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Things for Labor to ponder in the New Year.

I have been writing for the AIMN for about fourteen months. Tony Abbott being elected Prime Minister made me realise it is all hands on deck to save this country and I have been trying ever since to inform myself and others of the truth.

During that time I have read so many good suggestions mingled with a lot of frustration. To all who have made suggestions and passed on things they have read, I thank you. I have learned a lot.

I can only hope that someone with more power than a middle-aged woman in jammies has been listening to you.

In the New Year I hope that Bill Shorten and the Labor Party will emerge with some ideas and commitments as to the direction in which they want this country to go.

Here is my list of things I would like to hear about from Labor.

A firm commitment to action on climate change

We have a government who sees our success in reducing emissions as a reason to lower our targets instead of a spur to increase our goals and speed up the inevitable adjustment to a sustainable energy future.

A commitment to defend Medicare

Consult with the health industry to come up with areas to make savings or use funding more effectively.

Consider raising the Medicare levy, consider voluntary euthanasia – also consider explaining that we CAN afford universal health care and make the case for it.

Investment in education

Commit to the original Gonski funding but don’t take money from the universities to pay for it. Education is an investment in our future. Take on board the suggestion for maths and science specialists in primary schools.

Employment

Consider reinstating the Commonwealth Employment Service. Currently, employment and recruitment agencies take a lot of money from employers while signing employees up to contracts that deprive them of entitlements. Eliminate the middle man, employ some public servants, and hook people up with worthwhile employment.

Provide some form of a job guarantee where, rather than working for the dole, unemployed people are paid the minimum wage to do worthwhile jobs in the community and environment.

Public transport

Push the advantages of public transport for our cities and high speed rail linking our capital cities via regional areas.

Investment in research and innovation

Stop this ridiculous short term thinking that cutting funding to agencies like the CSIRO is a saving. We NEED ideas for the future and employment for our best and brightest. We also need agencies like the BoM keeping us informed about the science.

Federal ICAC

We need this for so many reasons. It MUST be done to put some integrity and trust back into the political system.

NBN

Is it too late to salvage the NBN? Can something be done about Telstra’s strangle hold?

Asylum seekers

We need a completely new approach where this discussion is put back into perspective. With over 60,000 people overstaying their tourist and student visas last year, the few asylum seekers who come by boat should hardly be considered a burden.

Change the debate to what Australia’s contribution to the global refugee crisis should be and stop paying poor countries to shoulder our responsibilities.

Foreign Aid

If we are to have any credibility, any decency, we must increase our Foreign Aid back to promised targets and beyond if we can afford it. We use a disproportionate amount of the world’s finite resources and we are not carrying our weight in paying for that by lifting others out of poverty and protecting them from human rights abuses.

Income Inequality

It is unconscionable that 1 in 7 Australians live in poverty. Increasing Newstart and other welfare payments by $50 a week would go a long way to producing a demand driven boost to the economy whilst contributing to an easing of the health, educational and social disadvantage felt by so many Australians.

Housing Affordability

With over 100,000 Australians homeless, we need to do something urgently to help provide more affordable housing. An important aspect of Australia’s egalitarian past was home ownership. Current policies make this an unaffordable dream for most.

Childcare

Forget expensive paid parental leave and rebates for nannies – work on providing quality affordable childcare for those of us who have no choice but to work.

 

I understand that it costs money to provide the society we all want so here is a list of places to find some:

Corporate tax avoidance

Superannuation tax concessions

Capital gains and negative gearing tax concessions

A financial transactions tax

Increased Medicare levy

Changes to the provisional tax rates

Carbon pricing

An improved mining tax

Fossil fuel subsidies

Defence spending

Politicians (past and present) entitlements

 

I hope you use the break to come up with a plan and come out fighting in 2015. This middle-aged woman in jammies needs some help.

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103 comments

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  1. misseagle

    A considered comment. Thank you for this. I will be sharing this – as well as keeping it on my Evernote collection. Look forward to hearing more as the year progresses.

  2. Maureen Walton (@maureen_walton)

    Great article Kay, you have so many great suggestions and all ones that I would have chosen. I really hope that the Labor people all take note and get to work on them all. Make plans and come up with really great workable ways to change the old ways into new modern ideas and work with Communities not like LNP against them….

  3. Annie B

    Great comment Maureen …….. and well written article, Kaye …….

  4. Peter Ball

    agree and I’d like to see the ALP be a bit more assertive when talking to the Press and during interviews with Liberal Members , instead of being sooooo nice all the time , to me they behave like PUNCHING BAGS when dealing with Murdoch Journalists etc

  5. Mary Mannison

    Yes, thanks for all the informative articles this year, but in your recommendations for Labor’s development of a policy that would gain more support, you forgot to mention pulling our troops out of the US fiasco in Iraq…

  6. Kaye Lee

    I welcome any suggestions Mary and that is a good one. My mind is full of things I want from my government.

  7. keerti

    great! particularly the idea of employing the unemployed . as well as giving many a degree of self respect, it would be a net benefit to theeconomy. how to pay for it? carbon tax and wealth tax….gina, time to repay the mineral wealth you have sucked out of the country!

  8. paul walter

    I agree it’s about Labor values. Labor only foundered after straying from its constructive Kevin 07 manifesto

    The question is, has Labor deteriorated to the point where the right and the pragmatists hold sway, control agendas and block the left from raising amy serious concerns that need to be raised and also how comprehensively the Big End of town would pursue Labor for seeking to present a democratic agenda and gain a mandate for its implementation.

    Have the lessons of the last decade and more been learned or do we just get more “easy outs” of the do nothing have a good leech type that goes with the Obeid era?

    Digressing, it is fair to say that Pope Francis ‘latest statement critical of anti science and climate change denialism should help in the restoring of Labor’s relative credibility within the community and strengthen its chances of regaining government.

  9. Kaye Lee

    Pope Francis has said a lot of good stuff lately including about poverty and the dangers of corporate greed. He would be perhaps more credible if the Vatican wasn’t such a big player on the global stock market and didn’t have custodianship of property beyond valuation.

    Back at home….one thing that really annoys me is the way Bill Shorten (and most Labor and Green politicians) begin every sentence with “Tony Abbott…”. The man is a pissant. I want to hear sentences beginning with “Our plan to improve….”

