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Can you help me?

Thursday March 22 2018

In 2016 I wrote a series of articles about the state of our democracy, and from them I deduced what I think a socially progressive party like Labor should do to repair and make better the democracy we currently have. What follows are a series of thought-bubbles that may or may not work. Please note that it is just an exercise of “creative” thinking.

I am asking you to expand on any of my thoughts or indeed present some new ones. I’m planning to write an essay on; “The way forward to a better society.”

The list is in no particular order or relevance.

1 A need to divorce Labor from the negativity of institutionalised politics. A rejection of neo-liberalism with an empathises on new economics. Economic development through higher education.

2 Create new ways of purposeful participation in the body politic.

3 A two-year constitutional review toward a full-time sitting scrutiny committee.

4 Review of Labor’s outdated social objectives.

5 The need for a wider range of social experience when pre selecting candidates.

6 An independent speaker heading an Independent Speaker’s Office with clout: overseeing MP’s expenses; political donations with a fact-checking offshoot; a review of the purpose and function of Question Time, perhaps by former Speakers; real consequences for lying to Parliament; more say to members in electing Labor’s leader.

7 An independent review of Australia’s voting system.

8 The teaching of politics in year 12 with the possibility of allowing 16 year-olds to vote if registered at high school and completing the politics course.

9 Fixed 4 year terms with a fixed date.

10 A review of free speech in an enlightened society.

11 A continuance of superannuation, negative gearing, capital gains, and other policies taken to the last election including the shares imputation debate currently being debated.

12 Reconsideration of the Henry Tax Review.

13 A policy return to some form of pricing on carbon emissions.

14 Making sure that mining companies pay the highest royalties.

15 That multi-nationals and Australian companies pay their fair share of tax.

16 The need for a Department of the Future.

17 A guarantee of affordable health care.

18 A national Anti-Corruption Commission modelled on the NSW ICAC. With teeth that can bite.

19 A suitability test for prospective MPs. Must complete an aptitude test.

20 A 10 point common good caveat for all proposed legislation.

21 Look at ways to achieve a fairer more responsible media.

22 Look at ways in which to become a republic sooner rather than later.

Can you think of anything else to add to my list or could you perhaps expand on items within it.

My thought for the day

“The exchange and intellectual debate of ideas needs to be re energised and it is incumbent on the young to become involved.”


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  1. Rob Williams

    I like and appreciate your 22-part plan!
    Although regards to “19. A suitability test for prospective MPs. Must complete an aptitude test.”, I think it important to include in such a test a psychological test, so as to highlight and vet out sociopath’s and psychopath’s with politics/government. For the traits of sociopathic/psychopathic behaviour of our politicians have undoubtedly derived and driven Australian politics to where it is today, don’t you think?


  2. Don A Kelly

    All good points John. While reading them, I jotted down these notes:
    1. Modern Monetary Principals, including educating Parliament and voters Macroeconomic Principals (National Accounts)
    6. This alone could put our democracy back on the right (correct) track.
    8. The curriculum would need to be written by, or have input from independent economists.
    19. As events have been proven in recent times: A person doesn’t need to bee particularly smart to be a politician.

  3. Keith

    Lobbyists need to be registered and Government Ministers have open diaries in relation to meetings with lobbyists.
    A review of politician entitlements.
    A code of ethics be created for parliamentarians.
    Penalties for Ministers who miss lead Parliament … maybe, stood down for a significant period.
    Donations to political parties made known each quarter, drastically reduce the amount of donation allowable which need not be disclosed.
    During elections, full disclosure on advertisements from industries or individuals, should they create advertisements supporting a particularly party.
    The ability to be able to offer political bribes to cross benches to gain their support needs to be reviewed eg tax exemptions/handouts to big business ( “deals” equals bribes being offered by LNP).
    Major appointments to government Agencies be considered by a joint parliamentary committee, to discourage stacking of Agencies with partisans.

  4. Peter

    Great thoughts.
    I think education of the electorate could be another thought bubble.
    Also the effect of leadership or lack thereof on the behavior of MPs.
    Also how to handle not only bias but lies in all forms of media

  5. Vaughan

    A 60 trading week with a 30 hour (fulltime)
    working week. 10 hour trading days Monday to Saturday. Work 3 days a week. Everyone job shares. Would solve so many problems.

  6. ajogrady

    Companies,individuals and groups with a common interest e.g. charities,churches, unions, professional associations and Industry representative bodies that advertise in blatantly biased media outlets, then those advertising costs are a political donation not a tax deduction.

  7. Terry2

    The big concern I have at the moment is the way the likes of One Nation with no intellectual substance can be so easily manipulated by the coalition government to do things that are patently stupid.

    Crikey reports that on Monday night in the Senate, One Nation supported the government’s welfare crackdown bill, the Social Services Legislation Amendment (Welfare Reform) Bill 2017, which would among other measures have cut access to (and the level of) bereavement payments to people who had lost a spouse : the $1,300 payment was part of a government package of cuts meant for low-income households to assist in funeral costs. A budget saving of a whopping $1 million.

