“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
- 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.
Draft Policy Under Discussion
- 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.
- 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.
We are well aware that First Nations people feel that to celebrate Australia Day on 26th January, the day of British invasion, is offensive, and something that keeps open long standing wounds. As a Party which believes in reconciliation and the healing of wounds, we will move Australia’s national day to another day. This may be the fourth Friday in January (unless it falls on the 26th, in which case it will be the fourth Monday), or it will be the day of Federation, January 1, with January 2 being an extra holiday.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- No driving down of worker entitlements
- Worker bonus scheme
- Aiming to increase productivity
- Incentives for corporations to join scheme
Being a true liberal party, we would never subscribe to the idea that industry can only prosper if workers are driven down in their entitlements. That is not only inhumane, it is bad economics, and just plain wrong -as wrong today as when the slave owners said cotton farming would die without slaves, and 19th century industrialists said industry would die if workers had to be paid minimum wage.
Our policy, as per the first point in our charter of Core Values, is that we base economic growth on incentives, and, as per the second point of our Charter of Core Values, we incentivise through adequate investment in research and development, technological advance and entrepreneurial endeavour.
Accordingly, we will introduce a worker bonus scheme, which we will encourage through tax benefits to those corporations who agree to take it up. So, for example, if a corporation makes $100 million pre-tax profit, at the moment it pays say, 30% tax and walks away with $70 million post tax profits for distribution to shareholders. We will offer double deductibility to corporations on any part of the pre-tax profit paid to non-executive employees by way of bonus (paid pro rata against their salaries). So, say the same corporation with the same pre-tax profit now pays $20 million bonus to employees (leaving it with $80 million pre-tax profits). They get double deductibility for that bonus payment or deductibility of $40 million for it. They are then taxed on only pre-tax profits of $60 Million, and so pay tax of $18 million. So, their post-tax profit for distribution to shareholders is $80 million – $18 million = $62 Million.
Now this means the shareholders get $8 million less this first financial year, but the incentive for the workers to increase the profits of the company would be huge and should more than compensate for the initial shortfall in years to come via much greater productivity and consequent profit.
Corporations would be free to take up the tax advantage or not, but we believe those that did would attract the best employees, with the result that others would follow.
Recent scientific discoveries have made the achievement of carbon neutrality even more urgent. Under the ocean there are large pools of liquid CO2. These are held in place by solid ice sheets of CO2. If global warming increases much more there is a real risk that the warming oceans will melt the CO2 cap and release it and the liquid CO2 underneath into the ocean, which will eventually find its way into the atmosphere, setting off a vicious cycle that will accelerate the already drastic effects of global warming.
Even before this latest revelation, we at The New Liberals, were seriously concerned that delaying carbon neutrality till 2050 would leave us with a planet not worth inhabiting. Look at the recent bushfires. How much worse could things be by 2050? As a result, The New Liberals undertake, that when elected to government, we will ensure carbon neutrality by 2035. This will make us one of the world leaders, along with Norway (2030) and Finland (2035).
We have commissioned experts to prepare a blueprint which will set out the very best way to do this, with the least possible pain. Having said that, whatever their best solution is found to be, it will still involve significant pain to various sectors of the community. Whilst it is legitimate to say that it is unfair that it has to be our generation which bears that pain, many things are unfair, and the question must always be, what is necessary? We believe there is no choice. We have to become world leaders in this. For our sake and the sake of the planet, we must show the way.
Coal workers who find themselves unemployed as a result of our policy, will be employed at a living wage on the government payroll for a year whilst they retrain. This will avoid distress for up to 37,000 workers, will defeat normally intractable structural unemployment problems, and will stimulate the economy.
Beyond this, our environmental policies are summarised below.
- 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)
As one of its first priorities, The New Liberals will establish a Federal ICAC with teeth. It will have power to investigate and prosecute politicians, judges and bureaucrats who are corrupt or who act in dereliction of their duty.
Draft Policy Under Discussion
- Use part of tax recovered from multinationals
- Integrated approach
- Preference for near neighbours
Australia is currently towards the bottom of the OECD list of foreign aid donor countries. It is our policy to utilise 5% of the money recovered from multinationals who currently pay no tax, and devote this to foreign aid. This would be enough to put us in the top two or three donor countries.
We will pursue an integrated approach. For example, 250,000 South Sudanese refugees live in a camp just the other side of the border in Uganda. The Ugandans do not see these people as a threat. They are happy to incorporate them into their country and into their economic system, provided they are able to do so.
At the moment they are not able to do so, because they don’t have the resources, particularly when they are bearing the entire burden of supporting the people in the camp. This creates a situation where the refugees are looking at long term residence in the camp, and the Ugandan government is looking at long term funding of the camp, which they can ill afford.
In a situation like this, we would approach the Ugandan government to see what sort of industries we could help to advance, which would be best suited to incorporate the refugees as employees. We would fund their growth. The result would be employment for the refugees, and their integration into Ugandan society, and growth in the Ugandan economy.
There are many other examples like this around the world. However, we would tend to devote the majority of aid money to countries in our region, to help establish regional goodwill, and to cement trade and defence agreements.
Draft Policy Under Discussion
Draft Policy Under Discussion
- Increase Medicare GP rebate
- Save on downstream Medicare costs
- Tax sugar and fast food products
- Pay for treatment of obesity related diseases
- Proper Funding of Mental Health Services
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.
