A LEADING United States population lobbyist has questioned why Australia seems intent on copying the worst mistakes of his own country.
Roy Beck, the executive director of powerful lobby group NumbersUSA, which has 1.4 million members, has visited the Sunshine Coast as part of an Australian visit which has included talks with politicians and advocates of lower immigration in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Canberra.
On the Coast he visited Australia Zoo and met Bindi and Terri Irwin, who he said fully understood the role population growth played in habitat reduction and extinction of native fauna. In 2011 Bindi Irwin launched Dick Smith's book "Population Crisis".
Mr Beck, an author, lecturer and former journalist, said the population of the United States had increased by 115 million since 1970, devastating its quality of life.
He said he was struggling to understand why the Australian federal government and both major parties were following the same path and taking on the worst aspects of US policy.
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"You still have what we've lost,'' Mr Beck said.
"Your immigration program will lead to more congestion, will raise house prices and reduce wage growth. Why would a Labor Party government do that.''
Change, he said, would require leadership.
"The polling here is similar to the US,'' Mr Beck said. "Citizens in both countries want immigration to come down and population reduced to save quality of life.
"Politicians are influenced by those who make money from growth or immigration.''
He said a "greedy elite" played off the incremental nature of growth to distract the electorate.
"That's the power of our organisation. We have 1.4 million members on our website that we can mobilise and compete for influence.''
Mr Beck argues that immigration does nothing to alleviate global poverty and just reduces the host country's ability to exercise good environmental stewardship.
He said Australia had a global responsibility to protect its unique ecosystems and wildlife.
"Immigration-driven population growth ruins habitat and makes native animals extinct,'' Mr Beck said.
Described by some opponents as a "political extremist dressed up in progressive drag", he said his organisation was in fact moderate, conservative and liberal.
"Most people who are opposed to massive immigration are not racist. The vast majority simply want to stop depressing wages, congesting lifestyle and destroying habitat.''
Mr Beck singled out federal Member for Wills Kelvin Thompson as an Australian politician who was attaining celebrity status in the US for speeches he had given calling for stabilisation of population here.
(Author and lecturer Roy Beck, executive director of NumbersUSA, has been one of the most visible chroniclers and spokesmen on the effects of mass immigration on quality of life issues in the United States. The Houston Chronicle labelled him "one of the five leading thinkers in the national immigration debate." )