POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY FOR AUSTRALIA +
8 POLICY ISSUES (IN BRIEF)
Australian political parties lack grunt. If they were otherwise, we would long ago have addressed, the big issues within politicians’ control.
Liberal and Labor once presented as representatives of ‘enterprise’ and ‘labour’. Today those ‘self-identifiers’ are less relevant. Without their traditional playing field, Labor and Liberal appear confused as to whom they play for. Both pretend middle grounds, perhaps unaware, that the old playing jerseys they still wear, involve no clear mission for either of them to do so. Their best articulated political philosophy for middle ground? “Votes”. So, it makes sense current politicians can look, like gulls squabbling over chips dropped at the footy, without eye for the ball or game.
New thinking, grounded firmly in non-partisan utilitarianism (the greatest long term good for the greatest number) could better Australia. Utilitarianism does not seek middle ground. It simply advocates common sense. We are advocates for its philosophy.
The Philosophy of Common Sense
Common Sense could not ask more, of an ideal political philosophy for a democracy, than utilitarianism: The philosophy guided (not dictated) by greatest good for the greatest number. Common Sense for Australia Inc advocates eight principles as pre-eminent, in common-sense governance of our country:
(1) utilitarianism (greatest good for greatest number);
(2) subsidiarity (decentralisation of government services);
(3) proportionality (of government solutions);
(4) responsibility (self-funding of each level of government);
(5) shelter (security of homes for us all);
(6) encouragement of family networks;
(7) smaller government (spending of our common-wealth);
(8) leadership (and tolerance; in public discourse).
Genuine non-sectoral debate founded in ‘common sense’ requires more, not fewer participants, to successfully emerge or sustainably flourish. To add your own ‘common sense’ to our association’s cause visit www.commonsense.info/join us.
Specific Political Policy Issues
All the following 8 issues are directly rectifiable by our leaders. All are resolvable, dependent merely on their will.
1. Aboriginal Issues + 2. Free Speech + 3. Defence of our Nation
Firstly, matters addressable in fewest words:
(1) Proposals for differential voting rights for aboriginal people overlook the question, as to why most of the 1189 staff of our National Indigenous Australians Agency are based in Canberra, rather than living in aboriginal communities;
(2) Laws placing protection of people’s feelings before freedom of speech are misguided. If sectors of our community fear repeal of Section 18C (Racial Discrimination Act), make its repeal conditional on ongoing review of the outcome;
(3) It is bewildering, that any politician promoting wise spending, has voted for budgets spending $50B on Dud Subs.
4. Federal System of Government
The biggest reform Australia needs is fixing government. We are unlikely to depart federalism, but we can change it from being irresponsible to competitive. Federalism can only function if states are responsible for funding their own spending. With added discipline, of central government exercising our rarely discussed Section 51(iv) power to force states to balance budgets. Taxes should be transparent and paid by all. Only risk of more tax can temper spending.
5. Economic Ballast
The greatest single action our politicians can take to broaden Australia’s economy, is introduce the lowest corporate tax rate in the world for our secondary industries. Australia’s politicians never raise the following reality, in comments on our corporate tax rate: Global competition adversely impacts our secondary industries – manufacturing inclusive of generic software – far more than our primary (farming and mining) or tertiary (services) industries. The USA has led G7 proposals to introduce global tax rules to deter countries – like us – with little revenue to lose from low taxes on manufacturing – chasing Ireland’s success in IT. We should back Ireland, not the G7. An alternative is for us to ‘win the race’ to the G7’s ‘minimum tax’ of 15% (but again, only for our secondary industries).
6. Cost of Shelter
Our society’s biggest economic problem is high cost of purchasing or renting a home. After food and clothing, shelter is humanity’s most basic need. It is time all politicians got real and acknowledged that ‘roofs for all’ come before law ‘propelling inflation and rewarding speculation’. We should phase out negative gearing (to a max of 1 property) and revert CGT to its original form (tax gain over CPI). Both changes suppress prices. The latter will hack away public debt.
7. Climate Wars and Energy
Whatever one’s view on climate change, it is time MPs rid us of its political divisiveness. If there is price to protect the planet, let us spend it by publicly building clean reliable nuclear energy. This responds to both sides of argument and offers cheap base-load power for industry. Our past five PMs (Rudd, Gilliard, Rudd, Abbott, Turnbull) all lost office largely due to ructions over climate change. Laws made in 1998 against nuclear power need prompt removal.
8. Primacy of Family
Our deepest social problems stem from failure to address society’s degradation of family over the past half century. One issue is failure to align partnering and divorce process. Neither should demand court time. In 2010 Australia’s Federal Parliament voted to cull ‘friendly parent rules’ from our family law. If our politicians had instead required family law judges to actually apply those rules, then most of those same family law judges would be redundant, and our divorce processes might truly, be no-fault. The ‘friendly parent’ concept should both be reinserted into our laws, and made a centrepiece of divorce process.
We will elaborate on these and other topics in future Essays.
For and on behalf of Common Sense for Australia Inc
Authorised for publication, 16 September 2021