  10. clarelhdm

    great list Kaye, I certainly value your writings. One more suggestion: Labor has to support Indigenous Australians remaining on their traditional lands and remove the shameful policies put in place by the Intervention, especially income management. Our treatment of First People’s is appalling, and I believe all our other issues such as racism, income inequality, asylum seeker scapegoating etc stem from this first injustice.

  11. donwreford

    Both main parties are stuffed, its just that Abbott is the greater villain, we can see in the future and for many realistically know the ship is going down, the politicians know they have to get what ever life belts {financial gain] they can get, all politicians have to keep in with the rich to get their share of the crumbs, here we are talking a mere few million dollars to squirrel away and get out without losing face.

  12. Keitha Granville

    Love the plan about reinstating the CES. The current system seems to me to be all about paying agencies NOT to find jobs for people. My son has been looking for 2 years now, and he does the looking – the agency does nothing at all except make sure he “complies” so that Centrelink continues to hand out a few dollars so he can feed himself.
    Have you sent all this to Bill Shorten ? If so, has he replied ? We must make sure that Labor KNOWS we will back them, but only if they have plans that will get back to the basic values of fairness and equity that we used to have. I reckon that the first party that chooses to dismantle some of the pollies perks would get a huge boost in the polls for starters. But they have to follow through. No mealy mouthed promises that get tossed at the first hurdle with all sorts of excuses – oh wait, that’s this mob. Labor cannot make that mistake.

  13. lawrencewinder

    Nationalize the Banks, mines and de-fund private education.

  14. DanDark

    Excellent Kaye, we need to articulate what we want, not what we don’t want 🙂

    We need to focus on the present and the future and how we as a people want our country shaped
    What our priorities are, and what type of nation we want to leave our future generations
    A clever country that is a good global citizen, a country that cares about the most vulnerable in society
    A world class education system as with the health system, we are a wealthy nation always have been
    and we can afford for kids to go to Uni without burdening them with a huge debt hanging around their neck
    We can afford good public transport, we can afford to raise New Start

    We can do alot of things we need in this country, it comes down to the govs policies and what is a priority for them not us
    Soooo I Hope Labor get the message and finds the Light on the hill they misplaced…….

  15. Kaye Lee

    clarelhdm,

    A very important inclusion. I find the whole Indigenous discussion so patronising. I have had the honour of being taught many lessons by some amazing Aboriginal people. I also recognise the struggle some of them face. I will write a story about it one day. In the mean time, would it be too much to recognise our invasion, the damage it has caused, our obligations to the original custodians of this land, and to recognise that they have much to teach us about many things?

    We have robbed them of their way of life and made it very hard for them to exist in our way of life. We have dictated to them what we think best as we have taken everything they held dear and caused introduced and lifestyle diseases they would never have faced except for us.

    There are some amazing people out there who have forgiven us for the past and who would lead us to a future where we could learn from each other. Sadly, most of them have been defunded, silenced, cast aside to save a few million towards a budget surplus while Abbott spends hundreds of millions on new planes for himself and his press entourage and hundreds of thousands entertaining his travelling pack of billionaires.

  16. Florence nee Fedup

    As for NBN. the copper and other multi technology will be replaced with fibre. The problem is, we will get there much later and at much greater cost.

    Unscrambling, bringing Telstra and lesser extent, Optus back into the mix will be nearly impossible to sort out. We will probably never have the most efficient outcome.

    It seems that it is the norm for all Labor reforms to be bought in more than once in this country.

    Labor builds. LNP demolishes. Labor then rebuilds. One must say, we could be seen as a stupid lot.

  17. mars08

    What about a genuine commitment to social harmony in Australian society????

    No more of this foolish dog-whistle politics, promoting xenophobia, race baiting and “Team Australia” bullshit.

    Seriously Labor… don’t deny it… you KNOW you’re doing it…

  18. Sportysa05

    Couldn’t have said it better myself, all the ideas, suggestions have been posted over and over again. I agree there isn’t a bottomless pit of money but we are a wealthy country that has had governments too gutless to tackle taxation reform, that has seen profits funneled to overseas tax havens, funds that should be flowing into our government coffers, that would fund all the suggestions and more!

  19. lvan612014

    So agree. Even business want the CES to return.

  20. Dave

    The current government should be always referred to as the’Abbott Regime’by all labor people as that’s what it is.The tax avoiders
    should be referred to as ‘parasites ‘as they continue to milk the Aussie taxpayers while at the same time convincing the voters that they are benevolent to society.It didn’t take long for Hockey to back down on profit shifting , obviously got a tap on the shoulder from Murdoch with his 146 offshore Grand Caiman” offices”

  21. corvus boreus

    Kaye Lee,
    I know so much more about political affairs than I did this time last year(economically I still count corn kernels with my toes), and have much improved investigative skills, and much of my obligation for this goes to you. Clinical research within a broader contextual framework, with a firm grounding in ethics, honestly communicated. I admire and aspire.
    My sincere gratitude.

    A suggestion off the top of my head would be a protective banking legislation for domestic assets akin to Roosevelts’ Glass/Steagall act, to defend property and personal savings against the consequences of risky financial speculation by the banks.

    I am not sure if I have mentioned this before, but I am also firmly in favor of a federal ICAC, and the formation of a standing advisory and regulatory body to guard against(personally profitable) ‘oversights’ and ‘errors’ by pollies and their staff. Mandatory substance testing for all elected members prior to house votes could also help boost the integrity in Canberra.

    I have other grand visions, like a Domesday-style national environmental and resource audit, and a comprehensive and integrated land/vegetation management strategy(it ain’t just about atmospheric carbon), but such can be elaborated on later with more detail and clarity.

    The crucial thing is that we should all reject the morally unacceptable and plain stupid, and try to work together to help formulate and implement viable, beneficial, sustainable alternatives that do not hurt our present or futures, and that we cherish and exercise our individual and collective intelligence, decency and positivity.