    The vote in the Senate was 30/30 as two One Nation Senators failed to turn up. Cormann then called for another vote as the two Senators (Burston & Georgiou) had since entered the Senate. Clearly they had no idea what was going down, as they adopted the One Nation default position and voted with the government carrying the vote 32/30.

    When Hanson realized what she and her One Nation numpties had done by assisting Michaelia Cash in getting this nasty piece of legislation through, effectively restricting access to this bereavement payment, she then pretended that she had sought to exclude the bereavement payment from the legislation. So, after assisting the government to get this through the Senate she then told journalists that she had tried to “save” the bereavement payment after helping the government to get it through.

    One Nation in extreme confusion then ran out a smoke screen and tried to blame Labor for trying to kill off the bereavement allowance even though Labor had argued and voted against it. Malcolm Roberts – remember him – who now works for Hanson actually tweeted that Labor were going to vote to kill off this bereavement allowance.

    Hanson has since gone into damage control and told journalists that she is working with the government to retain this bereavement payment even though the legislation has already been passed with the help of One Nation

    Now it seems that they are going to vote with the government to reduce company tax for major corporations !!!

    These people give me a headache !

  8. ajogrady

    As I have matured and hopefully become wiser and more thoughtful of what goes on around me I have come to some conclusions. The world would be a better place without pervasive, jingoistic ,rabble rousing patriotism. It has infected the the minds and morals of the western world. It is financed by major corporations,orchestrated by the Main Stream Media and delivered by their ever obliging corrupt puppets and partners in crime,politicians. This is done to validate obscene wars under the guise of “love of country”. The people are manipulated and conned into thinking that these actions taken by their governments are for the protection of or the extending of democracy,freedom and the love of Christian god that is perpetrated in an unChristian way. Which brings me to the other great evil,religion.Men never commit evil so fully and joyfully as when they do it for religious convictions. Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by authorities as useful. Nothing feels so righteous as destroying a country when it is being done for ” god and country”. And to finish of the holy trinity that infects and beguiles humanity, ignorance. Patriotism and religion would not be able to flourish without ignorant blind faith. The powers that be keep the people uneducated and ill informed so as to create outcomes that are against the better interests of the people. The best example of this is “climate change”. This has been documented and remedies and solutions have been put forward since the early 70’s. Nothing much has changed because it would have impacted on a few obscenely wealthy vested interests. These are perpetrated for two specific reason. Power and Greed! Until the majority of people are better educated and use critical thinking to understand how governments, corporations and institutions are manipulating them through the media the status quo will remain. The result will be humanities self destruction of humanity and the extinction of the world as we know it.

  9. Kyran

    There are two books of interest in the context of “a Department of the Future”, due to their antiquity. Alvin Toffler’s ‘Future Shock’ and Edward De Bono’s ‘Future Positive’. Written in 1970 and 1979 respectively, the ideas they had back then are of increasing relevance now, and urgency due to the lack of ‘political reform’ on a global basis in the interim.
    With regard to Constitutional reform, it seems to me that we have missed the boat. Dr Venturini’s recent articles are informative in underlining the intent of the constitution as, basically, enshrining the rights of the states as sovereign entities within a sovereign commonwealth. They were never about ‘we, the people’.

    “A quick look of the Australian Constitution reveals that it is technically an act of the British Parliament passed in 1900, the last vestiges of British legislative influence in Australia to be eliminated with the passage of the Australia Act in 1986.”

    “The Constitution is interpreted and operates in two ways: literally – some sections of the Constitution are taken literally and followed to the letter; conventionally – other sections operate through a series of ‘constitutional conventions’ which vest real power in the hands of elected politicians.
    Alongside the text of the Constitution, and Letters Patent issued by the Crown, such Conventions are an important aspect of the Constitution; they have evolved over the decades and define how various constitutional mechanisms operate in practice. Conventions are unwritten rules, not laws. They express an accepted way of doing something. The ‘Westminster parliamentary system’ is built around these kinds of unwritten rules. They presume that people of good reputation and character behave in an honourable way. By and large Australian ‘conservatives’ do not respect ‘Labor people’ as persons of honour. This is one of the reasons why ‘conservatives’ have been preferred to ‘Labor people’ = rabble on a three/fourth basis since federation.”

    A constitution for the 19th century (Part 2)

    Even by the rather paltry standards of the Constitution, our governments have consistently ignored the relatively low bar that has been set. You may have noticed our current mob are seeking change in respect of Sect 44 to further enshrine their rights to be negligent or careless but consider there is no ‘appetite’ for reform in respect of our First People. What crap!

    “Of course, the system is favoured by both Her Majesty’s governments and oppositions. The liturgy of the ‘Westminster System’ provides for an Opposition opposing everything – in Australia even on the light of the day, and a government caught by the preoccupation of being re-elected, surviving the most destructive attacks of the Opposition, and when ordinary, or ordinarily led as the present, running for cover under the constantly unfavourable pollster opinions.”

