“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
- 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.
Anti-Ageism and Wisdom Retention
- 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, Refugees and other Immigrants
- 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
- Non refugee immigration which is resource appropriate and beneficial to Australia
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.
For those who wish to come to Australia, but who are not refugees, we will adopt a policy based on what is in the best interests of Australia and Australians. Policy will be determined from time to time on what skills are really required and/or what resources the given immigrant can bring to the benefit of the nation. The number of immigrants will also vary from time to time depending on what is ‘appropriate’ given the resources the country has, the resources the immigrant can bring, the possibility of the immigrant taking up residence outside the major cities, the current investment levels, both private and public and on what the environment can sustain. We totally eschew the fruitless argument of Big Australia v Small Australia. These are meaningless terms which are only ever divisive, and take no account of the myriad possibilities a country, its societies and its economic policies will require from time to time in the future. Only a policy based on what is sensible and what is appropriate will suffice.
Climate Change Policy and the Environment
The New Liberals believe that the World must reach net zero emissions by 2035 and that to delay any further will risk the very existence of our planet. We recognise that achieving this goal will cause difficulties in many areas. But we believe the nation is willing to endure those difficulties for the sake of our children and grandchildren.
In achieving our goal of net zero emissions by 2035, Australia will lead the world along with Norway and Finland who are aiming for the same timeframe. We strongly disagree with those who say Australia should do nothing to combat climate change on the basis that we are only a small nation and our contribution cannot therefore make any difference. In answer to that we say:
- If every country in the world took that approach, the planet would surely be doomed.
- We are not a small country. Finland and Norway have about 5.5 million of population. We are going on for 26 million. We are a medium size power with, in any event, economic resources and potentialities well beyond our population size. What we do has significant impact.
- When Australia was called upon to fight Hitler, we did not say that we were a small country and our contribution couldn’t make any difference, so we weren’t going to help. We proudly went to war and did our part.
- If we lead, others will follow, and we will have the satisfaction of knowing we were the driving force in saving the planet.
The defence of the planet is the greatest war we will ever fight, and we will not only provide the foot soldiers. We will also provide the generals.
In government The New Liberals will establish a war cabinet, consisting of the Prime Minister, the Minister for Climate Change, the leader of the opposition, the State Premiers, and representatives from unions and key industry sectors.
We know that our task is daunting. But so is fighting any war. We know that things will go wrong, emerging technologies may disappoint, predictions may fail us. But Churchill didn’t say “I hope we won’t have to surrender”. He said “We will never surrender”. And when things didn’t go to plan the Allies changed their plans. They kept fighting because they knew they could not afford to lose. Nor can we afford to lose. And we will not.
Coal workers and others 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.
Full Climate Change Policy is available here.
The New Liberals Climate Change Policy is based in large part on Butler, Denis-Ryan, Graham, Kelly, Reedman, Stewart and Yankos: Decarbonisation Futures: Solutions, actions and benchmarks for a net zero emissions Australia (ClimateWorks Australia – March 2020), commissioned by The Myer Foundation and Monash University, and can be found here.
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)
Charter of Rights
The New Liberals view the protection of human rights to be fundamental to the preservation of a functioning, advanced democracy. To that end, The New Liberals are committed to a Charter of Human Rights and to entrench such protections in our Constitution. See full Charter here
Code of Conduct
- Indigenous recognition in the Constitution
- A Republic
- The entrenching of a Bill of Rights into the Constitution
- Lower the voting age to 16
As a general proposition, we support the decriminalisation of drugs. Our ability to enact this policy is limited by the fact that decriminalisation is a matter for State law. However, insofar as any State is willing to decriminalise, we will ensure that penalties for the importation of the drug in question to the State in question will be removed, so as to fall in line with that State policy. We will also support the States in the establishment of rehabilitation centres.
We believe that the economic policy, embraced by the Liberal Party of Australia, the Australian Labor Party and the Greens (variously know as Monetarism, Thatcherism or Raeganomics), is a deception designed to move income up to the 1% most wealthy, to create unemployment, under employment and the working poor, and to destroy the power of the unions. It is a policy based on the ‘lie’ that a budget surplus should be the aim of all governments at all times. We believe, however, that budget surpluses simply take money out of the private sector, push down wages, deplete investment opportunities and generally depress the economy. We note that in the 1950s and 1960s, which were Australia’s most prosperous times, Robert Menzies ran a deficit 8 to 9 times higher than any modern deficit, and maintained full employment in the process. As a true ‘liberal’ party we will adopt this approach. We will use controlled and well managed deficit spending to invest in Australia, especially in renewable energies and other carbon reduction processes, and return the nation to full employment.
We believe in Modern Monetary Theory, which is really an updated form of that Keynesianism which got the world out of the Great Depression and which created prosperity, full employment (and more than enough wealth for the wealthy), around the western world in the post war period. Our policy is heavily influenced by a number of modern monetary theorists, and in particular by the work of William Mitchell and Thomas Fazi: Reclaiming the State (Pluto Press, London, 2017).
