The Daily Telegraph
February 12, 2016
IT’S the biggest story of our times, but political correctness has stifled debate so badly that politicians are too afraid to even talk about it.
According to visiting Canadian author and free-speech advocate Mark Steyn, low birth rates have put Western societies into a “demographic death spiral”.
And he warns it’s impossible to rely on immigration to fill the gap without completely changing our culture.
In an interview with The Daily Telegraph before his Australian tour next week, Mr Steyn said politicians were underestimating how quickly societies can change.
“Normally for a population transformation you need a Black Death, the Plague or a world war,” he said. “But in this case we are having it without any of that. That’s why it’s the most fascinating question of our times.”
Australia’s average birthrate of 1.79 is below replacement level. And while Mr Steyn gives Malcolm Turnbull brownie points for understanding the implications of declining birthrates — they once shared a session passing notes back and forth about the issue — he is pessimistic about the PM’s will to reverse the trend. “We don’t have a language to talk about this without accusations of racism and sexism coming up,” he said.
“Western societies are basically importing a new population to be the children you couldn’t be bothered having yourselves.”
Mr Steyn said the cultural changes that come with Muslim migration should be acknowledged and discussed.
Women giving birth in Australia but born in Lebanon have an average of 4.03 children. For Syrian mums the figure is 3.38 and for Pakistani women it’s 3.02. For Australian-born women the figure is just 1.86.
Amal Chafic of Illawong is a modern Muslim mum with five children aged five to 12 and a large extended family as her two brothers each have four children. “I come from a big family of five and so does my husband Anas, who had six in his family,” she said.
In Oatley, mother-of-two Kylie McCathie, 39, said many of her peers were starting their families late after putting their careers first.
“When I lived in Surry Hills everyone in the mothers’ group was over 30 with their first child,” she said.
Mr Steyn’s visit coincides with Australia’s population hitting 24 million next week.
To mark the milestone, social research firm McCrindle has released a “fertility map” of Sydney’s birthrates by suburb showing the city’s Muslim population is leading the charge.
Many of the most fertile suburbs are in our migrant clusters, such as Lakemba, Auburn, Guildford, Punchbowl and Bankstown — popular with families of Middle Eastern background.