  22. Lyle Upson.

    my interest in the homelessness issue goes to the specific matter of mental disability accommodation … when a medical specialist writes ‘needs accommodation’, this should never be dismissed or ignored by an arrogant bureaucracy. There is strong argument in the field of person-environment psychology that a mentally disabled person will be unable to pursue an ameliorative pathway to good health while living in city parks … to permit such, suggests a serious breakdown in health care. If a mentally disabled person is granted a Disability Support Pension, the obligation to accommodate that person should and must become part of the health treatment

    i have written extensively on non-medicated mental health treatment options and my study and research has led me to write about Life Affairs Analysis, which appears more and more to be a stream within the field of Bioecology (Ecology of Human Development – Urie Bronfenbrenner). This is in contrast to the Biomedical model of mental health treatment options that has a psychiatrist determine a brain chemical imbalance in follow to, sometimes, little more than a 30 minute discussion with the sufferer. Clearly that cannot be described as sound science; that established neuroscience research can be condensed to a 30 minute discussion and a packet of medications. This appears to be a breakdown in the science method in practice

    to ignore the life affairs of a sufferer, as does the Biomedical model, leaving a sufferer to live in a city park, simply reads so wrong. Society seems to permit such to continue on the blind assumption that the psychiatrist knows best, and that if a psychiatrist does write ‘needs accommodation’ on the blind assumption that the bureaucracy is following such instructions. While we are all told about stigma, this stigma comes about due to the blind assumptions that lead to the cliché ‘the angry sufferer must be off his/her meds’, as if meds can supplant the life affairs reality of a sufferer, hence the stigma permits the breakdown of a sufferers life affairs

    my hope is that the homelessness/accommodation policy encompasses the Bioecological non-medicated mental health treatment options for mental disability sufferers, rather than the broad-brush accommodation needs of the wider group caught in the low-income/poverty trap experienced by so many – hence we have two categories being low-income accommodation and (to use the phrase i coined) a Personal Hospital applicable to the sufferer, when the medical specialist puts to writing, the instruction, ‘needs accommodation’

  23. Matthew Oborne

    The bar has been set for a radical re imagining of this governments relationship to its citizens, services are being pulled apart, defunded and now the social safety net of pensions disabiltiy and unemployment are most likely going to suffer an attempt to diminish them, so when Labor get back in, why not do more than just repair why not completely re asses the situation, their is a move for basic income and trials of it showed youth were far more likely to continue study into universities than start any work just to get money, health benefits were enormous removing financial stress from the poor, domestic violence dropped, crime overall dropped and poverty became non existent. The Libs threw away the rule book on how governents provide stability regardless of which party get in, and if Labor did basic income so no over 18 had less than say $600 per week then the Liberal Party would only be able to bring poverty back after it ended, I am confident Australians are aware we could end poverty rather than fund stupidity and the rich (not mutually exclusive)

  24. Kaye Lee

    That whole profit-shifting “you give me a big paper loan and I’ll pay it back with interest to Luxembourg” crap has to stop.

    My 23 year old son has been in hospital for over two months. I have tried to apply for Newstart for him as he obviously had to stop his contract employment. He lives at home and had about $20,000 in the bank saved up to buy a car and has no other assets. He told the truth and has been excluded from payment for 3 months because of his “liquid assets”. He just got discharged and is coping at home with the daily help of community nurses. I went to the chemist with the prescriptions and list of stuff he needs. The bill is almost $400 because he is a “general” patient. He also has countless specialist visits, pathology tests, and physiotherapy in front of him. If he had bought a car before he went into hospital, or gone on a holiday or pissed it up against a wall instead of working and saving, he would have a concession card to reduce his medical bills.

    Sorry for the personal rant but when Rupert Murdoch can be given $882 million by our government by moving money around to avoid tax and my son is being sent backwards when he has so little, has been honest, and is so ill, I just wonder about our system. Who is it designed to protect?

  25. Florence nee Fedup

    We need to get the message to MPs that misleading parliament is a mortal sin, not on. It used to man instant dismissal. This so called government will not even allow debate to occur. It should always be treated in a bipartisan manner.

  26. Matters Not

    Kaye Lee said:

    will emerge with some ideas and commitments

    While I applaud that ‘sentiment’, I think that ‘strategy’ should also be at the forefront of their thinking.

    Take the rise of Whitlam as an example. When Whitlam began his ‘long march’ to government, he firstly ‘cultivated’ the ground. He explained what he saw was ‘wrong’, what needed to be done, including reasons for same, and then toured the country with this new ‘vision’. It was positive. He offered hope for a better world. Culminating in ‘Time for a Change’.

    People ‘bought’ the ‘vision’, with some enthusiasm, and (almost) demanded that government act.

    Whitlam didn’t spring ‘surprises’, he responded to expectations that he himself had created, albeit over a long period of time.

    Having said that, Labor needs to do some ‘deep and meaningfuls’ as to what are real and ongoing ‘issues’.

    Just two examples. Firstly, ‘climate change’ is a crunch (and differentiating) issue. Why not bring James Hansen to Australia, have him do a speaking tour, TV appearances and the like.

    Secondly, ‘inequality’, in terms of both ‘wealth’ and ‘income’, is also a ‘crunch’ issue. Why not bring Thomas Piketty to Australia to do a similar tour as I outline above.

    The fact that most people in Australia probably haven’t heard of either of the two gentlemen I mention above sums up the problem of Shorten et al.

    In summary, the current ALP plays ‘gotcha’ on Abbott’s agenda. It could ‘work’ but it’s lacking in substance and imagination.

    Forget ‘tactics’. Think more about ‘strategy’, defined in terms of ‘vision’, ‘goals’, ‘values’ and the like.

  27. Kaye Lee

    In 2010, Christopher Monckton and James Hansen both toured Australia. Monckton is a fruitcake with no scientific qualifications at all. He is paid by people like Gina Rinehart, as is Ian Plimer, to promote climate change denial. Hansen is an American adjunct professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University. He is best known for his research in the field of climatology, his testimony on climate change to congressional committees in 1988 that helped raise broad awareness of global warming, and his advocacy of action to avoid dangerous climate change.

    Maurice Newman was the chairman of the ABC at the time. He believed that climate sceptics and denialists didn’t get a run in the media. Monckton was given extensive national coverage on television, radio and online. Hansen did one interview with Philip Adams. Monckton was discussed 161 times on the ABC while Hansen was only mentioned nine times.

    In order to bestow upon future generations a planet like the one we received, we need to win

  28. kathysutherland2013

    From one middle-aged woman in jammies to another, spot on, Kaye. My wishes can probably be summed up in a plaintive cry, “I want the Labor Party back! Who has taken it?”

