The 'fertility rate' as a term refers to the number of babies born in any given year as compared to the nation's population. There are sub-cultural issues associated with fertility rate statistics and these too need to be considered.
The first issue is to detail these three nation states who have fertility rate issues:
The Fijian fertility rate issue is an imported one from last century and which grew exponentially without the home Government of Fiji quite knowing what to do about the issue until it got to such a situation of alarm when a military coup was enacted.
The indigenous Fijian population by the eighties were finding themselves becoming out-numbered by the historic Indian immigrants, some of whom had been in Fijian for several generations if not more.
The birth rate of these historic Indian peoples was significantly higher than the indigenous Fijians which further acerbated the drama unfolding. The perception by the Fijians was that they were losing control of their homeland – homeland security took on a whole new meaning.
Out of control like pond weeds
In 1948 when Israel's was founded the then first Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion, to secure Israel's future as a Jewish State made endless appeals for historic ultra orthodox traditional Jews to migrate, establish communities, maintain the rituals of the Jewish religion, propagate and here's the rub, pay no taxes.
The ultra Orthodox Jews are a most difficult group of people to deal with as they have no understanding of the idea of compromise. Their rule is one way. Their way. For example, they disagree with Zionism. (www.nkusa.org)
They now have many elected politicians in the Parliament. They are demanding a greater political say in the life of the nation. When larger political voices need to make up a coalition in order to run a Government the ultra Orthodox group force a tight deal.
Now in relation to fertility rates, the ultra Orthodox Jews have very large families, it is common for their families to have eight or nine children and they have become an horrendous financial burden upon the State. In effect they are on a very high rate of social security as it covers health care and education to name just two.
Shrubs have a habit of getting unmanageable
The third example is Japan where they have very strict immigration rules and I have written on this previously as to the lack of a Muslim problem in that country. (au.christiantoday.com)
Japan's fertility rate problem is associated with its dwindling birth rate. Recently The Global Mail ran an article titled 'What happens when half the world stops making babies'. (www.theglobalmail.org)
One staggering prediction from UN's Population Division projections, is that Japan's population will most likely fall by a quarter as their fertility rate is way below replacement levels. Like many western countries its young people are viewing life style way above any national consideration.
The claim is that this projection may well be understating things. The current rate of reproduction would see Japan's population more than halve, from around 125 million in 2010 to about 55 million in 2100. Moreover is the political reality of that nation's aversion to immigration.
Too pretty to do anything with
These three very different examples of fertility rate issues illustrate the nature of the problem and its diversity. For Fiji it's a national identity crisis. For Israel it's a fiscal dilemma. For Japan it's a life style choice issue.
Much has been said in relation to Australia's Population debate and asylum seekers and the figures being predicted by 2040 is a doubling of the population – and it's not through fertility rates by 'economic Australia'.
There are two Australia's – one is an economic Australia, where there are those who a fair share to sustain a satisfying life.
The other Australia is not necessarily poor Australia, rather it is an immigrant Australia that is brimming in threatening political, legal and social mores that have every likelihood of altering the Australia many grew up in. This is one of the consequences of a fertility rate issue in Australia amongst the vast majority, who like the Japanese, require more out of life, than simply being baby machines.
Two stunning flowers don't make a garden
The evangelical wing of the Christian church is itself in two minds over this fertility issue.
First, many evangelicals hold dear to the biblical announcement to go forth and multiply with the proviso that it doesn't affect them economically too much and if they do, then as former Federal Treasurer Peter Costello said, one for the husband, one for the wife and one for the nation - as long as the Government foots the bill.
Another side of the evangelical wing of the Christian church sees immigration as a heaven sent captured audience for the Gospel message and one only needs to drive past many inner city churches to see church signs identifying just that. The problem area is when such migrants retain their religion and cultures and in effect require the majority to cater for them, even in making protective laws.
The fertility rate is an issue that clearly affects every Christian household whereby for a host of reasons decisions are made for individual home situations. As current Attorney General George Brandis recently said, the State is not in the business of making family decisions.
Any pond has many inhabitants
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html