Dick Smith again calls for immigration cuts in new campaign

Dick Smith again calls for immigration cuts in new campaign

SBS World News Radio: High-profile Australian businessman Dick Smith is warning of a violent revolution if Australia does not cut immigration and more heavily tax the very rich. 

He has just launched a new campaign to close the gap between rich and poor, and it is already causing controversy.

A new campaign to cut immigration numbers has hit the airwaves.

"... more than the finite resources on our planet can stand. It's a path to either more and more inequality or famine, disaster, war and collapse." (sound of mayhem ...)

If it sounds familiar, that was by design.

The advertisement uses the same voice and even the same analogy from a groundbreaking campaign against AIDS in the 1980s.

"Gays and IV drug users were being killed by AIDS. But now we know every one of us could be devastated by it."

And this campaign also employs similar shock tactics.

"Absolutely dead serious, we are going to destroy Australia as we know it today if we allow our politicians to have endless growth. Endless growth is what a cancer cell does, and it normally kills its host. We'll do the same thing in this country if we're that stupid."

The advertisement draws a causal link between migration, what it terms extremism and the Holocaust, but Mr Smith rejects the idea it is racist.

"That's what we have got to do as a country. It has nothing to do with racism, nothing to do with xenophobia, but there are cunning people around, including SBS, who try and link it to that to stop any discussion."

The campaign's platform is economic.

Dick Smith, who has previously called for immigration cuts, says he believes reducing the skilled-migrant intake to 70,000 people from 210,000 would reduce income inequality.

An economist from A-M-P Capital in Sydney, Shane Oliver, says that logic is flawed and most studies reveal a positive net impact from migration.

"I'd also contest the view immigration by itself is causing inequality. I don't think that's the main driver. I think the real reason we are seeing a rise in inequality is to do with the nature of technological change we've seen in recent times."

Mr Oliver says a more effective policy change would be to increase incentives for living in regional areas to take pressure off the eastern capitals.

The director of the Federation of Ethnic Communities Councils of Australia, Dr Emma Campbell, says migrants fill key roles.

"Migrants to Australia are caring for our older people, for our aged Australians. They are our health-care providers in rural and regional Australia. They are the fuel behind our IT and high-tech industry."

Mr Smith does, however, welcome more refugees and is campaigning to raise the humanitarian intake from 13,000 to 20,000 arrivals a year.

He says the money can be redirected from SBS and the ABC.

Under the Dick Smith Fair Go campaign, he is also lobbying for changes to the tax system to close the gap between rich and poor.

Mr Smith is calling for the corporate tax rate to be raised from its current level of 30 per cent back to 45 cents on the dollar, the same as it was in the 1970s.

He tells SBS he has raised thousands of dollars for his Fair Go campaign in the past two days.

But he is not saying how many people or companies have donated.




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