Policies

“No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

Martin Luther King

Affordable Housing and Traffic
Arts Policy
Asylum Seekers and Refugees
Constitutional Reform
Defence
Education
Energy and the Environment
Health Policy
Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Law and Justice
Parliamentary Salaries
Tax Policy
Water Management

AFFORDABLE HOUSING AND TRAFFIC

  • Allow retirees to sell homes without losing pension
  • Incentives to refugees with rural backgrounds to move to the country
  • Capital gains taxation on investment properties in line with other investments
  • Facilitate working from home
  • Facilitate reliable, frequent, high volume public transport

The New Liberals are acutely aware that many are struggling with the cost of housing. We will address this.

First of all, we will reform the pension rules by allowing a couple or single retiree to sell their house without losing the pension. We see no reason why owning a house should not impact on the pension but owning its value in money should. This will be an incentive for retired couples to downsize, leaving their former homes available for conversion to multiple dwellings or for redevelopment, depending on the case and the requirements of the local councils.

We will offer incentives for refugees with rural backgrounds to move to the country and continue the great work of reviving dying country towns.

We will bring capital gains taxation on investment properties in line with all other investments.

In funding innovation, one of our main focuses will be on developing industries that enable people to work from home so that commuting is eliminated for them, and cars are taken off the roads.

We will tie infrastructure funding for the States to projects that deliver high volume and high quality reliable and fast public transport, so that taking the train is quicker, easier and cheaper than going by car.

ARTS POLICY

  • Grow cultural tourism
  • Stimulate the economy through the arts
  • Restore dignity of the ABC and Australia Council
  • Ensure vibrant creative community
  • Entertain and define a nation

Where artists go, money follows. The arts not only hold the mirror up to society: art and culture makes a place exciting and makes people want to go there. And it makes the people living there want to go outside rather than sit at home. This results in a stimulation of the local economy. Cultural tourism is the prime motivation for travel worldwide, and continues to grow. We will grow it here.

We will restore the dignity of the ABC and the Australia Council for the Arts, helping to maintain a vibrant creative community, as well as supporting the creation of great local content and export quality programming. We will reverse the flow of Aussie talent overseas by fostering a home-grown industry in which it is actually possible for artists to thrive and create great art that not only entertains us, but sparks our economy and helps define the nation.

ASYLUM SEEKERS AND REFUGEES

  • End mandatory detention
  • Bring Manus and Nauru refugees to Australia
  • Keep navy in place whilst we work with northern neighbours to stop boats
  • Refugee farmers to help revive dying country towns
  • Establish Truth and Reconciliation Commission

First, we will remember that refugees are not criminals. They do not deserve to be locked away in camps, behind barbed wire, handcuffed and herded like animals. When we are in government mandatory detention will no longer be the law. We will legislate it into the dustbin of history where it will decompose next to the law that made Auschwitz perfectly legal too. We will dispense with the cruel fiction that these people must suffer so people smugglers are deterred. We will remind the Australian people that the navy is out in the Indian Ocean. The navy does the deterring. The refugees in their squalor suffer only so politicians have someone to make the people fear.

The very first thing we will do when in government is bring the offshore detainees to their new home here in Australia. The navy can stay where it is for the time being, for we will not be responsible for people dying at sea. But we will work with our northern neighbours to make sure those fleeing persecution, if at all possible, do so by air. We will instruct our embassies around the world not to deny visas to those whose lives are at risk.

In the process we will forge real friendships with Indonesia, and the other countries of the region, because for once we will be listening to them. And this will not only surprise them, but incline them to listen to us when we want to talk about trade and a common defence policy.

Then, finally, we will establish a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, to heal the wounds that the asylum seekers have endured at the hands of their new persecutors, here in Australia.

The American Century was built by the willing hands of those fleeing persecution. The Australian Century will be built the same way. There is no one keener to work hard and build a good life for themselves and their new nation, than those who have nearly had their lives taken away.

We reject the notion that more people will clog the cities. Even now farmers from some of the world’s poorest nations are revitalising country towns by bringing skills and population back to them. This is being arranged, with no government help, by caring individuals, here and there. We will legislate real incentives to make it work on a large scale, to the benefit of the country towns, the refugees and the economy.

Those who are forced to leave their homelands will find in Australia, if they care to trust us, a nation which will welcome them into the cog of our economy called ‘hard work’. And they will give us more than we can ever hope to give them.

CONSTITUTIONAL REFORM

  • Indigenous recognition in the Constitution
  • A Republic
  • The entrenching of a Bill of Rights into the Constitution
  • Lower the voting age to 16, with a programme of teaching of Civics in schools

DEFENCE

  • Accept the waning value of the US alliance
  • Development of our own defence capabilities based on our advantages of distance and being an island
  • Consequent development of small fast submarine and air support capabilities
  • Need to form mutually advantageous defence pact with Indonesia
  • Establish cyber security taskforce

During the Cold War, Australia was correct to base its defence policy on its American Alliance. Under the circumstances then applying, it would have been in America’s interest to resist any aggression against its ally. However, things have changed.

