Abbott and Hockey have made their opening bid and guardedly indicated their willingness to negotiate. Instead of being ready to roll (publicly at least), all I hear from Labor is reaction with no positive alternatives offered.
They are missing a huge opportunity here. The media and public are doing the negative advertising for them. They should be focusing on the coming negotiation by having alternatives ready to offer.
Let’s try and help them.
We will accept the 2% income tax increase for high income earners if it is permanent. Perhaps make it for those on over $200,000 to allow for bracket creep.
We will accept the re-indexation of the fuel excise if you abolish the fuel tax credit scheme to mining companies.
We will accept the delayed rollout of superannuation guarantee increases if you reinstate the co-payment for low income earners and the tax on superannuees earning over $100,000 pa in retirement – and don’t tell me this is impossible to implement. The superannuation body issues a statement of earnings (quarterly if necessary) and anyone earning over $100,000 completes a tax return where the appropriate taxation will be charged. They could make an optional quarterly payment in advance with taxation reconciled in an annual tax return.
We will accept an increase in the pension age to 68 by 2035 and an increase in the superannuation access age to 63.
We will forego the short term policy of $10,000 incentives to employ people over 50 in favour of creating more flexible work arrangements for people in their later working life, allowing them to move to fractional positions, and to have longer leave periods. In return we want the senior education supplement reinstated.
We will not accept the health co-payments but will instead, get rid of the Private Health Insurance rebate which will save the budget about $3 billion a year even considering the increased demand for public hospitals (est $2.5 billion compared to the $5.5 billion the rebate costs).
We will accept the formation of a Green Army under certain conditions:
– It must be voluntary and participants who fail to find employment at the completion of their 6 months are immediately eligible for the dole.
– They must be paid appropriate superannuation.
– They are to be administered by a public service department rather than being tendered out to service providers who are then paid for the privilege of having a cheap workforce with no workplace entitlements. This will provide greater transparency and oversight, employment for public servants, and forestall any chance of exploitation by unscrupulous private enterprise labour providers.
– Work must not replace any paid employment. Projects should be overseen by Landcare (or similar groups) who should have their funding reinstated. Universities could also suggest projects and would no doubt be grateful for the assistance. Environmental groups would happily use the manpower without having to be paid to do it.
We will accept the lowering of the threshold of eligibility for FTB – B from $150,000 to $100,000 but do not accept the freeze on indexation of FTB – A for 2 years or the change in indexation for pensions and other payments. All indexation should be based on AMWE rather than CPI to maintain relative quality of life.
We do not agree to the reopening of the ABCC but will support a Federal Corruption Commission.
We suggest that the freeze on politicians’ wages be extended to three years.
We do not support any funding cuts to the ABC and SBS.
We do not agree with spending $245 million on the school chaplaincy program or $20 million on marriage counselling vouchers. This money should be used to reinstate promised funding to the many crime prevention and early intervention programs that have recently had their funding cut.
We do not agree to the changes to the current paid parental leave scheme. This money should be spent on increasing Newstart, Abstudy and Youth Allowance for singles by $50 per week. The Parliamentary Budget Office says that would cost about $7.4 billion over the forward estimates. We will not allow the proposed changes to cut young people off from payments for 6 months of the year.
We oppose the 1.5% decrease in company tax and we will not need the 1.5% levy on businesses for the PPL. This extra revenue can be spent on affordable child care and housing.
We agree to the 0.5% increase in the medicare levy to fund the NDIS and suggest a further 0.5% increase to fund hospitals, preventative health measures, medical research, and aged care. This money should not be kept in a slush fund with only the interest doled out to private companies. It should be invested back into health as collected rather than used to reduce the deficit.
Research agencies like the CSIRO should immediately have their funding reinstated and universities should be the other recipient of research funds rather than private pharmaceutical firms. Patents can earn us a lot of money.
We agree to including a percentage of the family home in the asset test for the pension, with an appropriate revision of the asset ceiling. The percentage should be reduced for each year that it has been the family home.
We do not agree to increased defence spending. The defence budget should be frozen until the overall budget is in surplus with a provision for emergency funding should a threat arise.
We do not agree with rescinding the carbon and mining taxes or the establishment of the emissions reduction fund or any windback of in the targets for emission reduction or renewable energy. We do not support cutting the benefits paid from these taxes, but we do support increasing the scope of the mining tax to help pay for them.
We do not agree with the closure of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.
We do not agree with offshore processing for asylum seekers or resettlement in Cambodia. We do not agree to the decrease in foreign aid.
We do not agree to spending tens of billions on an NBN that will only see certain properties connected. We are all paying for it and should all receive the same benefit if physically possible so we agree to FttP NBN.
We will accept a lowering of the threshold of HECS debt repayments to $50,000 but we will not support any interest increases.
When you tally up the above measures you will see that we have saved tens of billions of dollars, more evenly shared the burden, and achieved far better outcomes.
We are willing to listen further but let’s be absolutely clear about one thing…
WE WILL NOT ACCEPT, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, CUTS TO EDUCATION OR THE DEREGULATION OF UNIVERSITY FEES