    “Ministers are expected to take responsibility for the administration of their departments, the actions of their staff and themselves. This principle has become increasingly difficult to interpret and enforce, given the size and complexity of modern government. Often the political support of the Prime Minister is the most crucial factor determining whether ministers survive scrutiny and criticism of their conduct. With the support of the Prime Minister there is no problem. Otherwise, personal responsibility is brought to work and the culprit must resign.
    As for amending the Constitution, a referendum process is the only process available – although extraordinarily difficult. This is one of the reasons why constitutional referenda are relatively infrequent. There have been only 44 attempts on 19 separate occasions to change the Constitution. Only 8 of these have been successful, the most recent in 1977. Only 4 referenda have succeeded in the past 50 years.”

    ‘The Westminster System’ at work

    How do you ‘reform’ something that, by its very nature and construct, is impervious to change? The other significant problem is that it becomes incumbent on ‘we, the people’ to convince the beneficiaries of this largesse to change their behavior. There is little, if any, prospect that those with entrenched ‘privilege’, ‘power’ and ‘status’ will surrender any part of it.
    With respect, you are seeking change within the confines of a system that is resistant to change.
    Previous articles on this site (many written by you) have advocated Direct Democracy as a voting model.

    From what I’ve read, this would not require Constitutional change, merely replacement of the Commonwealth Electoral Act. It would take one heck of an effort, but it is doable given the increasing power of groups such as GetUp and Change.Org. It would still require an upper and lower house, with the upper house to comprise no more than half the members of the lower house as the only constitutional requirement.
    Ok, that’s #2, #3 and #7 in a procedural sense, but what about motivation? There is much written about the apathy, ignorance and plain laziness of the Australian voter. My belief is that people are not apathetic, they are simply exhausted by seeing things done by our politicians that beggar belief and yet they are powerless to stop. Surveys have consistently shown that the majority of Australians believe in ‘climate change’ and want something done. They have also repeatedly shown that the majority of Australian’s are against privatization, particularly of essential services.
    Having recently decided I’m becoming more radical in my impending dotage, I cannot fathom why we have states. A population of 25mill requiring so much government designed to argue over ‘entitlements’ has become nothing more than a distraction from the fact that education, health, law, everything, are varied simply because of your geography.
    Most Australians I know are political in the sense they care about a lot of things. Most couldn’t give more than a minutes thought to the current politicians or their parties.
    To have these conversations, we need to look at change from every angle. How to disassemble power structures and empower the broader base. My contention is that you cannot have those conversations within the constraints of the current power imbalance.
    Oh, by the way, I would specifically exclude political parties, lobbyists and corporations from the initial movements. Real people only.
    Thank you Mr Lord and commenters. Take care.
    PS, Vaughan. If you can get a copy of De Bono’s book, they were exactly the sorts of things he was talking about. Ironically due to the pending impact of computers (pre internet, automation, AI).

  10. Mary Norman

    thank you for the opportunity to participate in this discussion.
    first of all, i do not believe that any way forward is possible without a full overall of the way the political system is financed. politicians should not spend their lives fund raising. the tax payers would save a lot of money on the long run by financing every election. powerful private interest now dominate the political debate, from climate change to education. elections should be won on visions and ideas, not size of the war chest. make it compulsory for every candidate to present their policies, have the policies debated and scrutinised by a body of journalists and citizens in regular public debates… no advertising , as we all know advertising does nothing to inform people, the only aim is to influence.
    a full scrutiny commitee is a good idea, but with a group of citizens like a jury duty, not politicians or career public servants.
    we do need to revue the voting system. when a minority party with only 8% of the national vote is able to be over represented and control the government we know something is not right !
    i don’t think teaching politics is the best idea. we do need to teach the mechanics of the political system, but i think philosophy classes would be more useful in having a thinking nation.
    the tax system needs big reforms. everything mentioned needs to be on the table. i would also add that we need to consider the changed in our work force. with people increasingly being replaced by robots and computers, self serve , internet banking, ticket machines, self drive trains etc… robots don’t pay tax, people do… we will have big shortfall in the budget if we don’t adress that.
    carbon tax, and even a waste tax. at the moment we all pay a fortune to dispose of our waste. how about paying a waste levy at time of purchase? everything, from your tv or your car should have a waste tax payed at time of purchase based on how much of it is recyclable…etc…because it will effect the purchase prise manufactures will put more thought in the design to minimise the impact . our tips would be free to the public….. so no more illegal dumping, it would be financed by the waste levy.

    affordable health care is a big issue. i see Australia dangerously moving toward an american system, which will fail both private and public patients. how about a new approach all together. lets say medicare covers every one at 70% and compulsory private covers the 30% gap, like a green slip, subsidised for low income earners ?
    we do need a powerful federal ICAC
    the media should have some rule of conduct. and failing to comply could result in licences being withdrawn. misleading and lying should not be allowed in any shape or form.

