Australia is a wealthy country. Our prosperity is based on natural minerals, food, fibre and energy, and the application of the intelligent energy of our population today.
Services rather than primary production now dominate the economy, but our natural assets mostly still pay for what we consume from the rest of the world.
Most generations seek to leave more for their successors than they inherited from their forebears. On this, the stark reality of climate change is the most obvious threat that requires immediate attention and action.
Furthermore, as a nation in the first quarter of the 21st century our prosperity is being challenged: inflation is too high, the budget is in structural deficit, we have a trillion dollars of debt, productivity growth is too low, workforce participation, particularly for women, is too low, action on climate change is too slow. We have growing inequality and poverty and a revenue system that is no longer fit for purpose.
The last decade has seen a slide away from the truth, and a loss of trust of Government and organisations is the result. To ensure our prosperity, the restoration of truth and trust in government is paramount, followed by some courage to debate, then embark on, structural reform.
A focus on Productivity: I approach policy on the evidence, pragmatically and unprejudiced by ideology, partisanship, or sectional interests. Not everything is about spending more money. It is about smart spending; spending that will make us safer, smarter, healthier, happier and more prosperous. Spending to release productivity, entrepreneurship and creativity.
Real wage increases are necessary to improve standards of living – but real wage increases without productivity gains, simply perpetuate inflation. If we value prosperity as a metric, the productivity gains of smart spending are undeniable and our focus should be on our longer-term future, rather than politically motivated instant gratification.
A focus on mobilising our Resources: Prosperity comes from blending natural, financial, and human resources. Australia again has a vast endowment of wind and solar energy resources to add to our minerals to replace fossil fuel. Politicians have a responsibility to learn from the past decade of short-sighted political debate and provide the inspiring political leadership and policy certainty so vital to activate long term private sector investment to capitalise on those resources. Utilising our human resources is just as important. Small businesses that cannot find workers, children who fail to thrive, women who drop out of the workforce because they cannot find early childhood education and care, students who don’t finish education, skilled migrants who are prevented from applying their skills, and older people are among the under used resources which need to be enabled.
Broad Tax Reform: There have only been tweaks – and many of them – and no major reform since the introduction of the GST in 2000. Politics killed any consideration of the Henry Tax Review written in 2009. A decade and half on we need another clearheaded broad-based review. More importantly we must build the engagement of middle Australia so ideology and partisanship are not allowed to perpetuate the political division and inaction of the last two decades.
- With my fellow Independents, we have injected a fresh focus and energy into Parliament to debate the issues that matter. Real questions are being asked in Question Time to hold the Government accountable rather than just political point scoring or Dorothy Dixers!
- Successfully negotiated with the government to amend the Climate Change Bill to ensure that the legislated target of a cut of 43 percent in carbon emissions was explicitly a floor not a ceiling.
- Successfully negotiated with the government to achieve amendments to its Jobs and Skills Australia, National Reconstruction Fund and Fair Work legislation to take account of gender equality.
- Advocated to bring forward the independent review timeline to ensure the Safeguard Mechanism legislation achieves what the government says it will – put our biggest polluters on trajectory to make an appropriate contribution to reductions in emissions.
- Advocating to ensure the Petroleum Resources Rent Tax returns appropriate levels of revenue to the community for the exploitation of the public’s resources
- Sustained advocacy for energy price relief for most vulnerable households and small businesses.
- Supported Housing Australia Future Fund as the first step in addressing national affordable housing crisis. Advocated for stronger governance and transparency in its operation and a gender lens.
- Advocated for review of the Stage Three tax cuts to ensure that no one is left behind in provision of the services and infrastructure to communities in a prosperous society and that government does not make the Reserve Bank’s job harder in fighting the scourge of inflation.
- Advocated for an urgent review of the HELP/HECS system to ensure it is fit for future purpose and for immediate steps to moderate the current, inflation-driven and unprecedented rise in indexation of debt.
- An independent, appropriately funded and advised review of the entire tax system, to ensure it is fit for future purpose. We are currently too dependent on income tax, both personal and corporate. The current tax system can no longer underwrite the quality of services and infrastructure our communities rightly expect.
- Appropriate taxation of the war profits of our overwhelmingly multinational gas producers exporting our resources and continuing action to ensure they provide sufficient supplies for consumers, households and business, as we transition to a cleaner, greener economy.
- All decisions and actions to ensure benefit for currently disadvantaged members of the community – women, the young, CALD, LGBTQI+ and First Nations people.
- Appropriate and responsible action and incentives to speed up the transition to clean, green technology exploiting our unique solar, wind and mineral resource to provide the well-paying, secure jobs to ensure our future prosperity while ensuring that communities affected by action on climate change decisions are not left behind; that they benefit from the transition.
- Support for a national array of fast chargers to underpin the shift to EVs, both personal and commercial
Reduce subsidies on fossil fuels.
- A national road user charge to replace declining revenues from international parity pricing for fossil fuels.
- Support to encourage electrification of our households, including tax changes to encourage landlords to make their properties more energy efficient, especially for low and middle income renters.
- Incentives to encourage community wide battery infrastructure to encourage the development of local, clean distributed energy networks.
The legacy of the last decade of government delay and denial is that many Australians, especially women and the young, have not had a go at getting a go.
We need more ambition, more courage; politicians who will tell the truth; politicians our communities can trust.