A Right Wing Thinktank II

This is a continuation of the post A rightwing thinktank is running Australia where i covered 1-11, 42-44, 49 and 69 of the Institute of Public Affairs ‘demands’ of the Liberal-National Party Coalition of Australia, a right wing political group currently in power.

After i did the last blog, i found a series of Crikey articles from 2015, where “Freelance journalist Andrei Ghoukassian and former Crikey senior journalist Andrew Crook have sifted through all 100 policies promoted by the Institute of Public Affairs”.Thanks is due the Crikey people who solved a few mysteries for me.

I discovered that pseudo-leftist Labor PM Kevin Rudd was the dickhead who scrapped the  Department of Climate Change (IPA demand #2). He did put it in another department, but that was also abolished.

So where were we?

The IPA’s list of 100 included...

12 Repeal the National curriculum
They just messed with it.

13 Introduce competing private secondary school curriculums
Same, curriculums supposed now to focus more on traditional learning rather than fancy schmancy leftist stuff.

The Arts will be only taught in classrooms without any actual children in them, and ‘Merchant Banking for Fun & Profit’ will be part of the Year 1 syllabus.

14 Abolish the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA)
Didn’t gain much traction, even the TV stations said let’s keep the regulator.
Kyle Sandilands, aka Vile Kyle, a radio celeb who often uses his platform to abuse his ‘enemies’ aka anyone who criticises him, was in favour, but even the LNP didn’t get behind Kyle.

15 Eliminate laws that require radio and television broadcasters to be ‘balanced’
Abandoning this is something far right people advocate at least once a year.
Usually being miffed over someone from centre being allowed to refute all their crazed claims that the Muslims have eaten all the jelly babies, but so far balance is being left alone.

16 abolish television spectrum licensing and devolve spectrum management to common law
 Is considered unlikely.

17 end local content requirements for Australian television stations
Local content rules are the only reason shows are made (and then exported – yes, this is what’s to blame for both Neighbours and Home & Away) in Australia.

Tv stations have been complaining about this since the rules began, and as many of the IPA members own at least bits of TV stations it’s not surprising to see it listed. But there’s no trace of current plans.

18 eliminate family tax benefits
Nearly gone. Abbott did for some (or at least his treasurer, Joe “I enjoy being cruel to people who subsist on 20k a year” Hockey did). Malcolm Turnbull is supposed to disappear the rest. Or not – “However the government will abolish family tax benefit end-of-the-year supplements worth up to $726 a year per child. This will be phased out by 2018.”

19 Abandon the Paid Parental Leave Scheme
Tony Abbott really tried to mess this up, and it’s gone through so many incarnations, with the latest linked here (same article as Family Tax Benefits).

I don’t pretend to understand it. Other than PLP’s probably for 20 weeks and it’s been changed so many times nobody’s really sure wtf is going on.

20 Means–test Medicare
They’ve tried bringing in co-payments for doctors’ visits, ignoring that the poorest already pay something for many tests, at least a token $5.30-6.30 for scripts, and often more than a token for any specialist appointments (memorable was the specialist who charged $550 which about $120 could be refunded from Medicare – and one had to pay up front, not like people with medical insurance).

The sick and unemployed and old are trying to pay for these extra expenses out of a benefit supposed to be enough to live on without extra medical costs because MEDICINE WAS FREE.

The co-payment bombed – even bulk-billing doctors weren’t in favour, though stuck with frozen Medicare fees since 2013 or so (a temporary $ saving put in place by Julia Gillard, then grasped with fervour by the LNP, thinking they could force all doctors to move off Medicare and into only private practice).

So the LNP have chiselled away, taking away Medicare rebates for many tests, putting drugs off the PBS (which means whatever the drug company wants to charge, the end user has to pay) and making the lives of the sick harder.

Stuff like criminalising anyone who uses codeine for pain (have to show your driver’s licence and be on a national register). Also the same for pseudoephedrine, which yes, is used to make meth, but ffs, some of us used it for hayfever, and can’t any more because the intrusive questions at point of sale got too much to bear.

The LNP feel all fuzzy and warm over this harassment, to the point where many of them have had to go buy another investment property just to celebrate.

Next, 21 on…

21 end all corporate welfare & subsidies by closing the Dept of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education
“The Coalition dissolved the Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education, splintering it into the Department of Industry and the Department of the Environment soon after election. However, their functions remain essentially the same.” From Crikey

22 introduce voluntary voting
This hasn’t happened – but it’s being put forward because it would help the Right wing stay in power forever. Australia’s compulsory voting means the Left has a chance. Conservative voters are better organised, more likely to turn out, worldwide – it’s why Margaret Thatcher, for instance, was able to stay in power all those years. She barely got 30% of the actual voters, but because so many didn’t vote at all, she was elected on that. Like Trump in the USA.

