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Katharine Jane Betts

Katharine Jane Betts
The Australian Population Research Institute

PhD Sociology, Monash 1986

About

69
Publications
26,522
Reads
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500
Citations
Citations since 2017
7 Research Items
119 Citations
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Introduction
Much of my recent research is on the web site of The Australian Population Research Institute.
Additional affiliations
April 2015 - present
The Australian Population Research Institute
Position
  • Deputy Head
Description
  • Research and management
February 2009 - February 2021
Swinburne University of Technology
Position
  • Professor (Associate)
Description
  • Research
February 1987 - February 2009
Swinburne University of Technology
Position
  • Professor (Associate)
Education
February 1979 - September 1985
Monash University (Australia)
Field of study
  • Sociology

Publications

Publications (69)
Article
Full-text available
Final-release data from 2009-2010 Australian Survey of Social Attitudes are now available. These allow the analysis of attitudes to population growth across a wider range of background variables than in the pre-release data reported in the previous issue of People and Place. University graduates and migrants from non-Englishspeaking- backgrounds, e...
Article
Full-text available
Australia has a long series of polls on attitudes to the number of migrants coming to the country but, because of general ignorance about demography, these cannot be used as reliable indicators of attitudes to population growth. However recent, very rapid, growth has sparked a new and wide-ranging debate about population growth, and the role that i...
Article
Full-text available
Since 1976 there have been three waves of boatpeople travelling to Australia, the last beginning in 1999. Following the Tampa incident in August 2001 it has been Government policy to prevent boats carrying asylum-seekers from entering the Australian migration zone. Despite opposition from opinion leaders, the policy is popular with a majority of Au...
Article
Full-text available
Recent events have focused public attention on people of Muslim Lebanese background (most of whom live in Sydney) and the possibility that they may suffer social disadvantage. Using data from the 2001 Census, this paper finds that Lebanese Muslim households are large and much more likely to be poor than are all households, or than Lebanese Christia...
Technical Report
Full-text available
This paper reports on the results of the fourth TAPRI survey into attitudes to population growth in Australia. It finds that only 19% of voters want a return to pre-pandemic levels of immigration and 69% say Australia does not need more people. It then analyses the political implications of these findings.
Technical Report
Full-text available
This study reports on Australian voters' attitudes to population growth and immigration. This is set in the context of the decades long crossover of non-graduates from left- to right-leaning political parties while graduate voters have moved in the opposite direction
Research
Full-text available
The report details the considerable growth in enrolments by commencing overseas students in Australia's universities from 2012 to 2018. It focuses particularly on the leading group-of-eight universities. It then goes on to consider the impact on this growth of Covid-19, and the case for providing compensation to universities for the loss of fee-inc...
Research
Full-text available
On balance demographic ageing is not a net burden in Australia. It is not a major contributor to the cost of health care, the welfare costs are manageable, and the longevity dividend can add to productivity. Importing high numbers of immigrants is no cure for a largely imaginary disease. Migrants age too and the law of diminishing returns soon set...
Technical Report
Full-text available
There is a wide split between elite and non-elite opinion on topics such as cultural diversity, globalisation and immigration. Media professionals and most politicians share these views, but large swathes of the electorate do not. The gap is wide. For example, overall 50% of voters want a reduction in immigration. But this proportion rises to 60% o...
Technical Report
Full-text available
Australia’s population grew by a massive 384,000 in the year to March 2017, some 217,000, or 60 per cent, of which was due to net overseas migration. A survey of 2067 voters in August 2017 found that 74 per cent of thought that Australia did not need more people, and that most voters were worried that population growth was putting ‘a lot of pressur...
Technical Report
Full-text available
Fifty-one per cent of voters say Australia does not need more people. Thirty-eight per cent say it does, though nearly half of them want the population to say below 30 million. Opposition to growth is highest among young people, women, and those who know more about demography. Enthusiasm for it is highest among first-generation migrants and people...
Technical Report
Full-text available
Since 2007 Australia has experienced unprecedented population growth, consisting both of natural increase and immigration. Immigration, however, accounts for the greater part of this growth, and is set to continue. If the current intake is maintained it will take the country from its present population of just under 24 million to over 45 million by...