  29. Matters Not

    Christopher Monckton and James Hansen both toured Australia

    Indeed they did. And yes the MSM ‘coverage’ was outrageous. Another case of ‘stunts’ winning over ‘substance’.

    (BTW did anyone note that Mark Simkin from the ‘left biased’ ABC has joined Tony Abbott’s media team. But perhaps, more importantly, is any ABC watcher surprised?)

    It seems to me that if Shorten is to set an agenda, he has to be ‘front and centre’. He has to be ‘relentless’.

    If he can persuade Hansen, for example. to come to Australia, then he has to be at his side for days on end.

    In short, don’t ‘hope’ the ‘publicity’ will happen. Make it happen.

    Persist! Work out what your vision is and persist. Promote! Don’t ‘react’. Forget Abbott. Behave as though he isn’t there. Ignore him. Treat him with disdain. Starve him of oxygen. Etc, etc.

    Be visionary.

  30. Dandark

    Matters Not said”Be visionary”
    I give Mark Simkin 3 months in his new job…. 🙂
    The bloke is a second rate journo, the ABC will be better without him that’s for sure.

  31. Matters Not

    Dandark said:

    I give Mark Simkin 3 months in his new job

    “New job”, really? Can I beg to disagree. Simkin, now under Abbott’s direct employ will be doing the same job, he’s been doing for years.

  32. Kerri

    I think the first step is getting citizens(voters) to recognise that taxes are not a punishment dished out to make our lives a misery, and that your taxes are an investment in the society you live in, and the prime purpose of Government is to use those taxes to assist a society in being all it wants to be. Taxes in the bank make no sense whatsoever. (Some call it a “surplus”. It’s actually your taxes NOT at work) if you want to live in a low taxing country, then get used to lousy roads, poor public transport, seniors living in poverty, unemployed reduced to begging or stealing, kids growing up to be labourers regardless of their talents and in spite of their aspirations, disabled reduced to begging. I have seen this in other countries and while it may suit Gina and co it does not represent the sort of country I want to live in.

  33. DanDark

    Matters Not LoL
    Well technically its a “new job”, just under a different heading on the pay role lists of the Gov…
    and a new desk
    And yes totally agree, don’t react even when its hard not too, starve them of info,
    when we react we actually give the opposition/enemy ammunition
    “Give them nuttin and take them nowhere” and they hate it, I use this strategy all the time in life 🙂

  34. stephengb2014

    Kaye Lee
    you forgot to superprofit tax the banks

  35. John Fraser

    <

    To the highly esteemed "middle aged woman in jammies",

    Thank you for this list of things that all Australian political parties should be doing for Australians.

    Thankfully there is absolutely no chance of Abbotts gang ever doing some ….. of what Australians consider to be important to the Aussie way of life …. of the corporate (covers a lot) things you have listed.

    And that gives the Labor party quite a lot to wedge Abbott with.

    The Labor party can't lose with Medicare and childcare.

    Even more Aussies are realising that they have been conned by Abbott ($550) on Carbon pricing …. so the Labor party should go along with The Greens when they are attacking Abbott and double the impact.

    The NBN is one area where Labor can wedge Abbotts gang and put so much pressure on Turnbull that the Aussie public sees that he is not an alternative and all that we have is Abbott.

    Education is a winner for Labor and having Pyne there is a bonus.

    CSIRO is a winner for Labor …. but they have to get stuck into Hunt ….. with The Greens.

    Defence …. Labor has been handed a real New Years gift there with Abbott putting Andrews in charge (god must have a sense of humour).

    Every change Abbott has made are the "strongarm" changes ….. showing Australia just how tough he is.

    But just like Kaye Lee ……. referring to herself as "a middle aged woman in jammies" ……. Abbott has got it wrong.

    Abbott doesn't know how to take the Australian public with him when tough times are called for …. shit he doesn't even know how to spread the tough bits around evenly …………. and that spells "One Term Tony".

    Now its just a matter of tactics for Labor …… and I hope they can see the prize and work as exceptionally hard as Kaye Lee does.

    Everything you do on this site is very much appreciated.

    Best wishes and health for you and all your family Kaye Lee.

  36. stephengb2014

    We have to find a way to tax the black econmomy, the expense accounts and the myrard of fringebenefits that thd big boys live on whilst not touching their obscene salaries.
    s

  37. Florence nee Fedup

    Is it not Australian values we are talking about. A fair days work for a fair days pay. Fair go for all. A civil society is what we should be aiming for.

    We are a wealthy country, which is owned by all. Why should the wealth only be available to those with the money. We all contribute to creation of the wealth, not just the boss.

    Yes Labor should not react to Abbott in any way. Should be ignored. Yes, get out and sell what they believe in. Take control of the agenda. That is what Abbott did.

  38. Diane McLauchlan

    So many great ideas Kay and others have been added . How do we get Labor to discuss & possibly take on board. Anyone got a contact ?

  39. David K

    @ Kaye LeeDecember 29, 2014 at 10:30 pm

    That’s dumb thinking economically too. When your son regains employment he will have to start rebuilding his savings, so his spending and it’s benefit to the economy will be little better than it is now.

    I reckon the miserable savings the government makes would be pretty much offset by the loss of retail activity and it’s effects. Unemployment begets unemployment.

  40. David K

    I’d add school chaplains and marriage counselling to the list as well.

  41. coriti

    A very good list woman in jammies. Not much to add.

  42. Ange Kenos

    The only thing that I disagree with here is $50 extra for the unemployed… That would place a severe economic burden upon the nation. Everything else is either ALP policy or was and within reach. But to get them people must join the ALP, take control of branches from fanatics and put the policies up through the branches to state conferences. make them state policies and then on to national…

  43. David K

    Not really Ange. It’s not as if the unemployed could save it, it would all go back into the general economy and act as a stimulus.

  44. Kaye Lee

    Ange,

    They are paying $5.1 billion to employment service providers over the next three years and over $500 million for the green army and $7.5 billion a year for Newstart. To give 500,000 people jobs for 20 hours a week on the minimum wage would cost $8.8 billion. Seems like a much better investment to me rather than wasting the money on employment service providers.

