Understanding the population-environment debate:
The Shine Dome, Canberra, 24-25 May 2004
Full listing of papers
Katharine Betts teaches sociology at Swinburne University of Technology. She has been doing research in population studies for over twenty-five years, beginning with fertility and family planning and then turning to migration studies and questions of national identity. Her major work is an analysis of the politics of Australian immigration, published in Ideology and Immigration (Melbourne University Press, 1988) and in The Great Divide (Duffy and Snellgrove, 1999), as well as in a number of journal articles. In 1993 she helped found the quarterly demographic journal People and Place, edited by Katharine together with Bob Birrell. She has also served on the National Council of the Australian Population Association.
Keeping quiet about growth: Why many demographers and sociologists don't analyse its environmental effects:
by Katharine Betts
The population/environment nexus subsumes a crucial set of problems for both nations and the world as whole. Of course rates of per capita consumption, the kinds of technology we use, and patterns of social organisation matter too. Population size and growth are not the only causes of environmental stress but demography is crucial because it is a multiplier. When Doug Cocks analysed the effects of population growth on a range of variables, including environmental quality, he put the case for its ill effects mildly: saying it's 'not all that strong, just a lot stronger than the case for [growth]'. He says, to use 'the vernacular, a growing population is lead in the saddle-bags'. This is a gentler statement than Paul Ehrlich's declaration that 'whatever your cause it's a lost cause without population stabilisation'.
But whatever its magnitude, as Cocks, and then Barney Foran, Franzi Poldy and a host of other researchers have made clear, the negative association between population growth and environmental stress is well established. There may be offsetting benefits; perhaps growth adds to our economic wealth to such a degree that we can offset the environmental damage, but that is not the topic of this conference. Here we are concerned with the relationship between numbers of people and environmental quality and the degree to which the community of scholars in Australia may or may not be focusing on the problem. (The point of referring to work on a problem is not to begin an argument about how large the problem is but just to establish that there is a problem of some magnitude. Then we can move on to the central question of the degree to which it is, or is not, being researched.)
As a sociologist who focuses on demographic issues, I've taken as my brief these two questions: How do people working in demography and sociology see the population/environment nexus? And what do we need to see for us all to work on it effectively? I am also concentrating on work done in Australia, which excludes excellent work done by the Population Council, the Population Reference Bureau, and other people and organisations overseas. Keeping it national makes the problem more manageable but, I believe this limitation is also relevant to possible solutions. This will be clearer when we talk about preserving the environment as a collective action problem and the best level for solving collective action problems.
There are not very many full-time professional demographers in Australia and most of them work in the public sector (the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) and state and local government planning departments) where their capacity to do independent research is limited. The Australian Population Association (APA) is the professional association for Australian demographers. Of the 161 Australia-based delegates who attended the association's biennial conference in Melbourne 2000, 51 per cent were employed in federal or state government departments, while only 32 per cent were affiliated with universities. The APA has a directory of members but this was last revised in 1995. However, of the 204 ordinary (ie, non-corporate) members that it lists, only two mention the environment as one of their research interests. Maybe not too much store should be set on this; my own entry doesn't list the environment either.
Australian demographers are scarce and many work in settings where it is hard for them to do independent research. But they are also hard to define. This is because they are from a range of backgrounds: economics, maths, human geography, planning. People with full demographic training in the sense of an undergraduate major and/or postgraduate qualifications in demography are rare. Few universities in Australia offer such systematic training. A number offer subjects with a demographic component (such as 'Comparative immigration and multiculturalism' or 'Family demography') but when the APA last investigated the topic (in 1993) there were two undergraduate programs in the country (the program in Actuarial Studies and Demography in the School of Economics and Financial Studies at Macquarie University and the Population Studies program in the Faculties at the Australian National University), together with the Graduate Studies Program in Demography in the Research School at ANU.
Nonetheless some of Australia's most prominent demographers do take the population/environment nexus seriously. It would be invidious to go through a list giving ticks for environmental acumen but Bob Birrell has made an outstanding contribution. Others such as Don Rowland and Lincoln Day have promoted interdisciplinary study of the nexus. Indeed of the handful of prominent demographers in the country I cannot think of very many who would not think the nexus an important intellectual and practical problem. It's just that people with demographic skills who go on to do serious and systematic research on the question, such as Foran and Poldy, are rare.
