For the good of the nation

Featured in

  • Published 20061103
  • ISBN: 9780733316722
  • Extent: 252 pp
  • Paperback (234 x 153mm)

DURING THE 2004 Budget Lock-up, Federal Treasurer Peter Costello made one of those remarks that serve to encapsulate an entire policy debate. Discussing Australia’s ebbing birthrate, he said: “You know, if you can have children, it’s a good thing to do. You know, you should have, if you can … one for your husband and one for your wife and one for your country.”[i]

The furore this remark aroused underlines the gathering intensity of an uneasy dispute over population policy. Should Australia produce more children or, as some contend, welcome the collapse in the birthrate to lower the total population?

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

If you are an educator or student wishing to access content for study purposes please contact us at

Share article

About the author

Christopher Jay

Christopher Jay is a Sydney economic journalist who is a regular writer for the The Australian Financial Review.He is the author of several business...

More from this edition

Childfree by choice

EssayI START THIS article with a disclaimer: my wife and I are childless by choice. I'd like to say we came to this decision...

Time for an amnesty

EssayIN 2002, A young Russian mother still breastfeeding her baby was separated from the child and locked up in the Villawood detention centre. The...

Stay up to date with the latest, news, articles and special offers from Griffith Review.