We also believe strongly that prosperity should not be measured exclusively by growth in GDP. We believe that measure ignores the well being of most of the citizens and pays little or no regard to the fragility of the planet. Rather we believe in steady state economics, which provides a basis for prosperity whilst eschewing the ‘throw away’ society, and which seeks to care for the planet and its people. Our policy is based heavily on the work of economist Kate Raworth and in particular her work Doughnut Economics: Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st-Century Economist (Random House, London, 2017). We note also that several members of this Party’s National Executive are signatories to the petition issued by The Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy. See our detailed Steady State Policy here.
Our Economic Policy goes hand in glove with our Climate Policy. We see a strong place for government in solving our climate crisis, and a strong place for government to do that via a progressive economic policy as outlined above.
- 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
- Funding of tertiary education for refugees and asylum seekers
We will establish universal affordable child care.
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.
We will endorse a funding scheme that allows refugees and asylum seekers funding for higher education pathways, so that they can thrive in the community. As part of his scheme, Universities and other tertiary institutions will be required to take a certain minimum number of refugees and asylum seekers each year under a similar model to HECS.
Employment and Work Relations
- 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.
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.
For details of how our ICAC would work, click here.
We adopt the Uluru Statement from the Heart, and are in discussion with the various First Nations Groups as to how that should be best implemented in a practical sense for them.
- 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. We aim to be 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.
We are in the process of drafting our Foreign Policy. Suffice it to say at this stage, that our foreign policy will always put the best interests of Australia first. And, importantly, we support the rights of all people throughout the world to self-determination.
Full Employment and Job Guarantee
- 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.
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 causes of homelessness, namely poverty and lack of investment in social housing.
- Ensure adequate connection to support and permanent housing for people with other risk factors that, in conjunction with poverty, can be risk factors for homelessness. These include trauma and family violence, mental illness, addictions and other chronic health conditions.
- Use ‘Housing First’ and “Rapid Re-housing’ approaches. A small percentage of people who experience homelessness may also require Permanent Supportive Housing. An example of one type of permanent supportive housing model is ‘Common Ground’.
- Community connections and helping to ensure people who have experienced homelessness are able to re-integrate back into the community, seek or continue employment or have other meaningful activity in their lives.
- Ensure adequate health and rehabilitation options are available to assist people to recover from trauma and addictions.
- Help re-build a civil society that recognises the dignity that adequate access to permanent housing and a living wage affords us all.
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. To see how the current system works in practice, see The Road Back from Kafka’s Castle.
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 and a cheaper and easier process for litigants.
We will introduce 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.
As part of that Legal Aid system, we will ensure that victims of violent crime are separately legally represented.
In advance of entrenching a Bill of Rights in the Constitution, we will legislate to ensure that when deciding Constitutional questions affecting human rights, the High Court of Australia will take into account international conventions and other human rights norms, thus bringing that court in line with superior courts throughout the common law world and elsewhere.
Limited Parliamentary Terms
- 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.
Media and Communications Policy
- The New Liberals believe that in a democratic society, the freedom of an honest press must be sacrosanct. In particular journalists must never be intimidated under the guise of national security concerns and must never be arrested for doing their job
- Opinion must never masquerade as fact. Any news or politically related programs will have to be clearly designated as fact or opinion
- The creation and publishing of fake news will be treated as fraud
- Prohibitions on monopolistic ownership and cross-media ownership will be re-introduced
- An industry body will be established with teeth, and genuine enforcement authority
- All think tanks and ‘research’ institutes will be required to give full transparency to prevent them being paid fronts for political organisations. Their tax-free status will be reviewed.
- The ABC’s independent status will be returned through full funding, so it can serve all Australians, regional and urban, and be our flagship internationally. (See also our Arts Policy)
The full policy is available here.
The National Anthem
- 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.
- 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 warships and submarines designed to support America in wars far from us and which are no risk to us, typically middle eastern conflicts. Large warships, 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 warships. We would never have the warships 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.
This policy is based on the work of Professor Hugh White, former defence advisor to several Prime Ministers, and in particular his book How to Defend Australia.
If elected to government, The New Liberals will immediately reduce all Parliamentary and Ministerial salaries by 20%.
We believe that the Liberal Party of Australia, The Australian Labor Party and the Greens are too dependent on political donations, in that they are beholden to their donors, who are therefore able to disproportionately influence their policies. The most prominent example of this is the current government’s total failure to address the dangers of climate change, and its continued support for the fossil fuel industry. We note also that the Labor Party has a group of 20 Parliamentarians including 9 Ministers of State who meet regularly to advance the interests of coal. It is impossible to deny the link between these polices/groups and the donations made to both parties by the fossil fuel industry. Another example is found in the fact that so many multinational companies pay NO tax, and that neither The Liberal Party nor the Labor Party has ever tried to do anything about this, despite having at their disposal some of the most advanced tax avoidance legislation in the world in Part IVA of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 (Cth).
All parties spend millions of dollars on advertising before elections to convince the voters that they are the ‘least obnoxious’ option and therefore should be allowed to govern. In a recent by-election alone, the Liberal Party of Australia spent $880,000, and one assumes Labor did similar. In the last week of the campaign, local radio had an advertisement for the LPA every 5 minutes, 24 hours per day.