  11. wam

    Wow JL 22 thoughts. When I understand about your use of ‘higher education’.when canberra already has a majority of private school boys with university degrees, speckled with clever public school educated women.
    After an hour in the pool and feeling refreshed enough to process the thought from my exercise:
    We can only vote for the candidate the party members select. QED????

    ps Terry2 you and LJ could look at suffrage as a palliative to your headaches?

    pps Great idea Keith. Publishing the politician’s diary would show how hard they work where, when, how long, who with, why and what resulted?
    pps the banks rip off billions, the big companies avoid billions, the lnp pollies rip off millions but andrews rips off 300K and he is rightly pilloried, as is a welfare cheat. Why are we so quick to condemn the unemployed, the religious minorities but merely whinge about the packer end of town?
    pps Ajo the point of religion is the end of the world??? Until women realise that a male god is ratshit the men will reap the benefit.

  12. Phil

    I applaud your tenacity John. I see things differently. We don’t live in a democracy – we live in a capitalist driven economy. Everything is monetised, absolutely everything. The belief that we live in a democracy is a myth – comforting and beguiling, but a thoroughly dangerous myth. It has led us to thinking that to fix the diabolical problems we face today, we need to tweak the threads of our political system. I think your list exemplifies this approach.

    I don’t see how any one or even all of the ideas in that list could break the unassailable grip that global capitalism now has on humanity. Capitalism and its grip on politics has driven industrial agriculture and fishing to the point of system collapse. It has driven catastrophic climate change, and the greatest military Industrial complex ever assembled. It threatens human existence on multiple fronts. Capitalism is our politics. It owns our politicians be they progressives or conservatives, independents. Yes, policy differences can be found at the local, state, even national levels but they are all essentially the same under the iron clad laws of capitalism. Profit is the immutable law. At any cost. Propaganda, PR and marketing (all the same) are used to mask the greed that underpins the capitalist drive for profit.

    I don’t have any solutions – no one has the solutions. But we can act and respond. As individuals we might brighten our daily lives and relieve the inner tensions driven by uncontrollable capitalism by thinking we can see solutions – by making lists of system tweaks for example. But in the human herd we are no more capable of stopping the stampede to our own destructIon now than is a wildebeast in its herd capable of stopping the march forward.

    History tells us this much – revolution is the most powerful change maker. I think we are living in a period that is the harbinger to a huge revolution in human terms. By drawing up lists of minor tweaks to the capitalism that is driving us inexorably forward, I feel we are simply prolonging the agony and the planetary damage.

    There is no light on the hill to steer Australia’s broken politics but in saying this I am not arguing for giving up – rather, it is a call to political, economic and social revolution – a call to our youth to take off the rose coloured glasses of consumer capitalism and corrupted politics and see the system for what it is – irredeemably corrupt, dehumanising capitalism, and to reject it outright. Only youth can do this. The older generation got us to this point – it is not going to change anything because it hasn’t the energy, nor the vision.

  13. Mal

    Thank you John Lord. I may not be able to offer anything inspiring for your essay and agree with most of your creative ideas. Perhaps these things will eventually become reality in years to come when instant lobbying, voting and policy presentations are broadcast instead of propaganda on the “idiot box”. Did you mention something about monopolies of media and the hoped for charges of treason to those who do not represent the people of Australia?

  14. Glenn Barry

    Curiously, I did a google search for the antonym of creative, my expectation was subverted – if greed was a colour it would be dull dark grey and the conservatives need to perpetuate it’s protection is going to end up killing us all

    adjective: creative

    relating to or involving the use of the imagination or original ideas to create something.
    "change unleashes people's creative energy"
    having good imagination or original ideas.
    "a creative team of designers"
    synonyms: inventive, imaginative, innovative, innovatory, innovational, experimental, original; More
    artistic, expressive, inspired, visionary;
    productive, prolific, fertile;
    talented, gifted, resourceful, quick-witted, ingenious, clever, smart;
    unconventional, unorthodox, unusual, out of the ordinary;
    informalblue-sky, genius
    "our pupils are encouraged to be creative"
    antonyms: unimaginative, conservative

  15. Kevin Arnold

    Dead right Phil. I can’t improve on this comment except to add a little nostalgia. Remember shops closing on Saturday at noon? I was recently in Germany and the shops were closed on Sundays, except bread shops. I know the problems of today are more complex than this example but it is a good place to start.

  16. Pierre Wilkinson

    perhaps some truth accountability in both politics and MSM reporting

  17. Meg

    I think if the “Left” in general keep doing what they are doing, a chance exists for society to be picked apart – just enough – so that the momentum for revolution will be stronger for the status quo of McMansions, 4WDs, smartphones, name-brand joggers, supermarkets with too much food, information superhighways, online banking, entertainment streaming, holidays in Bali and Thailand, alcohol, dance music, restaurants, electricity at the flick of a switch, air-conditioning and all the hallmarks of our disgusting consumerist society will be tossed into the trash bin of history and we will have humanity forced to comply with a lovely peaceful simple existence where all their (REAL) physical and spiritual needs are met by their benevolent government. We can make this dream real!

