What is this government trying to do and why?
They want lower taxes and smaller government but why?
They want a surplus but why?
They want to boost economic growth to create more jobs and provide more revenue but how?
One reason they are finding it hard to even appear like they have a plan is because their goals are without purpose.
Perhaps one of the most important comments in the recently released Treasury modelling was that “government spending has broader objectives than lifting economic activity. For example, providing an appropriate level of public services such as healthcare has a positive effect on living standards and this is not captured in the modelling.”
As they extol the virtues of business, the government’s economic responsibility should also include protection from the negative consequences of free markets. Rather than engaging in a flurry of free trade, deregulation and removal of appeal, the government should be defending us against unscrupulous merchants and employers, and the extreme inequity and environmental damage that results from their exploitation.
Governments argue that people need to be assisted with the economic competition that now dominates the world. But the real intent of this position is to justify helping corporate interests, siding against local workers, consumers and the environment.
The government should use its organisational capacity to undertake large scale infrastructure construction. As they argue for privatisation and selling off of public assets, they ignore the value of keeping infrastructure and utilities in public hands, and solely dedicated to the common good. If such services are privatised, the owners have a selfish motivation, which could negatively affect the quality and cost of the services, and any future revenue is lost.
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, not sold off for short term sugar hits.
The government should 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.
They should be transparent instead of hiding behind phrases like “commercial in confidence” or “compliance costs” or “operational matters.” We have a right to freedom of information about what is being done on our behalf. The government must be accountable to the people. As the outcomes of fighting unjust wars and inadequately responding to critical threats such as global warming illustrate, great power implies great responsibility.
Rather than focusing on how we can cut government spending and costs for business, the government should be dedicated to providing a healthy, well-educated workforce, trained in the skills required for the future. They should concentrate on lifting people out of poverty, closing the gap on indigenous disadvantage, improving housing affordability and providing shelter for the homeless, combatting domestic violence and providing refuge for the abused, providing quality child and aged care.
The government has a social contract with the people they represent, not with the businesses that donated to their party, and it is time they were reminded of their responsibilities.