23 end mandatory disclosures on political donations
They haven’t managed this, but they’re trying. Malcolm Turnbull donated $1.75 million to the Liberal Party but didn’t disclose it until quite recently – their usual donors got cranky when Abbott was removed as PM, so Turnbull helped out, or ‘bought the prime ministership’ as some people (one of them might have been me) unkindly put it.

GetUp estimates 85% of political donations aren’t declared anyway, being ‘laundered’ through various entities.

24 end media blackout in final days of election campaign
This is probably going to be kept – the LNP announced billions in cuts during the blackout, that nobody heard about until after the 2013 election. Which they won.

25 end public funding to political parties
IPA wanted this, political parties didn’t. Simple.

26 remove anti-dumping laws
Wtf is it? Dumping cheap (below cost) goods in a market, usually with aim of destroying local industry, providing afterwards a captive market for the not quite so cheap any more goods.

Interestingly, Abbott didn’t support it.

However, people like Alan Oxley “an Australian academic, a lobbyist for free trade agreements, a climate change skeptic and trenchant critic of the Kyoto protocol along with being a supporter of cutting down forests in Asia to grow palm oil, keep #26 alive, in articles like this one.

Free trade is their grail – local industries can go fk themselves or move their manufacturing to China.

27 eliminate media ownership restrictions
They’ve achieved this one, or will soon – and Australia, already the most concentrated media ownership in the world, will get worse. Country people will lose out most, as restrictions that stopped one company from owning every outlet in Australia have been dropped completely.

Rupert Murdoch’s name springs immediately to mind, and of course, he’s a member of the IPA – his dad started it. Gina Rinehart also enjoys buying into media outlets and is said to be the one who bought Andrew Bolt his show.

We can only hope Unca Rupe’s enjoying all those LNP tongues up his arse – he’s been wanting this to happen since the 1970’s – possibly before.

28 abolish the Foreign Investment Review Board
We understand why the IPA, who live overseas at least part of the year, are in favour of free markets, free speech, and free money for their mates.

So far, the LNP haven’t been interested.

29 eliminate the National Preventative Health Agency
A victory for Big Tobacco, Big Food, and Big Booze. Supposed to be absorbed into Health, but Crikey say end result is cessation of its good works.

30 cease subsidising the car industry
Done and dusted. Because a few towns outside Tony Abbott’s electorate dying doesn’t matter to him.

Anyway, this is where i think we’re at…. those struck out are done, in BOLD are nearly done or about to be.

THE IPA’S 100 IDEAS TO TRANSFORM AUSTRALIA

  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 benefit will be undone
  2. abolish the Dept 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 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 & subsidies by closing the dept of industry, innovation, science, research and tertiary education
  1. introduce voluntary voting
  2. end mandatory disclosures on political donations
  3. end media blackout in final days of election campaign
  4. end public funding to political parties
  5. remove anti-dumping laws
  6. eliminate media ownership restrictions

  7. abolish the Foreign Investment Review Board
  8. eliminate the national preventative health agency

  9. cease subsidising the car industry

Only 6 out of this 30 done, and 4 about to happen – 10/30.

Now the rest of the list – research cursory so it’s bound to change. Again those struck out are done, in BOLD are nearly done or about to be. …

  1. formalise a one-in, one-out approach to regulatory reduction
  2. rule out federal funding for 2018 commonwealth games
  3. deregulate the parallel importation of books
  4. end preferences for industry super funds in workplace relations law
  5. legislate a cap on government spending and tax as a percentage of GDP
  6. legislate a balanced budget amendment which strictly limits the size of the budget deficits and the period the federal government can be in deficit
  7. force government agencies to put all their spending online in a searchable database
  8. repeal plain packaging for cigarettes & rule it out for all other products, incl alcohol & fast food
  9. reintroduce voluntary student unionism at universities
  10. introduce a voucher scheme for secondary schools
  11. repeal the alcopops tax
  12. introduce a special economic zone in the north of Australia including
    a) lower personal income tax for residents
    b) significantly expanded 457 visa program for workers
    c) encourage the construction of dams
  13. repeal the mining tax

  14. devolve environmental approvals for major projects to the states

  15. introduce a single rate of income tax with a generous tax free threshold
  16. cut company tax to an internationally competitive rate of 25%

  17. cease funding the Australia Network

  18. privatise Australia Post
  19. privatise Medibank

  20. break up the ABC and put out to tender each individual function
    (or cut funding, and put someone sympathetic to the right in charge – tick!)
  21. privatise SBS
  22. reduce the size of the public service from current levels of more than 260,000 to at least the 2001 low of 212,784
  23. repeal the Fair Work Act
  24. allow individuals and employers to negotiate directly terms of employment that suit them
  25. encourage independent contracting by overturning new regulations designed to punish contractors
  26. abolish the Baby Bonus

  27. abolish the First Home Owners’ Grant
  28. allow the Northern Territory to become a state

