Feminism and environmentalism has negatively impacted our birth rate.
Australia is facing a critical demographic challenge that demands our immediate attention.
In an opinion piece by Greg Sheridan, published in the Australian yesterday, he passionately argues that Australia's most pressing issue isn't immigration, but rather the alarming decline in birth rates.
According to Sheridan, Australia needs more babies, and there are compelling reasons behind his assertion.
First and foremost, Sheridan identifies a societal problem stemming from ideological and sexist barriers that restrict women's choices when it comes to having children.
He contends that these restrictions are an illiberal imposition on both women and men and reflect a narrow, outdated ideology.
This suppression of choice not only impacts individual freedoms but also has far-reaching social, economic, and strategic consequences for Australia.
The statistics paint a concerning picture. Australia's birthrate in recent years has dropped to 1.63, perilously close to what demographers classify as ultra-low fertility (below 1.5).
Once a nation reaches this level, reversing population decline becomes exceedingly difficult.
Sheridan harkens back to the efforts of former leaders John Howard and Peter Costello, who managed to raise the fertility rate to 2.01 through policies like the baby bonus. He emphasises the importance of policies that encourage larger families, reinforcing the belief in babies, the future, and Australia itself.
Sheridan acknowledges that individuals have the right to make choices about having children, but he is concerned about the coercive influence of certain ideologies.
Feminist and environmental ideologies sometimes portray children as obstacles to self-fulfilment and as contributors to ecological problems.
This negative portrayal of parenthood discourages potential parents from starting or expanding their families.
Furthermore, Sheridan highlights the societal implications of turning away from having babies.
A society that fails to embrace and support the idea of raising children can lose its self-confidence, self-belief, and sense of purpose. Babies are seen as life, adventure, and the future of a nation.
They create bonds between siblings and enrich the tapestry of society.
While Sheridan has been in favour of a robust immigration program, he acknowledges that not all immigration is created equal.
He emphasizes the importance of attracting skilled migrants with good English proficiency who intend to become citizens. Family reunions and providing refuge to genuine refugees are also part of a well-rounded immigration policy.
However, Sheridan cautions against viewing immigration as a panacea for declining birth rates. He argues that even with a reasonable immigration policy, a nation should maintain a sufficient birth-rate to ensure demographic and educational renewal.
He rejects the notion that immigration is akin to a Ponzi scheme and asserts that, when managed properly, it can contribute positively to a nation's vitality.
In conclusion, Greg Sheridan's call for Australia to have more babies is grounded in a concern for the nation's future.
He believes that restrictive ideologies, declining birth rates, and misguided immigration policies pose significant challenges.
Encouraging a culture that values parenthood and providing support for families are crucial steps toward ensuring Australia's continued growth and prosperity.
Ultimately, Sheridan's plea is a call to action, urging policymakers and society to prioritize policies and values that promote a brighter demographic future for Australia.
It is a call Family First supports.
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