Kim Beazley elected Chair of Australian War Memorial…

Australian War Memorial Media Release The Honourable Kim Beazley AC has been appointed…

Gallic Rebuke: France and the US Rules-based Order

Gérard Araud was not mincing his words. As France’s former ambassador to…

Floods of Challenges: The Victorian Election Saga of…

By Denis Bright Victorians rejected the instability of minority government in favour of…

Julian Assange and Albanese’s Intervention

The unflinching US effort to extradite and prosecute Julian Assange for 18…

Virtual tourists can now teleport back 600 million…

University of South Australia Media Release Fancy donning a VR headset and taking…

The Right is toxic: what next for conservatives?

The international right is cynical and dangerous. It is crucial we look…

Beyond a Reasonable Doubt !

The jury of eight women and four men have retired to consider…

To be truthful, "sorry" is a word so…

When you think there isn't much to write about in politics, the…

«
»
Facebook

Governments are the cause of many of our problems – they could also easily solve them

The central purpose of government in a democracy is to be the role model for, and protector of, equality and freedom and our associated human rights. They should set an ethical standard for the people to emulate.

Yet we are subjected to atrocious behaviour from our politicians. They seem to have no qualms about rorting expenses, using public money for political purposes or their position for personal gain, doling out jobs for the boys and girls and contracts without tender to mates, slandering their opponents and downright lying if they think it will help their cause. The behaviour in question time is appalling as are the seemingly endless stories about sexual harassment and assault.

That sets a bad tone for the country.

Economic responsibility should include protection from the negative consequences of free markets. The government must defend us against unscrupulous merchants and employers, and the extreme class structure that results from their exploitation.

Figures from the March quarter show that, even though more of the population was in work than ever before, the share of national income going to wages sunk to a near all-time low of 49.8%. Before COVID the wages share was 53%. At the start of the 2000s it was 56%.

During the first two years of the pandemic, the world’s ten richest men more than doubled their fortunes to $1.9 trillion, while over 160 million more people were forced into poverty.

Yet employers scream blue murder if asked to share increasing profits whether through wage rises or taxation. Wage theft and tax avoidance/evasion are rampant whilst governments chase spurious overpayments in welfare, make compliance with Jobseeker harder, and refuse to increase income support payments.

More often than not, governments put corporate interests in front of workers, consumers and the environment.

Allowing mining companies and irrigators to dictate water usage has led to dire environmental consequences. Water theft is ignored. Pollution breaches attract miniscule fines. Required environmental offsets are not adhered to. Unapproved earthworks to trap, and then sell, flood water have devastated properties with little consequence or delivered nothing for all the government money thrown at them.

Businesses fraudulently collected JobKeeper – no problem – yet nurses and teachers who kept working throughout the pandemic are fined for withdrawing their labour in order to campaign for more staff and wages that don’t go backwards.

Instead of society’s infrastructure, including roads, posts and telecommunications, and water, sewage and energy utilities remaining in public hands and solely dedicated to the common good, many such services have been privatised, increasing costs and reducing the quality of service to users as companies strive for ever higher profits for shareholders.

That such assets should have public ownership is expressed in the idea of the “commons.” They should be owned by and shared between the members of the current population, and preserved for future generations rather than sold off by politicians for a one-off sugar hit to a budget.

A privatised care sector with inadequate regulation and oversight has also been a disaster. I was astonished to hear Bill Shorten say that 90% of NDIS providers aren’t registered. I was also dismayed to find out when my mother went into aged care that there is no required staff to resident ratio.

When we owned the Commonwealth Bank, it could influence interest rates through competition. Medibank Private did the same thing with private health insurance costs. When we owned our air and sea ports, the government could control charges. All whilst returning a profit to public finances.

That an energy superpower like Australia is suffering soaring prices and threats of blackouts is a shocking example of lack of forethought in sacrificing an advantage to private profit.

John Howard sold off Telstra and put the money into a sovereign wealth fund established mainly to meet future liabilities for payment of superannuation to retired federal public servants. As of the end of March, total funds under the management of the Future Fund stands at $249bn – the golden egg fiercely guarded by a broody old Peter Costello. There is about $50 billion just sitting there in cash. The Emergency Response fund has $4.6 billion in it and the DisabilityCare Australia Fund, $14.5 billion. Surely we could find better uses for this money?

The housing crisis, both in affordability and supply, has been exacerbated by governments offering generous tax concessions to investors. They have also been remiss in oversight of development approvals. Suburbs are built without the social infrastructure to support them or, even worse, in areas at significant risk of flooding, bushfires or coastal erosion.

Political donations are shrouded in secrecy and lobbyists, many of them former politicians or staffers, have easy access and too great an influence on policy. Ministers are not required to tell us who they meet with or why.

We blithely ignore the social harm caused by gambling and alcohol, presumably because of the money governments collect from these powerful industries.

When governments have access to the best experts, the latest evidence and analysis and the benefits of a fiat currency, and yet these problems persist, it’s hard not to think that politicians think more about themselves than they do about making decisions in the best interests of the country.

