Sustainable Population Australia

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Sustainable Population Australia - SPA "was formed in 1988 by people who felt that the issue of population numbers was overlooked, or regarded as too contentious, by many of those striving to preserve Australia's ecological heritage." [1]

Founding members: Hugh Oldham, Jenny Goldie, Anne Edgeworth, Mark O'Connor, Greg Dunstone, Eileen Dunstone & Chris Watson...

"The first meeting of AESP was held at the home of radar engineer Greg Dunstone and librarian wife Eileen. Those present included poet Mark O'Connor, retired Bureau of Mineral Resources geologist Hugh Oldham, Australian Democrats political adviser Jenny Goldie (formerly Jenny Macleod), a former assistant secretary in the Immigration Department, Duncan Waddell, and CSIRO staffer Peter Martin. It proved an inspired gathering: Goldie was an organisational dynamo who served as secretary and president, playing a key role in setting up branches in Sydney, Melbourne and South-east Queensland; O'Connor served as vice-president for nine years and attracted many members from the literary community, also spreading the word by appearing on national TV programs such as SBS's Meet the Press; Oldham played an invaluable "back room" role as membership secretary (a post he still holds) and editor of the quarterly AESP newsletter, and Martin established the Adelaide branch of AESP when he moved there in the early 1990s. O'Connor, who stepped down as vice-president at the beginning of this year, has continued to be a powerful force in advocating the low population cause...

"The greatest single step forward in AESP's development has been the establishment of the Sustainable Population Fund (in 1996), under the triple trusteeship of former ATSIC chair Dr Loitja O'Donoghue, Canberra lawyer Margaret Brewster, and University House Master Rafe de Crespigny." [2]

"Australians for an Ecologically Sustainable Population (AESP) is the only Australian environmental group that concentrates primarily on population. It was formed in 1988 because none of the other environmental groups at the time seemed able to focus on this long-term but ultimately crucial issue. Mark O'Connor served for eight years as National Vice President of AESP (1989-1997), and is also the convenor of its writers support group...

"The vested interests of the population-growth lobby---which has billions of dollars invested in real estate and development projects---were a taboo subject for the media; yet anyone who argued against this lobby was liable to be accused of being part of (or a stooge for) some unspecified rightwing conspiracy!

"Yet nearly 100 Australian writers had the courage to join WESP, including such notable humanitarians as Dorothy Green A.M., Judith Wright, and Anne Edgeworth (recently Canberra's Citizen of the year). Manning Clark, upon hearing of its existence, sent a sizable donation unasked. Another strong supporter was the late George Turner, winner of Hugo and Nebula awards and of the inaugural Arthur C. Clarke Award for his book The Sea and Summer (an insightful novel set in an overcrowded Melbourne early next century)." [3]

They are a partner organization of Global Population Speak Out. [4]


Accessed July 2009: [5]

Former Leaders

Accessed April 2008: [6]

Executive Committee

Accessed July 2009: [7]

Former Executive Committee

Accessed April 2008: [8]


Accessed April 2008: [9]



Critical Articles

Resources and articles

Related Sourcewatch articles


  1. About, Sustainable Population Australia, accessed April 15, 2008.
  2. History, Sustainable Population Australia, accessed April 15, 2008.
  3. Mark O'Connor, Australians for an Ecologically Sustainable Population, accessed April 15, 2008.
  4. Global Population Speak Out Partners, organizational web page, accessed March 8, 2015 .
  5. Contact Executive and National Office of SPA , Sustainable Population Australia, accessed July 21, 2009.
  6. Contact Us, Sustainable Population Australia, accessed April 15, 2008.
  7. Contact Executive and National Office of SPA , Sustainable Population Australia, accessed July 21, 2009.
  8. Contact Us, Sustainable Population Australia, accessed April 15, 2008.
  9. Patrons, Sustainable Population Australia, accessed April 15, 2008.