Sustainable Australia

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#Sustainable Australia
PresidentWilliam Bourke[1]
Founded2010 (as Sustainable Population Party)
IdeologyCentrism, Sustainability[3]
Political positionCentre
SloganBetter, not bigger
Victorian Legislative
1 / 40

Sustainable Australia (originally the Sustainable Population Party and officially registered as #Sustainable Australia) is an Australian political party.[2] Formed in 2010, it describes itself as being "from the political centre".[4]

Campaigning against a "big Australia"[5], the party seeks to establish an Australia that is "better, not bigger". The party's primary policy is to drastically reduce the country's immigration intake by over 100%, from 200,000 to 70,000 people per annum.[6] Despite this, the party has strongly rejected accusations of being classified as anti-immigration.[7][8]

Sustainable Australia maintains policies on other issues as well, particularly on housing affordability, over-development and the environment. The party generally takes a strong stance against over-development, opposing the proposed construction of the Apple store at Federation Square, for example. On housing and the environment, Sustainable Australia bases its solutions on cutting immigration and market forces, believing that "with a sustainable environment and much more stable population, you can simultaneously achieve affordable housing (due to less buyer demand) and better planning (to stop over-development)".

Federal and state registration[edit]

The party has been registered federally since 2010. In 2016 it also registered in the Australian Capital Territory, and contested the 2016 Australian Capital Election. In 2018 it also registered in Victoria for the 2018 state election[9] and NSW for the 2019 state election.[10]

Left-right spectrum[edit]

Sustainable Australia describes itself as a centrist party with strong focus on environment, resource levels, infrastructure, and population. It criticises excessive urban densification and sprawl. It strongly supports public transport; but in the 2016 Australian Capital Territory election it opposed the proposed light rail, calling it “a Trojan horse for over-development”.[11]


The Party’s website lists over 20 policies, addressing a variety of topics like Animals and Biodiversity, Economy and Jobs, Education, Environment, Foreign Investment, Housing Affordability, Sustainable Population and Immigration, and Transport.

Attitudes to population growth and opposition to a "big Australia"[edit]

Sustainable Australia is not a one-issue party, but its policies clearly call for a significant slowing of Australia’s rapid population growth, which is a point of distinction from the current policies of the Australian Greens.[12] In this it more closely resembles the Australian Democrats, among centrist Australian political parties, which traditionally sought to keep immigration numbers per year close to emigration per year.[13]

Sustainable Australia supports a non-discriminatory permanent immigration intake of around 70,000 persons per year, down from the 2015 level of over 200,000 per year. Its website states that 70,000 is closer to Australia’s long-term traditional average intake.

In 2010 the party opposed Kevin Rudd's belief in a big Australia, saying that a "big Australia" population would be "disastrous",[14] is "way beyond [Australia's] long-term carrying capacity"[14] and that "population growth is not inevitable".[14] Queensland coordinator Aaron Webber "became alarmed when hearing of Kevin Rudd's push for a 'Big Australia'".[15] The party claims that "'stable population' policies would mean a more sustainable 26 million at 2050, not the Labor/Liberal 'big Australia' plan for 36 million and rising."[5]


Sustainable Australia used to be called the Sustainable Population Party. Its current name was registered with the Australian Electoral Commission on 18 January 2016. The party missed out on registration for the 2010 federal election by several days, but leader William Bourke ran unsuccessfully for the Senate in New South Wales on an independent ticket with poet Mark O'Connor. The party was registered shortly after the election on 23 September 2010.[2][16] The party was registered as "Stable Population Party of Australia", but on 28 February 2014 the Australian Electoral Commission approved a name-change to the "Sustainable Population Party".[2] On 19 January 2016, the AEC approved a further name change to "#Sustainable Australia" (including a hash symbol).[17]

The party ran at least two Senate candidates in every state and territory in the 2013 Australian federal election and many local candidates also.[18] Timothy Lawrence was the candidate for Australian Stable Population Party in the 2014 Griffith by-election, arising from the resignation of Kevin Rudd. Lawrence received 666 votes, 0.86% of the primary vote. The party also contested the April 2014 re-run in Western Australia of the 2013 federal Senate elections.[18] The party endorsed Angela Smith, an environmental scientist and a local candidate, for the 2015 Canning by-election. In September 2015 the party campaigned on a number of issues including education, paid jobs, infrastructure, health care, renewable energy and housing affordability.

In the 2015 North Sydney by-election its candidate and founder William Bourke got one of the party's best results with 2,189 votes, 2.88% of the primary votes.[19][20]

The party has been involved in a preference harvesting scheme organised by Glenn Druery's Minor Party Alliance.[21][22]

In the 2016 federal election, Sustainable Australia was led temporarily by ex-Labor Minister for Sustainability, Andrew McNamara.[23] The party fielded two senate candidates in each of the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria, as well as a candidate in the Division of Sydney for the House of Representatives,[24] where Kris Spike received 605 votes, 0.69% of the votes.

