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Australian Federal Election 2016 & Brexit

July 1, 2016

01 July 2016

If you want to know one of the major reasons Brexit was successful, you only need look to the aftermath. More accusations of hate and bigotry, more hysteria about potentially destroying Great Britain and, worst of all, petitions for another referendum! What don’t these clowns understand about democracy? You debate the issue, put it to a vote, and accept the verdict. It’s a disgrace, and typical of elitists and political bigots that essentially don’t like democracy.

Preceding this fallout from Brexit was the equally disgusting behaviour debating the issues. Instead of presenting the case, all the Remain campaign could do was abuse and insult people. Even though the Leave campaign was simply about national sovereignty, border control and economic accountability, the Remain campaign turned it into accusations of xenophobia and racism. Even if there’s a racist minority that indeed voted that way, it’s only a tiny proportion of the population, so it wasn’t enough to counter a serious case to stay if the Remain campaign could be bothered with one, nor does it tarnish everyone that chose Leave. It’s amazing that a Muslim can shoot up a nightclub and it’s a stampede to absolve the religion in which the terrorist proclaimed allegiance and duty, yet there’s no problem blaming an entire country as racist when their only proclamation is a greater say in democracy. When you consider almost the 100% endorsement of Remain by political leaders, elitists and the European Union itself, not to mention the politics of hate and division used to push the cause, that Britain chose to leave the EU is one of the great democratic triumphs of our times. The people said stuff you! In contrast, the Remain campaign has still yet to offer one compelling reason to stay.

It’s not like leaving the EU is that big a deal anyway. It’s only been around since 1993, and Britain prospered very well without it. As they would again, along with other successful, dare I say “racist and xenophobic”, countries like Switzerland and Norway that have stubbornly kept their own independence. Greece would also be better off out of the EU, and there wouldn’t be the resentment over the bailouts and loans for such irresponsible countries. Within a week the British stock market has recovered all its losses, the British pound has rebounded, and the world’s other major stock markets have recovered at least half of their losses. You also need to remember that many of these markets were at inflated levels because of predictions Remain would win, so the original losses were exaggerated anyway.

The best part of the Brexit success was the full exposure and defeat of the politics of hate that has blighted this era. By hate, I mean it coming in the form of abuse and insults from those that can’t or won’t debate an issue. Political correctness runs riot these days, and finally the people have had enough. You are seeing it in the USA with the rise of Donald Trump, and it’s creeping into Australian politics with the rise of several nationalistic minor parties and candidates. Australia might just be about the worst place in the world for political correctness already, where you can’t even tell a joke anymore. It seems if someone is offended, that’s cause to run a toxic vendetta in response, demanding apologies and even for them to resign their positions of power. The point is, I’m offended by this zealous offense taking! Many of these jokes are totally unoffensive to me. I want to hear them. I wan’t more political incorrectness. In the meantime, the truly disgusting speech – the politics of hate – is let go.

Australian Federal Election

The worst part of any election in Australia is the requirement to vote. Not only vote, under Australia’s compulsory preferential system, you must vote for parties you hate. Every party on a ballot must be numbered, which in effect means all votes flow to the two major parties, Liberal (currently in power) and Labor (in opposition). For people boasting about voting for a minor party or candidate, it’s nonsense. Those votes are all extinguished and the least worst of the major parties gets your vote. If you don’t vote at all, you will be prosecuted. Serious! It’s like North Korea. The only exemptions allowed is old age or being sick.

vote01

Australia’s electoral system has led to a dysfunctional parliamentary setup where your only chance to speak on issues is through the senate, meaning a chorus of minor parties and independents, with their own self interests, now hold power. For as much as the senate is an unnecessary and extravagant blot on the system and lost its original point of a house of review for the states, it must stay until the lower house is reformed. That would mean optional voting and optional preferential voting. Ballots also must be printed in various sequences of candidates to protect against the donkey vote. Donkey voting is voting number 1 to x down the ballot without thought. Needless to say, in a compulsory voting system, the candidate in first position always does well.

As a staunch Labor voter for most of my life, they currently still disgust me. I now call myself independent, and have been so for the past 4 cycles. That means I vote on independent issues important to me, not parties. I’ve alternated the past four cycles. Before 2007, every election I voted Labor. In 2007, despite hating John Howard, voted Liberal for the first time ever because of Kevin Rudd’s ridiculous hyperbole and condescension about global warming. In 2010 I went for Julia Gillard, mostly because she promised to not waste our time with a useless carbon tax, and I wanted to be part of history in voting for the first female Prime Minister ever (call me sexist!). In 2010, I voted Liberal solely to punish Labor for the being the worst government ever and Gillard for being an even worse PM.