 

Like what we do at The AIMN?

You’ll like it even more knowing that your donation will help us to keep up the good fight.

Chuck in a few bucks and see just how far it goes!

Your contribution to help with the running costs of this site will be gratefully accepted.

You can donate through PayPal or credit card via the button below, or donate via bank transfer: BSB: 062500; A/c no: 10495969

Donate Button

 4,370 total views,  2 views today

21 comments

Login here Register here
  1. Barry Richards

    I think all politician should be refundable,like most things you buy from some of the big retailers.I think most people with half a brain,know that most politicians are 90% spin and 10% of trying to be a human being.I often wonder how kids can lie at such a early age,im guessing it must be hot wired into our genetics.But i think these guys would have been able to do this while they were still in the mothers womb.Corruption in itself is like a pandemic,but we don’t seem to have any vaccine for this,its like being on a tread mill and never seems to have any end.For once in my life i would like to see a politician that does what he says,but i think this is just a pipe dream,the power is in the wrong hands,we need a political messiah,maybe by the end of the century if we still have a planet to fight over.

  2. Kaye Lee

    I remember the first time I knowingly told a lie. I was in kindergarten and my best friend’s mother gave birth to a baby girl on the weekend. I had always wanted a little sister.

    When my friend told the class on Monday, I said my mother had a baby on the weekend too….. and wondered why I didn’t get the same attention.

    Unfortunately, my mother was the school librarian and at work that day.

    I told the lie because I wanted something someone else had, because I wanted attention, and because I thought I could fool my audience.

    I really could have been a politician.

  3. Terence Mills

    Thanks Kaye Lee

    I see that it is now becoming apparent that the rather surprising resignation of Deputy NSW Premier John Barilaro in October last year may have foreshadowed another appointment in the offing rather than his excuse at the time : Mr Barilaro fought back tears as he told reporters public life had “taken a toll”.

    A toll that wouldn’t be heard in the Big Apple.

    The job as senior trade and investment commissioner to the Americas in New York attracts a salary of $500,000 in addition to which there is a generous accommodation allowance plus travel and entertaining expenses. The job, after diligent head-hunting had been going to highly-qualified businesswoman Jenny West .

    Jenny West was selected for this position based on her experience which includes positions such as deputy secretary, trade & international Global NSW as well as head of trade & investment and general manager digital innovation & client services at Austrade. She has also held roles in the private sector at Telstra as the NSW-ACT director of Telstra Country Wide and at Westpac as head of migrant & expatriate banking.

    On Wednesday, Premier Perrottet revealed that Amy Brown, the chief executive of Investment NSW, was responsible for hiring Barilaro over the highly-qualified businesswoman Jenny West, who had previously been identified as the preferred candidate for the job and according to some reports had actually been offered and had accepted the job. It has also been reported that Ms West will now be compensated having been gazumped by ‘Pork’ Barilaro – a nickname he wears with pride according to Wikipedia : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Barilaro

    It’s what you are talking about, Kaye Lee. There will now be an enquiry which should uncover what has been going on and establish, among other matters, that Barilaro is totally unsuited to this job, both in temperament and experience.

    Thanks to zealous investigative reporting by the Guardian we may be able to knock this one on the head : https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2022/jun/22/final-decision-maker-who-picked-john-barilaro-for-trade-job-directly-reported-to-him-as-public-servant

    This is why we need an ever alert ICAC !

  4. pierre wilkinson

    well hopefully a federal ICAC will sort out some of the problems and allow a nicer style of politician to develop…
    we certainly deserve better than what we have suffered under in recent times

  5. Michael Taylor

    As we’ve seen – especially over the last nine years – some governments conjure up the notion that the dots between problems and solutions are too far apart to join.

    I exclude John Howard from that bunch as he threw out the rule book. He started with a solution then created the problem.

  6. David Stakes

    Last Gov ignored anything that looked like a problem

  7. Michael Taylor

    I wish I’d had been a liar back in those days, Kaye. In Grade 2 I got the cane quite a lot for confessing to dastardly deeds.

    Our Grade 2 teacher had a cane she called “Jimmy the stick.” In her words I was a “ratbag” and thoroughly deserved my regular beatings. I was delighted when Jimmy broke in half while caning me. Karma.

    Who the f*ck gives 6-year-olds the cane! Those were cruel days. I could write a book about it if not for the horrible memories that’d emerge from the experiences. The school was full of kids whose fathers were returned servicemen. Over-the-top discipline was something we thought was normal stuff. Kids getting punched and kicked by teachers was probably universal to us.

    When we moved from Kangaroo Island to Adelaide I had a teacher who got thrills from whacking kids. He’d get them to bend over and he’d draw a circle in chalk on the kid’s trousers, then an x on chalk on the yard stick, and keep hitting the poor kid until he got the x inside the circle.

    He would have made a good politician. Of the LNP variety, of course.

  8. Michael Taylor

    GL, I’ve tweeted to Albo that when Scotland gains independence I’d like him to appoint me as Australia’s High Commissioner to the land of lefties, lochs, kilts and coos.