America’s desire to withdraw from the Asia Pacific region, mean that its interests no longer coincide with ours. China’s annexation of the islands in the South China Sea, which affected so many of America’s allies, and which America did nothing to prevent, is a clear demonstration of this. In case of aggression against us by a major power, it is unlikely in the extreme that America would risk itself to come to our aid.

We must therefore move to secure our own defence. The first step in that process would be to stop slanting our defence spending towards large battleships and submarines designed to support America in wars far from us and which are no risk to us, typically middle eastern conflicts. Large battleships, large submarines and an emphasis on ground troops are not what we need for our own defence.

To plan for our own defence, we must first understand that we have the advantage of distance. If a major power wished to invade us, it would have to transport large numbers of troops a very long way on large troop transports protected by large battleships. We would never have the battleship capability to resist them. But nor would we need to.

This is because we also have the benefit of being an island, which we can protect with a fleet of far less costly small manoeuvrable submarines, which could do significant damage to an invader. And even if that invader managed to land troops on our northern shores, it is by no means an easy matter to protect and supply those troops over a desert march of several thousand kilometres, before they could get anywhere to do any significant damage, particularly whilst being attacked by our planes stationed in the north.

In simple terms therefore we need to readjust our defence acquisitions towards small submarines and aircraft support. We also need to form mutually beneficial defence pacts with countries like Indonesia, which also has the same island advantages we have, but which also has a large population and a large standing army, which would complement our naval strength if and when necessary.

We will also give priority to creating a cyber security taskforce to put ourselves on the front foot when it comes to this crucial aspect of defence.

EDUCATION

  • Universal affordable child care
  • We give a Gonski
  • Tightening of fee help where not warranted
  • Re-establishing TAFE and apprenticeships
  • Funding preservation of indigenous languages

We will establish universal affordable child care. It will be funded by the savings in other areas of education (see below), and from savings gained via our immigration, law and justice and tax policies.

We support the Gonski model of needs-based funding for primary and secondary education.

We will conduct a strict review of government spending on fee help to ensure that only those institutions which offer a real and tangible benefit to students and the economy, will be funded.

We will re-establish proper funding for TAFE courses and give proper financial support to apprenticeships.

We will fund research into, and the teaching of indigenous languages to prevent them disappearing.

ENERGY AND THE ENVIRONMENT

  • Acknowledge that climate change is a threat to ecological habitats, biodiversity, human health and the future of the planet
  • Move immediately towards 100% renewables
  • Price on carbon
  • Cancel Adani contract
  • Federal acquisition of national parks to prevent future logging and hunting
  • Protection and preservation of native species
  • Trees on farms
  • Ethical farming practices
  • Ban live export of animals
  • Water management (see separate section)
  • Traffic reduction (see Affordable Housing and Traffic)

HEALTH POLICY

  • Increase Medicare GP rebate
  • Save on downstream Medicare costs
  • Tax sugar and fast food products
  • Pay for treatment of obesity related diseases

We are about saving lives and saving money through the application of preventative techniques.

First of all, we will increase the Medicare rebate on GP visits to a realistic level which will encourage most doctors to bulk bill. This in turn will encourage more people to visit their GP and visit earlier when symptoms are present. As a result, early diagnosis will lead to the saving of thousands of lives and the saving of billions of dollars to Medicare at the hospital, surgical, physician and palliative levels.

We simultaneously acknowledge that the greatest costs to the Medicare budget, and the greatest cost in human suffering stems from obesity and the plethora of diseases it engenders. We will tax sugar and fast food products to help reduce obesity, and the tax will pay for the cost of treatment of those who suffer from obesity related diseases.

The overall result will be that lives will be saved and Medicare will cost the Australian community less.

INNOVATION AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP

  • Establish Department of ‘Good Ideas’
  • Simple non-bureaucratic process for innovators and entrepreneurs to get help
  • Grow Australia’s exports
  • Reverse the brain drain

We will establish a new government department. A Department of Innovation and Entrepreneurship. This Department of ‘Good Ideas’, will be devoted to identifying cutting edge industries to fund and develop, aiming to make Australia their world leaders. It will also encourage and fund those entrepreneurs who have discovered new and better ways of running current businesses.

A simple and non-bureaucratic process will be in place to encourage people and companies to bring their ideas to us, so we can make their dreams a reality. We want all the dorky scientists and crazy inventors to bring us their wares. The dorkier and the crazier the better. We remember that Thomas Edison, Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos were all dorks, were all called crazy in their day.

In the process we will grow Australia’s exports, raise Australia’s profile on the world stage, keep Australia’s best brains in Australia and attract the best brains from around the world to come and work for Australia’s development.

