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Day to Day Politics: A New Way Forward to a Better society. (A Labor perspective) Part 2.

Tuesday 3 April 2018

I have had many comments both on Facebook and The AIMN.  As they have come in I have placed them in the category I think applicable. Some categories have had none at all and this is your last opportunity to add your thoughts or correct a wrong.

I haven’t named every individual contributor as I didn’t see the necessity for it. Some categories have been eliminated because I have inadvertently duplicated them.

Once I have finalised all the comments I will get on with the writing of “A new way forward to a better society” (A Labor perspective.)

1 A need to divorce Labor from the negativity of institutionalised politics.

“It must turn its attention to the young and have the courage to ask of them that they should go beyond personal desire and aspiration and accomplish not the trivial, but greatness. That they should not allow the morality they have inherited from good folk to be corrupted by the immorality of right-wing political indoctrination.”

“Look at ways to reduce the military budget.”

“If the Labor party is to convince the lost voters who have left our democracy at the last election to return (and I am assuming that most would be Labor), it has to turn its ideology on its head, re-examine it, and then reintroduce it as an enlightenment, the opposite to the tea party politics that conservatism has descended into.” 

“Labor has taken a small but important first step in allowing a greater say in the election of its leader, however, it still has a reform mountain to climb.” 

“Labor has to raise itself above and overcome its preoccupation with faction power struggles. These struggles preoccupy and erode the ability to be creative.”

“Labor needs to promote the principle of transparency by advocating things like no advertising in the final month of an election campaign, and policies and costing submitted in the same time frame.”

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

“More say to members in electing Labor’s leader.”

“Reinforce real secularism with regard to religion.”

“A rejection of neo-liberalism with an emphasis on new economics.” 

“Economic development through higher education.”

“Modern Monetary Principals, including educating Parliament and voters. Macroeconomic Principals (National Accounts).”

“Create a retail banking arm of the Reserve Bank to create real competition for the banks.”

“Introduce real whistle-blower protections.” 

“One item I feel is missing, and I am not sure how to phrase it, is to restore science to its proper place in reasoned argument and reverse the current denigration and re-labeling of anything that goes against the arguments of the right as ‘fake’.”

“Phil has pretty much explained the sad reality. John, your perspective on what we need to do comes from the vantage point of believing in democratic values whereas most people have been trained to follow the profit principle values.”

There is a link to Phil’s comments later.

“Phil pretty much sums up the sad reality of humanity.”

“You can add reform of the Senate into this mix, and perhaps some form of citizen-initiated, referendum.”

“It has always been the creative people who have led the revolution of society, life experienced persons linked with enthusiastic youngsters who are prepared to challenge the establishment and force a change, Remember, as Dylan said, ‘Times they are a-changin’’.”

“Free market capitalism or neoliberalism isn’t a unifying model of all interaction on this planet, it’s not the economic equivalent of the ‘Grand Unifying Theory’ in physics, capitalism and its new incarnation neoliberalism is just an awkward description of one minor element of human interaction on this planet.”

“And particularly by the narcissistic megalomaniacs (brilliantly exemplified by Trump) who bully their role-playing way to the top of the corporate heap.”

“Capitalism has indeed come to be governance by ‘non-natural but legal persons’ (corporations, institutions, and bureaucracies).”

“Dismantle neoliberalism and managerialism.”

“John this is the most accessible MMT video that could change the game if given enough exposure.”

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

“Besides internal reform that engages its members, it needs to look at ways of opening our democracy to new ways of doing politics: ways that engage those that are in a political malaise so that they feel part of the decision-making process again.” 

“I am looking forward to the ALP national conference regarding democratisation within the party.”

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

This piece by Phil argues the futility of trying to change the constitution.

“I cannot fathom why we have States.” 

“Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by authorities as useful.” 

4 On this subject; A most enlightened read.

“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.”

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

No comments.

6  An independent speaker heading an Independent Speaker’s Office with clout:

“Penalties for Ministers who miss lead Parliament … maybe, stood down for a significant period.”

“Abolition of the Lord’s Prayer at the beginning of each Parliamentary sitting day.”

“During elections, full disclosure on advertisements from industries or individuals.”

“Drastically reduce the amount of donation allowable which need not be disclosed.”

“Oversee MP’s expenses; political donations revealed in real-time.”

“A fact-checking offshoot.”

“Lobbyists need to be registered and Government Ministers have open diaries in relation to meetings with lobbyists.”

“A review of politician entitlements.”

“Publishing the politician’s diary would show how hard they work where, when, how long, who with, why and what resulted?”