Technical Report
Full-text available
Permanent immigration has a long history in Australia. Over the last 200 plus years it has brought in millions of people. Today the pace is faster and it is rapidly changing the size, social and economic characteristics of the country. But information about the intake is spread over a number of sources, so understanding what is happening can be dif...
Article
The Intergenerational Report released last week by Treasurer Joe Hockey proposes extremely high rates of immigration, adding nearly 13 million people by 2054-55 above the numbers foreshadowed by natural increase. The report claims such an increase will offset demographic ageing and boost economic growth, but neither claim is borne out by the eviden...
Technical Report
Full-text available
Many people are anxious about Australia’s ageing population. Others are optimistic. So is demographic ageing good for Australia or bad for Australia? This paper considers the positive and the negative case under five headings: labour-force participation, baby-boomers (and age- based discrimination), the tax base and social welfare, health-care cost...
Article
Full-text available
Australia is a deeply racist nation, burdened by a bloodstained bigoted past, and now stumbling into a multiracial, Asia-centric future. This is the image of his country Laksiri Jayasuriya holds and his book is a record of his struggle to make sense of it.
Article
Full-text available
Unpublished paper written at the request of the British Royal Society. The 17 nations of Oceania are diverse; many very small both in terms of territory and population, others of moderate demographic size. One of them, Australia, is big in territorial terms. At 7.7 million square kilometres it is the sixth largest country in the world. 1 The total...
Article
Full-text available
Immigration-fuelled population growth has accelerated under the Rudd Government. Recent projections suggest that Australia may grow from its current 22 million to 35.9 million by 2050. This prospect has sparked a public debate about the country's demographic future. If population growth were to become an election issue how would Australian voters r...
Article
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A young couple in Queensland face charges of procuring the woman s abortion with the drugs RU486 and Misoprostol. The case provoked widespread doubts about the legality of abortion in Queensland especially medical abortion. State politicians, even those claiming to be pro-choice, are reluctant to decriminalise abortion saying that such a move would...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This paper outlines Australia's population growth, with particular emphasis on immigration as the main driver of current growth. The aim is to help explain immigration's role in Australia's housing affordability crisis. The paper describes patterns of migrant settlement and the mismatch of these patterns with housing affordability, as the two most...
Article
Full-text available
Recent projections published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics set out a range of possible demographic futures for Australia. This article examines 12 of these which all share the same life expectancy assumptions, but which differ in their assumptions for fertility and net overseas migration. It shows that all of the projection series that inc...
Article
Full-text available
Immigration has increased considerably since the late 1990s and between 2004 and 2007 the proportion of voters who want the intake to be reduced rose from 34 per cent to 4 per cent. While support for a reduction was highest in New South Wales, this support was already high in 2004. In relative terms support for a reduction rose most strongly in Vic...
Article
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The 2007 Australian Election Study shows that many blue-collar voters, the so-called Howard battlers, returned to Labor Combined with earlier surveys it also shows that non-English-speaking-background migrants have consistently been more likely to vote Labor than the Australia-born. They were particularly likely to do so in 2007, especially if they...
Article
Full-text available
Terrorism and global insecurity present Australia with a number of defence challenges: are Australian voters and election candidates concerned? Survey data, drawn mainly from the 2004 Australian Election Study, show that around half the electorate want to boost defence, ten per cent believe we are secure and any increase is unnecessary, while aroun...
Article
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After over 30 years of increasingly easy access, Australian citizenship is becoming harder to acquire. Permanent residents must now wait for four years before applying (instead of two), and the Government intends to introduce a formal citizenship test. This latter change is the subject of heated debate. The emotion surrounding this debate can be be...
Article
Full-text available
Immigration boosts Australia’s population growth. A growth lobby concentrated among interests based in housing, land development and construction profits from this and actively lobbies for it. During the early years of the Howard Government (1996 to 1999) the lobby faced the novel situation of a presumably pro-business government that reduced immig...
Article
Full-text available
Large numbers of immigrants have a considerable effect on the size of the population but very little effect on its age structure. Despite this demographic fact, many advocates argue that high immigration is an effective way to keep a population young. New survey data show that they may have had some influence on public attitudes. Worry about the ag...
Article
Full-text available
Opposition to immigration in Australia has continued to weaken. Causes include: a strong economy, restricted access to welfare for new immigrants, less rhetoric about multiculturalism, and general ignorance about the demographic consequences. However, a strong emphasis on border control probably helps. Reformers' protests about Australia's tough as...
Article
Full-text available
Since the October 2004 Federal election Australia has embarked on a new abortion debate. Some commentators suggest that public opinion has turned away from a pro-choice position. However the new 2003 Australian Survey of Social Attitudes shows this is not so: 81 per cent of Australians are pro-choice and only nine per cent are definitely anti-choic...
Article
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Solving the problem of the adverse impact of human numbers on the natural environment is a collective action problem and, if we are to understand it fully, we need good interdisciplinary research which includes work by demographers and sociologists. A number of factors inhibit this work in Australia: narrow disciplinary training; the scarcity of ex...
Article
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Most candidates for federal elections hold values on economic and social questions that are unlike those of most voters. However, Coalition candidates are much closer to the people who vote for them than Labor candidates are to Labor voters. Labor's electoral base is divided between a relatively small number of new-class social professionals and a...
Article
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Up until 1989 Australian immigration policy was based on Ministerial discretion. This gave the executive the power to decide policy without review either by parliament or the courts. But during the 1980s the context changed. Many more would-be immigrants were already on Australian soil on a temporary basis and, if they were rejected, they could app...
Article
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In the wake of the Tampa incident in August 2001 the Coalition Government developed tougher policies on border control. Many commentators believe that this cost Labor the November 2001 election. The theory is that, even though Labor supported the new policies, the Coalition's stance was perceived to be more sincere and that this lured away some of...
Article
Full-text available
Opposition to immigration has declined since 1996. This paper examines reasons why this has occurred. It finds that most Australians do not want population growth but a number of factors which previously fed opposition to immigration have declined. Unemployment has fallen; migrants can no longer access social welfare on arrival; family reunion has...
Article
Full-text available
As Murray Goot points out in this issue, opposition to current rates of immigration eased between 1996 and 1999. Reasons for the change may include: steady numbers in the official program, the shift to skills, lower unemployment, and a diminution in public rhetoric about multiculturalism. It is, however, surprising that Goot should believe the chan...
Article
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Should Australia become a republic with a head of state elected by a two-thirds majority of Parliament? In November 1999 this question was put to the people in a referendum and lost. The October 1998 Australian Election Study can help us understand this result. This survey shows that economic class and region were both associated with attitudes to...
Article
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"As we move through the demographic transition, an older age structure is inevitable but future possible scenarios vary.... The paper analyses nine different population projections produced by the ABS [Australian Bureau of Statistics], four in 1996 and five in 1998. The highest projection...adds an extra ten million people by the year 2051 while th...
Article
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Many foreigners apply for visas to visit or live in Australia. A small proportion of these applications are refused, however, because they are judged to be of bad character and a danger to Australian society. Some have their visas canceled after they have been issued. Australia's executive branch and judiciary have been struggling for a decade and...
Article
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This article identifies the major political party positions on population policy (PP) in Australia. Australia has the Governing Coalition, comprised of the Liberal and National Parties, and the Australian Labor Party (ALP), the main opposition party. The ALP adopted a PP at its national conference in 1998. The Government Minister for Immigration an...
Article
