For the last decade, we have been used to, and it’s no exaggeration, awakening to a daily crisis from the Coalition. Some were more excruciating than others, but, more often than not, severe.
As a writer of politics and social justice, one could not complain as the avalanche of wrongdoing or corruption cascaded over the walls of our democracy. I had plenty with which to exercise my fingers.
This list found its way into my misdemeanours’ file, and astonishing as it is, it bears witness to what I have called the Luddite period of Government. It was a period when the leadership and governance of our country were so appalling that the word ‘crisis’ became synonymous with conservatism.
Now a few short weeks down the track, I’m complaining to the editor that there isn’t much to write about. This one, however, elicits some pleasure because it’s about leadership. Sarah Martin, writing for The Guardian, reported that; “Australians’ confidence in government integrity has increased since election, study finds.”
It isn’t just political leadership I’m talking about here; it’s leadership for social and economic change being thrust upon us by a world sick to deaf of the capitalistic system after the failure of drip-down economics.
With leadership and integrity, governance has somewhat recovered since the election. The new Albanese government is registering a considerable bounce in general support.
“… after hitting a low of 52 points out of 100 in the March quarter, public confidence in the country’s leadership has rebounded to 61 points in the September quarter. The data also shows growth in the measure of integrity.”
It doesn’t mean that the Prime Minister and his Ministers have regained trust in Government but that it is starting to regain some.
According to the data:
“… the Morrison government scored between 50 and 52 points out of 100 for integrity from October 2021 to the May election, and the Albanese government scored 60 points out of 100 in its first full quarter.”
The University’s integrity index:
“… measures qualities such as transparency, genuineness, reliability, honesty and care for the community, among other traits.”
The change in public support since the election reveals the Albanese government is sitting at 62 points for competence against a low of 53 under Morrison.
I am surprised, given the Coalition government’s performance during its tenure, that it could ever have reached 53%
“… tracks metrics such as employment, knowledge and education outcomes – with support increasing from 55 points before the election to 61.”
All in all, it is a healthy report card leading into the first Jim Chalmers’ Budget on Tuesday, 25 October. Budgets always have winners and losers, but at least people will see what is being done with the common good in mind.
The public cannot deny that Chalmers isn’t making them aware of the difficulties that lay ahead. Daily the Treasurer reminds us. We are a wealthy country, but the demands on our prosperity are great. We are better off than most; however, we need sacrifice as we move toward a common good in society.
The demands on the upcoming Budget are so pressing that it will be impossible to meet them in part or whole.
If you watch political programs as I do, the thing that stands out the most is those being interviewed or in the discussion taking place; you will have observed that it is always about the money or the lack thereof. Finance Minister Katy Gallagher must be pulling her hair out.
Think about it. Education, Health, ADIS, disaster relief, post pandemic recovery, small business, equal pay, lifting wages, overseas aid, Health care, defence, cost of living, clean energy, child care, science, jobs and skills, infrastructure, public housing, mental health, aged care, innovation, interest on our debt, manufacturing and many others including general cost increases.
All have a loud voice in determining their priority, but there is always that other voice shouting that there isn’t enough for all our needs. Do you just patch up the various problems or fix a few in full at the expense of others?
Do you spend a lot on things that will bear fruit in the future, knowing they might not win you the next election?
There will, of course, be journalists and others who know all these difficulties but, in their dissection, won’t mention them or the lack of money. Just negativity from a worn-out capitalistic press.
We can sometimes become so engrossed in our own problems that we can easily overlook the enormity of the suffering of others.
Will this Budget turn out to be another of the same old patchwork quilt type?
Will it be one that will redistribute our wealth with more equity? A nation-building budget.
Will it signal a change in how we collect taxes and redistribute our wealth? Will there be new taxes?
Will it be reformist? If we continue to look back, we will lose sight of going forward.
Above all, will it demonstrate to Australians that money essentially belongs to the people and won’t be squandered to support friends of the incumbents?
We would be a much better society if we took the risk of thinking for ourselves unhindered by the unadulterated crap served up by the media and self interest groups.
Back to good Government…
Dr Vlad Demsar, an Australian Leadership Index researcher, told The Guardian that:
“… the figures showed that public faith in the Government was heading in the right direction after the low figures detected ahead of the election under the former prime minister, Scott Morrison.”
Might l dare suggest that Albanese is intent on proving that good honest governance is possible with real people in leadership. That the tax cuts for high-income earners will be abandoned once he has exhausted proof of the Government’s trust.
Then he can say:
“We have reconsidered this tax break in the light of current knowledge and however obligated we found ourselves, the giving could never match the benefits of not doing so.”
My thought for the day
The common good, or empathy for it, should be at the centre of any political philosophy. However, it is more likely to be found on the left than the right.
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