Because it's hard to define Australian demographers in terms of formal education I will define them (for the time being) as people who publish in one of the two academic journals of demography in Australia. There is the journal that I co-edit with Bob Birrell, People and Place, and the Journal of Population Research, the official journal of the APA.
What about sociologists? The Australian Sociological Association's (TASA) online membership database contains 494 members. Of these, 79 say their research interests include both demography and population research, and environment and ecology (38 are academics, 29 students, most postgraduates, and 12 'other'). Also TASA members are much more concentrated in the universities than are members of APA. Of the 494 members listed, 86.8 per cent worked in universities, either as academics or students (mainly postgrads). Many of the remaining 13.2 per cent gave no institutional affiliation, some saying they were retired. Others worked in private-sector firms, or as consultants, or were researchers in NGOs. Only 18 (3.6 per cent) appeared to have government positions.
Table 1: Articles in two demographic journals and one sociological journal: articles by environmental focus, 2000 to the present (per cent).
|Articles on:||The environment
|People and Place||0.8||13.0||86.2||100.0||123|
|Journal of Population Research (JPR)||0.0||8.2||91.2||100.0||49|
|Journal of Sociology||3.3||0.0||96.7||100.0||92|
Note: People and Place, and the Journal of Sociology are quarterlies (though there were only three issues of the latter in 2000). JPR comes out twice a year. (The data in Table 1 omit the May 2004 issue of JPR released on 21 May 2004.)
The TASA journal is the Journal of Sociology. This, together with the two demographic journals, was searched from the first issue published in 2000 up until the most recent issue in early May 2004.
Table 1 shows very few articles on the links between population and the environment or indeed on other aspects of the environment, such as environmental movements. Thus even though many sociologists express an interest in the nexus, they don't seem to be publishing much research on it, or not at least in the Journal of Sociology.
Taking the data in Table 1 as a rough indicator, one can conclude that Australia's demographers and sociologists have not focused their research on the population/environment nexus, or at least not over the last four and a bit years.
Why the lack of interest?
Why is this so? For some demographers, especially those working outside the universities, it will not be part of their job description to do such work. In others cases they may not be interested; the careful measurement of population forms and dynamics, and the exploration of sophisticated projection techniques may be more intriguing to them. Certainly the interests members listed in the 1995 APA directory suggest that this is so.
In some cases demographers may not think the nexus important, or not important for Australia. They may share the popular view that Australia is a large well-resourced relatively empty continent where, if there are demographic risks, these stem from low fertility, demographic ageing and potential population decline, rather than pressures of existing numbers on natural resources, let alone the numbers that may accrue to us through further growth.
But there are other more specific possible reasons for this absence of research:
1. Narrowness of disciplinary specialisation
Most of us are nervous about stepping outside the boundaries of own disciplines and we may not know people with the appropriate expertise whom we might collaborate with. If we do meet them the gap between the way they see the world and the way we see it may be too large for us to perceive any common interest.
Also demography in Australia is a small specialty. People concerned with the discipline are more likely to focus on how to produce more and better demographers rather than on how to facilitate interdisciplinary collaboration.
2. Scarcity of extrinsic rewards
People who step outside their disciplinary boundaries can find it hard to publish, and hard to produce work that is recognised by gate keepers in their profession. I don't want to overstate this. Bob Birrell and I founded People and Place in 1993 largely to provide an outlet for academic work on the population/environment nexus. We have indeed from time to time received (or canvassed for) good work on this topic, but it has not rained down upon us. But even though we offer a friendly editorial reception to good, empirical work with an environmental focus, we are only one journal. If a young person wants to get ahead in an academic career, interdisciplinary work is risky.
There are also more tangible risks in the new economic climate for universities. People who might have thought that they were going to devote themselves to research and teaching now find they have to earn money too. Research grants from outside bodies, including government agencies, are one way to do this. For demographers this includes doing contract work for government agencies. People who are critical of the environmental consequences of government strategies, such as the growth plans embodied in Steve Brack's Melbourne 2030 report are, it is said, well advised to keep quiet about it.
Schemes outlined in Melbourne 2030 aim to add an extra million people to Melbourne, but to constrain the city's spread by drawing a cordon round the outer suburbs. Growth will be forced into higher density housing in 'activity centres' on the urban fringe. The word is that any academic who is critical of this is unlikely to get research contracts from the Victorian Government.