The Issues

Budget

Democracy is slow and the Earth is patient. Remember the “budget emergency” from 2013? Finally both sides recognise the problem of our huge deficits and debt. In 2013 Labor acted like it was a Liberal scare campaign, while Liberals acted like it was carte blanche to bring in unpopular measures like the co-payment to see a doctor. In truth the “emergency” was to recognise it and begin to take measures. Both sides are not tackling it seriously enough. Part of that is the partisan nature of politics these days and the associated politics of hate. Even more disturbing is Labor promises to tax more and spend more over the next four years, and increase the debt more! They say in 10 years they’ll be in front compared to the Liberals’ plan. The problem is belief. Remember Wayne “the surplus years are here” Swan? More likely it will be a repeat of 2013 with Labor tossed out after six years of irresponsible fiscal management and their mess needing to be cleaned up by someone else. They can’t be trusted.

Borders

I was pleased to read on the Greens’ pamphlet that they propose a “fair and efficient” system for handling “asylum seekers”. I presume that means the Greens won’t favour people wealthy enough to pay a people smugglers $10,000 to enter Australia illegally, and will prefer to take genuine refugees from the 40 million or so holed up, sometimes for decades, in refugee camps? That would be most fair and efficient system. In truth, as is being discovered with the immigration debate in the USA and the Brexit decision, there’s two distinct ideologies really in process: open borders or closed borders. Socialists (Labor, Greens) want them open for free movement; Conservatives (Liberals) want them closed for controlled movement. That’s because Socialists don’t really believe in countries at all, whereas Conservatives are more focused on the individual level. After the debacle of the open borders policy under Labor and the Greens between 2007 and 2013, in which 50,000 people illegally arrived and 1200 drowned at sea, I’ll stick with the current controlled immigration process.

Nanny State

Along with oppressive laws like fines of up to $319 for daring to ride a bicycle without a helmet, lockout laws that have turned parts of Sydney into a ghost town, and bans on vaping, Australia is now looking at sin taxes to control people’s choices. Ironically Australia has no problem forcing all us irresponsible citizens to vote! Cigarettes already accumulate taxes far, far greater than the impact of smoking on our health system, and both major parties plan to double the tax hit. This will only punish the poor and subvert any pension and welfare increases. If Labor win with support of the Greens, sugary drinks will be the next target despite the alternative of water already costing nothing. Why not ensure free water is available in eateries and install more public water fountains? Sadly only libertarian Liberal Democrats and Sex Party have any interest in curbing the grotesque nanny state. All the rest, including the pro-cycling Greens, are control freaks.

Emissions

Forget the misleading and bloated metaphors like “climate change”, and the latest fad, “climate justice”. We are talking about CO2 emissions and the best way to reduce them. Since China has been allowed to increase emissions each year until 2034, it’s an absolute waste of time for Australia to be bringing in token measures like carbon taxes and emissions trading schemes. They are even worse considering much of the money from the last scheme was funnelled back as compensation to lower income people and “vulnerable industries”, with the rest used to buy dodgy “carbon credits” to offset emissions that the policy admitted the actual tax was ineffective at lowering. Both major parties are committed to throwing money around, with Labor planning to be the most ambitious. In the meantime, Australia has a $50b coal export business. Tax here, pollute there, it’s sheer nonsense, especially when China is adding an Australia each year to global emissions. If there’s a serious worldwide agreement then, sure, go for it.

Negative Gearing

Get rid of this rort! Since when can expenses from one income stream offset tax liability from another income stream? It favours the rich and it increases house prices. The only mistake Labor are making is not removing it fully. It’s staying for new homes only and only starting in mid 2017 for new purchases of old homes. Existing homes can remain negatively geared, which will force a mad rush on the housing market until mid 2017 (presuming Labor win). The Liberals are doing nothing about this legalised rort, saying it will harm house prices and push up rents. That’s not quite true, because low house prices means less people are renting, which means rent drops. Besides, in time, it will all balance out. You lose 10% of value on your home, you buy your next home at 10% less. Worst of all, for the Liberals to be talking so much about controlling expenditure, negative gearing is an expense. This is not letting people keep more of their money like a cut to personal income tax is. You are giving people money back that they never actually earned.

Company Tax Rate

Totally support cutting it for small business. Liberals propose giant corporations will also benefit – in 10 years. That’s four elections away, so irrelevant, despite Labor frothing that the Liberals plan is somehow immediate. Labor favour cuts for small businesses only, which is my preferred position. Business tax rates probably should have some scale if it can be done without making Australian companies uncompetitive on the global scene.

