Sunday, April 08, 2018

Greens’ agenda targets bosses and billionaires in tax-the-rich plan

The Greens are Leftists who have learnt nothing

The NSW Greens are pushing a hard-left policy manifesto that would cost hundreds of billions of dollars, heavily tax the nation’s wealthy and cap the salaries of chief executives.

The manifesto also supports starving private schools of public cash, cutting the standard working week, abolishing higher education debts and making university and public transport free.

The policy document, released by Greens NSW MP David Shoebridge, threatens to further undermine national leader Richard Di Natale and expose the party to ridicule in the lead-up to the next federal and NSW elections.

Mr Shoebridge has outlined dozens of detailed policy positions, headlined by a billionaires’ tax of up to 10 per cent that the party says could raise as much as $11 billion.

Dismissing the drug ecstasy as “relatively safe’’, the document also suggests renters should be able to stay as long as they like if they continue to meet their financial and contract obligations.

It argues that there should be no “handouts’’ to churches and backs renationalising the power grid.

Although Mr Shoebridge backs Senator Di Natale’s push for a $250bn-plus universal basic ­income, he is critical of the party’s failure to capitalise on a ­reduced Liberal and Labor vote at the 2016 federal election.

He advocates a more radical ­social and economic agenda that includes targeting the richest Australians.

“There is a false perception that the Greens focus almost entirely on the environment at the expense of other economic and ­social issues, which are more important to likely and former Greens’ voters,’’ he writes. “This perception is a barrier to growing our vote.’’

Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese blasted the Greens as a virtual “secret society’’ that banned scrutiny of their party conferences and just stopped short of “abolishing all private ownership in anything’’.

“When the public examine the specifics of their policies they reject them,’’ Mr Albanese said.

Openly borrowing from British Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, Mr Shoebridge says Australia’s wealthiest have $111bn between them. “It’s time that wealth was shared,’’ he said. “That’s more than three times the government’s annual spend on education; it’s more than the wealth of most countries.

“If in addition to income tax, which is largely avoided by the super-wealthy, we taxed billionaires just 5 per cent of their accumulated wealth each year, we’d have $5.5bn more to spend on public education, affordable childcare, housing and cheap, clean energy.

“If we taxed their wealth at 10 per cent, that figure jumps to $11bn. This pays for an awful lot of things that will benefit all of us, not just the mega rich.’’

He adds that chief executive salaries could be capped at 10 times or 20 times average earnings, claiming the average chief executive earns 78 times more than the average worker.

Institute of Public Affairs policy director Simon Breheny said: “The Greens manifesto is a grab-bag of radical socialist proposals. These policies would be disastrous for Australia. They would result in our best and brightest entrepreneurs and risk-takers leaving Australia.”


Voters keeping our democracy alive

Our two-party system is broken, Australian democracy is in a ‘parlous state’, and the populists are marching on Canberra in their droves. Those are the conclusions being drawn after the release of the latest Australian Election Study (AES) data.

While the structural flaws of the two-party system may have emerged, and the jury is still out on whether Pauline Hanson will one day form government, the assertion that the fundamentals of democracy itself are in decay is somewhat problematic.

The term democracy derives from the Greek ‘dÄ“mokratia’ — the rule of the people. The underlying principle of the concept is that citizens participate in the decision-making process of the state; in the Australian case by electing representatives.

While these representatives and the system that constrains them are in need of review, a closer look at the AES survey reveals that Australians are in fact being more proactive when making political decisions.

Take swing voting for example. The number of people who have always voted for the same party has decreased from 72% in 1967 to just 40% in 2016. Split ticket voting — casting a vote for different parties in the House of Representatives and the Senate — has also risen from 12% in 1987 to 19% in 2016.

What this suggests is that constituents are feeling less compelled to adhere to historic family and class voting loyalties, and are more swayed by policy proposals.

This is reinforced by the fact that 59% of poll respondents viewed policy issues as the primary influence on their voting decision, as opposed to 23% who allocated their vote based on party identity alone.

Moreover, 42% of voters made their voting decision during the 2016 election campaign, as opposed to 23% in 2007. Just 35% made up their minds before the election campaign, compared to the 55% in 2007.

These poll results demonstrate that the core fabric of democracy — the demos — is alive and well. People are not mindlessly ticking the same box they have for 30 years. Rather they are increasingly making decisions based on the issues that matter to them.

So, while Australians are becoming increasingly frustrated by the nature of our political system, it would be unfair to say that they are abandoning the precious democratic principles on which our nation is built.


Xenophon flames out

Nick Xenophon’s SA-Best party is “vanquished and unlikely to survive”, with ramifications for NXT MP Rebekha Sharkie’s defence of the federal seat of Mayo at the next election, a leading political scientist says.

Associate professor Haydon Manning, a politics expert at Flinders University for 30 years, has issued a scathing assessment of Mr Xenophon’s political nous in the wake of his party’s failure to win any lower house seats at last month’s South Australian election.