3. Peer disapproval
Then there is peer group pressure. Analysing the ill effects of high levels of per capita consumption is acceptable in social science circles because it means blaming ourselves. But in the early 1970s when the total fertility rate (TFR) was still fairly high in Australia it was acceptable to talk about the environmental costs of population growth. It was something that we were inflicting on ourselves. There was a Zero Population Growth movement which was seen as respectable. But by the late 1970s fertility had fallen and, if there were to be substantial growth, it would have to come from immigration.
This meant the atmosphere changed. Being critical of the environmental effects of growth now meant being critical of immigration and, as Geoffrey Blainey, John Howard and Pauline Hanson, could tell us, criticising immigration can be dangerous to your reputation.
Analysing the adverse environmental consequences of growth can now be taken as blaming immigrants: scapegoating outsiders for environmental damage we ourselves have done, not because we were too many but because we were too greedy. This invites condemnation as ethnocentrism, selfishness, even racism.
Population and the environment: the public, parliamentary candidates, and environmentalists
Nevertheless, despite these impediments, some work on the topic has been done. Taboos inhibit research but do not always prevent it. But in what circumstances are scholars more likely to pursue topics where the rewards are uncertain and the risks high? Many of us, if we do see opportunities for interdisciplinary work, take our cues from public debate and the signals provided by national leaders.
If the population/environment nexus in Australia is not widely perceived to be a problem then the chance of demographers and sociologists taking risks to study it are diminished.
So what is the climate of opinion on this question in Australia? There is a wealth of longitudinal data on how Australians feel about immigration but very little on how they feel about population growth and stability. However two surveys, both conducted by Irving Saulwick and Associates do provide some clues. One was conducted in September 1977 and one in August 2001.
Table 2: Attitudes to population growth, Australia 1977 and 2001 (per cent)
|Prefer stability (or, in 2001, reduction)||50||64|
Sources: Irving Saulwick and Associates, 24-25 September 1977 computer printout, Table 12 (summary in The Age, 9 November 1977); and Irving Saulwick, data collected in August 2001, but published in The Age, 8 October 2001.
Note: Both surveys were based on random national samples but the questions were different. In 1977 respondents were asked their attitudes to population growth and presented with the following response alternatives: not concerned if growth slows down; encourage couples to have larger families; encourage more migrants to come; encourage both migrants and larger families. Those who said they were not concerned if growth slowed down are classified in Table 2 as 'prefer stability'. In 2001 people were asked: 'Should Australia increase, maintain or reduce its population'? 58 per cent said maintain and 7 per cent said reduce.
Data for 1977 omit 1.9 per cent who said don't know.
The data set out in Table 2 suggest that support for growth has declined over the last 25 years but they tell us nothing about the reasons for this change. Nonetheless we know from other survey data that concern about the environment has been a leading political issue for at least the last 10 years.
Source: Newspolls, various editions (available from www.newspoll.com.au)
Figure 1 shows data from a series of questions asked three times a year from June 1994 to February 2004. A random sample of voters were presented with 15 possible election issues and asked to rate each of them as very important, quite important or not important for how they would vote if a federal election were to be held. They have consistently ranked the environment (after heath/medicare and education (not shown in Figure 1), as a very important election issue. Since February 2002 the environment has outranked the four economic issues listed (these are shown in Figure 1) and only health/medicare and education consistently outrank it: run-of-the mill economic issues have been left behind.
Indeed as early as 1994 a Saulwick poll found that when people were explicitly asked to choose between concentrating on economic growth and protecting the environment, 57 per cent chose protecting the environment and only 33 per cent chose economic growth (10 per cent either didn't know or didn't answer). A different set of polls conducted by Morgan during the 1980s and early 1990s asked respondents to nominate the three most important issues facing the nation. These found that, in February 1983, only 2 per cent included the environment in their three most important issues but, by 1991, the proportions including it varied between 11 and 15 per cent. These data show that the environment was once a fringe issue but that it is now a high-ranking concern in mainstream politics.
Unfortunately we cannot correlate this increasing level of environmental concern with attitudes to population growth. But the Australian Election Studies (AES) of both voters and candidates held after each Federal election since 1987 allow us to correlate this with attitudes to immigration. Attitudes to immigration are an imperfect measure of the population part of the nexus because so many other values are associated with immigration (anti-racism, humanitarianism, cosmopolitanism, and feelings for and against boatpeople). But thanks to the AES we do have data on attitudes to immigration which can be correlated with attitudes to the environment.