  18. helvityni

    Phil, I think you are onto something, and you put it so well; if you haven’t been able to amass enough of it (money), you are seen as a failure, you have been a ‘dolebludger’ ( what a derogative term for someone who hasn’t been able find a job …

    If you worked hard, been frugal, or maybe inherited few extra dollars, you are seen as not worth a pension…

    I lived in Holland for three years, stayed home to look after young kids whilst hubby worked; he’s a naturalised Aussie, even so the Dutch Government gives him a part pension, and for me too just for the pleasure of living for those three years…

  19. Leanne

    I have copied and pasted and expanded on some of your post for you to read in response to your initial question.

    1 A need to divorce Labor from the negativity of institutionalised politics. A rejection of neo-liberalism with an empathises on new economics. Economic development through higher education.
    Negativity in all forms is horrific and should never be part of the system, any negativity needs to be dealt with by the parties, regardless of which one it is and subdued before going public.

    2 Create new ways of purposeful participation in the body politic.

    3 A two-year constitutional review toward a full-time sitting scrutiny committee.

    4 Review of Labor’s outdated social objectives.
    Social objectives change all the time, I think 3 months review is more suitable.

    5 The need for a wider range of social experience when pre selecting candidates.

    6 An independent speaker heading an Independent Speaker’s Office with clout: overseeing MP’s expenses; political donations with a fact-checking offshoot; a review of the purpose and function of Question Time, perhaps by former Speakers; real consequences for lying to Parliament; more say to members in electing Labor’s leader.

    7 An independent review of Australia’s voting system.

    8 The teaching of politics in year 12 with the possibility of allowing 16 year-olds to vote if registered at high school and completing the politics course.

    9 Fixed 4 year terms with a fixed date.
    yes, this is a good idea, and was originally in place in our system, but whoever altered and changed it without the voting publics consent
    should be charged and jailed.

    10 A review of free speech in an enlightened society
    Take Tasmania’s example, believe in free speech but also in turn ban hate speech regarding Aboriginals, LGBTIQ, immigrants, and
    other social economic peoples lives, ( We all vote, We all have a say and all have a right to be protected.)
    Any Hate speech under freedom of speech laws needs to be punishable with heavy consistent fines and the risk of being sent to jail for such crimes..

    11 A continuance of superannuation, negative gearing, capital gains, and other policies taken to the last election including the shares imputation debate currently being debated.
    Yes and to be kept updated at all times through the year with media and public involvement.

    12 Reconsideration of the Henry Tax Review.

    13 A policy return to some form of pricing on carbon emissions.
    Julia Gillard’s Carbon Pricing was a good start, this should be the ground work for any cet to be implemented.

    14 Making sure that mining companies pay the highest royalties.
    Mining companies i thought already pay royalties? If not they should and must pay royalties not just to the government
    but the owners of the land they are mining ( Aboriginal People ) into an account to be used to further expand, help, aid, teach, and to make
    it illegal for payments to be delayed.

    15 That multi-nationals and Australian companies pay their fair share of tax.
    Multinational and Australian Companies who do not pay their fairshare of tax should be heavily fined toa max of 30% of their annual
    profits and then also made to pay the tax they avoided paying in the first place. Any Re-offending company should then be fined in the subsequent offence, 45% and then the tax also paid which they attempted to avoid paying tax on…..Any further breaching should be more
    Forcibly enforced with jail terms forthose responsible and the risk of having their company repossessed and sold.

    16 The need for a Department of the Future.

    17 A guarantee of affordable health care.
    There is medicare which is the above, but in regards to “PRIVATE HEALTH CARE” this needs to change and become more for the people
    and the hospitals then for the companies to be profitable at customers expense. Offending companies like GMBH, should be regularly examined, and cross examined should irregular practices such as price hikes keep occuring.

    18 A national Anti-Corruption Commission modelled on the NSW ICAC. With teeth that can bite.
    I have spoke on this at large at one point in this very forum.
    A national/federal Anti corruption Body for politics, politicians, judicary and legal firms should exist, The body should have federal police
    powers, as well as local and state powers to haul politicians before it without warrant if it is proven to be seena politician is being corrupted
    or doing something illegal or offensive before the people of Australia. Politicians should be Jailed for a min of 5yrs for offences……
    This in effect ruins their political future, political dreams, and any involvement of being in politics……………Politicians are our highest paid
    Servants and should be held to account for any wrong doing to the highest level possible. ( MIn jail term of 5yrs is a reasonable time I would
    think and a max time of 15yrs with no chance of parole, to be made to be served in full.)