The party received media attention in 2017 when Australian entrepreneur Dick Smith joined the party.[25][26]

Sustainable Australia won its first parliamentary seat in the 2018 Victorian state election. The party received 1.32% of the primary vote in the Southern Metropolitan Region. However, after favourable preference deals with other parties Clifford Hayes won the 5th Legislative Council seat in Southern Metropolitan Region for the party.

In January 2019, former labor MP Kelvin Thomson who was Shadow Minister for the Environment joined the party as an adviser to Clifford Hayes MP.[27] Kelvin Thompson is known as an advocate for action on climate change as well as a critic of live exports, duck shooting and rapid population growth. [28] [29] [30]

Electoral results[edit]

Election year # of
overall votes
% of
overall vote
Name of Party
(at time of poll)
2013 federal election


Stable Population Party
2014 WA rerun election 3,063 0.24 (WA only) Sustainable Population Party
2016 federal election
(NSW,VIC,QLD and ACT only)
26,341[32] 0.19 Sustainable Australia Party
2018 Victorian state election


Sustainable Australia Party

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Bourke, William. "About Us - Founder & President". Australian Stable Population Party. Retrieved 7 September 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d "Extract from the Register of Political Parties for #Sustainable Population Party". Australian Electoral Commission website: Funding, Disclosure and Political Parties. Australian Electoral Commission. 28 February 2014. Retrieved 6 March 2014.
  3. ^ "Objectives and Core Values". Sustainable Australia. Retrieved 21 February 2019.
  4. ^ "Sustainable Australia". Sustainable Australia.
  5. ^ a b "POPULATION - THE EVERYTHING ISSUE". Flyer Distribution. 20 January 2013.
  6. ^ "Policy Platform". Sustainable Australia.
  7. ^ "Dick Smith joins Sustainable Australia Party".
  8. ^ Stark, Jill (15 November 2018). "Also, don't be fooled by the fluffy sounding names of some micro parties. Health Australia = pseudo-scientific anti vaxxers Sustainable Australia = anti-immigration xenophobes Aussie Battlers = compares Safe Schools to pedophile grooming #springst #vicvotes". Twitter.
  9. ^ "Currently registered parties". Victorian Electoral Commission. Retrieved 21 February 2019.
  10. ^ "State Register of Parties". New South Wales Electoral Commission. Retrieved 21 February 2019.
  11. ^ "See the policies on A.C.T.Transport on the Party's website".
  12. ^ "Population". The Australian Greens.
  13. ^ See the Australian Democrats' most recent member-balloted population policy.
  14. ^ a b c "Issue Background". Australian Stable Population Party. Retrieved 5 September 2013.
  15. ^ "Officials". Australian Stable Population Party. Retrieved 5 September 2013.
  16. ^ corporateName=Australian Electoral Commission; address=50 Marcus Clarke Street, Canberra ACT 2600; contact=13 23 26. "AEC redirection page". Australian Electoral Commission.
  17. ^ "#Sustainable Australia". Current Register of Political Parties. AEC. Archived from the original on 27 January 2016. Retrieved 19 January 2016.
  18. ^ a b "Population Party - Candidates". Australian Stable Population Party. Retrieved 7 September 2013.
  19. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 7 December 2015. Retrieved 6 November 2013.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  20. ^ "Results - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)". ABC News.
  21. ^ Bormann, Trevor (5 September 2013). "Bitter dispute erupts over Senate preferences in Queensland". ABC News.
  22. ^ "Micro parties alliance boosts their odds". 5 September 2013.
  23. ^ "What went wrong?". My Sunshine Coast.
  24. ^ "Candidates for the 2016 federal election". Australian Electoral Commission. 12 June 2016. Retrieved 12 June 2016.
  25. ^ "Dick Smith joins lower immigration party". News. Retrieved 24 September 2017.
  26. ^ Masanauskas, John. "Businessman Dick Smith joins political party Sustainable Australia". Herald Sun. Retrieved 24 September 2017.
  27. ^ "Former ALP MP joins micro party as adviser". The Northern Daily Leader. 14 January 2019.
  28. ^ "Labor tells itself to do more on climate". The Age. 19 March 2009.
  29. ^ "Kelvin Thomson - Climate Action Moreland: people in Brunswick, Coburg, Fawkner and Glenroy wanting action on climate change".
  30. ^ "Kelvin Thomson voted very strongly for increasing protection of Australia's fresh water — They Vote For You".
  31. ^ "Senate 2013 First Preferences By Group". Australian Electoral Commission. Retrieved 2018-04-09.
  32. ^ "Senate 2016 First Preferences By Group". Australian Electoral Commission. Retrieved 2018-04-09.

External links[edit]