“A review of the purpose and function of Question Time, perhaps by former Speakers; real consequences for lying to Parliament.”

“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.”  

7  An independent review of Australia’s voting system.

No comments.

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.

“The curriculum would need to be written by, or have input from independent economists.”

9  Fixed 4-year terms with a fixed date.

No comments.

10  A review of free speech in an enlightened society.

No comments.

11  A continuance of current policies.

“Superannuation, negative gearing, capital gains, and other policies taken to the last election including the shares imputation debate currently being debated. Subsidies to mining companies who make enormous profits could be next on the list.”

12  Reconsideration of the Henry Tax Review and Tax generally.

“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 checkout desk at Woolworths. No such thing as trickle-down economics, no such privilege, and preferred status.”

“Religious groups should have their incomes taxed, without ways to reduce them. As part of a root and branch look at the tax reforms already referred to we should look at ending government funding to non-government schools and private health funds.”

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

“Treat Climate Change as urgent.”

“The same fight must also be had for the future of the planet.” 

14  An Australian Bill of Rights

“Bring our offshore 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.”

“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.”

“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.”

“Well done John. Also, I would like to see a Bill of Rights for Australia given we are the only OECD country without one.”

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

No comments.

16  The need for a Department of the Future.

“A future world dependent on innovation it will be ideas that determine government, and not the pursuit of power for power’s sake. Foresight requires preparation and planning for multiple scenarios many of which may neverhappen.. This can require lots of time, effort and resources.”

“Post act fixes require only addressing known situations with just enough attention to barely suffice. It’s about involving commitment versus lazy/disinterested/disengagement.”

17  A guarantee of affordable health care.

“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 a specified period beyond their term of employment.”

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

No comments.

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

“As events have been proven in recent times: A person doesn’t need to be particularly smart to be a politician.”

“A suitability test for prospective MPs. Must complete an aptitude test.”

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

No comment.

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

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

“Also how to handle not only bias but lies in all forms of media.”

“Perhaps some truth accountability in both politics and MSM reporting.”

“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.”

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

No comments.

23 Major appointments to government Agencies be considered by a joint parliamentary committee, to discourage stacking of Agencies with partisans.

“One of the things that brought Rudd undone was his magnanimous decision to appoint various ex-Coalition Ministers to prominent public positions (War Memorials, Future Fund, diplomatic posts etc) and also not to flush out the croneys in the upper levels of Public Service embedded there by Howard.”

“It’s the Coalition that has a real history of ‘jobs for the boys’.”

“Such insider appointees are not working in the public interest but in the political interest of the government.”

“If Labor gain power in Canberra they should make it a priority to replace biased LNP/IPA appointees currently planted in government bodies. Fill the rolls with competent, fair-minded citizens who can be trusted to act in our best interests.”

24 Our First Nation Peoples be included in the constitution and in the parliament.

No comments.

25 Address inequality in all its forms. Particularly equality of opportunity in education.

“It must promote and vigorously argue the case for action against growing inequality in all its nefarious guises, casting off its socialist tag and seeing policy, in common good versus elitist terms.”

“It might even advocate lowering the voting age to sixteen. An article I read recently suggested the teaching of politics from year 8, with eligibility to vote being automatic if you were on the school roll. Debates would be part of the curriculum and voting would be supervised on the school grounds. With an aging population, the young would then not feel disenfranchised. Now that’s radical thinking; the sort of thing that commands respect. It might also ensure voters for life.”

“Increase funding to TAFE and restore the system to its former effectiveness.”

“Reform universities to be centres of learning not revenue raising institutions.”

“Rising income and asset inequality.”

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

“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.”

Stephen C Jones, I mostly agree but though aging rapidly my passion still burns strongly to achieve a fair go for all. I’m putting my efforts behind a rampaging ALP win next election, we have to leave Trump to the yanks, but at least a decent progressive Australian government can begin to redirect our once great country into the direction we should have maintained before the nazi capitalists got total political control! Fix the current school system, outdated and not challenging our children’s minds.”

My thought for the day

”Change sometimes disregards opinion and becomes a phenomenon of its own making, with Its own inevitability”

 


14 comments

  1. Clive Buckingham

    Members to have lived and continue to live in their electorates. “Safe seats” not reserved and held by party hacks.

  2. bearbrooke

    I am taking the last chance given to add a comment:—

    Should I be looking for a way forward to a better society then I would select a democratic system of government, which enables people to choose their leaders and to hold their leaders accountable for their policies and their conduct in office.