  45. CMMC

    Love your work, Kaye, and you ARE making a difference.

    John Ferguson, Political Editor of The Australian, just now on Radio National ‘the S.A. and Victoria results point to a bloodbath for Abbott in 2016’.

  46. Kaye Lee

    I would love nothing more than for the people of Warringah, Cook, Sturt, North Sydney, Curtin, Menzies, Wide Bay, New England, Dickson, Flinders, Goldstein and Wentworth to make the right choice next time and send this lot into retirement. Could everyone also please pay more attention to their senate vote as 2016 is our chance to get rid of George Brandis, Eric Abetz and Matthias Cormann.

  47. mars08

    A very thoughtful and progressive list. Humane, egalitarian and sensible.

    BUT…

    Abbott (and Howard before him) have set the bar of acceptable and mature political behaviour at an all-time low. At this stage many voters are ready to settle for anything slightly less obnoxious than the current band of arrogant, nasty, blundering LNP thugs.

    And I fear that’s EXACTLY what we will get…

  48. gorgeousdunny1

    An excellent, values-based, set of goals for a civilised country with a commitment to fairness.

    As a former CES/DEET staffer, I like the idea of reviving it. It took shape originally under the nation-building of Curtin and Chifley, its original name being Dept of Labour and National Service. It focused our industry efforts in the War years and in post-war reconstruction. Like the ABC radio network, the CES reached right across the country and was an institution for local communities. The deregulation age has seriously undervalued the integral role of these, our TAFE networks and our CSIRO to our community, economy and future. And public education and health for that matter.

    The Job Network, as I have observed it, is no substitute for the CES, being composed mostly of rent-seekers, albeit with a few doing significant good. Look at bringing it back in some form, just as Gillard went so close to reviving public education and health.

  49. Kyran

    As always, so much to ponder. Clarelhdm’s comment resonates with me for many reasons. The English colonisation model relies on the destruction of the indigenous culture to enable the promotion of their “civilisation”. When Ireland got it’s independence back in the 1920’s, after centuries of English “civilisation”, one of the primary acts of the new Irish government was to reintroduce the culture. Indigenous song, dance, language etc had all been illegal for centuries, so they went about teaching it in primary schools, which is still done today. Imagine if Aboriginal culture was taught in primary schools. The thousands of years of experience tied up in their history, their love of the land, their sense of community. Their dreamtime has so much to offer our reality.
    For me, that’s the value of an article such as this. We can all forget the political crap, and offer positive visions and ideas for discussion.
    And just to remain positive and offer financial incentive for such cultural ventures, we could “consider voluntary euthanasia” when discussing “politicians (past and present) entitlements”. Imagine the savings! Thank you and take care

  50. John Fraser

    <

    Job providers made the Rudd family an awful lot of money …………………… there must be something nice to say about it.

    Because there's nothing nice to say about Rudd.

    It also makes a lot of money for the Salvos.

    Uh oh !

    Somehow I think this is a self defeating defence of "Job providers".

  51. Ricardo29

    Sent this to Bill Shorten with noting the views would be supported by many Labor supporters. Urged him to return us to a Gough Whitlam vision for the country.

  52. Kaye Lee

    In 2012-13, Labor’s last full budget, government spending as a share of GDP was 24.1 per cent. The unwind from the GFC stimulus was more or less complete.

    Mr Hockey’s MYEFO numbers show that government revenue will rise to 24.3 per cent of GDP in 2016-17 and 24.8 per cent of GDP in 2017-18.

    If the Abbott government held government spending at Labor’s post-GFC level at 24.1 per cent, there would be budget surpluses from 2016-17 (as Labor has budgetted for under PEFO), with a budget surplus at around $13 billion in 2017-18. The fact is that for this and every year of the Abbott government’s forward estimates, government spending as a share of GDP is 25.2 per cent or more thus increasing the deficit.

    They are spending money on the wrong things and foregoing revenue for ideological reasons. This crowd don’t have a clue how to achieve even their own agenda let alone actually working on making people’s lives better (other than their donors).

  53. Michael Taylor

    Good move, Ricardo. This needs to be in Bill’s face (to borrow a modern expression).

  54. Kaye Lee

    Michael,

    Are you suggesting I should jammie front Bill?

  55. Joe Banks

    Excellent article, Kaye Lee, which hopefully will quietly have some impact on the Labor Think Tank (or whatever they are, if they even exist). Sorry to hear about your son – in a family with different standards they would have safely hidden his money around the house somewhere and claimed he spent it…

    It is time for Labor to forget about having a bet each way on policy in order to win the swinging voters. It is time for a list of firm policies and objectives with which to approach the next election. It is time to promote those policies that are ‘right’ for the future of this country no matter what the political consequences. Labor will never have the backing of big business interests or even, it seems, the more privileged in our tainted society. Labor must confront the electorate with a range of policies ‘head on’, a range of policies that scream fairness and equality for everyone and for the environment. And those policies must be delivered in such a way as to say: This is fair for ‘all’ Australians and this will take our country forward – and within that statement the unspoken message that all who disagree are monstrously self interested.

    I sense the Australian complacency, the faith that our political system will eventually sort it all out, has been shaken slightly (so far, only slightly). The old belief that somebody else will deal with the problems and everything will return to some form of equilibrium, have been dented a little. So there needs to be something concrete that voters can decide upon. Something tangible for people to think about as the next election approaches. Vote for Labor and you can expect to get this (a solid set of policies and objectives), vote for the LNP and… God knows. And it needs to be emphasised that Labor policies are for the people and the country, not for big business, mining and the wealthy.

    Also, labor must declare that there will always be sickness and no political policy will ever banish or cure sickness: you certainly cannot eliminate sickness by fear or neglect. And there will always be unemployment – there will even be the ‘unemployable’ in our society but if you regularly give them money they will spend it to survive and help the economy in their own way; you certainly cannot eliminate unemployment by fear or neglect…

    Labor, it is time for a set of black on white, rock solid, unambiguous policies to take to the next election. A set of ‘not for discussion with right wing shock jock’ policies. An offer of stability and direction, both for the people and for business (because business also benefits from stability).

  56. Harquebus

    Only an end to growth can improve things. I don’t see any chance of that happening.