    It was ignored. ☹️

  9. Harry Lime

    We now observe the results of forty odd years of neoliberalism…von Hayek,Friedman,the Chicago school of Economics etc that have proselytised the alleged advantages of the ‘free market’..which has turned out to be something like the ideals of the East India Company, where the unsuspecting or uneducated locals had the shit exploited out of them ,and the ‘upper class’, ‘born to rule’ waxed rich off the back of them.Instead of wearing tailor made,fashionable military uniforms and invented commissions,the perpertrators now wear suits made in Italy and are seen with ‘royalty’, or are photographed with the Pope. Albo & co have a chance to do REAL good,but it’s going to take a lot of courage.Another excellent article by Kaye Lee.If we had politicians with your outlook we wouldn’t be in the shit we are now.

  10. Michael Taylor

    pierre, I await the federal ICAC with restless anticipation.

    Oh what fun it will be.

  11. Michael Taylor

    From Helen Haines’ Facebook page:

    “The next steps in the development of a robust federal integrity commission are incredibly important.

    I was pleased to meet with the eminent retired judges of the National Integrity Committee yesterday afternoon, including:
    Former Judge of the NSW Supreme Court of Appeal Paul Stein
    Former Judge of the High Court of Australia Mary Gaudron
    Former Judge of the Queensland Supreme Court of Appeal Margaret White
    Former Judge of the Western Australian Supreme Court of Appeal Carmel McLure
    Former Judge of the NSW Supreme Court of Appeal Anthony Whealy
    Former Judge of the Victorian Court of Appeal Stephen Charles
    Former Judge of the Victorian Court of Appeal David Harper
    and Kathy O’Sullivan and Ben Oquist from the Australia Institute.

    We discussed what we are looking for in the legislation for a federal integrity commission that is being developed by the new Government, and the importance of ensuring a future federal integrity body is about more than investigation, but about promoting a pro-integrity culture and governance structures. We talked about what it means to have an integrity commission that is fit for purpose and how to ensure such a body remains strong and respected once it is in place.

    There will be a lot of hard work in the coming months on a federal integrity commission, but I am looking forward to working constructively with the Government when drafting the bill and putting it to parliament, and meeting regularly with the former judges that make up the National Integrity Committee, to ensure we get the federal integrity commission Australia needs.

    #integrity #auspol”

  12. RoadKillCafe

    Yes, MT, suffer the little children, betrayed by those we depended on, so long ago, never forgotten, fuck their black hearts.
    Good value is Helen Haines, go hard or go home, now well supported by like minded independents and hopefully Labor puts up, that Albo doesn’t wimp out. Remain to be convinced that Albo is up to it, needs to grow a spine, tell news corpse to fuck off, stop trying to be everything to everyone, don’t let dead beat radio hacks bully you into stating a position. Environmentally we are in deep shit, Albo, Labor, you need to stand up on your fucking hind legs. No more mines, no more gas, no fuckingmore.

  13. wam

    A great post, Kaye, Head shakingly full of sad reality. Remember the ‘white collar’ crimes, bribery, embezzlement, money laundering and insider trading? In Adelaide, years age, a doctor stole thousands from Medicare and a woman stole $10 which one ‘had suffered enough from shame’ and who got 6 months? Albo will not make the Whitlam error but he has to walk the line regardless of the pushers front, back and sides. My darling had a lot to do with him when he was minister for local government. He is a listener, a sharer and an honest hard worker. Haven’t seen that since Gillard? I hope he has someone looking at federal ‘barrilaros’ in preparation for an ICAC.!
    ps
    Michael he certainly has Helen being enthusiastic in her approach to her new job?

  14. GL

    Michael @June 23, 2022 at 7:32 pm

    Does that mean the pronunciation course of Scottish words and sayings like “Arrr, och the noo, hoots mon, it’s a braw bricht moonlit nicht the nicht” was a waste of time?

  15. totaram

    “When governments have access to the best experts, the latest evidence and analysis and the benefits of a fiat currency,..”

    The problem is that the “best experts” are unable to agree on the benefits of a fiat currency. Most of them speak of “loony MMT”, and spruik the benefits of “budget repair”, and of “retiring debt”, which is where the problems begin.
    They don’t even acknowledge the financial sectoral identity, which does not depend on the nature of the currencies.
    That would tell them that budget surpluses in Australia typically come at the expense of increased private sector debt, which we know is largely housing debt.

    I’ll leave it there.

  16. Jack sprat

    But looking on the bright side ,we do have the best politicians that money can buy.

  17. totaram

    Jack sprat: I don’t think Clive Palmer would agree with you, and I am very pleased about that. 🙂

  18. wam

    GL try this:
    Scottish Elevator – Voice Recognition – ELEVEN

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The maximum upload file size: 2 MB. You can upload: image, audio, video, document, spreadsheet, interactive, text, archive, code, other. Links to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other services inserted in the comment text will be automatically embedded. Drop file here

Return to home page
%d bloggers like this: