Our 23-millionth citizen has just won life's lottery

It will be a big night for the nation on Tuesday. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics' population clock, just after 10.15pm someone will step off a plane or a baby will be born to become the 23 millionth Australian.

It will be a big night for the nation on Tuesday. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics' population clock, just after 10.15pm someone will step off a plane or a baby will be born to become the 23 millionth Australian.

Using quarterly demographic updates to build on the 2011 census, the ABS says an Australian is born every one minute and 44 seconds, one dies every three minutes and 32 seconds and the balance of long-term arrivals minus long-term departures adds a net international migrant every two minutes and 19 seconds - all adding up to Australia gaining an extra person every one minute and 23 seconds.

Net overseas migration's share of population growth is running faster than our "natural" increase (a ratio of three to two), but the 23rd millionth moment occurring in the evening makes it more likely that the first of the new million is a newborn - most international flights arrive during the day.

So, with the politicians yet to chime in on the photo opportunity, welcoming and congratulating the first one-in-23-million Australian falls to this mere journalist.

Baby 23,000,000, you have won the equivalent of the global lottery just by being born here. If your mother is an unmarried teenager reliant on our social welfare system, you're still much better off than most babies born on April 23. Odds are you will have better housing, better health and much longer life expectancy than your peers.

You have a universal free health care system serving your immediate needs when the world's richest nation still can't organise such a thing and most of the babies born on Tuesday will do so in quite basic circumstances. You'll have doctors and nurses concerned for your welfare and the start of an immunisation program that gives you a world-leading chance of making it to primary school.

And talking of school, you have the promise of 13 years of free education, if you want it and have the ability and common sense to grab the opportunity when much of the world is lucky to finish primary. Thereafter, we have a system that offers you the chance of tertiary education without your parents being rich and/or apprenticeships in valuable trades.

You have struck it particularly lucky in being born in a country that enjoys the rule of law -

more so if you're rich and white, but it's still there. You'll get to decide which bunch of politicians is less-worse than the other on a regular basis and make your way in a country that is one of the least corrupt on the planet.

Yours is a society that, while not as financially egalitarian as it was, remains one with a bridgeable gap between its rich and poor.

You might not guess it with all the whining you'll hear, but you've been born in the World Champion Economy - a country so rich and privileged that it complains about having a strong currency and an unemployment rate starting with 5. Your fellow citizens are convinced they are highly taxed, although they're in the bottom third of rich nations on that score, and, ironically, that the government doesn't do enough for them, although they're in the top third when it comes to social safety nets.

Please enjoy your incredible good fortune and privilege instead of taking it for granted, whingeing and demanding to be given more while offering less.

Maybe, just maybe, you'll be better than the current crop. I hope so.

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