch the show:

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