A campaign journal of his wife Hazel Wainwright’s bid to win the southern Adelaide marginal seat of Mawson for SA-Best, published in two instalments by news blog Indaily, concluded that Mr Xenophon’s reckless and shambolic “high-risk approach” had left the major parties in a stronger position than they had been for the past three decades.

The damage to the Xenophon brand in South Australia could ­affect Ms Sharkie, his sole federal lower house MP, who this week ruled out joining the Liberal Party ahead of the next election.

Dr Manning said the ill-fated campaign was hampered by several key factors, including Mr Xenophon’s great worry over his personal loans of $600,000 that led to the expansion of candidate numbers way beyond the original objective.

After vowing in December to run in about 20 lower house seats, Mr Xenophon finalised 36 candidates in the 47-seat House of ­Assembly before the March 17 poll, only to win none.

Dr Manning, who Mr Xenophon turned to for counsel during the campaign, said his warnings that too many candidates would only stretch SA-Best’s limited ­resources “did not gain any traction”. Mr Xenophon, “determined” to increase candidates, “opened the floodgates to accepting new candidates without reference to the sub-branches”.

“SA-Best was buoyed with ­anticipation and, perhaps at this point, some hubris may have crept into the leader’s judgment as more and more candidates were announced,’’ Dr Manning said.

“Vetting appears to have been minimal, more often than not limited to hastily arranged telephone conversations and meetings with Xenophon.

“In the mix here was also an ‘insurance policy’ dimension: more candidates would secure more public funding and this would address Xenophon’s concern about the bank loan he’d taken out to fund much of the campaign.”

There was no experienced campaign director, he said, leaving all tactics solely in the hands of Mr Xenophon, who also kept the party’s policy agenda concent­rated in his own hands and failed to progress it.

“He (Mr Xenophon) also struggles to delegate and is prone to micro-management and con­sequent paralysis when overwhelmed by competing demands on his time and energy,” Dr Manning said. “Xenophon appears driven by a constant need to find a tactical advantage that he alone determines ... media tactics always tended to trump strategic thinking.”

But six weeks before polling day, the bubble of SA-Best support had burst quickly, he said, with a journal entry on February 1 recording an “unforgettable” call from a “flummoxed” Mr Xenophon after a statewide poll showed support had collapsed.

He said a despondent Mr Xenophon gave up on his own seat of Hartley at the start of February and “SA-Best simply deserted the battlefield”.

Mr Xenophon and his two successful upper house candidates, Connie Bonaros and Frank Pangallo, did not respond to requests for comment yesterday.


New Museum, Australian Constitution Centre, opening soon

Each year more and more Australians express declining knowledge of, and attitudes to, the Australian system of governance and its processes. Yet Australia has an extraordinary and unique story that is foremost in world history. Operating under the rules of the Australian Constitution, we are today envied as one of the most enduring and stable systems of government in the world. So why do so few of us understand how our Constitution works, our freedoms, our rights and our responsibilities as citizens of a great nation?

The High Court has worked with the Constitution Education Fund Australia (CEFA) to build the first Exhibition for the newly established Australian Constitution Centre. Visitors will experience an inspirational journey exploring thousands of years of ideas and events as countries trialled alternative systems of government.  By 1901, the writers of the Australian Constitution had entrenched six foundation principles that today explain how things work in the operation of the Commonwealth Government. These principles are introduced throughout the Exhibition as they integrate the stories of our nation building.

Mrs Kerry Jones, CEO of CEFA said earlier today “Each day constitutional questions are raised that deserve to be answered. How did women get the right to vote?  When did the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples finally achieve native title land rights? Does the Constitution impose rules on the politicians and the States?  Is it true that if I am a murderer I still get a fair trial?  Is our democratic right to vote worthwhile? What dates from the story of our nationhood should we celebrate through annual public holidays? Should we alter the Constitution and if so, what are the most important issues facing us today?  Has the culture, values and beliefs of our Australian society changed since federation 1901? What does Australian citizenship mean today? Can we find common ground and ways forward for our nation?”

Mrs Jones added “The Australian Constitution Centre recognises the urgent need for a comprehensive civics education program to restore knowledge, trust and confidence for the deliverance of good governance. Our Exhibition will provide this to the hundreds of thousands of years 5 and 6 students who will experience it when they come to Canberra.”

Collaborating institutions have gifted and loaned papers, letters and artefacts that are treasures never before been on public display. For the first time ever the High Court will open up interpretations of landmark cases, enabling visitors to the Exhibition to experience the work of the Court and its role in our democracy since Federation.

Parliamentary Ambassador from the Australian Government, Julian Leeser MP, said earlier today  “I am delighted that the Turnbull Government has funded and supported the Australian Constitution Centre. Visitors of all ages will experience and discover why our nation has processes of governance considered amongst the best in the world”.

Media release via email

Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here

No comments: