Is This Tony Abbott’s Shopping List For Australia?


Tony Abbott’s request for trust should fall on deaf ears

By @SainterSan]

This post first appeared on The Peoplez Daily and is re-posted with permission of the author @SainterSan

9bc_12c88f_894214b9_ojFact checking political statements is a fairly recent phenomenon in the U.S, Britain and now Australia, and has proved to be particularly useful to the public during election campaigns. Principally a FactCheck organisation monitors the factual accuracy of what is said by politicians in TV ads, debates, speeches, interviews and news releases by scrutinising an already well established database of facts on the public record and/or consulting with leading academics to establish the validity of economic policies. For a FactCheck organisation to have credibility it must uphold the best practises of journalism and scholarship, and be nonpartisan and independent. By all measures they have been highly successful in their mission to hold politicians to account. However, there are other ways to fact check political promises doled out to the voter in the lead-up to an election.

When a campaign is in full swing, often what concerns the electorate most is not what political parties are promising to DO but what they are promising NOT to do – the old fear of voting in a wolf in sheep’s clothing. But how is it possible to factually know in any meaningful way what an incoming government will do in the future? Policy statements are basically useless and reading up on a party’s charter or platform at its website is equally useless. To know the real agenda of a new government you must familiarise yourself with a party’s root ideology. In the case of the conservative Coalition (LNP) in Australia, favoured to win the 2013 federal election on September 7, this can be found at the website of it’s principle thinktank, The Institute of Public Affairs.

Founded in 1943 the IPA is primarily made up of right wing academics known as “research fellows”, political figures in the Liberal and National parties, and prominent members of the business community. It is funded by its members, namely wealthy individuals and large corporations like Exxon, Shell, Telstra, Caltex, News Corp and BHP-Billiton. It has been revealed by ABC journalist,Clive Hamilton, that the IPA has a strong link with the Heartland Institute in the United States, a conservative/libertarian think tank and leading climate denier bankrolled by the oil and mining sector. Recently it held it’s 70th anniverary dinner in Melbourne, attended by leading business figures such as Rupert Murdoch and the world’s richest woman, mining magnate Gina Reinhart – the event was MC’d by conservative blogger, Andrew Bolt.

In 2012 the Institute posted an article at it’s website which included a wish list of economic and social changes it wanted Opposition Leader Tony Abbott to implement should he win government. Though the article’s contributors, John Roskam, Chris Berg and James Paterson claim that the list is deliberately radical, their 75 changes to Australia fundamentally represent the core ideology of both the IPA and the LNP Coalition. To quote:

Here we provide a list of 75 policies that would make Australia richer and more free. It’s a deliberately radical list. There’s no way Tony Abbott could implement all of them, or even a majority. But he doesn’t have to implement them all to dramatically change Australia. If he was able to implement just a handful of these recommendations, Abbott would be a transformative figure in Australian political history. He would do more to shift the political spectrum than any prime minister since Whitlam.

Just as the IPA is the church of the Coalition the wish list can be seen as its scripture. And so anyone wondering whether an incoming government headed by Tony Abbott (John Howard’s head kicker) would ‘slash and burn’ (to quote the current Labor government) should ponder any selection or all of the 75 goodies they may well have in store for the land down under. The wish list is not fact in the present tense nor can it be verified in any empirical way, but it constitutes facts in principle which are awaiting implementation if/when the Coalition gets it’s way.

During this campaign Mr Abbott has consistently appealed to the public to trust him. “Trust me”. This from a man whose party still will not release it’s policy costings only two weeks from polling day. Reading the list it’s any wonder why the LNP avoid at all costs being transparent with the public.

List of Radical Changes

1 Repeal the carbon tax, and don’t replace it. It will be one thing to remove the burden of the carbon tax from the Australian economy. But if it is just replaced by another costly scheme, most of the benefits will be undone.

2 Abolish the Department of Climate Change

3 Abolish the Clean Energy Fund

4 Repeal Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act

5 Abandon Australia’s bid for a seat on the United Nations Security Council

6 Repeal the renewable energy target

7 Return income taxing powers to the states

8 Abolish the Commonwealth Grants Commission

9 Abolish the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission

10 Withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol

11 Introduce fee competition to Australian universities

12 Repeal the National Curriculum

13 Introduce competing private secondary school curriculums

14 Abolish the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA)

15 Eliminate laws that require radio and television broadcasters to be ‘balanced’

16 Abolish television spectrum licensing and devolve spectrum management to the common law

17 End local content requirements for Australian television stations

18 Eliminate family tax benefits

19 Abandon the paid parental leave scheme

20 Means-test Medicare

21 End all corporate welfare and subsidies by closing the Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education

22 Introduce voluntary voting

23 End mandatory disclosures on political donations

24 End media blackout in final days of election campaigns

25 End public funding to political parties

26 Remove anti-dumping laws

27 Eliminate media ownership restrictions

28 Abolish the Foreign Investment Review Board

29 Eliminate the National Preventative Health Agency

30 Cease subsidising the car industry

31 Formalise a one-in, one-out approach to regulatory reduction

32 Rule out federal funding for 2018 Commonwealth Games

33 Deregulate the parallel importation of books

34 End preferences for Industry Super Funds in workplace relations laws

35 Legislate a cap on government spending and tax as a percentage of GDP

36 Legislate a balanced budget amendment which strictly limits the size of budget deficits and the period the federal government can be in deficit