Medicare and Private Health Insurance

Labor back to lying just like the Gillard years! This has been the worst aspect of the campaign, which shows Labor has little else to offer. Lying that the Liberals plan to privatise Medicare. It won’t happen, it can never happen, who’d buy such a colossal loss maker anyway? It’s not a business like Telstra or Qantas. Labor have something right on rebates for private health insurance, planning to means test it. Personally, if you can afford private health, you can probably afford it without the rebate too. If Labor is committed to spending much more on public health, then why subsidise private at all? The Liberals view is the public health system can’t cope, which is partially true too. Needing a shoulder operation after crashing my bike, I got it done the next day following the MRI scan because I had private insurance. Without it, in the public system, I’d be living with a slightly bung shoulder because it’s a non-debilitating injury. Ostensibly, nothing really changes on this issue unless you believe Labor’s scare campaign.

Parent Leave

Another rort! Public servants can double dip. They get their industry parental leave, plus the government one. The government one was only ever set up for those unable to obtain parental leave from their employer, typically a small business. It was never meant as an extra supplement. Liberals plan to abolish this double-dipping. Good! It’s ironic that Labor constantly speaks of fairness yet allows a millionaire mother government welfare on top of their company one. Ridiculous.

Middle Class Welfare

My huge grievance! If you’re middle class, you don’t need welfare by definition. You don’t need a baby bonus, or school kid bonus, or family assistance, or child care allowance (if you are wealthy enough). Unfortunately MCW is so deeply woven into the fabric of society that it’s difficult to undo most of it. Before all these freebies, people would save to have children. Now they know that all these goodies will come, so they spend money on other stuff like more expensive homes, or cars, or holidays. Politicians and their pinhead supporters never understand the basic principle that hand-outs eventually infiltrate the entire economy, driving up prices, to the point everyone is back to square one asking for more money. There comes a point you can’t raise income tax any further, so what’s next? Consumption tax? Australia is at this crossroads now. We are like the Nordic countries will high welfare and high income taxes. Except we are still struggling. The difference? A 10% consumption tax in Australia; up to 25% in the Nordic region. It’s the only way such extravagance can be funded, and also the fairest because everyone pays at least something. Personally, attack the insidious middle class welfare.

Superannuation

To me this is really deferred income, so should be treated as such. That means you tax it on the way out, not the way in. If I want to put a million dollars away, I should – tax free. If I withdraw $50,000 each year during retirement, it is taxed at the income tax rate at the time. Interest earned on can be taxed too, means tested of course. Taxing it on the way in is wrong, and defeats the entire purpose of saving for retirement and not be a burden on the welfare system. Sadly all sides are focused on hitting it on the way in.

Gay Marriage

A great quote from Australian Marriage Equality: “Placing the rights of a minority group in the hands of the majority seems almost ludicrous.” That’s the paradox – who is the majority that owns marriage? Marriage is a product of human society, developed over hundreds of years, so surely that’s the majority, and it is their say? Except, government has hijacked this institution and conferred special rights on married people, causing inherent discrimination towards those that can’t get married. Ideally, the government should dissolve the marriage act and let the original meaning of marriage stand. Principally that is the ceremonial part in which the couple answers to their god or tribal elders, not a bureaucrat, and government classifies everyone under its “de facto” definition (this could renamed to domestic partnership, whatever). Since that won’t happen, the marriage act must be expanded.

The decision should also be by plebiscite as promised by the Liberals, not politicians. It’s amazing how they resent losing control! The cost of $100m (based on $67m for the 1999 Republic referendum) is minimal when the monthly interest on our debt is $1b. It would actually be a unifying step if the people decide, not a divisive one, and would be a nice entry in our nation’s history books. As we’ve seen with Brexit the only division and hate would come from politicians, their sycophants, and even lobbyists like the AME. They should lead by example. They need to stop calling people bigots and homophobes for merely acting on a centuries old tradition. Remember, people like Barack Obama were the same bigots and homophobes at one time, and were allowed to “evolve”. So why not confer this courtesy onto everyone else rather than being a political bigot?

Decision

Stuck in a safe Liberal seat, my vote in the lower house matters little, other than to make statement (like the biggest swing possible against Labor in 2013) or vote on an issue (a conscious vote). I’ll stick with the feckless Liberals for another term and hope they can be more courageous in pushing through their plans. Current Labor can’t be trusted at all on anything economic, and it’s simply not in their DNA to be strong on borders. I want the debt down and the most neediest and skilled people filling our immigration program. Even better, let’s talk about the real problem in Australia of rampant population growth. I want a policy of sustainable population. Therefore our immigration program should be there to meet the population criteria, not be a fight over raw numbers and slurs that a preference of, for example, 150,000 over 200,000 people makes you a racist.

In the senate I have a say, so it will be for the libertarian Liberal Democrats and probably Sex Party after that. Next will be the Australian Cyclists Party and then look for moderate Liberal and Labor candidates. Therefore I’ll vote below the line to have the most direct say.

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