Big Australia

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A graph of the population projections contained on page 117 of the 2010 Intergenerational Report, which led to the "big Australia" debate

Big Australia was a term used by Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to describe an increase in the population of Australia from 22 million in 2010 to 36 million in 2050 along with the policies needed to react to it. A portion of the projected growth involved immigration to Australia, which proved controversial.

In 2009, Rudd stated that he was in favour of a "big Australia" in response to a demographic projection in the government's Intergenerational Report which showed that the population of Australia would increase from 22 million in 2010 to 35 million in 2050.[1][2] A portion of the growth involved continued high rates of immigration to Australia, which proved controversial. In April 2010 Rudd appointed Tony Burke to the position of Minister for Population and asked him to develop a population policy.[3]

Julia Gillard, who ousted Rudd from office in June 2010, stated shortly after taking over that she did not support Rudd's position. In her opinion, a "big Australia" would be unsustainable.[4][5] Gillard's position was "a sustainable Australia, not a big Australia".[6] The Government released a "sustainable population strategy" in May 2011 which did not specify a target population.[2] In October 2011 trade minister Craig Emerson released a paper with Gillard's approval which advocated for continued rapid rates of population growth.[7]

Demographic projections released by the Queensland Centre for Population Research in 2011 found that there is a 50 percent likelihood of Australia's population being larger than 35 million by 2050.[2]


  1. ^ "Rudd welcomes 'big Australia'". ABC News. 23 October 2009. Retrieved 19 January 2013.
  2. ^ a b c "Big Australia? Try for size Even Bigger Australia: research". The Sydney Morning Herald. 15 May 2011. Retrieved 19 January 2013.
  3. ^ "Australia appoints a Minister of Population". Radio Australia. 6 April 2010. Retrieved 19 January 2013.
  4. ^ "Gillard dumps 'big Australia' policy". Cape Times. 28 June 2010.
  5. ^ Bryant, Nick (8 July 2010). "Re-thinking Big Australia the immigration policy". BBC News.
  6. ^ Lauder, Simon (19 July 2010). "Focussing the population debate". The World Today. Retrieved 19 January 2013.
  7. ^ Franklin, Matthew (1 October 2011). "Big Australia back on the agenda, says Craig Emerson". The Australian.

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