  57. Wun Farlung

    Kaye Lee
    I found myself in the same situation as your son about 10 years ago and couldn’t understand it.
    My advice to your son is to go and buy a car and take whatever is left out of the bank and stash it under the mattress, make a budget and stick to it
    Centelink have a policy (as you are now aware of) that you have to be on your knees, no savings, no nest eggs, no in case of emergency fund before they will even consider giving any assistance.

  58. Harquebus

    @Kerry.
    With billions of tonnes of fuels and ores that we have dug up and exported, there should be no need for any of us to pay tax and still, governments and citizens alike are in debt up to the eyeballs. Something ain’t right. Our finite resources are being pillaged.

  59. la_lasciata

    Another succinct, meaningful post from you, Kaye. “I can only hope that someone with more power than a middle-aged woman in jammies has been listening to you” ? – I’m an elderly one, often in a nightie, and I’m sorry I can’t be someone of more power. I’d bloody LIKE to be, and that’s a fact; I’d so LIKE to be able to erase TROWC from existence with a signature on some document … I’d so LIKE to be able to take the head of every Liberal voter and knock it savagely against the wall, the while shouting “Take THAT, you halfwit !”
    😐

  60. Michael Taylor

    Kaye, perhaps you could give your “singing telegram” skills a run. Failing that, just a letter would do.

    Seriously though, I might send your post (in letter form) to my local member just to see what the response contains. It might actually tell us what the Party is doing.

    Over 12 months ago the ALP advertised for policy officers and media officers. It’s hard to assume that they actually employed some. If they did, I’m suggesting that they hired some complete duds.

  61. John Fraser

    <

    I prefer for Abbott/Murdoch to keep begging Labor for some policies.

    Labor should choose the area's to wedge Abbott on ….. and throw all their resources at it.

    And when they know that its biting then move onto another area.

    While simultaneously releasing one policy at a time.

    Tactics …… something that Labor lost with their internecine warfare.

    And for f’s sake kiss and make up with The Greens.

    Abbotts the common enemy …. let him fight on 2 fronts.

  62. Wun Farlung

    la_lasciata
    You are someone with power. Even when you sit at the computer in your nightie.
    You have the power to email your local MP, Senator, Minister responsible and ask questions, voice your objections and expect responses. I always end my correspondence to them with-Looking forward to your reply- and more often than not you get a reply (except from Abbott) although I don’t for a minute believe the answers are actually being written by them, they do have their name attached and they have to accept responsibility for all correspondence.
    Admitting that you are sitting in whatever you wear to bed and having a discussion about something you feel strongly about is IMHO powerful

  63. Kaye Lee

    I dunno about a singing telegram but how about this…..

    The love of wealth and power,
    Of coal seam gas and mines,
    Of working without unions
    Or carbon output fines.
    Strong love of Gina Rinhehart,
    Murdoch and their IPA
    We recognise who’s talking
    When Tony has his say.

    Scourge of my heart, my country!
    Being sold for a pot of Gold,
    For flood and fire and famine,
    Will now increase threefold –
    Over the thirsty paddocks,
    Watch, after many days,
    The filmy veil of pollution
    That thickens as we gaze.

    Scourge of my heart, my country!
    Ignoring the experts cry
    When sick at heart, around us,
    We see the planet die –
    But rather than take action,
    So we can breathe again
    You conscript a Green Army,
    To fight the acid rain.

    I want the Labor Party
    And their plans for our great nation
    Of educated children
    And no more discrimination
    Of NBN for everyone
    And helping those in need
    Care for the disabled
    And fighting against greed

    An open-hearted country,
    A welcome, caring land
    Where all can find safe haven
    And someone to understand
    Though life holds many setbacks,
    And troubles for us all,
    I hope the Labor Party
    Will help us when we fall.

  64. townsvilleblog

    Kaye, with all the list of woe you mentioned doesn’t it appear strange that we have the most neo con government in our history with the quietest Opposition in our history? I have heard Shorthen referred to as $3 bill because of his privileged background upper class enough to marry the former GG’s daughter, hardly traditional Labor Party stock, and a confirmed right winger leading the party away from its base as never before. I want to rid ourselves as much as the next person from Abbottitis but to replace a right winger with a right winger seems a colossal effort for little gain?

  65. khtagh

    Thanks so much for all your articles & information you have given to us over the last 18 month Kaye, your one of the few threads of sanity left for us.

    Labor must also start using the line/attitude of we refuse to punish people for the situations that are out of their control such as taking money off the young for 6 months of the yr, asking the poor & pensioners to pay while paying the rich even more.

    I’m sure we are going to see Abbott take GST money off SA & Vic now, for no other reason than they are now Labor states, this vindictive trait of Abbott is what is putting more people off side than anything else. He is showing just how nasty his bullying tactics are, it is part of the mans make up, Labor must use it to their advantage. Remember bullies never change they just try to hide it, don’t let him, make him as popular as the proverbial fart in a crowded elevator. (he is nearly there now, imagine if Labor actually worked at it)

    Labor should invest in several massive solar plants(both static solar & molten sodium (for night & base load) on the out skirts of all major cities, combine it with wind & wave this would lower the price of power to the point where coal power would become totally non economically viable(it nearly is now). Imagine the boost in our national productivity if you cut the price of power by 1/2 or 2/3’s, the extra money that would flow thru the economy would pull us out of the deficits in a very short period, not counting the jobs that would be created virtually over night.

    We could be a mass exporter of power to Asia, not coal. Solar produces DC which can be transmitted for thousands of Klms with very little loss unlike AC, that’s why power produced in Tassie & sold to Victoria is converted to DC to cross bass strait & then converted back again. Fighting Climate change is Abbott’s Achilles heel, 80% of Australians want it to happen, use that popularity. Abbott has destroyed our manufacturing base this would go a long way to replacing the lost jobs & fiances he has caused & should be presented to the public in this way.

    Doing this would be a real game changer in Australia’s future, the money that is currently taken out of Australia by the power companies(mostly foreign owned based in Singapore remember) would then stay here, we could use the future fund to finance it so we would not even need to look for foreign investment either. Once built & paid for the cost for maintaining these plants unlike dirty coal is very little as sunlight, wind, & waves are free & are infinite, would the Liberals try to find a way to give ownership of the sun & wind to Rupert & Gina, probably.