37 Force government agencies to put all of their spending online in a searchable database

38 Repeal plain packaging for cigarettes and rule it out for all other products, including alcohol and fast food

39 Reintroduce voluntary student unionism at universities

40 Introduce a voucher scheme for secondary schools

41 Repeal the alcopops tax

42 Introduce a special economic zone in the north of Australia including:

a) Lower personal income tax for residents

b) Significantly expanded 457 Visa programs for workers

c) Encourage the construction of dams

43 Repeal the mining tax

44 Devolve environmental approvals for major projects to the states

45 Introduce a single rate of income tax with a generous tax-free threshold

46 Cut company tax to an internationally competitive rate of 25 per cent

47 Cease funding the Australia Network

48 Privatise Australia Post

49 Privatise Medibank

50 Break up the ABC and put out to tender each individual function

51 Privatise SBS

52 Reduce the size of the public service from current levels of more than 260,000 to at least the 2001 low of 212,784

53 Repeal the Fair Work Act

54 Allow individuals and employers to negotiate directly terms of employment that suit them

55 Encourage independent contracting by overturning new regulations designed to punish contractors

56 Abolish the Baby Bonus

57 Abolish the First Home Owners’ Grant

58 Allow the Northern Territory to become a state

59 Halve the size of the Coalition front bench from 32 to 16

60 Remove all remaining tariff and non-tariff barriers to international trade

61 Slash top public servant salaries to much lower international standards, like in the United States

62 End all public subsidies to sport and the arts

63 Privatise the Australian Institute of Sport

64 End all hidden protectionist measures, such as preferences for local manufacturers in government tendering

65 Abolish the Office for Film and Literature Classification

66 Rule out any government-supported or mandated internet censorship

67 Means test tertiary student loans

68 Allow people to opt out of superannuation in exchange for promising to forgo any government income support in retirement

69 Immediately halt construction of the National Broadband Network and privatise any sections that have already been built

70 End all government funded Nanny State advertising

71 Reject proposals for compulsory food and alcohol labelling

72 Privatise the CSIRO

73 Defund Harmony Day

74 Close the Office for Youth

75 Privatise the Snowy-Hydro Scheme

The list amounts to full strength Thatcherism thrust upon a largely unsuspecting Australia that continues to be distracted by meaningless political argy bargy and frivolous debates. And any time soon it could become empirical fact.

About jrbsays

Just a regular married father of three type of guy. Writer of Haiku, founder of and other bits and other bobs.
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5 Responses to Is This Tony Abbott’s Shopping List For Australia?

  1. Sainter says:

    Gracias mucho for the repost. 🙂

    Seeing that some believe these Sky news debates can have an influence on the election result, maybe Rudd should take the gloves off at Rooty Hill tonight and seriously rubbish Abbott for treating the Oz people like mugs by hiding his policy costings. While he’s at it he should ask him point blank what his plans are for the ABC.

    • jrbsays says:

      Chris Pyne said on QANDA the other week that they couldn’t sell the ABC as “it doesn’t make a profit”. That shows his understanding of the value and importance of having a non-commercial national broadcaster (not to mention his personal value set – money,money, money).

      I think Rudd (or someone) should ask Tony Abbott why someone who thinks they have the character and policies to represent our nation globally has refused to appear on our national broadcaster’s two main political forums – QANDA and Lateline since 2010. His ministers have all had the courage to appear several times, but not him – why?

      • Sainter says:

        Pyne is the typical Thatcherite that I’ve been going on about lately. Hockey’s also caught the disease. They see everything through a business/bottom-line lens. They have no appreciation of the cultural/social significance of an organisation like the ABC. Imagine if they privatised it? Instead of all those quality programs we’d get bloody reality programs and more chefs! As for what the political coverage would be like you can imagine without me saying anything.

        Whichever side wins the election they should legislate for 3 election debates in future, one of which MUST be conducted by the ABC. Another should go to a free-to-air tv station. It’s an absolute crime that Abbott has been allowed to get away with avoiding meaningful scrutiny of the public.

  2. :”Trust me”??? when we start trusting them is when we are in trouble!!!!!

  3. thanks for this. appalling isn’t it

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