    A lecture at Hilla University for Humanistic Studies on January 21, 2004 began with an overview of what democracy is:—

    A political system for choosing and replacing the government through free and fair elections.
    The active participation of the people, as citizens, in politics and civic life.
    Protection of the human rights of all citizens.
    A rule of law, in which laws and procedures apply equally to all citizens.

    This is good theory, but in practice it is beginning to fail. It is failing because none of the four basic elements of the system are fairly applied. The behaviour and proclivities of politicians elected to office are not adequately disciplined, which is a cardinal weakness built into the theory and practice of democracy in Australia.

    Each of the four elements of what a democracy is needs to be reappraised. The way elections are held, the way policies are developed, the way laws are made, the way the rights of citizens are upheld — all these are failing because disciplines of control are not in place.

    “A new way forward to a better society” can be found by reforging the fundamental constituents of our democratic system of government, and applying jurisdictions that control the behaviour of all participants in the processes of elections and governance. Fiddling with this or that policy or personality or procedure, the incidental dysfunctions within the present system, will not fundamentally repair a way of governance that is disordered.

    Do Australians have wisdom enough to change the way they are governed, and courage enough to redefine their democracy?

  3. townsvilleblog

    Absolutely brilliant, the absence of a sustainable population policy on the driest inhabited continent on Earth was a particular favorite, which, along with climate change will determine our future quality of life.

  4. OldWomBat

    A forwarding looking plan to transition from our current dependence on fossil fuels to more sustainable energy sources. The plan must acknowledge and address, among other things:

    such a transition will not happen overnight;

    the reduction in the use of fossil fuels will impact on us all and require prioritising their usage, e.g. ambulances, fire brigades, police, food transport vehicles etc. over individual use, which will have the flow-on requirements for greater and improved public transport;

    our dependence on petroleum products extends far beyond fuel for the car but reaches into things such as the clothes we wear, medicines etc. and replacement products will need to be found – prioritising usage again;

    there will be significance social impacts on towns affected by the change, for example on those directly employed in the resource industry to businesses that depend on them;

    a key element must be to address the broader social impacts and the changes required in how we operate as a society.

    Folks can add a whole lot more but as yet I see little evidence of any group or party taking a holistic and long-term view of the issues and potential solutions/actions required to make the transition manageable and effective. I fear that without such a plan, which may require 20+ years to begin to make real inroads, we will potter along until things collapse and then the social upheaval will be catastrophic. It will require something like a “Ministry of the Future”, populated with knowledgeable people, scientists, economists, sociologists, psychologists, industrialists etc, without political party alliances, supported by scientific facts, modeling and a fierce and unswerving determination to take Australia forward for the benefit of all …….. “Tell him he’s dreaming”

  5. helvityni

    We seem to believe that if it ain’t broke don’t fix it, we take solace in keeping things as they have always been…

    We say we have to talk about this, have a public discussion on that, then we do the talking…five years later we find that nothing has changed…

    Mal’s innovations have not started yet, even the talk has stopped…

  6. Kaye Lee

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

    Yet today we hear about the formation of a new group of politicians calling themselves the Monash Forum.

    “A group of 20 Coalition backbench MPs have put their name to a manifesto warning against the “demonisation” of coal, the Liberal MP Craig Kelly has revealed.

    Kelly – the chairman of the government’s backbench committee on the environment and energy – confirmed the existence of the Monash Forum, which supports the use of coal-fired power.

    He said private-sector investment in coal might not be forthcoming due to possible technological change and changes to climate policy by a future government so “the government may need to step in and assist the build” of a new power station.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/apr/03/monash-forum-coalition-backbenchers-lobby-coal

    Looking through the list of members, this is definitely a challenge to Malcolm’s leadership. Will he stand up to them or will he cave in yet again? Will Bill have the courage to make this a real point of difference?

  7. Kronomex

    helvityni, I think you could fiddle a bit with the “if it ain’t…” line and for the LNP it now reads, “If it ain’t our fix then break it.”

  8. wam

    changes to the constitution need the states to carry a referendum. Why not just a new constitution????
    On Aboriginal communities?
    building approvals made by local council for local conditions, independent of government regulations
    school curriculum 50% local input with lessons posted on gov ed sites for use by any other school/institution/person
    hours sun up till noon 7 days a week breakfast supplied as directed by community needs with balanda teachers opting for local or ed dept breaks.
    all balanda teachers to learn one of the local languages

    Arguably Aborigines became a political voting bloc in the seat of nhulunbuy electing Guyula.
    May such power become the norm.

    Do we have the wisdom for change? We are rich, we are content and we can see some worse off than us. As long as government keeps the bread and circuses going, why should we care???

    ps hope you had a good easter, laud.
    pps we could cut a trench at port augusta?
    pps
    Is climate change different from global warming or both can be influenced by man???