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"The major parties [in Australia] are moving away from an exclusive pre-occupation with immigration to a broader focus on population policy and the Minister for Immigration has expressed an implicit preference for a population of 23 million. The contributions in this section of People and Place document his concerns together with those of the shado...
Article
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"This article reviews the post-Second World War literature on explanations for Australia's immigration program. It discovers three main schools of thought based on net pull factors: the official explanation and two unofficial explanations which focus on migrants as workers and on migrants as consumers. However the growing importance of net push fac...
Article
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"Two new reports document the growing role of migration advisers, lawyers and the courts in Australian immigration, as well as the conflict between the judiciary and the executive over immigration control. One consequence of this conflict is that some foreigners now have a legal right to immigrate. Foreigners continue to be able to draw on legal ai...
Article
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"The information which can be gathered from the 1991 [Australian] Census on trends in fertility is limited. But an analysis of the one per cent users' sample tape indicates that women with advanced educational qualifications are now having families which are considerably smaller than those of women who have no post-school qualifications."
Article
Full-text available
The article analyses the 1994 paper published by the Australian Government titled: Enhancing the Meaning of Australian Citizenship: issues paper. The article discusses the themes that the paper considers. It concludes that had its authors followed the logic of these themes more systematically their question might have looked like this: Can citizens...
Article
Full-text available
The author discusses the future effects of below-replacement fertility in Australia. "Continued below-replacement fertility would lead to a smaller maximum population, followed by population decline and an even older age structure. This paper argues that there is no need to increase the population and that a more mature age structure promises a num...
Article
Full-text available
Replacement fertility in Australia (combined with nil net migration) would produce a stable, stationary population of between Replacement fertility in Australia (combined with nil net migration) would produce a stable, stationary population of between 19 and 20 million people, with an older age structure than the present population, in the first ha...
Article
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It is argued that the problem of 'structure and agency' should be reconsidered as the problem of 'fate and agency' (or event causation and agency causation). The problem of fate and agency is addressed by outlining a model of the conditions of action derived from work by Giddens and Wright Mills. The model uses the concepts of different forms of kn...
Article
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The Billings/ovulation method is a periodic abstinence method of regulating births based on the client's interpretation of changing patterns in secretions of cervical mucus monitored by external self-examination. It was developed in Australia and is now widely promoted overseas. This paper outlines the method's recent history and goes on to discuss...
Article
Full-text available
In both practical and subjective terms, birth control became more available in Victoria after 1971. During 1971 to 1975, this change seems to be more considerable than changes in social and economic factors affecting wanted births. Therefore it is hypothesized that, during this period, unwanted fertility declined more steeply than wanted fertility....
Article
Full-text available
Effective methods of birth control became more available in Victoria between 1971 and 1975. The possible effects of this on unplanned and unwanted fertility should be taken into account in explanations of the general decline in fertility of the period. However, all methods did not become more available for all people. Unmarried people, poorer peopl...
Article
Full-text available
The ovulation method of contraception is based on an interpretation of the patient's vaginal mucus discharge. The only major trial of it shows a failure rate of at least 25.4 pregnancies per 100 woman years: from these figures about 25 per cent of women using it in any one year would become pregnant. Despite this failure rate, the ovulation method...
Article
Full-text available
Since 1976 there have been three waves of boatpeople travelling to Australia, the last beginning in 1999. Following the Tampa incident in August 2001 it has been Government policy to prevent boats carrying asylum-seekers from entering the Australian migration zone. Despite opposition from opinion leaders, the policy is popular with a majority of Au...
Article
Full-text available
Since 1990, migrant Australians' attitudes to immigration have waned and waxed according to the same overall pattern as those of the Australia-born. However, migrants are consistently less likely to want a decrease in the intake and consistently (slightly) more likely to want an increase. This is particularly true of those born in non-English-speak...

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