    19 A suitability test for prospective MPs. Must complete an aptitude test.
    All Mp’s regardless of party, affiliation, creation, abandoned, should be made to sit for several tests.
    Psychological, mental, health, Anti-????, Math’s, Science, Ecology, economics, Behavioral, and temperment………..Unless they score
    amin of 85% correct or true then they should not be allowed into our parliament as politicians.,

    20 A 10 point common good caveat for all proposed legislation.

    21 Look at ways to achieve a fairer more responsible media.
    Get rid Of Murdoch Enterprises/Publications, Fine Media for Untruth/misleading/ deception/and spreading untrue information and to
    Hold the main publications to justice with the threat of jail, fines, closure and banning of operations within Australian Society.
    That would make the media more accountable.

    22 Look at ways in which to become a republic sooner rather than later.
    No to a republic, we are in too much turmoil, strife, embarrassment, and our polticians do not deserve at this present time to be called
    President. The government can not even get the way they should be voted in right………..

    Current westminster system is that the people of the country have a right and responsibilty for voting in a person to assume the office
    of Prime minister…………It should remain this way for a republic and not be given to the politicians or the Australian Government to be able
    to choose who to make Prime Minister/President………………..

    Until they themselves, get the model right and present it to the people in full then a Republic should never be considered and we should be as we are now and not be forced to change or alter until such information is released in full to the public in one sitting. for us to consider and mull over with enough time.

  20. Zathras

    Here’s my suggestion for making politicians accountable.

    They all love appearing at the openings of new facilities, cutting ribbons, unveiling plaques inscribed with their name and generally taking credit wherever they can.

    It should be mandatory that they also attend the closings of businesses or factories within their electorate – perhaps even ceremonially tying a ribbon across the entrance and officially declaring it “closed”.

    That way they can explain to the attendant public how and why that event happened and what their intentions are, rather than hide under the collective Party umbrella and shift the blame.

    As well as making them more accountable it would focus their attention onto the specific needs of their electorate and not the philosophical beliefs of the party.

    Secret ballots may also be of some value but it would also hide how a politician has voted from the public.

  21. Meg

    I forgot to add that an individual defending their own property is a disgusting, bigoted, hateful act – especially when everyone here has Benefited from land stolen from The First Nation Peoples. The revolution will need to register all property, down to each book and trinket of jewellery for it to be put towards A Common Wealth.

  22. David Bruce

    Thanks John! By co-incidence this morning I read an article about Industrial Revolution 4.0 from ADOBE. The following extract caught my attention!

    “The role of people in this the Industrial Revolution 4.0 is that of a conductor and consumer… not necessarily the implementer.

    Machines – being the combination of physical and software – will take over many of today’s jobs. Much more than most people realise.

    To illustrate this, the university startup RoboMotion automates the programming of industrial robots. RoboMotion is software writing software for robots that make stuff. Currently, industrial-grade robotic production lines are limited to large corporations due to the high-cost of human programmers. Smaller and mid-sized manufacturers have remained relatively labour intensive, as they cannot leverage the cost-advantages of robotic manufacturing. A software algorithm that takes a digital drawing and automatically codes the software needed to drive industrial robots, democratise robotic manufacturing. It is not only the elimination of the software developer role – it opens robotic manufacturing to smaller organisations and for smaller production runs. Manufacturing is becoming an automated service.

    This is just one example of the coming wave of smart machines that will fundamentally impact society. From autonomous vehicles to drones, machine-learning digital assistants and voice-controlled everything, up to 40% of today’s jobs are about to change significantly… or be eliminated outright.

    Our headlong rush towards Industrial Revolution 4.0 is in vital need of careful, considered direction regarding the impact on workers, society, the economy and sustainability. The public, business leaders and governments alike must begin a discussion about the type of society and economy we want.”

    Your comments are very timely, yet I have doubts about our politicians having enough situational awareness to participate!

  23. Aortic

    Great thoughts John. May I also suggest a system for public funding of elections to curtail or indeed eliminate the insidious influence of “contributors”. Also, apart from say the PM, Foreign Affairs Minister a fixed amount system be devised for expenses for the rest. So much rorting goes on because of the apparent vagueness of the rules pertaining. Watch the Dom become sparkling, the five star become three star and the back end of the middle of the plane even up. Far too much lassitude in both these critical areas. Also with today’s technology why is it necessary for the whole of the back bench to fly to Canberra and be accommodated while Parllament is sitting. Most of them are either asleep or on the phone anyway. If they are required video links are available dynamically for the laughably named “questions without notice.” Just saying.

  24. helvityni

    Glenn Barry, there’s certainly nothing creative or innovative about our present day government; there are no quick-witted amongst them, and to have a sense of humour, you also have to be creative…There are no Keatings or Whitlams on that side…

  25. Simon J

    All good points. I think the most effective is #6 An independent speaker heading an Independent Speaker’s Office with clout: overseeing MP’s expenses; political donations with a fact-checking offshoot; a review of the purpose and function of Question Time, perhaps by former Speakers; real consequences for lying to Parliament.

