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Day to Day Politics: Tax cuts for big business or a better education for your kids?

Tuesday 17 May 2016

Someone asked me the question, “how do you think the campaign is going?” On the surface you might say it is a fairly innocuous question. It is, however, one that could be answered with a rhetorical one: “How do you mean?” If for example, do you mean are the leaders of the parties addressing the long-term problems of our democracy? No, they are not.

If you are referring to the average run of the mill election campaign, I would answer that both parties are running fairly traditional campaigns “except for one distinct difference.”

Bill Shorten has for some time been quietly cultivating a campaign that focusses on fairness and inequality and is doing so at a time when the world in general has woken from the dream perpetrated on them by conservatives that everyone can be rich. A dream that can only achieved by individualism, capitalism and conservative philosophy.

People are waking to the fact that it is a lie that is destroying our society. The rich are becoming richer and the poor are becoming poorer. There is a growing awareness that large institutions are ripping off consumers, taking advantage of those they employ and not paying corporate tax. There is a realisation that the rich are thumbing their nose at their fellow citizens, not paying their fair share of tax and exploiting every loophole available to them.

Large companies are not only not paying tax but being outrageously subsidised by taxpayers. There is corruption all around, in politics, in business in unions and many genres of society. It is as though all of a sudden people have had their eyes tested, woken to the fact that what they were seeing was but an economic mirage. A perception ill-founded.

Whether it was Shorten who bought it to people’s attention or it is just circumstantially, the economic planets aligning might never be known but by going early with radical reforms to economic policy he has placed the Prime Minister in a position of having to defend the rich and privileged.

And he has to do so whilst being perceived as very rich and very elitist.

This showed up in the first Leaders’ Debate where out of the 100 undecided voters at the forum, Mr Shorten won over 42, Mr Turnbull netted 29, while 29 others couldn’t make up their mind.

During the debate Turnbull asked that voters endorse his 7 years in the making “economic plan” that would focus on growth, giving tax cuts to business while Shorten pitched his “positive policies” centred more on education and health while condemning the Coalition plans for corporate tax cuts.

Turnbull spends most of his time defending his tax policy or defending the lack of them in the Governments term of office. He does so under the shadow of tax dodging, corruption and perks for the rich.

So we have this debate framed on the one hand by what is best for the future. Tax cuts for business (many of them don’t pay any anyway.) which we are told will, using trickledown theory, benefit us all.

Or on the other hand Shorten’s idea that a huge investment in education for all will bring about long-term economic rewards and address inequality.

Shorten can legitimately claim that he has led the way on economic reforms such as Superannuation, corporate tax and negative gearing and that he has the better environment policy.

So there is a decided difference between the parties. A demarcation of equality versus wealth.

Over such a long campaign it remains problematical as to whether Shorten can maintain or even increase people’s ever-growing disenchantment with inequality but I hope he fights the good fight.

My thought for the day.

The common good 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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  1. James O'Neill

    John, there is some more evidence that the Shorten message is getting through in this morning’s Morgan poll that has Labor at 52.5 to the Coalition’s 47.5 on the two party preferred. Perhaps more significantly, the poll suggests that Nick Xenophon’s party and the Greens will hold the balance of power in both the Senate and the House.

  2. Lord John

    I am loathed to mention left vrs right or black vrs white. There in lays the stupidity of man.It reduces issues down to slogans and simplistic words. Some fortunate working class people just got lucky and own many residential properties and now support the Conservatives.And some Liberals become fine egalitarians.Yet many act in a hostile; my way is right or I’m all right jack thought pattern. The Housing issue illustrates this perfectly. Give people an affordable roof over their heads and you provide so many solutions to so many issues.

  3. Matthew Oborne

    Get a job theory is another beaut. It assumes unemployment is the fault of the unemployed. It allows for whole rafts of legislation to get these lazy buggers off their bums because that is the real problem they lack something that other people have.

    Get a job theory is why Michaella Cash wants to teach young people how to show up for work, they didnt realise they have to show up. Really.

    Get a job theory is why Abbott wanted Aboriginal people picking up rubbish, he could argue that it will provide incentive to get a real job.

    Like Trickle down economics Get a job theory is a complete lie.

    The RBA increase interest rates when unemployment is too low, Shortens job plan will only employ up to the number the RBA says they need unemployed.

    Unemployment is a market issue outside of the control of the unemployed, and while some may have found a way to survive if they dont now want to work it could as easily be depression as depression is over represented in long term unemployed people.

    Myths need busting they dont deserve legislation to address a myth.

  4. MichaelW

    The only trickle down from the rich to the poor is a yellow coloured liquid, with an offensive smell.

  5. Stephen

    More commonly called the golden shower theory of economics.

  6. Klaus

    Yes John, that sums the differences up very concisely. If Turnbull keeps hrping on about Growth and Jobs (or was it Jobs and Growth), Bill can easily argue that Treasury modelling predicts and 0.6% increase in Jobs over 10 years. That is indefensible. On the other hand, Bill can simply state precisely what you said; “he has led the way on economic reforms such as Superannuation, corporate tax and negative gearing and that he has the better environment policy.”

  7. Florence nee Fedup

    PM, if you listen to what he says, all should take a risk, even risk the home, create your own job, become a small family business, Yes, if can’t get a job, make your own.

    I wonder if he thinks good idea for family to work in it for nothing. Did he ever work in any his dad’s pubs?

  8. Wayne Turner

    Firstly: Labor MUST point out non-stop that the Liberal parties cuts for the well off is based on “trickle down economics” that does NOT work.It’s a LIE & a FRAUD

    On another note: I’m currently unemployed – As well as wishing to get a job that is secure and actually lasts (Made redundant TWICE last year from two different full time jobs.While recently,the casual one ended because the place slowed down,they dumped all us casuals.Sad especially cause it slowed down because of dumb decisions by full time managers,and of course we paid the price for their stupidity.).I’d like this from jobs I apply for: A reply.NOT just jobs I apply for,but the number of rude employers,in which I land a job interview,and waste my time and money by not even getting back to me.Then when I contact them,they are embarrassed,forget who I am even when I say it,and then say “um,eh,um,yeah you didn’t get the job” – No sh*t.

    This country has a problem of hopeless and rude bosses.More than the MSM driven of people NOT wanting to work.

  9. David

    James O’Neill re your poll comment….your take on the wording and the Morgan reality is not quite as you put it.
    While you say “the poll suggests that Nick Xenophon’s party and the Greens will hold the balance of power in both the Senate and the House.” Morgan summarising in fact said….:”The massive vote for minority parties (30.5%) suggests that today they would definitely control the Senate and the Greens and the Nick Xenophon Team (NXT) could control the House of Representatives”
    Very subtle but important difference. Morgan only referenced the Greens controlling the Senate, while they and Xenophon’s lot ‘could’ control the House of Reps.
    Maybe semantics however best we say what is said, for clarity, even though it is early days. Thanks for the opportunity to comment on your post, cheers.

  10. Zathras

    I agree that the terms Left and Right are increasingly irrelevant.

    One they used to be considered Centre-Right but now there is nobody to the Right of the Coalition because they have absorbed all the one-time extremist radicals into their ranks.

    The ALP has been dragged toward the Middle to pick up those who abandoned the Liberals but as a result have lost some of their original supporters to the Greens. The “me too” approach has come at a price.

    The days when Left and Right extremists were there as “warnings” to the other parties have gone and it’s no surprise that Independents have stepped in to fill the void left behind.

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