According to AIMN readers and many Facebook political pages, covid19 hardly rated a mention in my survey. I asked many Facebook political groups of a leftish standing together with readers of The AIMN the following question: If an election campaign was starting tomorrow, what would be your top 10 points of debate?
The absence of anything substantial relating to the COVID-19 issue puzzled me somewhat. Not even a mention of the Prime Minister’s deplorable handling of the distribution of the vaccines.
However, giving it more reflection led me to think that people hadn’t thought about it enough. Did they not know that it had forced a greater recognition of the value of frontline services during a crisis? The realisation that deliveries of essential drugs and the people doing it were just as important as those doing the injection itself.
Were they worth more remuneration? Women asked questions about equality by noting their true worth as nurses, which might change the Nation’s health budget over time unless a way is found for a marriage of convenience between empathy and economics.
The digital rich will restructure their businesses so that more staff will work from home and lower costs at the same time. Economic socialism will underpin our eventual recovery and then be discarded in favour of capitalism. All manner or changes will follow COVID-19 some of which haven’t entered our minds yet.
The reason COVID-19 isn’t at the top of any list could mean that people believe humanity will eventually overcome the threat and go back to normal – a nefarious thought to read into a very mutative disease.
As I thought it would, some form of a National ICAC is top on people’s minds, just ahead of climate change. The point of a National Security Commission is most difficult for the LNP. How does it establish one that avoids incriminating many of its members in corruption, atrocious leadership, decision making, lying, and many acts that conceal the truth? An almost impossible task, I would suggest.
The right to vote is the gift that democracy gives. If a political party is not transparent in supplying all the information necessary to exercise this right. It is destroying the democracy that enables it to exist.
With climate change, we might want to ask the prime minister if it is: a) simply a matter of not having a policy to take to the COP26 in Glasgow next month? Or b) you are not going to Glasgow because you would be ridiculed, and c) is staying home going to cop the same ridicule? A dammed if you do a dammed if you don’t moment, if ever I saw one. It’s not often you can offend all sides of an argument.
These were the two main policy areas that readers of The AIMN identified with as we approach the next election. (COVID-19 excepted).
After these, there were the usual community priorities of health, education (restoring the principle of Gonski) and jobs, et cetera.
Then came a long list of what I might call matters of the restoration of our democracy. That so many comments centred around this topic recognises the conservative right’s devastating power over three terms of governance.
How utterly dispiriting it is when the hearts and minds of our politicians are so utterly corrupted by this virus of political lies, but more demoralising it is that ordinary people catch the same infection.
I have categorised the list as follows.
1 A voice for our First Nation’s people.
2 Restoring trust in our political system.
3 International relations.
4 Reduce the influence of the far-right.
5 Disproportion of influence in the MSM.
6 Ministry for the future.
7 Levels of immigration/population
8 Become a republic.
9 Restore the public service.
10 Stop AUKUS.
11 Ethics taught in primary to high schools.
12 Re-establish manufacturing to its former status.
13 Buyback all infrastructure, overseas-owned farms.
14 Primary industry and housing.
15 End donations and lobbying.
16 Reconciliation (including Closing the Gap).
17 Indigenous deaths in custody, land rights, etc.
18 Outlaw all avenues of political influence by church/religions, secular mandate enforcement.
19 Limit politicians pay, removing early retirement.
20 Access to pension rackets, super and banning/curtailment revolving door employment after political career.
21 Genuine taxing of all.
22 Domestic/foreign corporations and securing honest royalties for Australia.
23 Elimination of rorts like the Great Barrier Reef $444 million.
24 Species extension should also be considered.
25 Royal Commission into the bugging of the Timor Leste parliamentary offices.
26 Free the asylum seekers that are left on Nauru, immediately
27 Stop the cashless welfare card.
28 Restoration of funding for all that the Coalition have defunded. The ABC, FOI, National Audit Office. etc.
29 Genuine real-time realistic taxing of all domestic/foreign Corporations and securing honest royalties for Australia.
30 A world-class NBN (For business, research, health, education, science).
31 Media ownership laws are broken and adversely corrupt, as is the ability of citizens to become informed with truthful information. Social media pages also need attention.
