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The economy is going great but the same can’t be said for the people

The Coalition will go into the next election on the back of what is expected to be a strong budget. There will be figures and announcements that back up their mantra of jobs and growth, lower taxes, and a surplus budget.

So if we are doing so well, why are 13.2% of the population (17.3% of children) living in poverty?

Why are 110,000 people homeless?

Why is the life expectancy of Indigenous people 10 years less than non-Indigenous people?

Why do our children rack up a large debt to gain the qualifications to provide the skilled labour we need?

Why are hospital waiting lists growing?

Why is home ownership falling?

Why are we subjecting our elderly to abuse from untrained staff?

Why do so many of our young people commit suicide?

Why are our disabled still excluded from contributing to society?

Why are we continually told about old people freezing/boiling to death because they cannot afford to turn on their appliances?

After 28 years of continuous growth, unemployment supposedly at 4.9%, years of lowering the tax rates, and a budget surplus (albeit largely based on a temporary windfall of higher than expected commodity prices), why are an increasing number of Australians being left behind?

We hear a lot about the importance of a strong economy but little emphasis is placed on the benefits of a happy society.

Whilst governments recognise the value of investing in infrastructure, they seem to ignore the value of investing in people.

I was going to say they throw money around like it’s water – except under the stewardship of the Coalition, water has become more precious than money.

We spend hundreds of billions buying war machinery but we can’t increase Newstart and Youth Allowance and the aged pension.

We give billions out in contracts with no tender process and no follow-up assessment while we cut the unemployed off from any payment if they don’t jump through all the hoops imposed on them weekly.

Companies who make billions in profit pay no tax but welfare recipients are pursued mercilessly for decades’ old potential debt.

Despite record company profits and low unemployment, wages remain stagnant.

We import workers to fill skills shortages but we can’t provide free tertiary education to skill our own workforce to meet the needs of the future.

We let developers denude the landscape but we cannot build affordable public housing.

We spend hundreds of millions on advertising and awareness campaigns on domestic violence but we close down refuges and defund legal advisory and support groups.

We spend billions of dollars locking people up for addiction-related ‘crimes’ but we cannot fund rehabilitation centres in the regions.

We have the money to fund religious school chaplains in state schools but not to fund a full-time youth counsellor trained to recognise and refer mental health issues.

We can afford to pay billions to consultants but we cannot afford to employ public servants with experience and expertise to provide independent advice to government.

We talk a lot about innovation and fund all sorts of ‘hubs’ and committees as we build an inferior national broadband network.

We can spend money on subsidies for fossil fuels but blame subsidies for renewables for rising power prices.

Instead of charging polluters for the pollution they produce, we spend billions on emissions reduction as we watch them rise every year.

Over 250 years ago, Edmund Burke, who is widely regarded as the philosophical founder of modern conservatism, gave a speech when he was elected to Parliament as a member for Bristol.

Parliament is not a congress of ambassadors from different and hostile interests, which interests each must maintain, as an agent and advocate, against other agents and advocates; but Parliament is a deliberative assembly of one nation, with one interest, that of the whole—where not local prejudices ought to guide, but the general good, resulting from the general reason of the whole. You choose a member, indeed; but when you have chosen him he is not a member of Bristol, but he is a member of Parliament.

The winner-take-all result where the party or Coalition with the majority of seats has all the power just does not work. Politicians are focused on beating their opponents rather than working collaboratively to do what is in the best interests of the nation. And increasingly, it is attracting those who are in it for themselves.

We must break the influence of vested interests and lobbyists who, by donating to a political party, can buy a whole bloc of votes.

We must invest in a public service capable of giving frank and fearless advice based on real evidence and who have the resources to oversee and assess the results from the expenditure of public money.

But first and foremost, we must elect people whose focus is on facilitating all Australians to make the best contribution they can to our society and supporting them to lead happy fulfilling lives in a healthy environment.

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  1. Jaquix

    Very good article. Sums up my feelings. Govt always crowing about “strong economy” but people certainly arent feeling “strong”. I notice yesterday the Labor Party were saying they were watching the Govt like a hawk, because they suspected they were going to use $2.5 billion in “unused spending” on the NDIS, to boost the budget figures. Because they suspect the “unused spending” is unspent by design.
    Bill Shortens Budget Reply Speech will be April 4th.

  2. Christopher J Ward

    Please state the source of your figures above. I have been ripped off by NAB and Comcare. The lesson appears to be: soak the poor and less fortunate (architects of their own failure) and pretend to improve certain service – NDIS etc.

  3. Kaye Lee


    Disability groups, Labor and some states are demanding the government rule out using unspent funding on the National Disability Insurance Scheme to bolster the bottom line in next week’s budget amid speculation the underspend could be between $2.5 and $5 billion this financial year, and more next year.

    Economists predict the unspent money, if put back on the bottom line instead of in the NDIS, could deliver a balanced budget or small surplus this financial year and a healthier-than-expected surplus next year.

    The NDIS is meant to cost $17 billion this financial year and $22 billion next year but its rollout is behind schedule due to poor administration which is resulting in some providers being underpaid and demand not being met.

    The state Labor Treasurers of Victoria and Queensland sent a joint letter to federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg calling on the government to release NDIS money so it could be spent on the disabled, not hoard it to prop up a surplus.

  4. Aortic

    Wonderfully detailed article again Kaye, well done. I have long advocated the introduction of public funding for elections, in an attempt to negate or hopefully eliminate the pernicious influence of lobbyists and ” contributors.” I think it was President Truman who said rightly that no one gives you money and expects nothing in return, and anyone attaining the office has been bought and sold one hundred times.The insidious influence of the NRA in the US and Koch Brothers and similar corporations are prime examples of the denigration of democracy and if we can afford 250 million for school chaplains we can afford to publicly fund all elections.