LAW AND JUSTICE

  • Reform of immigration system and litigation
  • Reform of family law system and litigation
  • Consequent clearing of court backlogs
  • Consequent savings of billions of dollars
  • Savings used to fund comprehensive federal legal aid system

At the moment the system of visa application, refusal and challenge, can involve a dozen or more administrative and judicial procedures, lasting for indefinite periods of time, not infrequently beyond five years to as long as 10 years and beyond, during all of which time a visa applicant, guilty of nothing more than having fled persecution in their own country, can remain in Executive detention, whilst a decade of their lives can be lost.

Apart from its inhumanity, this system is perhaps the most unnecessary waste of taxpayer money there is. We will replace it with a quick and cheap two-tier judicial process, where the applicant for a visa, unless the Minister can show beyond a reasonable doubt that they are a threat to Australia or its security, will not be detained. The savings to the revenue will be many billions of dollars.

There is an enormous backlog in the hearing of family law cases, which the merging of the Federal Circuit Court and the Family Court will not solve, for the simple reason that there will still be the same number of litigants and the same number of judges to hear their claims. Putting the two courts in the same building to share a common registry will not change that.

Given that half of the family law cases involve disputes over property, and those cases are typically complex and involve many hearing days, we will legislate to introduce a community property system, where all property of the divorcing or separating couple will be divided equally between them, with one party doing the dividing of the property into two tranches and the other party choosing the tranche they want. This will reduce family law property litigation by 90%.

Most of the rest of family law litigation involves disputes over contact between parents who have shared parenting obligations. We will legislate for all such disputes, if they fail at the mediation stage, to be referred to compulsory arbitration, with the courts only being involved to decide questions of law referred to them, or to hear appeals on questions of law. This will reduce family law parenting litigation by 90% as well.

The result will be a clearing of the backlog, a cheaper and easier process for litigants, and the saving of billions of dollars of taxpayer money.

The huge savings occasioned by the reforms to the immigration and family law systems will be used to fund a comprehensive federal legal aid system, which will enable all previously unrepresented litigants in all federal matters to have fully funded and high-quality legal representation.

PARLIAMENTARY SALARIES

If elected to government, The New Liberals will immediately reduce all Parliamentary and Ministerial salaries by 20%.

TAX POLICY

  • Corporations to pay their fair share
  • Multi-national blackmail to be resisted

In 2016-17, one in three large companies paid no tax. Losses to the revenue could be as high as $40 billion each year from tax avoidance by large corporations, particularly multi-national corporations. There are already provisions in place to prevent this: see Part IVA of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 (Cth). The reason this law is not enforced is because politicians do not have the political will to use it. We will use it.

No amount of tampering with retirees’ superannuation rights, or clamping down on nurses deducting the cost of that second uniform, or teachers that sunhat for playground duty, will ever compensate for the multinational gouging of the tax system. Nor should the retirees, and nurses and teachers be asked to carry the burden the corporations refuse to bear.

And if multi-nationals threaten to leave Australia should they be required to pay any tax, we will not be blackmailed into allowing an unjust and unproductive situation to continue. We will see their departure as an opportunity to fund and develop local enterprises to take their place. Indeed, we will start that development immediately, in anticipation that they will leave, so that the short-term disruption to the economy will be minimised and Australian citizens who worked for those corporations will have a willing alternative employer waiting for them.

WATER MANAGEMENT

  • Return water to the river systems for the benefit of country towns and the environment
  • Phase in water sparing crops
  • Phase out water intensive crops
  • Long term increase in Australia’s water availability enabling population and economic growth

We acknowledge that Australia is a country in which water has always been a scarce resource, and that its logical use and distribution is essential not only for rural communities and for the environment but for the economic health of the nation. We also understand that certain rural industries such as cotton and rice, which, with the benefit of hindsight, should perhaps never have been undertaken, will wish to continue cropping.

The balance is to ensure that water intensive crops which are inappropriate for arid and semi-arid farming are progressively phased out, and more appropriate water sparing crops are phased in. During that process we will ensure that water allocations are strictly observed.

As a result, we will return proper flow to the Murray Darling system, so that water security is ensured for country towns and the environment. Whilst this will be, and Constitutionally must be, our first priority, compensation will be paid to any industry which suffers short term losses as a result of the changeover, and to any individuals who become temporarily unemployed.

We will employ the best advice from Israeli and other experts on water conservation, and management, to increase security to country towns, farmers and the environment. We will also move towards improved efficiency in reservoir management and ground water use, and improvements in water technology will be the first priority for our Department of Innovation and Entrepreneurship. This, together with water savings from more appropriate cropping, will enable us, in the long term to increase Australia’s overall water availability. In turn this will provide one of the key bases for population growth to support economic growth, and the funding of key policy initiatives.