Monday, March 06, 2017

Who would I vote for?

I was recently asked which party I think would be best at running Australia.  
My reply didn’t fit in the comments.
My ideal party would be tough on corruption and form a Federal Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC).  Currently politicians are pretty much self-monitoring - and we can all see how well that’s going.  A Federal ICAC doesn’t just police politicians either.  A Federal ICAC could keep the banks and multinationals in line too.  It’s how you police the police.  After all, if they’ve done nothing wrong, they have nothing to fear.  I firmly believe that a Federal ICAC would go a long way towards pulling all politicians in line and force them to be more representative of the people instead of their political donors.
My ideal party would repeal abortion laws.  The government has no place telling women what they can and can’t do with their own uterus.  When someone has to make such a difficult decision, the last thing anyone needs is the government getting involved.
My ideal party would not take political donations at all and would legislate against political donations.  We can see today how political parties are susceptible to influence by their biggest political donors and lobby groups.  Helping someone get elected can mean they owe you a 'favour'.
My ideal party would be serious about transparency.  There is no reason with the technology we have today that we couldn’t actually live stream the travel expenses of MP’s.
My ideal party would not discriminate against sexuality.  Again, the government has no place telling consenting adults what they can or can’t do in the privacy of their own home, or who they can marry.
My ideal party would make policy based on evidence and scientific research, not on ideals, or the whims of lobby groups.
My ideal party would be serious about tackling the problem of housing affordability.  If you’re a young person/couple/family today you may well be looking at a lifetime of rentals because house prices are out of reach for many people.  Just ask your parents and grand-parents what they paid for a house.
My ideal party would be serious about homelessness.  Australian research shows that affordable housing coupled with targeted street outreach and ongoing support services is enough to eradicate homelessness
My ideal party would not spy on every Australian citizen as though they’re criminals.  Because of Australia’s Metadata Retention Laws, phone company and internet, companies like Telstra for example, have been required to record your metadata.  That means, for the past two years, they have a record of every website you’ve visited, every skype call you’ve made, the GPS co-ordinates of everywhere you’ve taken your phone and every video you’ve downloaded.  They told us this was to catch pedos and terrorists.  It hasn’t actually helped them with that at all, but they’re already talking about opening that data up to Hollywood so they can bust people who downloaded Game of Thrones!  Also, telcos pass the cost of doing all this onto the customer.  We’re paying for our own surveillance.
My ideal party would close the tax loopholes that allow multinational companies to pay no tax.  If you’re making billions in Australia, then Australians should see a return.
My ideal party would not discriminate against religion.  There should be no religion in government institutions, and government should not fund religious institutions.
My ideal party would look to a future where most businesses and companies are getting more and more technologically advanced.  There will be a time when automated processes and robots will do jobs that used to be done by people.  This will affect unemployment significantly. We already have mines here in Australia where the trucks drive all by themselves, 24hrs a day, without breaks, without sleep.  They have already begun replacing people.  Doing nothing about this problem will create worse problems down the track.  Countries like New Zealand and Canada are seriously talking about the concept of a Universal Basic Income which may be one solution, or part of a bigger solution.
My ideal party would be serious about meeting the challenges of climate change.  Policy should be made based on scientific evidence, not idealism or the requests of lobby groups.
My ideal party would be serious about renewable energy.  The Commonwealth Science and Industry Research Organisation, CSIRO, the brightest scientific minds in the country, recently announced that they have a plan to transition Australia to 100% renewables.  Can we at least have a look and consider it?  One good thing about brand new technology like this is that no-one has figured out how to automate everything yet.  That may be why even today, renewable energy employs more Australians than coal and gas combined.
My ideal party would not discriminate against race.  Australia has people from around the globe who live and contribute to Australian society.  If you’re scared of children because of where they come from or because they’re wearing a headscarf, then the terrorists have already beaten you.
My ideal party would be serious about Aboriginal rights.  The incarceration rate and treatment of Aboriginals in some areas of Australia is an embarrassment to the entire country.  The First Nations need to have proper representation in government.
My ideal party would protect the environment.  70, 000 jobs are at risk if we lose the Great Barrier Reef to coral bleaching.  And then the follow on damage.  Towns that employed people who rely on tourism could very quickly turn into ghost towns.  Australia’s great kelp forests are disappearing.  Western Australia has lost one of it’s kelp forests - and an income stream of billions of dollars - due to the ocean warming to a temperature that it can’t handle.  Tasmania is watching one of theirs die off right now.  Add to that the hundreds of hectares of mangroves - fish nurseries and wildlife habitat - have died inexplicably in the Gulf of Carpentaria.  We have no idea why or what effects that will cascade from it.
My ideal party would not surrender Australia’s Rights to multinational companies through free trade agreements.  Both LNP and Labor signed off on the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) which contained Investor State Dispute Settlement Clauses (ISDS) which means that if the government makes a law that affects a company’s profits, then that company can sue the government - and if the company wins, the government pays compensation using taxpayer money.  Google the Philip Morris vs. Australia case where a cigarette company sued Australia because plain packaging laws hurt their profits.  The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement has them, and even though Trump has pull USA out of it, Turnbull is still trying to get those ISDS clauses passed.  Oh, and keep an eye out for TiSA - the Trade in Services Agreement - another free trade agreement that has bugger all to do with “trade” and lots about eroding workers rights.
My ideal party would be serious about changing our approach to drugs.  It’s already difficult for anyone with a drug problem to seek help.  Treatment should be far more accessible than it is now, especially in regional areas.
My ideal party would be serious about health.  Unfortunately, the nature of healthcare is centralised.  The best facilities are where they can service the greatest number of people.  The best healthcare comes from co-ordinating with the professionals that actually run these places.
My ideal party would be serious about the National Broadband Network (NBN).  What Australia is rolling out right now is a joke.  Next time you’re online and chatting to someone overseas, ask them about their download limits.  Listen to them laugh in disbelief that we have such a thing.
My ideal party would be serious about education.  A per-student needs-based policy like the Gonski Reforms can make all the difference for many children, especially in regional areas.  A comprehensive NBN would be invaluable to remote/distance education too.
My ideal party doesn’t exist.  A couple come close.  I did spend quite a bit of time reading policies of all the parties.  I’ve also noticed that when a government is in power, it doesn’t always act according to its policies, or what they said.  There is an entry in the Hansard (the record of everything that is said in Parliament) from the middle of last year that shows Penny Wong voted against marriage equality despite Labor claiming to be in favour of it.
I won’t know who I’m going to vote for until I see who’s running.  But as it stands, going by their policies and their voting records recently in parliament, I’m pretty sure it’s not going to be One-fucking-Nation.

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