  66. mars08

    townsvilleblog

    …hardly traditional Labor Party stock, a confirmed right winger leading the party away from its base as never before. I want to rid ourselves as much as the next person from Abbottitis but to replace a right winger with a right winger seems a colossal effort for little gain?

    That, almost certainly, is where we are heading. I can’t understand how some people still believe that Labor might, maybe, possibly, perhaps return to it’s social justice roots. Where is slightest indication of that being on the cards?

  67. Kaye Lee

    Gonski school funding, NDIS, carbon pricing, mining tax, NBN, water trigger legislation, marine parks, Murray-Darling buyback, increased hospital funding partnership, paid parental leave, plain packaging laws, financial planning accountability, the beginnings of legislation to address offshore profit shifting, increased wages for child and aged care workers….

    Labor certainly made some mistakes under Gillard but she also led us to some major reforms which are all being smashed by this fool of a government.

  68. June M Bullivant OAM

    More that that Australia needs to have someone assess how much of our country has been bought by overseas investors, how many mines gas and other types are destroying our country and not made remediate, how much of our heritage and heritage has been destroyed or sold, and how much pollies really earn when they add their perks. Australians need politicians who act on our behalf not for the big end of town.

  69. bkpyett

    Terrific article which leads us to hope! I agree it is up to Labor now to show us where and how it will make changes for the better, rather than continually ranting about the government.

  70. townsvilleblog

    mars08 with the ALP dominated by the right wing AWU/SDA alliance I cannot see that there is any return to their social roots it will be similar to the USA where we will have two right wing parties, one a smigion kinder to ordinary Aussies than the other more evil monster that we have in power today. It was once a workers party, what is needed is to arsehole the right wing out of the ALP or for the centre-left of politics to establish a new party to fight for the rights of the ordinary Aussie, because if something is not done “now.” We will be forever lost.

  71. townsvilleblog

    This is the problem, Labor must… but because they are ruled by their right wing they remain silent because in part, they agree with the right wing policies, the “labor” party has not been a “labour” party for approximately 30 years.

  72. townsvilleblog

    yes Kaye, but lame duck bill is so mealy mouthed and prim and proper and seemingly agrees with this right wing policy which is why he doesn’t oppose it

  73. townsvilleblog

    June, sadly many of those companies are yank owned and are using Australia as their quarry and to add insult to injury they don’t pay their fair share of taxation to Australia, if any. The LNP is right wing and so is the controlling faction of the ALP so unless there is a major popular collective action we are doomed, and our children and grand children are likewise.

  74. townsvilleblog

    BKP, I agree it is well overtime that we should be hearing about Labor policy, I’ll bet the rabid right wing of the ALP are just sitting there hoping Abbott will make himself and his party so unpopular that they will not have to say or do anything, but that’s not the way Australian’s work, unless they know what the other side is offering they will stick with “the devil” they know.

  75. mars08

    townsvilleblog:

    …hoping Abbott will make himself and his party so unpopular that they will not have to say or do anything, but that’s not the way Australian’s work, unless they know what the other side is offering they will stick with “the devil” they know.

    Um…. where were you during the last election campaign? That’s EXACTLY the way that Australians work!

  76. RichardU

    Does negative gearing help fill the gap caused by government vacating their former role in providing “affordable housing”. How would its abolition assist if investing in residential real estate is rendered less attractive?

  77. Kaye Lee

    RichardU,

    Negative gearing was introduced to boost the construction industry but it became a lucrative way to invest money and reduce tax.

    What I have suggested is that negative gearing only apply to new properties with some greenfield developments slated as owner-occupied only. This keeps the investors boosting construction but allows home-owners into the established homes.

    “Landlords back in 1998-99 managed to turn a combined profit of $700 million. On face value, the new ones who have jumped in appear to lack the same financial nous, as their losses stand at just under $8 billion.

    The vast bulk of those losses come from more than $24 billion in deductions for interest payments.

    Let’s face it, if you’re paying more in bank interest than you’re earning from your asset year after year – whether it’s rent from property or dividends from shares – there’s only one reason you’re holding onto it, and that’s capital gain.

    When an investor buys an asset mainly for capital gain with little regard to income flows that is speculation.

    When lots of investors do it at the same time, that is a bubble.

    Excluding refinancing, housing investors now make up roughly half the new home loans being issued by Australia’s banks.”

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-07-07/janda-few-positives-to-be-found-in-negative-gearing/5576662

    “some argue that abolishing negative gearing would create a shortage of rental properties because landlords would simply dump their portfolios.

    “But other people will buy properties off the landlords, and so they will move from being renters to being home owners.

    “So there will be a drop in the demand for rental properties, which will balance out the effect of less supply.”

    Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/business/the-economy/kill-negative-gearing-to-calm-housing-market-says-saul-eslake-20140930-10nr84.html#ixzz3NNHMx3UK

  78. Matters Not

    Thomas Picketty argues that ‘wealth’ (among other measures) ought to be taxed at 15% per annum and ‘income’ above $500 000 per annum ought be taxed at 80%.

    Is he the Marx of or for today?

  79. la_lasciata

    @Wun Farlung
    My Federal Member is Tanya Plibersek. My State Member is Alex Greenwich, an Independent. Neither needs any push from me to make her/his voice felt about this guvmint (happily).
    I do my best by putting links on my blog to articles like this one (I don’t re-blog because it fills my media library with material.) I fulminate in writing. I gain enormous satisfaction from reading researched stuff such as Kaye writes (how does she DO that research ?!).
    And I fret and fume because as much as I loathe and detest TROWC with a violent passion, the ALP isn’t showing any signs so far of once more becoming a viable alternative. 🙁

  80. townsvilleblog

    mars08 Australians went that way because Shorten and his right wing henchmen knifed two sitting PMs the public will not vote for disunited political parties.

  81. townsvilleblog

    a_lasciata, I couldn’t agree more with you, the silent sentinels voicing no opposition to the Abbott onslaught, because the party is controlled by their right wing.

  82. townsvilleblog

    Kaye, I find your wisdom boundless, a compliment…

  83. townsvilleblog

    Matters Not he may not be today’s Marx but he is certainly providing good options for negotiation

  84. mars08

    So…the perceptions of Labor’s internal skirmishes and backstabbing drove many voters away, without knowing what the other side was offering???