  5. Bronte ALLAN

    Very well wrtiten article, as usual Kaye! Hopefully this bloody mob of lying incompetent idiots will (maybe, fingers crossed?) actually tell the public exactly how “good” (sic) they are at money managing & really let us know just how much extra debt they have racked since taking over from the (supposedly) “incompetent money managing Labor lot”. Sadly it will never happen, they will, as usual, lie, cook the books & just generraly try to convince the voting public about just how good (sic) they are as money managers. Trouble is far too many of the voting public always believe this crap,obvously the Labor mob could never manage money like the COALition can! BASTARDS the lot of them!

  6. New England Cocky

    Oh Kaye Lee … you’ve done it again!! Excellent list of reasons for dismissing the RAbbott Turdball Morriscum Liarbral Notional$ misgovernment!!

  7. Tony

    Sortition!!! It’s the solution going forwards. Forget democracy, we need to be represented by a true cross-section of our Nation.

  8. corvus boreus

    Here’s a group happy-snap showing Labor’s contribution to gender equality taken on International Women’s Day.

    Heart-warming stuff.
    But who is the lady thrusting herself forward in order to obscure both the deputy leader and the senate leader?

    Meet Kimberley Kitchener, one of the few Labor politicians to earn the approval of Andrew Bolt.

    Here is a fairly succinct bio of the ‘ambitious’ Ms Kitchener and her ‘colourful’ past, including some snippets regarding her equally ‘ambitious and colourful’ husband, convicted fraudster, electoral vandal, poison-pen blogger and ‘powerbroker’ Andrew Laneryou.
    The whole story begs a few questions, such as;
    ‘Why was someone as demonstrably dodgy as Kitchener catapulted into a senate seat?’,
    ‘Why would Shorten consort and conspire with a blatant shonk like Landeryou?’, and, above all else,
    ‘Given that parking tickets in Melbourne max out at $261, what kind of sense of entitlement does it take to enable an individual to amass $6600 in unpaid parking fines?’

  9. John Lord

    We hear a lot about the importance of a strong economy but little emphasis is placed on the benefits of a happy society.

    Whilst governments recognise the value of investing in infrastructure, they seem to ignore the value of investing in people.

    Capitalism has no interest in principles such as these. Your list Kaye shows the reality of our living standards.

  10. totaram

    Tony: the “cross section of our nation” will very quickly become a “cross section of vested interests” as various people are “convinced” about the “benefits” of a certain policy. No change from the current mess. Do you think people in the coalition government really don’t believe in Anthropogenic climate change? Except for a few genuine nut-cases, most of them take their positions because of funding and support from their “donors”. Do you think Trump really believes any of the guff he spouts from time to time? He does it to ensure his “base” will continue to support him, while he continues to rip everyone off (including them of course).

    Getting the money out of the politics is the main plank of any improvement. Everything else is just deflection and delusion.

  11. Frances

    It doesn’t matter who you vote for, a politician will get in. We are governed by lawyers, corporate types and those who can’t get a job elsewhere.

  12. corvus boreus

    Just checked out the ABC site for the NSW election.
    At this stage, in the NSW upper house, it looks like the obnoxious whackjob called David Leyjonhjelm (lib-dems) will be joining the odious troll called Mark Latham (PHON), and this pair of putrid trematodes will be wielding a large slice of the balance of power.

  13. Kaye Lee


    It’s odd. The results I am looking at say only 8.2% of the vote has been counted but it also says only 1 of the 21 seats is in doubt.

  14. corvus boreus

    Kaye Lee,
    I reckon that ‘8.2% counted’ is either a typo, or (less likely) that it might refer to the percentage of BTL senate ballots counted.

  15. Alcibiades

    corvus boreus
    At least the scum are not Federally elected, am grateful at least for that small mercy from Dog. Eight year terms though …

    Latham will in all probability jump the One Notion ship as so many have before him and use his eight years and soapbox position to create & attempt to cement his own unique ‘Party’ brand, yet another grouping of nutjobs. 🙁

  16. corvus boreus

    I agree that Latham will probably soon ditch his affiliation with ‘brand Pauline’, he seems to be an inveterate ‘unfriender’ .
    I am less certain that his long-term strategy is to use his soapbox as the springboard to form a new political party.
    I think it may just be a case of a pathologically malicious narcissist (read chronic attention-whoring troll), who was suffering from severe relevance deprivation after being booted off SKY, revelling in another megaphoned platform from which he can cause widespread hurt and offense with his sledging and stirring, relishing another opportunity to exploit a position of privilege to attack the vulnerable.
    Either way, as you say, 🙁

  17. Kaye Lee

    They get to play with Fred Nile who is still there for another four years. He will be 89 by the time he comes up for re-election in 2023.

  18. guest

    They say more carbon emissions reductions would ruin the economy. Do they ever think that it is the economy that is at fault?

  19. Alcibiades

    No doubt.
    Yet this is one gig he cannot be sacked from, unlike all the previous, if he’s sufficiently careful. As you say, a narcissist & more, so what better way to spread his vile bile & puff his pompous self up then as the Leader of his very own party ? Like others of his ilk he would be well aware of the license to print money that the One Notion electoral model is. In his own little bitter mind, his ~$80,000+ Federal parliamentary pension, along with his newest remuneration & allowances to come, will no doubt be wholly inadequate for an insufficiently publicly acclaimed/recognised ‘Man’ of ‘Calibre’ such as he, no ?

    PS Really appreciated & enjoyed the insightful comment/explanation re ticks elsewhere. Thank you. 🙂

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