Australia stands at a turning point in its demographic development and it is crucial to develop a vision of our future population, taking full account of the best scientific and policy thinking and knowledge but also taking into account the wishes and opinions of all Australians.
The population and immigration debates in Australia have too often been dominated by interest groups and have focused on extreme positions. On the one hand are those who believe Australia should increase its population as rapidly as possible and strive to attain a population of more than double the current size.
On the other hand some environmentalists argue for an immediate end to population growth. However, both of these extreme positions would have negative consequences for Australia and most Australians. We need a midway position which involves growth with sustainability.
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The 2011 Census is likely to include a flawed question on religion that will continue to dramatically over-state the extent of religious belief in Australia in spite of the trend towards atheism, agnostic and the flight from organised religion.
The 2011 Census will take place tonight. Months after that, results will be released and much will be made about the demographic changes in Australian society and what they mean.
Yet Australians are again being asked to choose a religious affiliation in a way that is problematic.
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