    Imposing fines on bull shitting pollies may be the only way to get some order in the house.

  26. Keitha Granville

    Great ideas John, great ideas from everyone else too.

    Affordable healthcare – that must include dental. We have school dental at an affordable rate but then after school finishes the private dental costs are out of reach from just about anyone.

    Dump the Jobactive network and return employment finding services to Centrelink.

    Negative gearing should be available for ONE dwelling only. After that it’s not an investment, it’s a tax avoidance

    Pre-election advertising should have a cap per candidate, and a cap for each party, thus avoiding the massive campaigns funded by special interest groups for any side.

    A review of the current political perks – maybe increase basic MPs salary and dump all the extras. No free anything. Certainly no free anything after they have left politics.

    Some method of eliminating election promises being dumped – the incoming government should have a list of the things they promised and at the next election the same list with success or failure and a costing. This might make them think more carefully about what they promise.

    I am sure all of your correspondents could go on for ever – maybe parliament should also have this capacity. Perhaps citizen forums on a regular basis to find out what people want and think. Currently most of us only hear from our MPs when they want to be re-elected (not all, I know some are more diligent and some citizens are more vocal)


  27. paul walter

    John, I can not help you, much as I would love to.

    The truth is, we all remain manifestly condemned, all doomed and a fair while ago for manifold causes.

    “Repent ye, Faust”, the voices implored, but now we find ourselves in this current parlous state, in a sort of musty stale smelling, cold and bleak waiting room, while a train awaits, faced in the direction of a smoky distant darkness.

  28. stephentardrew

    John this is the most accessible MMT video that could change the game if given enough exposure. The main points are the truth and without facts there is no hope of real and effective change. As they say it is the economy stupid. Neo-liberalism is killing the biosphere. These conmen make a fortune out of boom/bust economy while eviscerating work conditions and benefits. We can have economic equilibrium if the facts are followed and the neoliberal model attacked at its very core with hard facts. MMT is the one of the very few economic model that fit the empirical evidence.


  29. Luke

    Interesting ideas!

  30. win jeavons

    The hard part is to find ‘independent’ experts. the current ones are generally too well off, they have no idea how the other half(?) lives or thinks., which is why we have such overpaid politicians and top officials generally. all such panels would be improved by the presence of middle aged , middle to low income recipients, students, pensioners. etc. the other concern i have is that voters are poorly represented by elected members, witness the difference between the National party and the greens in parliament. ; even then the members do not listen to their own voters, but pursue personal ideologies in preference to public opinion. THIS IS NOT DEMOCRACY !

  31. Ricardo29

    Great list John, I would add:Register all lobbyists and require that they report regularly on their contacts with politicians ( of al persuasions) as well as detailing what political donations they have made, what concessions they believe have been offered in return and what they have promised (such as a future job). Ban them from Parliament House and as part of the registration process require a cash bond returnable when they retire but forfeited if they are found to have used undue or illegal influence. Any MP who takes a job with a company with which he or she had Ministerial dealings to lose their parliamentary pension and any perks permanently

  32. Jon Chesterson

    Pretty much agree with all of it, it is a matter of common sense, sensibilities, fact and reason that underpins these so called ‘thought bubbles’. I’d add the following:

    1) A serious cap on all party political donations; one for day to day general administration and one for electoral purposes, serious fines and penalties for breaches, lies, holding or receiving from offshore accounts (direct or indirectly) and overseas organisations. No tax concessions for political parties and corporations above a certain size, and no corporate bail outs using public funds; only private funds and donations may be collected. Government broadcasting and advertising of policies should be put under rigorous scrutiny to ensure they don’t abuse and exploit their partisan interests.

    2) Changes in company laws and laws governing financial institutions, that put public and individual savings and investments first for recovery in a financial crash, crisis or bankruptcy, and national public fund established.

    3) Some charities reviewed for their financial status if involved in trading eg Sanitarium and particularly religious and political organisations and affiliated groups. If they are operating a business, trade or service generating income for private use they should operate under the same corporate business rules and taxation system.

    4) Increase tax threshold of income tax, especially lower orders and point of commencement, revise the income taxation system to prevent the rorts by the wealthy who seem to be able to reduce their million dollar tax liabilities to less than someone working on the check out desk at Woolworths. No such thing as trickle down economics, no such privilege and preferred status.

    5) More public investment in societal infrastructure communications, better public urban and rural spaces, national railway network and partial re-nationalisation of public utilities such as water, waste, energy, phone and internet into shared partnerships with major public share, responsibility and distribution of costs, benefits and profit; return to quality and customer focus, lower prices, infrastructural and future investment, so no financial dependency on the State and profit for profit sake, not on public utilities. How else do we build a nation and maintain the nation’s essential services and basic pubic infrastructure, neglect for too long.