Often the advertising is misleading or deceptive, and shows the worst side of humanity. We therefore believe that an election campaign should be fought not between advertising agencies with swords drawn, but by parties being forced to talk directly with the people. We would like to see donations to political parties banned.
However, we realise that any attempt to ban donations would never work. The US example of the creation of the ‘super PAC’ is an example of how easy it is to avoid such a ban. Under that system groups form which have ‘no allegiance’ to a politician and raise money to advance certain policies. But then they just happen to decide that the best way to advance those policies is to donate all the money to a given politician. We have no doubt also, that given what is at stake, political parties and their donors would not hesitate to simply breach the law by making their donations ‘under the lap’.
We believe that a better and more pragmatic approach would be to ban major political advertising during the election campaign. This is not something that can be easily avoided because whilst donations can be made in a clandestine way, advertising, by its very nature and purpose, is public. There cannot be ‘secret’ advertising. This would even the playing field, and deter donors from donating at the most crucial time, when the parties are most willing to allow their policies to be influenced. Or to put it another way, if donors’ donations cannot be used to get the party into power, and therefore to have a favour to call upon, donations will soon dry up.
We would prohibit mass media advertising via radio, tv, print and online advertising, social media, postal advertising, robot or personal phone calls, paying endorsers and influencers and any form of billboard advertising (defined to include but not limited to taxis, sidewalk, shopping mall, drive around motorcycles and bus shelters).
Parties would still be able to get their message out with flyers, doorknocking, approaching people in supermarkets and railway stations etc, and through their websites. But the cost of this would be within the reach of all or most who wanted to run for office, and would not allow the well-funded parties to buy their way into office.
The problem would remain, that governments could still use taxpayer money to advertise during an election period, by disguising their advertising as ‘public service announcements. To counter this, we would introduce an oversight body which could determine whether any ‘government announcement’ in the electoral period had, as its primary purpose, public education or political advertising. This would never be fool proof, and would always fall foul of governments, which knew they were about to call an election, making ‘public announcements’ in advance. But it would severely limit the practice, and crucially in the period most influential to voter decision, being the election period itself.
Insofar as donations continue to be made, they would have to be declared in real time, ie within 24 hours of the donation being received.
The problem would also remain that media outlets could, and no doubt in many cases, would provide biased ‘reporting’ which was tantamount to advertising. But this is addressed by our media policy.
Public Bank Policy/The Australian Public Bank
Many nations choose to maintain their own publicly owned banks in order to promote efficient/ affordable finance and development for small business and stable and affordable housing mortgages for home buyer residents. Such banks vary in their roles from simple retail and commercial banks to banks that undertake central banking roles. In our region New Zealand is a country that effectively manages a number of such banks.
Germany, by far the largest and most effective economy in Europe has maintained a public banking system since the war which has assisted in the rebuilding of its economy and its sustained financial leadership. A significant part of this, is the range of Sparkassen or savings banks which run at the community and state level with central coordination but reliant on local management in touch with its communities’ finance needs and economic development.
There was a time in Australia where we ran a similar system through the Commonwealth Bank established in 1911 and supported as a publicly owned bank by both Labor and conservative governments alike. Indeed it was not until 1991 through to 1996 that a Labor government privatised the bank. In history the Commonwealth Bank operated as both a commercial bank and a central bank taking an active role in monetary policy and acting as a financial arm of government.
We propose a more modest retail and savings bank to assist families and first home buyers with mortgages and be an active supporter of small business in the community. Something like the German model of sparkassen banks where local managers rather than centralised computer systems and centralised financiers, are employed as the best and most efficient way to extend and oversee mortgages and small business in their community. The Commonwealth Bank savings division ran in this way up until recently. Obviously, it is too late and too expensive to buy back the Commonwealth Bank.
However, we have entered the age of the website. It would be a relatively cheap enterprise to start online and develop local and state branches over time. As a government owned enterprise, it would be non profit and therefore able to offer competitive mortgage and finance rates as well as providing a gold standard of service and community values. It would be a win/win for the public given that they would receive government backed finance for housing and business and then share in the inevitable profits of the bank which would be returned to consolidated revenue.
The Australian Public Bank, could be open for business in a virtual moment, starting slowly as an online business and developing into physical branches as and when its market and demand grew. This would allow the private banks time to accommodate a state player and lessen the concerns of private capital.
Quality management and staff would be vital to its success, but with a move away from the overpaid international CEO towards an emphasis on competent and qualified local and state management.
The Public Service
See details here.
Draft Policy Under Discussion. [We hope that by the introduction of our Job Guarantee Scheme, leading towards full employment, concerns over unemployment benefits will diminish, but insofar as they continue, it will be our intention to enact a significant increase in the order of a 100%. The same will apply to other social security benefits]
- 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. Total corporate tax avoidance as a result could be as high as $40 billion each year. 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. Individuals and corporations who wish to continue farming inappropriate crops, will of course be allowed to do so if that is their business choice, but they will not be able to access water in excess of their fair allocation to do so.
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 around the world 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.
We oppose and will abolish the ability of people and entities, who are not landholders, to trade in water on, or flowing through that land.
Work Health and Safety
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.