Is Eugenics Possible in Australia?

5. Aug, 2020



                Until no so many years ago the general intelligence in Australia and other Western nations was increasing in what became known as the Flynn Effect. IQ tests had to be made harder to allow for this. More recently intelligence levels have not been increasing and are actually falling. (1)

            We have a dysgenic situation. The lower IQ half of society is outbreeding the smarter half. We bring in migrants from high IQ and low IQ nations but it is the latter that have the highest fertility rates. (2)

            Is it possible to stop the dysgenic tendency and even make it eugenic, without coercion or human rights violations? There are probably many things that could be done starting with immigration.

            We take in migrants from countries where the national IQ is lower, sometimes much lower than Australia. Seriously reducing the number of migrants should have an impact. Our intake of refugees is high by international standards, at least relative to our population, and this should be reduced considerably. (3)

            Our welfare system could hardly be better designed to produce a dysgenic situation. The Youth Allowance which unemployed young people can receive is currently from $253.20 to $462.50 a fortnight for those under 18 and from $304.60 to $462.50 for those under 22 years of age. It must be a temptation for young women who are not real bright and unlikely to get a good job to become single mothers. Then they can get the much more generous Parenting Payment, currently at $790.10 a fortnight, Family Tax Benefits A and B and a number of other benefits. (4) These benefits are means tested so that the smarter and more conscientious women who put off having children until they are educated and get a job are likely to miss out on these benefits or receive them at a lower rate.

            Admittedly there is Parental Leave Pay for those women in the workforce. This currently pays working women who have a baby $753.90 a week but only for 18 weeks, and is only for those who earned under $150,000 a year. It’s hardly an inducement for high IQ women to have children. (5)

            Tinkering with the welfare system would probably have only a small effect on discouraging the less bright to have children at a young age but it would at least send a message. For instance the New Born Allowance could be axed as could Family Tax Benefit B. Both Youth Allowance and Jobseeker Allowance could be raised substantially so that there is less difference with the Parenting Payment hence less inducement to have children on welfare.

            Easing, or better still abolishing, the means test on Family Tax Benefit A would result in more educated and smarter women getting it hence there may be some inducement for them to have more children. In fact there are probably numerous ways to encourage brighter people to have more children using the welfare or tax system. Allowing some of the cost of supporting dependent children to be tax deductable should help.

            Then there is the problem of education, more specifically spending many years in the education system, a sort of education by endurance, means that many are putting off having children until they have academic qualifications and can start a career.  By this time they are in their early or even mid-twenties while their not so bright cousins have started to have children while teenagers. A solution may be for the brightest five or ten per cent of young people to get an accelerated education starting in early high school and continuing in tertiary levels thus allowing them to enter the workforce sooner and hopefully have children at an earlier age.

            Then there is the problem of housing, the high cost of which can put people off marriage, or at least having large families. The government should be able to offer subsidised housing, not just social housing which tends to help the less capable. In fact it should be possible to build developments, even whole suburbs or new towns, where low cost housing could be sold to those who, due to being young, do not have substantial incomes but in future should be able to rise to higher incomes. Meanwhile they have a place to call their own and to raise a family.

            None of these measures in itself would make a great deal of difference but if a number of attempts were made at non-coercive eugenics, or reversing dysgenics, the effects should add up. And no doubt there are many other things that could be done. Most of the obstacles would be political. Just mentioning the words dysgenic or eugenic can cause controversy. (6) There is the problem of some minorities who would probably see a drop in their birth rate, although at the same time they should also see a drop in infant mortality and a rise in life expectancy.

            Mention should be made of abortion. Some research indicates that low intelligence women and those with psychopathic tendencies are more likely to have an abortion. In fact it has been suggested that in some areas increased abortions led to less crime. (7)

            Abortion is used to terminate pregnancies for congenital anomalies and hence can be a type of negative eugenics. It would appear however than only a small proportion of abortions in Australia are for congenital anomaly. In 2017 for example only 4.1% of abortions performed in South Australia were for this reason compared to 95.3% for the “mental health of woman”. (8)

            Relying on abortion as a form of eugenics is hardly likely to make up for the dysgenic problems inherent in immigration, tax and welfare policies, education by endurance, and housing problems. If things go on as they are now dysgenics will ensure poorer economic growth, lower living standards, more crime and more unemployable people that the rest of society has to support. We can only hope that a future government has the courage to introduce non-coercive eugenics.


(1) Edward Dutton and Michael Woodley of Menie, “At Our Wit’s End”, Imprint Academic, 2018, Chapter 9

(2) Richard Lynn and Tatu Vanhanen, “Intelligence”, Ulster Institute for Social Research, London, 2014; Australian Bureau of Statistics, 33010DO006 Births, Australia, 2018, table 6.1, Country of birth of mother – 2018


(4) Australian Government, Centrelink,

(5) Ibid.


(7) Richard Lynn, “Eugenics A Reassessment”, Praeger, Westport, 2001, p. 183

(8) “Pregnancy Outcome in South Australia”, 2017, Wellbeing SA, October 2019, Downloaded 11 July 2020