Who would have ever predicted that Australia would become a socialist state under a Coalition government?
Well – actually, the socialist-style policies have been adopted, as a temporary measure, in extraordinary circumstances, by a multi-political group of politicians and advisers (possibly with some of them having to firmly grit their teeth before agreeing to the proposals), and unravelling the situation post-pandemic will be, to put it mildly, challenging!
We have already seen the entente developed between Christian Porter and Sally McManus put on notice by Porter’s latest gambit.
So at this stage, we need to look ahead far enough to see what policies will enable the country to arrive at a suitable new normal with least destruction of people’s lives.
After all – what is the point in falling over backwards to stop people from succumbing to Covid-19 and dying prematurely, if they are then going to be scraping the bottom of the barrel to eke out a hand to mouth existence?
Let’s look at some likely issues and solutions:
- Action on climate change cannot be put on hold any longer than necessary, and if we can show that, using largely cheaply accessed, renewable and natural resources for energy generation – sun, wind and water – we could set an example for others nations to follow as they emerge from the maelstrom and work to recover.
- Many who have lost their jobs will not be employed immediately once conditions ease, and many will not find any employment, particularly those in older age brackets.
- Many in this last group may be carrying a HECS debt or have other financial commitments such as a mortgage or other debts.
- Perhaps existing HECS debts should be waived along with fees for public education at all levels, while private schools should cease to receive public funding, unless, maybe, they offer scholarships to able students who cannot afford the fees.
- Along with increasing available energy, we need to develop industries that will offer employment and reduce our dependency on imports, while possibly even offering exporting options other than minerals, agriculture and livestock.
- Universities may have to re-think their normal selection criteria, given the disruption to education, and state/territory TAFE colleges should be revived to replace the corrupt and exorbitantly expensive private system.
- Centrelink has become an unwieldy and inhumane leviathan, and traversing its systems challenges even highly intelligent people. It has proved incapable of using outsourcing and algorithmic processes effectively – or legally – and its scope needs to be severely limited.
- Recent public enquiries have made it very clear that, without proper oversight, regulations are ignored, so all regulatory bodies need to be beefed up!
- Throw out the cashless welfare card once and for all and provide help to people whose budgeting skills are limited! That would mean more money under government’s control and available for the needy, rather than in the pockets of the cards’ providers!
- NDIS will require a transfusion and needs to ensure that all staff dealing with applicants for assistance are properly trained and backed up by a competent and suitably qualified appeal systems.
- No caring organisations – health, aged care, disability support etc – should be held by private, for-profit organisations.
- Our working Visa system is also out of control, and under-regulated, seemingly designed to make money, rather than to ensure that we encourage suitably qualified people to seek work for which there are no qualified Australian job seekers, and, in a world that has been turned upside down, we need to re-examine our refugee policies and ensure they deal with applicants in a humane way.
- After the Ruby Princess debacle, maybe the Home Affairs portfolio needs to be separated out again as it is not working well in its current format.
- We need to seriously look at a UBI if we want to simplify Centrelink.
- We need to put caps on CEO salaries, at the same time as we completely remove donations to political parties, replacing them with a tax payer funded election allowance.
- Clearly tax reform is essential and the ability to minimise tax so remarkably that often none is paid has to be nipped in the bud!
That is not everything needing consideration and it clearly cannot all be done at once.
Which is why Parliament should be sitting! NOW!
Some countries still use barter systems.
We use money.
Both are designed to enable people to trade goods and services in a reasonably equitable manner.
Problems arise when some, by inheritance, hard work or illegally, amass far more than they need, and fail to either use the excess to invest in new industries or follow philanthropic paths to assist the less fortunate.
So if the economy slows down, those with barely enough to cover basic needs cannot spend on extras, while those with more than they require, take the surplus out of circulation in ways which minimise tax paid on investments.
Smart – but not conducive to a cohesive society!
I have specifically studied mathematics, including statistics, law and basic economics and worked as a teacher, a lawyer and a mediator. I am not an expert in anything and there are many, like John Hewson, Greg Combet, researchers in CSIRO and in the universities, with much higher levels of skills and experience, who could contribute to establishing policy guidelines and priorities.
Being a politician does not preclude accepting advice from experts – as is being demonstrated currently by our National Cabinet.
My three great, grandchildren are all under 10.
I want them to have a future!
I end as always – this is my 2020 New Year Resolution:
“I will do everything in my power to enable Australia to be restored to responsible government.”
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