  85. townsvilleblog

    mars08, yes Aussies don’t vote for disunited political parties, the rabid right wing of the ALP pulls them down, yet they (the right wing) have the numbers via gerrymander.

  86. townsvilleblog

    mars08, also the other side lied about what they would do so it seemed like a safe transfer of power, little did the public understand how things would pan out.

  87. John Fraser

    <

    @townsvilleblog

    Agree with what you say.

    Now what is your take on "Liberal" and Labor combined attacks on The Greens.

  88. Steve Irons

    An excellent list but it has left out a key failure on both sides which urgently needs to be addressed. The Intervention needs to be abandoned and replaced with policies that are based on UN human rights for Indigenous populations. The Intervention was a racist agenda introduced by Howard when he was facing defeat and he was using racist intervention in the north to try to build support for himself in the south, at the cost of Indigenous communities. Labor misunderstood this and adopted his racist strategy as their own. They urgently need to address this and move to a more open and interactive set of policies based on human rights and dignity.

  89. townsvilleblog

    John, the attacks are obviously ideologically motivated, firstly from the “Liberals” because they can’t stand “fairness” being the policy of any political party, and secondly from Labor because these were attitudes and philosophies that Labor also used to hold before the right wing worked out how to establish and control the numbers around the same time as Hawke came to ehhem, power. Labor still want to be seen as the “worker’s mate” though the right wing have found it a convenient vehicle to achieve their aim of indivisual wealth i.e. the Obeid scandal in NSW. I note that the NSW Branch are appointing a member of “the Left” to lead it in the recent future which may turn out beneficial to that branch of the party, however Queensland Branch remains controlled by the alliance to the detriment of the overwhelming majority. The Greens offer hope that a political party can operate “for” the public instead of for themselves. In my humble view.

  90. Erotic Moustache

    Labor chaining its approach to Asylum Seekers is a big ask, given how much the Australian public’s mentality has hardened and how much political traction Abbott has gained from events that ought not – but do – have relevance. But I think it’s important they try, not just for the sake of AS themselves but for all vulnerable Australians. That collective hardening of Australian cardio arteries is precisely the cultural change that this mob can exploit to do harm to those dependent on welfare. And by that I mean the poor, not Gina and Co.

  91. townsvilleblog

    Erotic Moustache, obviously they have not appointed Scott Morrison for the benefit of welfare dependents such as myself, if only they would use their power for good instead of evil and clean up the revenue side of the budget by chasing Murdoch, Rinehart, Palmer and Forest.

  92. Kaye Lee

    The Coalition exploit the blame game. Blame Labor for the debt and deficit. Blame asylum seekers for…ummmm…needing our help? Blame the sick for going to the doctor too much. Blame the unemployed for being unemployed. Blame the disabled for there being more of them (but then raise the pension age again and see how many in the 65-70 bracket qualify for the DSP). Blame the Greens for having a conscience. Blame Australians for not spending more.

    I am sick to death of the blame game. I am sick of even hearing the name Tony Abbott. His policies and ideas are nothing worth listening to and nothing ANY other government will adhere to. That is why we need to come up with what we DO want done when this ridiculously stubborn vindictive aberration has passed.

    The Coalition suggested it was bad to negotiate with minor parties and convinced some of the electorate that Labor was run by the Greens. In that case, the Coalition are run by Clive Palmer. Labor and Greens need to talk to each other and unite in taking this country forward. Forget Abbott and his band of self-aggrandising fools. Decide what we want and then give the experts time to tell us how to achieve it.

  93. townsvilleblog

    This is a self indulgent wish, but I wish the DSP would remain linked to average male earnings and would be increased by a an extra percentage point or two to assist in survival, instead we are being hoisted on on to CPI increases. Another wish I have is for the survival of the human species in the form of renewable energy, I practice what I preach and have paid off solar power panels and water heater over 3 years, for more general community renewable energy we in North Queensland have the Burdekin River, Queensland’s most reliable source of water supply from the dam, I would love to see a hydro electric plant set up on the dam to provide cheap renewable energy for NQ.i’d like to see an end of vilification of unions who actually fight for the benefit of their members, and I’d really like to see a comeback in egalitarian Whitlamesque type policies. Whitlam was the greatest PM I have ever known, he was fair and progressive, exactly what we need to follow the Abbott circus, but sadly, not what we shall receive if Shorten is allowed to remain as the Opposition Leader.

  94. mars08

    townsvilleblog:

    …the other side lied about what they would do so it seemed like a safe transfer of power, little did the public understand how things would pan out…

    A fearful electorate fed up with government ineptitude. A lack of confidence in the Prime Minister or the team… AND an opposition leader waiting for the government to self-destruct… without offering clear, unequivocal, principled, fair alternatives.

    Sounds frightfully familiar.

  95. townsvilleblog

    mars08, this we can agree on, Australia desperately needs a spark of progressive political policies which will doubtfully arrive from a staid conservative regressive ALP dominated by the right wing of the party, Albanese had made the only progressive statement that I can recall emanating from the ALP for the whole of 2014.

  96. townsvilleblog

    John, this is not an off the cuff remark from Hockey, it reflects that donors to the Liberal Party are in the coal industry which Hockey wishes were still in full control of Australia’s energy supply. They (the LNP) are the protectors of old ideas old money and of course the rich who have the old money and the multinational corporations who avoid paying their fair share of tax legally of course. Hockey is the protector of the rich as the LNP always have been, they are regressive not progressive.

  97. John Fraser

    <

    @townsvilleblog

    Probably the best speech in the Senate in 2014 :

  98. mars08

    townsvilleblog:

    …a staid conservative regressive ALP dominated by the right wing of the party, Albanese had made the only progressive statement that I can recall emanating from the ALP for the whole of 2014.

    At the time it was reported that Albanes made the speech to a completely empty room. I can’t watch the video at the moment… did that really happen?

  99. Sad sack

    Terrific!!! Sadly, I believe the university VCs are disingenuous in their protests over cuts. The pyne nut has released an extra 100 billion into the tertiary education and they will grab from the top and left of the education bell without compunction. Although there will be competition from flyby nights that will make the pink batts blush?

  100. townsvilleblog

    mars08 From memory, which is not good these days Albanese’s speech was delivered at the National Press Club.

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