32 Address equality and equality of opportunity.
33 Reinforce empathy and compassion.
34 Legalise cannabis for recreational use.
35 Address narcissism in the community.
36Take action on negative gearing and capital gains tax.
37 Illicit Drugs.
38 Poverty and homelessness.
39 Add dental to Medicare.
40 Better quality aged care in the God’s Waiting Room facilities run for the mega-profit of owners rather than consideration of the inmates.
41 Ethics taught in primary to high schools.
42 Politics taught in years 11 and 12.
43 Free TAFE and tertiary education.
44 University funding and fees. Overseas students.
45 Early childhood education.
46 Genuine education funding levels for all public schools, free unis, and decrease/remove private school funding.
47 Lower the retirement age to 60.
48 Reverse the cuts to research and development funding.
49 Payback government debt.
50 Scrap all subsidies to mining companies.
51 Scrap the tax-free status of all religions.
52 Scrap all tax advantages for the rich and privileged.
53 Address the gender pay gap.
54 Equal representation in Parliament.
55 Address the problem of domestic violence.
56 Fix the Murray Darling Water fraud.
57 Fix the Great Barrier Reef.
58 Funding for natural disasters.
59 Meet all our obligations.
60 Address unemployment funding, all disability/aged pensions, with empathy and compassion.
The common good, or empathy for it, should be at the centre of any political philosophy. However, it is more likely to be found on the left than the right.
Best comments that my post received
BB had this to say:
“Let’s face the ugly truth, there are no statesmen or women in Australia. Or at least none that are stepping up to the plate, and those who do try get intimidated by the current mob of thugs and backstabbers. Honesty and trust have become extinct.”
Mark offered this:
“Barratt’s list of issues, like any such list, will be forever changing. Thus it will never be fit for purpose over time.
Thus why not think outside the box and demand structural change that will allow for democratic decision-making as issues arise?
Surely we can do better than (just a small number of us) effectively electing a Dictator every few years? Bound by a Constitution written more than 100 years ago?
Think of the changes that have occurred since the turn of this century. Then add 100 years. Yet, we are still being governed roughly the same way.
Then again, perhaps we have the form of government we deserve? And the real enemy is readily identified by glancing in a mirror?”
And ajogrady said that:
“Once you strip away the blatant ingrained insidious and treacherous corruption, the obvious and absolutely consistent poor judgement, the culpable and dangerous incompetence, plus the shambolic and totally inept governance standards, what does the L/NP actually stand for? What is left? What is left is a snide, sneering, selfish, smug and contemptuous ideology that nurtures, coddles and promotes corrupt to the core swindlers, chiselers, fraudsters, shysters and con artists, pathetic debauched degenerates and perverted misogynistic misfits, pseudo Christian cult wack jobs, fanatical religious lunatics and egotistical born to rule privileged sociopaths and psychopaths that are devoid of standards, principles, values, morals, ethics, honesty, and basic empathy always rorting, fiddling, obfuscating and lying. The L/NP are an insult to equitable governance and egalitarian rule. The L/NP are not fit to hold any public office in a functioning, vibrant Nation and a cohesive humane society.”
What a futile question it was that I asked because it was impossible to answer. Or at least challenging to isolate ten and place them in a particular order.
If an election campaign was starting tomorrow, what would be your top 10 points of debate?
Should they lose the next election, the current government will have left a legacy of deceit and dishonesty that political historians will note as the Luddite period.
As seen through the eyes of the left, their list of wrongs is so long that it would take one term to restore our democracy before addressing some of the more critical aspects of our reader’s suggestions.
I had started with the explicit intention of creating a list that clearly defined ten reasons that the voter might consider before putting pen to the voting paper. Instead, the readers made a list of wrongdoings that, in its expanse, made it impossible to prioritise. All had worthiness to one degree or another.
That a government with such a list should start as the favourite to win the upcoming election is a travesty of significant proportion.
My thought for the day
If we are to save our democracy, we might begin by asking that at the very least our politicians should tell the truth. That would be a good beginning.
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