    6) Public investment in dental care, and genuine public health and illness prevention programs, bring back routine primary health care and public health screening programs to improve the health of the nation. Stop this State and national government bickering over our health service and fund it properly, easy if large corporations pay their way, otherwise large corporations made responsible for private health care of all its employees and their immediate families and for specified period beyond their term of employment.

    7) Abolish HECCS for all first undergraduate degrees, diplomas and TAFE courses and pay a basic realistic tax threshold exempt living and study grant for up to three years for successful merit selected student applicants. Bring back non for profit residential and catering facilities in our educational and hospital settings and campuses.

    8) Subsidise productive farming, especially smaller farming operations and cooperatives so they can compete with large profit making global corporates – Food production and distribution is a major concern for public health, nutrition, cost, productivity and sustainability. Grow local and seasonal operational system and networks, strengthen the producer’s bargaining capacity to prevent the exploitation by large supermarket chains like Woolworths and Coles. Free trade is a mantra for excessive profiteering and needs to be balanced against the wealth and exploitation of monopolies and corporate lobbies and what is ecologically and environmentally sustainable.

    9) Public drafting of a Bill of Rights with constitutional clauses to limit the powers of government on civil rights and empower government in matters of criminal, economic, social, environmental and natural resources exploitation.

    10) Bring back affordable housing with strategic public and private housing programs; limit the powers and profits of real estate agents and property investment companies to give individual citizens, permanent residents, migrants and families a fair go.

    11) Bring back affordable and not for profit child care, subsidise smaller programs not big business groups and chains.

    12) Re-instate the autonomy, financial, programming and management independence of our public broadcasters with a charter of non-partisan, government, corporate and religious interference.

    13) Re-instate hybrid superannuation schemes which protect and provide basic guaranteed minimum pensions.

    14) Bring our offfshore and onshore detention programs to a close, an amnesty and stop the wasteful economic and shameful demonising of refugees, especially who seek asylum on humanitarian grounds whatever the mode of entry. By bill of rights ensure future government can no longer capitalise off this in electoral matters, removing partisan and bipartisan interests. Human rights are not nor should they ever be for sale, an electoral matter for majority vote, they are a legal and constitutional responsibility of a democratic, civilised and free society, and all human beings should have basic rights protections and equal access to the law and judicial system regardless of wealth, status, politics and religion. This is precisely why we need a Bill of Rights and the same protections are required for all Australians so the poor, homeless and minority groups cannot be exploited and neglected for the whim of the majority, nor can they hold the majority to ransom – This should also be reflected in Parliamentary behaviour – It is a balancing of rights.

    Get these foundations right and we will have a prosperous and fair nation where free enterprise, business, communities and all who live here have the opportunity to contribute to society and flourish. And I don’t want to hear any of those ridiculous chants of left and right, such accusations are frankly totally worn out and moribund, and insulting to our political and social intelligence.

  33. Diane Larsen

    Great article and so many good ideas in the comments section if all of us can see the way forward then one can only assume that the current government’s lack of direction in trying to fix inequality is either down to two options massive stupidity or massive corruption

  34. Jon Chesterson

    Diane Larsen – Both I think and the other problem is what we call the two party system that perpetuates the all consuming falsehood of left and right and that there is in fact no effective government and no effective opposition. Collaboration only comes in the manipulative paradigm of bipartisan, which is of course partisan just as there is little difference in the corporate world between a monopoly and duopoly, by definition they control all and consume choice at their own price. When adversarial politics is reduced to puerile dualism and dominance like this, there is no sensible governance of the people. What is disturbing is even Labor couldn’t come up with half of these worthwhile suggestions, have no will to consider them for fear of losing their cheer groups also, and then we are confronted with the dualism and insult of, ‘but they are a little better than the Liberals’ or ‘anything is better than the Liberals’ – These are truisms that offer no solution to the wilful hijacking and systematic destruction of our democracy. So yes stupidity and corruption with the mind stunning nerve agent of gross incompetence and ineptitude, a national malady of epic proportion.

  35. BeeGee

    Create a retail banking arm of the Reserve Bank to create real competition for the banks.
    Introduce real whistle blower protections.

  36. jamesss

    I can not believe how lenient you are to these treasonous idiots. If they don’t honour their service to the people and the country, Jail, no parties.
    What happened to Integrity, honour, compassion, respect?…..As I said…..Jail.

  37. Pauline Westwood

    We need to focus on

    Rising income and asset inequality

    Excessively high immigration levels – we should return to the pre- Howard level of 70,000 permanent migrants

    Return to a civilised and compassionate refugee policy with creative and positive ways of settling refugees

    Reinstate the power of trade unions to protect wages and conditions possibly including a rule that only members can benefit from negotiated conditions

    Make affordable home ownership a priority

    Increase funding to TAFE and restore the system to its former effectiveness

    Reform universities to be centres of learning not revenue raising

    Dismantle neoliberalism and managerialism

  38. Rhonda

    Bring back the CES, and dump Howard’s wasteful and useless privatised job seeking agencies

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