Andrews contests Turnbull, calls for population debate

By: Jason Whittaker

UPDATE: Malcom Turnbull will stay on as leader of the Liberal party after a motion to spill the leadership was

UPDATE: Malcom Turnbull will stay on as leader of the Liberal party after a motion to spill the leadership was lost, 48 votes to 35.
The Liberal Party may be headed for a leadership shake-up after Malcolm Turnbull challenged MPs to call on a leadership spill.

The Party will decide on Turnbull’s leadership at a meeting at 1pm AEDT today.

Former Howard government frontbencher Kevin Andrews has confirmed he will contest for leadership, should the position be declared vacant.

Andrews has taken an unusual line on public transport and urban congestion, arguing Australia’s burgeoning population is growing at a rate too fast for the country’s infrastructure to cope.

Last month Andrews used a column spot on an internet forum to call for a national debate on population and immigration.

He links the Federal Government’s immigration policy with increasing congestion and over-population in Australian cities.

"In 2007-08, 173,290 people permanently migrated to Australia," he wrote on October 27 on The Punch website.

"In addition, there were another 544,000 temporary migrants to the country, excluding the five million visitors. That’s close to three-quarters of a million extra people residing here in a year.

"According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Net Overseas Migration contributed 60.6 per cent of Australia’s population growth in 2008, compared to 39.4 per cent contributed by natural increase.

"Our roads are congested, our public transport overcrowded, our water supply inadequate, and our amenity under threat.

"So why are we bringing more and more people to Australia?"

Andrews says he is neither opposed to immigration, nor a reduction in population.

"Australia should have a population policy," he writes.

"The size of our population, the extent and composition of our immigration program, the capacity of our natural and built environment to cope, and the attitude and confidence of the Australian people about future directions are all factors to be considered."

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