Mental health services in this country are a shame to the nation. Nearly all of us have known or know of, a young person, if not several young people, who have taken their lives as a result of being turned away from inadequate and underfunded health care facilities. We will stop this national tragedy by ensuring proper facilities and proper staffing in the mental health sector. In the process, if it needs to be said, we will stimulate the economy through injections in capital works and new employment opportunities, whilst saving the lives of young people to themselves go on to become productive members of society.
- Address the root cause, namely isolation and dislocation
- Utilise ‘Common Ground’ Model
- Integration of homeless into community
- Place for previous homeless to assist process
Fixing homelessness by putting a roof over everyone’s head, whilst a start, does not address the underlying question of why the people have become homeless in the first place. Was it because of schizophrenia, alcoholism, drug addiction, or any of a number of other causes. And even these are not really the ‘problem’, but symptoms of the problem.
The real problem, the root cause of homelessness is isolation and dislocation from community, which is itself a function of the way in which the western world prizes individualism over community. So, finding a solution will always begin with creating community. In a true community everyone pulls in the same direction. It has been said that ‘if you try to fix someone you are unlikely to succeed, but if you include them, they will fix themselves.’ What’s more a time will come when they will say to you: ‘how can I help?’
Any attempt to create community needs to take account of the three levels of homelessness that exist, namely (i) people sleeping rough; (ii) people in shelters and (iii) people who are housed, but at the good grace of others, eg people who couch surf from one friend’s place to the next. Each group has its own particular problems, but what they have in common is that sense of loneliness and isolation which is always the root cause of their form of homelessness.
We would adopt the model from the United States known as ‘Common Ground’. This works by housing the homeless in their own private unit/space, but in a common facility with what are known as ‘wrap around services’. These are, first of all, onsite services providing health, recreation, social and welfare services. Secondly, in so far as more personalised and/or complex services are required, such as help with long term drug or alcohol rehabilitation, residents are provided with a list of organisations who have signed up to assist, such as St Vincent de Paul, the Red Cross, Mission Australia etc, and the individual resident can source their assistance from whoever they choose out of those groups.
Our aim would be to set up Common Ground facilities across the country, which could eliminate homelessness through community building, where people are assisted back onto their feet and then become themselves involved in assisting others who are coming through.
The Common Ground in question could be purpose built, or could use renovated existing structures which are lying vacant around the cities and towns. In NSW the Housing Commission is already creating multi-faceted housing complexes, where in the same complex one may find say, apartments for private use to be sold at market value, subsidised housing (at about 65% market rent) for lower income people, and housing for the homeless (at about 25% market rent). There is no reason why the Common Ground model could not be incorporated into such multi-purpose complexes. This of course would give the homeless a sense of being integrated, not only into the common ground, but also into the wider community.
Of course, the role of the Federal Government in housing is limited to the provision of funds, but we see no problem in tied grants to the States, where the principal condition of the grant would be the creation of Common Ground style accommodation to the homeless, whether the States chose to incorporate that into broader housing models or not.
- 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.
- 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.
- Discouragement of ‘professionalism’ in politics
- Encouragement of turnover in politicians
- Allowing sufficient time for competent politicians to assist the nation
We believe one of the biggest problems with our current democracy is that over 80% of parliamentarians have now never had a job outside politics. This makes them unaware of what people need, and in many cases causes them to not even care what people need. This is why we have a policy of endorsing ‘non-politicians’, meaning real people who have lived and worked in the real world.
As part of the push towards reforming the ‘professionalism’ of Parliament, we will introduce limited parliamentary service, namely that no politician may sit for more than four terms of the House of Representatives or two terms of the Senate. In other words, no-one may remain in parliament beyond 12 years. This is a generous term, which gives people the time to achieve great things for the nation, but will deter those who are looking for a cushy long-term career in a safe seat.
- Retention of current tune
- New inclusive lyrics to reflect diverse and rich cultural heritage
We will continue with the current tune for the National Anthem, but introduce new lyrics which are more inclusive, and reflective of our diverse and rich cultural heritage.
The lyrics we would use would be the version written by Judith Durham (of Seekers fame) and Kutcha Edwards ©. The first two verses are as follows:
Australians let us stand as one, upon this sacred land
A new day dawns, we’re moving on to trust and understand.
Combine our ancient history and cultures everywhere,
To bond together for all time, advance Australia fair.
With joyful hearts then let us sing, advance Australia fair.
Australians let us all be one, with peace and harmony.
Our precious water, soil and sun, grant life for you and me.
Our land abounds in nature’s gifts to love, respect and share,
And honouring the Dreaming, advance Australia fair.
With joyful hearts then let us sing, advance Australia fair.
If elected to government, The New Liberals will immediately reduce all Parliamentary and Ministerial salaries by 20%.
The New Liberals will not receive political donations over $1000 unless the donor agrees to sign a letter whereby they accept that their donation will buy them no favours. These letters will be publicly available.
Draft Policy Under Discussion
- Corporations to pay their fair share
- Multi-national blackmail to be resisted
- No unincentivized tax cuts
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.
In accordance with the first point in our Charter of Core Values, we are strongly against giving unincentivized tax cuts to large corporations. We believe unincentivized tax cuts do not increase productivity or employment, but simply result in corporations being able to make the same profit with less effort. It is not good economics. It is not even good capitalism. It is corporate welfare.
- 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.
Insofar as the federal government is responsible for the health and safety of federal government workers, we would not tolerate any suggestion that work health and safety should be downgraded. Indeed, we would be looking closely at the current regime to make sure it could be strengthened in workers’ favour wherever necessary.