For example, after the 2001 election all candidates (from parties deemed viable) were presented with a list of 12 problems facing the nation. They were asked to chose which were the four most important of these problems. They were also, among a large number of other questions, asked their opinion on the number of migrants being allowed into the country. Sixty-three per cent of candidates surveyed after the 2001 election thought the environment was one of the four most important problems facing the nation (see Table 3). This concern was highest among parties nominally described as left-wing (Labor, Democrats and Greens) and lower among the Coalition parties (Liberal and National) and One Nation. Nonetheless, across the board, many candidates nominated the environment as one of the nation's four most pressing problems.
However, more than half of all candidates also wanted a larger migrant intake and this desire was not reduced by their concern about the environment. On the contrary, Table 4 shows that the more concerned they were the more they wanted a larger intake
Table 3: Candidates: Environment as one of the four most important problems facing the country by party, 2001 (per cent)
|Environment as a national problem:||Coalition||Labor||Democrat||Greens||One Nation||Total|
|Ranked as one of the four problems||36.5||47.7||79.0||93.9||40.5||62.5|
Source: 2001 AES Candidates' study, Rachel Gibson et al., Australian Candidates Study 2001. [Computer file] Canberra: Social Science Data Archives: Australian National University, 2002.
Note: Surveys were sent to the 840 candidates who stood for the parties shown in Table 3; 15 questionnaires were returned to sender and responses were received from 477 giving a response rate of 57.8 per cent. Eight candidates whose party could not be identified are excluded from Table 3. The original researchers are not responsible for my use of their data.
Table 4: Candidates: Attitudes to immigration by ranking of environment as one of the four most important problems facing the country, 2001 (per cent)
|The number of migrants allowed into Australia has:||Environment ranked
as one of the
|Gone too far and much too far||12.8||17.4||14.6|
|Not gone far enough or nearly far enough||59.8||43.3||53.6|
Source: See Table 3.
Note: Excludes three candidates who did not answer the question on the number of migrants.
The corresponding question on the environment put to the voters was a little different. Voters were given the same list of problems but were then asked whether each of these problems had been extremely important, quite important, or not very important to them when they were deciding how to vote.
Overall, 45 per cent said that the environment had been extremely important to them when they were deciding how to vote. But with the voters we also get the same paradoxical association: the higher the concern for the environment the more support there is for an increase in migration.
Table 5: Voters: Attitudes to immigration by importance of environment to the respondent in deciding how to vote, 2001 (per cent)
|Importance of environment when you were deciding about how to vote|
|The number of migrants allowed into Australia has:||Extremely important||Quite important||Not very important|
|Gone too far and much too far||33.8||33.0||41.9||34.1|
|Not gone far enough or nearly far enough||23.5||15.3||12.0||18.8|
Source: 2001 AES voters study, Clive Bean, et al., Australian Election Study, 2001 (computer file). Canberra: Social Science Data Archives, The Australian National University, 2002. The original researchers bear no responsibility for my use of their data.
Note: Questionnaires were posted to a random sample of 4000 voters. Of these, 369 were returned to sender or deemed out of scope. Overall there were 2010 respondents, giving a response rate of 55.4 per cent. Table 5 excludes 127 respondent who did not answer one or both questions.
Most voters do not want an increase in the migrant intake. Those who do constitute just under 19 per cent of 2001 AES voters' file. (This is a big difference between the voters and the candidates.) However Table 5 shows that the proportion of those wanting an increase is rather higher amongst people concerned about the environment (24 per cent) than it is among those who were not concerned (12 per cent).
When we focus on the sub-set of voters who said they were member of environmental groups the pattern is even stronger: here 35 per cent of the joined-up members wanted an increase in immigration. (There were 104 people in the voters' sample who said they were members of environmental groups.)
These data pose a riddle. The answer is not to be found at the logical level where the impact of population growth is weighed against its effects on the natural environment. It lies at a deeper level, where concern about the environment now often comes as part of a broader package including new-left cosmopolitan internationalist values. In this set of values, restrictions on immigration are seen as inhumane, exclusionary, and possibly racist.
Adherence to them within environmental movements is now strong. It reflects one side of the fundamental divide in Australian politics: the disagreement about the priority to be given to national loyalty in a cosmopolitan globalising world. For many educated Australians, including many aspiring politicians, new-left ideals mean that they must reject policies which strike them as nationalistic.
