The older I get the more I worry about the political environment. After all, it’s what sets the standard of living for most of us. A good government that balances the needs of its people with the needs of industry is the ideal and is extremely hard to come by.
Up front I will say I believe we need to care for the most disadvantaged in our society. After all, we are, or should be, a community that ensures everyone has food on the table and a roof over their heads. Added to that I feel that the best way to ensure a good future for a country is to have its population educated and healthy. Some will say that makes me a socialist but I see it as being a caring human. I’m happy to pay taxes to ensure that these things are provided. Not everyone is as privileged as I am; not everyone has the same ability to secure well-paying jobs. On top of that, there are a lot of jobs that were manual and or administrative that have disappeared because of technology. Nor are all people willing or able to get a degree at university. And they become the disadvantaged having to rely on the social security system or charities.
In Australia I used to think we had the best of it. At least for a while. But the drop in tax income for governments from pastoral and mining industries has caused an income problem. Less coming in and more demand. I won’t even mention the fact that most big business pays less % of tax than the individual when they make millions or billions of dollars in profits – it goes to their shareholders instead who benefit from the companies not paying tax.
It just seems to me that recent governments have been focusing on big business to the exclusion of the people that they govern. Workers pay between 35% to 45% tax while big business is able to get away with around 2-5% or none. If jobs are going in the manual and administration areas and full-time work is getting harder to get, especially for young people just out of school, who is going to pay the tax? It becomes an issue of fewer people working, fewer people paying tax and the government has less money to spend. Then the government starts cutting programs, mainly in the social area like health and education. Less education and health means fewer people able to get jobs and it becomes a self-fulfilling circle of less taxation dollars and fewer services.
So, I ask, what is wrong with investing in the people rather than big business which seems to do alright for itself despite what they say. They are happy to get profits and keep it but when they run into trouble they want the taxpayers through the government to save them. And let’s be clear, big business does quite a bit of funding of political parties and candidates so they feel they have a right to dictate policy and be saved when they make stupid decisions – recently look at Clive Palmer and Nathan Tinkler.
And don’t get me started on the silliness going on with Donald Trump in the USA. Really people? A man who switches his beliefs as easily as his boxer shorts?
I’m not naive enough to think there is an easy solution to any of this. Australia is now part of the global community and affected by global economics. But that seems to me the whole problem. The idea that we have to keep growing. Everything has an upper limit in growth with the exception of the universe itself – and even with that there seems to be an eventual falling apart at the end of expansion. So how about we actually look at changing the ‘growth’ paradigm for a ‘sustainability’ paradigm. There is certainly a growing body of economic ideas that could work (Growing a Sustainable Economy) or Ernst and Young’s 2014 report that suggested a re-orientation of the tax system and changes to Non-Government Organisations that supply human services to a secure funding model to allow them to plan and make savings on their services. This is essential in the area of providing services to disadvantaged indigenous communities throughout Australia. Ad hoc, three-year funding with no guarantee of future funding provides ad hoc services that no-one trusts. Good programs that are working get cut with those that don’t work or seem to work – and that issue is a challenge and a whole topic in itself.
The ideas are out there. I’m sure I’m not the only one who would be willing to see a government brave enough to make the needed changes.
But no, governments and opposition alike play popularity games to get in for the next term, to remain in power instead of working for the people they govern.
I will vote this coming election – but I won’t do it happily. There isn’t much choice and there isn’t a visionary amongst the current crop of politicians in Australia. All too scared of doing the right thing for the country because they are afraid of big business and losing their funding.
I know there are people who will disagree with my views, and so it should be. If we were all the same life would get boring. But I had to have a say and I have a blog and so here it is, out there for all to see. I would just like everyone to consider what life would be like if our government actually cared about us as people and not about ‘liberal philosophy’ or ‘worker solidarity’ or ‘economic growth’ as a basis for government. What is right for Australia, it’s future and it’s people rather than fighting wars on the other side of the world because an economic power/partner asked us to (not to say anything here about the bravery of our soldiers which is beyond reproach).
How about they look at doing the roll-out of broadband properly to each home like in many places in Europe and the USA. It will allow people to come into the 21st Century from all over Australia not just the capital cities. They could access technology and bring in new industries to assist Australians in country and city. How about funding CSIRO rather than cutting it – the organisation has a huge role to play in R&D for Australia’s future – it has some of the best researchers with the best ideas and history has proven this (top 10 inventions). And how about supporting parents and families who have to work full-time with child care and good education systems so their children can find jobs in the new technologically advanced world. They can then pay taxes to maintain a system for the future for all Australians.
I worry about the vast amounts of money that goes into tunnels and roads in our capital cities rather than alternative energy that will make Australia self-sufficient. The use of fossil fuels is outdated and we are a smart people, we can find better ways of doing things. That’s the Australian way isn’t it?
I know, it sounds easy to say. But all it needs is a leader with vision and courage who has our best interests at heart. Vision that can be communicated to the people and courage to do it despite political games that have become nasty and about personalities rather than the best interests of the country. But I can’t see one in the current crop of Australian politicians. And it’s very discouraging.