play2upnow.com.au is an Australian activist campaign seeking to address Australia's population ageing by encouraging people to have more children. The campaign takes its name from the Australian practice of playing 2-Up on ANZAC Day.
The campaign's bylines are In the Spirit of ANZAC and Doing Something about Australia's Ageing Population.
The play2upnow.com.au campaign reached public attention on ANZAC Day, April 25 2006, with a large advertisement appearing in the daily newspapers of most Australian capital cities. This was followed by a second advertisement the following Saturday, April 29 2006. The campaign also maintains a website containing more detailed information.
The play2upnow.com.au campaign makes a point of borrowing heavily from the imagery and patriotism of ANZAC day. Its website and both advertisements feature a well-known Australian enlistment poster from World War I. The campaign equates the sacrifice of Australian soldiers killed at Gallipoli with the sacrifice of Australian families having another child. The campaign also suggests that Australians have a patriotic duty to make up for the 102,000 Australians killed in overseas wars throughout Australian history. (8,709 Australians died at Gallipoli.)
play2upnow.com.au chose the ANZAC theme because it contrasts the ANZAC spirit of sacrifice with present-day materialism and selfishness. It asserts that the main cause of Australia's declining birth rate is its preoccupation with material possessions. This is very different from the outlook of Australians who fought and died in World War I.
play2upnow.com.au was founded by Gary Johnston of Silverwater, New South Wales. Gary Johnston is better known as the Managing Director of Jaycar, an Australian electronics retailer founded in Silverwater in 1985. The website is sponsored by Jaycar, and gives special thanks to Jaycar workers.
Although Gary Johnston is the founder and main contributor to the play2upnow.com.au campaign, he has not made himself into a spokesman. His name is only mentioned four times: twice on the website and once in each of the two advertisement.
Gary Johnston describes himself as "a proud Australian" who is "not a member of any political party, religious group or other special interest group". He asserts that he is "not a member of any political party, religious group or other special interest group". His credentials on population issues have not been established.
The play2upnow.com.au web site refers to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) publication Yearbook of Australia, 2005. According to this source, Australia's fertility rate in 2002 was 1.76 babies per woman. Australia's fertility rate has been falling since 1961, and fell below the replacement level of 2.1 babies per woman in 1976. Since 1998, the fertility rate has been fairly stable between, varying between 1.73 and 1.76 babies per woman.
play2upnow.com.au is not particularly rigorous in its use of ABS statistics. On its main page it refers to the 2005 Yearbook, in spite of the fact that the Yearbook of Australia, 2006 is available. This publication contains more recent data that tells much the same story. Further, the 2005 Yearbook reveals the fertility rate of 2002, which play2upnow.com.au inaccurately refers to as fertility rate "at present". Australia's present fertility rate is not known.
A page added to the web site later contains a more rigorous statistical analysis of Australia's fertility rate. This page correctly notes that the most recent fertility statistics are from 2004, and that Australia's fertility rate has risen slightly since 2003. It observes that Australia's fertility rate is stable and well below replacement rate. The page also makes a brief analysis of Australia's fertility rate by age group and by State/Territory. The information on this page was provided by Professor John S. Croucher of Macquarie University.
Immigration is sometimes suggested as a solution to Australia's aging population. play2upnow.com.au does not support this solution out of concern of the effect of immigration on Australia's national character, stating: "If immigration dominated over domestic population growth in 50 years – living memory – the national character of the country would change in ways we just cannot imagine." It feels that "immigration should augment our population, not dominate it".
Nearly half of Australia's population growth comes from immigration, so it could be argued that immigration comes close to dominating Australia's population growth. The ABS Yearbook of Australia, 2006 reveals that traditionally, most of Australia's population growth has come from natural increase. However, since 1998-99 overseas migration has comprised almost half of Australia's population growth. In 2003-04, Australia's net overseas migration was 117,600 persons, representing 49% of Australia's population growth for the year.
While it could be said that immigration comes close to dominating Australia's population growth, it in no way dominates Australia's population. In June 2004, Australia's population was just over 20.1 million, which means that in that year, immigration contributed 0.6% to Australia's population.
The concerns of play2upnow for Australia's national character are shared by other Australians, but it is difficult to determine whether these concerns are reasonable. In 2006, Federal Treasurer Peter Costello warned Australians to increase their birth rate to replacement levels or run the risk of Australia's population composition being fundamentally transformed by immigration. He stated: "Increasing immigration to cover natural population decline will change the composition of our population and raise concerns about social dislocation."
It is worth noting that the two biggest contributors to Australia's overseas migration are the United Kingdom and New Zealand; two other Anglospheric countries that presumably share much of Australia's national character. These two countries have been in Australia's top four source countries for over 20 years, and in 2003-04 contributed over 29% of Australia's immigrants. This means that immigration from other countries contributed only 35% of Australia's population growth and 0.4% of Australia's population.
Population ageing is sometimes used as an argument against abortion. play2upnow strongly disagrees with this position, and distance themselves from it. The web site states that both play2upnow and Gary Johnston are "not... associated with any movement... which proposes that unwanted pregnancies be encouraged to come to term for reasons that are not necessarily in the best long term interests of the mother." It further states that they "do not want an unloved baby to come into this world for any sentimental reasons that may be erroneously attributed to what we hope to achieve."