In effect this means that, among environmental movements, especially peak bodies rather than grass roots activists, working on conservation within national borders must yield place to striving for international social justice. We see the results of this conflict in the ambivalent positions on population policy taken by the Australian Conservation Foundation, The Australian Greens, the Australian Democrats, and, in the United States, the Sierra Club. Sustainable Population Australia is an honourable exception to this trend.
Bill Lines in an article in 2003 about the Australian Greens described the results of the division well:
For a while, the conflict was subsumed and the Greens believed everything they held to be worthwhile and good was not only ultimately connected and compatible but mutually reinforcing...
But the advent of [the] One Nation [Party led by Pauline Hanson] and the refugee debate exposed the contradictions. Internationalists and human rights advocates accused those seeking limits to population growth of racism.
...[and as environmental] conditions on the [Australian] continent worsened and knowledge of human impacts increased - the Greens adopted a passive attitude towards the population-environment debate, increasingly championed human rights and detached themselves from conservation.
The distinguished British political scientist, Margaret Canovan, describes values such as these as naïve internationalism. They are common not just among the green movement but also among good people in the social professions generally. These values mean that political elites and educated people generally are not crying out for research on the population/environment nexus in Australia. Many of them are likely to think such research morally tainted and unappealing. We should not expect demographers and sociologists to be immune from these sentiments themselves. They too may be not just unattracted to this research; it may actively repel some of them.
The problem of collective action and the role of nation states
The results of this ideological turmoil are unfortunate. They can mean that we sacrifice practical action for windy assertions of moral principle. Environmental quality is a public good and preserving it poses a collective action problem. If we are to avoid the tragedy of the commons it is in our collective long-term interests to restrict our numbers (and out consumption) to a size well within the limits of our natural resource base. But it is in the short-term interests of groups who profit from population growth to try to increase the overall numbers, provided they themselves are wealthy enough to buy immunity from the adverse effects of growth.
Small face-to-face groups cans solve collective action problems through valuing honesty and trustworthiness and shaming defectors. At a larger scale we need regulation and policy, but this won't work unless a large proportion of people care about the problem and have a moral commitment to fair outcomes.
Ensuring cooperation requires a skillful political class but it also depends on feelings of collective belonging and responsibility among members of the group. At the moment the liberal democratic nation states are the only large-scale institutions we have that can marshal both the organisation and moral commitment needed to solve large-scale collective action problems. (Patriotism, as Doug Cocks has shown, is a 'tremendous resource'.)
We might prefer a world in which problems such as these were solved at a supranational level but at the moment the nation state, particularly the liberal democratic nation state, is the only effective large-scale institution that can do the job. We cannot solve difficult problems without making sacrifices and how are people and interest groups to be motivated to put personal short-term gain to one side for the common good, especially if they themselves are unlikely to see the benefits in their lifetime? Solving collective action problems requires logic, planning and political action. But the attempt will fail if there is no emotional commitment by a member of a group to other members of the group and to the land they share.
If we wait for supranational institutions to evolve that are effective and also generate self-sacrificing loyalty, it will be too late. Indeed such institutions may never develop. At present, because of the absence of overarching loyalties and interpersonal trust, collective action is particularly hard to achieve at an international level.
We can sympathise with Bill Lines' Greens who want to preserve the environment in a borderless world; like many of us they want to be thoroughly good people. But when misplaced virtue promises ruin to all, it is as dangerous as the self-seeking interests of the commercial growth lobby. Or rather misplaced virtue is more dangerous. Scholars can see through the former. They are more likely to be confused and disabled by the latter.
Population is very much on the Australian political agenda: we have the Prime Minister's 'barbecue-stopping' family policy, the Treasurer's worries about demographic ageing and work-force participation and, while immigration itself is taking a back seat, we are still convulsed with the agony of how to respond to unannounced asylum seekers. But the talk is fragmented, disjointed, and often uninformed. This is because we still lack a population policy.
Were we to have one a number of political and intellectual problems might be resolved. Members of parliament, journalists and members of the attentive public would have more incentive to gain accurate information about demography. Environmentalists too would be able to see that doing good involves choices not just between grades of virtue but between various evils too.
A population policy would help us to think more clearly. We cannot solve the problem of collective action without clear thinking and we cannot solve it without emotional commitment to each other, our shared territory, and our common future.