  29. halve the size of the coalition from 32 to 16
    (“Abbott’s first cabinet was made up of 19 members, close to the IPA’s ideal number of 16.” This doesn’t count the three or four junior or assistant ministers for every minister. Turnbull’s first cabinet shot up to 26.)
  30. remove all remaining tariff and non-tariff barriers to international trade
    (Some done – S Korea, Japan, and China. Trans Pacific Partnership not signed yet, let’s hope US exit makes ours less likely.)
  31. slash top public servant salaries to much lower international standards, like in the USA
  32. end all public subsidies to sport and the arts
    (Arts slashed, sports not so much.)
  33. privatise the Australian Institute of Sport
    (No – even Cory “I started my own RWNJ party” Bernardi  loves the AIS.)
  34. end all hidden protectionist measures, such as preference for local manufacturers in government tendering
    (Officially, not done – but French submarines, Australia?)
  35. abolish the Office for Film and Literature Classification
  36. rule out any government-supported or mandated internet classification
  37. means-test tertiary student loans
  38. allow people to opt out of superannuation in exchange for promising to forgo any government income support in retirement
    (This one freaked me out – people without pensions, starving in the street – but so far not being done, though super’s been cut.)
  39. immediately halt construction of the national broadband network & privatise any sections that have already been built (See last post for discussion of this. Not yet is the short answer.)
  40. end all government funded nanny state advertising
  41. reject proposals for compulsory food and alcohol labelling
  42. privatise the CSIRO
    (Massive funding cuts leading to dreadful staff cuts, often privatisation precursor but so far no.)
  43. defund Harmony Day
    (It was former Liberal PM John Howard’s baby – so no. Perhaps just announce that you’re going to legalise hatespeech ON Harmony Day?)
  44. close the Office for Youth
  45. privatise the Snowy River Scheme

  46. have state premiers appoint high court justices
  47. allow ministers to be appointed from outside parliament
  48. extend the GST to cover all goods and services but return all extra revenue to taxpayers through cutting other taxes
  49. abolish the Federal Department of Health and return health policy to the states
    (Billions ripped from it, but not abolished)
  50. abolish the Federal Department of Education and return education policy to the states
  51. repeal any new mandatory data retention laws
  52. abolish the Human Rights Commission
    (or just persecute Gillian Triggs, now former President of the HRC)
  53. have trade unions regulated like public companies, with ASIC responsible for their oversight
    (or just have Royal Commissions into unions – ignore public outcry for one into banking – and bring in laws to gaol anyone making secret payments to unions for 10 yrs. While allowing your own ministers, and yourself, to rort or ‘not tell the truth on time‘ without penalty.)
  54. end all public funding to unions and employer associations
  55. repeal laws which protect unions from competition, such as the ‘conveniently belong’ rules in the Fair Work Act
  56. extend unrestricted work visas currently granted to New Zealand citizens to citizens of the USA
  57. negotiate and sign free trade agreements with Australia’s largest trading partners, including China, India, Japan and South Korea
  58. restore all fundamental legal rights to all existing Commonwealth legislation such as the right to silence and the presumption of innocence
  59. adhere to section 51 (xxxi) of the constitution by not taking or diminishing anyone’s property without proper compensation
  60. repeal legislative restrictions on the use of nuclear power
  61. allow full competition on all foreign air routes
  62. abolish the Medicare levy surcharge
  63. abolish the luxury car tax
  64. halve the number of days parliament sits to reduce the amount of legislation passed
  65. abolish Tourism Australia and cease subsidising the tourism industry
  66. make all government payments to external parties publically available including the terms and condition of those payments
  67. abandon plans to restrict foreign investment in Australia’s agricultural industry
  68. cease the practice of setting up government funded lobby groups, such as YouMeUnity which uses taxpayer funds to campaign to change the Australian constitution
  69. rule out the introduction of mandatory pre-commitment for electronic gaming machines

  70. abolish the four pillars policy which prevents Australia’s major banks from merging

Another 7 done, 2 pending (NT to become a state in 2018), which brings the totals to 19/100.

Funnily, I can only conclude the IPA is not ruling Australia – who knew? I bet the right wingers in the audience are mortified. The IPA are getting some of what they want, (not quite 20% so far), but the LNP has ruled out a lot of what they want, or has even promised the opposite.

I know political promises are not worth anything, but what i’m seeing is that the IPA are in opposition to the Liberal National Party Coalition on a fair number of points, or the vote loss means the LNP are too canny to consider granting more IPA wishes.

Yet.

What’s happening now? Cuts to company tax, to the rates paid by the rich, and to Sunday pay rates for the poorest of workers. Cutting staff numbers, cutting funding (then “oops it’s not running well, we’d better privatise it”).

All these are the way the Coalition roll.

So let’s be aware, and ready to fight the next big idea the LNP claim is all their own.

copyright 2017 https://stinginthetail.wordpress.com

 

 

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About stinginthetail

Australian. Female. On Twitter as @stinginthetail. I write as Polo Shawcross. 1960 vintage. Quite strange. Free sample of my top-rated book The Birthday Dragon at http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/63286 View all posts by stinginthetail

4 responses to “A Right Wing Thinktank II

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