  9. Keitha Granville

    Can you let us know when this list is complete and being sent to the leaders of both parties ?

    I always feel a little more hopeful reading AIMN, that there are plenty of others in our country who want it to be a better place for all.

  10. Jon Chesterson

    Some great ideas and frames here. Are we going to present this progressive suite to ALP, once refined?

  11. Jon Chesterson

    I’d like to re-iterate some of those key points bearbrooke and others have made. Meaningful participation in political, public and civic life needs to be raised to a higher plain and more accessible to the common people. Voting and polls alone are not a measure of meaningful or constructive participation and only fuel populism, which we should be rejecting. Civil and human rights for instance should never be up for vote, majority rule and populist sentiment. We have a duty of care and responsibility to everyone in our country, regardless of creed, colour, status and religion. A big issue here is access to and be part of our system of government, to be heard, social inclusion. We are simply no where near this notion, in fact the majority are as much excluded as is reflected in the economic reality that divides us, where the wealth of the nation is in the hands and ownership of the top 5% and extraordinary wealthy few. The same applies to social and political inclusion. We need a system which goes well beyond voting for a party or person once every 3-4 years, and beyond the opinions of popularity polls.

    The same goes for justice. Very few have reasonable access to the justice system, it is a user pay system, horrendously expensive and risky to defend your civil rights in law against corporations, government and wealthy individuals, and much of the time against corrupt and abusive systems particularly involving government who use their money, power and access to the best lawyers, where judges are appointed on partisan lines and deals are done behind closed doors, where old school boy networks and tactics make it almost impossible for an ordinary citizen to get justice and fair hearing in the civil courts of our land. I have advocated equal access to health, education and home and I’d strongly advocate that none of these will occur without political and social inclusion AND access to the justice system.

    I have recently been involved in a class action over a 30 year land rights case where more than a thousand Australian citizens and one lawyer have had to fund and make their case against four high status lawyers defending Commonwealth, NSW State government, local Council interests and corruption; and the Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife (an institutional device used to circumvent Just Compensation legislation); where every technical slithery snake and slide that the government lawyers have had access to has been deployed in the Federal Court, High Court and State Land and Environment Courts to diminish and punish the plaintiff (because they can); where costs of government even have been imposed on those who have already been disenfranchised by those governments to punish and contain any further appeal or continuance to seek justice. Extend this scenario to all aspects of civil and civic life, and it should be plain for all to see, that democracy, justice and social inclusion cannot become reality until we address peoples’ access to the judicial system in a lawful, constructive and meaningful way. Money and abuse or exercise of power and status will always win 90% of the time to the exclusion of the majority of Australian citizens and their legitimate rights. The constitution could wax lyrical on the importance of citizenship, freedom and civil rights, but if the law remains the province of institutional and wealthy few, there will be no flow through of the intent or lawful purpose of our legislation and constitutional rights, whether invested in Common Law or a Bill of Rights. So my reform agenda here is equal, fair and meaningful access to the courts and judicial system for all Australians based on lawfulness and merit, not impounded or diminished by social, economic, government, corporate or institutional status and manipulation.

  12. Kerry F

    Thank you John for such a thoughtful process. I hope the Labor party pays attention.

    I don’t know where this fits in to possible changes, but the Section 44 crisis that distracted the government and the country and cost who knows how many millions, really concerned me, in that no politicians were penalised for illegal behaviour. Not even a little bit. Resignations even disclosure were up to the individual. It was one giant farce and I am wondering why we don’t have laws in place for this and why there was no referral to some level of the law for every politician who signed their pledge. Yes i know the High Court apparently reviewed some cases but still no discipline was forthcoming.

    The question of not being aware of ones dual citizenship in this day and age of world travel is ludicrous. So I believe we can safely assume that in every case the politician was aware they were breaking the law. That may not be provable but why was proof of citizenship not required by law at the time?

    Maybe the whole issue doesn’t matter but given the extraordinary fear of Chinese takeover of this country (ignoring how we are already taken over by certain other powers) I suspect that Australians do not want pollies with dual citizenship.

    It seems that we have one law for regular people and that politicians are largely above the law. The only way we can get to them is via a scandal. So of course we only ever catch the stupid ones.

    I wonder if this is a carryover from the British system that we inherited. Their House of Lords enjoys the same extraordinary freedom from the law and accountability. And similarly they are only taken down by sex scandals.

    Maybe we just need a whole new constitution that is truly baed on equality and human rights for all.

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