 D. Cocks, People Policy, University of NSW Press, Sydney, 1996, pp. 188, 189. Doug Cocks is Special Research Fellow with the Division of Sustainable Ecosystems, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Organisation (CSIRO).
 Paul Ehrlich quoted in John R. Wilmoth and Patrick Ball 'Arguments and action in the life of a social problem: a case study of "overpopulation", 1946-1990', Social Problems, vol. 42, no. 3, 1995 (downloaded from Factiva 9/5/04).
 See Cocks op. cit., pp. 104-134; B. Foran and F. Poldi, Future Dilemmas: Options to 2050 for Australia's Population, Technology, Resources and Environment: Report to the Department of Immigration, Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs, CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems, Canberra, 2002; Birrell, R., and T. Birrell, An Issue of People (second edition), Longman Cheshire, Melbourne, 1987 (Ch 8 'The brick wall: population and resource limits'); S. Boyden, S. Dovers and M. Shirlow, Our Biosphere Under Threat: Ecological Realities and Australia's Opportunities, Oxford University Press, Melbourne, 1990; C. Hamilton, 'Population growth and environmental quality: are they compatible?', People and Place, vol. 10, no. 2, 2002, pp. 1-5.
 Some of the university-based delegates were students. Of the remainder, 6 per cent were from the private sector, 5 per cent from non-government organisations, and 6 per cent attended as unaffiliated individuals.
 See Population Studies at Australian Universities, The Australian Population Association, 1993.
 See his work for the Australia: State of the Environment: 1996, CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne, 1996, Birrell et al. (eds), Refugees Resources Reunion: Australia's Immigration Dilemmas, Victorian Commercial Teachers' Association, Melbourne, 1979; Birrell et al. (eds), Populate and Perish? The Stresses of Population Growth in Australia, Fontana/ACF, Sydney, 1984; Birrell et al. (eds), Quarry Australia? Social and Environmental Perspectives on Managing the Nation's Resources, Oxford University Press, Melbourne, 1982, and many other titles.
 See L. Day and D. Rowland (eds), How Many More Australians?, Longman Cheshire, Melbourne, 1988.
 I refer to their report: Foran and Poldy, Future Dilemmas, 2002, op. cit.
 JPR is a successor to the earlier Journal of the Australian Population Association (JAPA). JAPA was the first demographic journal published in Australia. It was founded in 1984 before it was superceded by JPR in 2000. Heather Booth and Adrian Hayes have published an analysis of JAPA's contents over that 16 year period. This shows a strong preponderance of authors from Australian National University, especially the ANU Demography program (25 per cent of all authors were affiliated with ANU Demography and a further 14 per cent with other disciplinary groups within the ANU). See H. Booth and A. Hayes, 'Sixteen years of JAPA: a content analysis of the Journal of the Australian Population Association', Journal of Population Research, vol. 17, no. 2, 2000, p. 202. While they do classify the 147 articles published during this period by subject, they use the first 15 broad categories used by the Population Index (p. 201) and it is not possible from this to identify works focusing on, or indeed mentioning, the environmental consequences (or causes) of population growth. However, at least one substantial review article on the population environment nexus was published by JAPA in 1995. See R. Harding, 'The debate on population and the environment: Australia in the global context', Journal of the Australian Population Association, vol. 12, no. 3, 1995, pp. 165-195.
 Department of Infrastructure, Melbourne 2030: Planning for Sustainable Growth, Department of Infrastructure, Melbourne, 2002. Bracks is the Premier of the State of Victoria.
 ibid. pp. 14, 45-51.
 See K. Betts, The Great Divide: Immigration Politics in Australia, Duffy and Snellgrove, Sydney, 1999, pp. 256-267, 290-300, 316-323.
 See, for example, E. Vasta, 'Dialectics of domination: racism and multiculturalism', in E. Vasta and S. Castles (eds), The Teeth are Smiling: The Persistence of Racism in Multicultural Australia, Allen and Unwin, Sydney, 1996, pp. 56-57; G. Hage, White Nation: Fantasies of White Supremacy in a Multicultural Society, Pluto Press, Sydney, 1998, 165-169, 173-176; H. Irving, 'New standards hide old fears', The Australian, 5 June 2001, p.15; J. Green, 'Population and the "greening of hate"', Green Left Weekly: Online edition, 6 March 2002 (www.greenleft.org.au/back/2002/483/483p12c.htm) accessed 20/5/2004.The Greens' internationalist faction described in W. Lines, 'Greens no longer about conservation', The Australian, 7 July 2003, p. 9.
