Entrepreneur Dick Smith says Australia needs a population plan to help save the country from an addiction to “endless growth” and increasing inequality.
Mr Smith on Tuesday launched a campaign calling for a limit on the number of immigrants entering Australia to stabilise the population below 30 million.
The Dick Smith Fair Go advertisement also targets the country’s wealthiest individuals, demanding the top one per cent of income earners publicly reveal the amount of tax they pay.
His controversial $1 million ads reimagines the 1980s “Grim Reaper” AIDS campaign and features the same voice actor, John Stanton.
“All Australian families have a population plan, they don’t have 20 kids, they have the number of children they can give a good life to,” Mr Smith told AAP in Sydney.
“But our politicians don’t have an equivalent plan for the country as a whole.”
The campaign calls for an inheritance tax for the wealthiest one per cent of the population to ensure Australia doesn’t end up like the United States, Mr Smith said.
“When I was a young person in the 1950s all Americans were wealthy and Australians were poor by comparison (but) now you have about 40 million Americans on minimum federal wage.”
Mr Smith believes endless growth and greed means finite wealth has to be divided between more people “and that means less for most”.
Citing US entrepreneur Nick Hanaeur he suggested rising inequality always led to the poor taking up pitchforks.
Mr Smith, at Tuesday’s launch at the Hilton hotel, waved a plastic devil’s pitchfork for emphasis.
The former adventurer insists he’s pro-immigration but argues the current rate is too high.
He does, however, want Australia to increase its humanitarian intake to 20,000 a year.
Mr Smith’s advertisements will air daily for three weeks on television, radio and online.