 Other issues in the list are education (only included from May 1999 but consistently one of the top two since that date), welfare/social issues and leadership (both consistently ranking close to the environment), defence (not asked before January 2001 and ranked very important by around 50 per cent of respondents), women's issues, immigration, industrial relations and Aboriginal issues, all normally ranked as very important by fewer than 45 per cent of respondents, expect for women's issues in September 1997 and May 1998, and Immigration in September 2001 and February 2002.
 The question was: 'Do you think Australians should concentrate on economic growth even if it means some damage to the environment; or concentrate on protecting the environment even if it means some reduction in economic growth?' A random national sample of 1000 voters was interviewed by telephone. The results were reported in The Age, 12 April 1994, p. 4.
 Three different polls are reported for 1991. See Matthew Ricketson, 'Jobs seen as the most urgent task: The Morgan Poll', Time (Australia), 4 May 1992, p. 8.
 There was no candidates' survey in 1998, but there are parallel sets of data for the elections in 1987, 1990, 1993, 1996 and 2001. There was also a voters' survey after the 1999 referendum. See assda.anu.edu.au.
 Liberal, National, Labor, Democrats, Greens and One Nation.
 See Betts, 'People and parliamentarians: the great divide' (People and Place, forthcoming).
 B. Lines, 'Portrait with background: today's conservation activists', People and Place, vol. 11, no. 1, 2003, pp. 25-32.
 E. Moore, 'A sustainable population for Australia; dilemma for the green movement', in J. W. Smith (ed.), Immigration, Population and Sustainable Environments, Flinders University Press, Bedford Park, South Australia, 1991. Anna Molan put it like this in 2003: 'Habitat had a special issue on population in August 1975. At this time conservationist' [sic] generally felt that we should be wary of rapid population growth. Nowadays, ACF concentrates its population campaign on how sustainably the population behaves, not numbers'. A. Molan, 'Habitat turns 30!' Habitat Australia: Australian Conservation Foundation, June, 2003, p. 9.
 N. Sloan and W. Lines, 'Party of principle? The Greens and population policy', People and Place, vol. 11, no. 2, 2003, pp. 16-23.
 J. Coulter, 'Immigration – a battleground within the Australian Democrats', People and Place, vol. 9, no. 3, 2001, pp. 10-17.
 R. Beck and L. Kolankiewicz, Forsaking Fundamentals: the Environmental Establishment Abandons U.S. Population Stabilization: Center Paper 18, Center for Immigration Studies, Washington, 2001 (www.cis.org/articles/2001/forsaking/toc.html) (accessed 16/8/03).
 W. Lines, 'Greens no longer about conservation', The Australian, 7 July 2003, p. 9.
 She is quoting David Miller. See M. Canovan, Nationhood and Political Theory, Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, UK, 1996, p. 31. She also quotes Walzer who argues that 'Justice presupposes "a group of people committed to dividing, exchanging and sharing social goods",' p. 29.
 For a summary of the argument about the tragedy of the commons, originally published by Garrett Hardin in Science, 1968, see G. Hardin, Living Within Limits: Ecology, Economics and Population Taboos, Oxford University Press, New York, 1993, pp. 217-218.
 See Garry Freeman's work explaining how it is that immigration-fuelled population growth continues in the face of popular opposition. Influential vested interests enjoy concentrated benefits from growth (such as selling to larger markets, enjoying cheaper labor) while the rest of us bear diffused costs (more crowding, more pollution, rather lower wages, decreased access to recreation, possibly more crime and less welfare) but because these costs are diffused we have little direct personal interest in mobilising to try to restrict growth. See G. Freeman, 'Modes of immigration politics in liberal democratic states', International Migration Review, vol. 29, no. 4, 1995, pp. 881-901.
 See K. Betts, 'The evolution of social capital: on the origins of the social contract', The Social Contract, vol. 8, no. 3, 1998, pp. 252-261.
 Cocks, 1996, op. cit., p. 275.
 See J. Dunn, 'Introduction: crisis of the nation state?' Political Studies, vol. 32, no. Special issue – Contemporary Crisis of the Nation State? (ed. John Dunn), 1994, pp. 13-14.