Just over two weeks ago we had a revolution, finally.
It’s difficult to overestimate the change that took place. It was effectively the end of an era.
The result was so bad for the Liberals, who lost nearly a third of their seats, including some of their safest, that they may never recover, despite Murdoch’s undying support.
There was a massive swing to Independents and Greens, and a major gender and diversity rebalancing.
Neoliberalism and the discredited belief that tax cuts for rich individuals and corporations will lead to greater job creation and wealth ‘trickling down’ to the poor has been exposed as a cruel fraud.
The wealth gap is now almost as big as in medieval times.
Globalisation is in the process of falling apart. Australia is dangerously exposed to reliance on the goodwill of other countries. Ninety per cent of our fuel is now imported, and current stocks would only last an estimated 32 days.
The war in Ukraine has disrupted gas, oil and food supplies. China’s zero covid policy has caused disruptions to manufacturers. Add the climate crisis to the mix, with its unpredictable catastrophes, and it doesn’t take a genius to work out that we need to change systems and habits urgently.
Anthony Albanese and his government have the power to make any progressive changes that are needed.
They have the majority in the House of Representatives and can pass any progressive legislation they want in the Senate with the support of the Greens and Senator David Pocock.
What Albo and his team absolutely need to realise is – the campaign is over.
They won. They don’t need to worry about losing the support of this lobby or that.
They have the numbers to do whatever they want – and to make radical reforms.
New governments like to introduce the most controversial changes very quickly after taking office in the hope the public will come to accept them as normal by the time the next election comes around.
There need to be major reforms in the taxation system to reverse the regressive changes made since the Howard era.
The legislated tax cuts that Labor said they wouldn’t repeal will cost Treasury $20 billion a year.
A third of the benefit of these cuts will flow to the top ten per cent, as is neoliberal tradition.
Assuming Labor will stick to their promise and not repeal the legislation, that doesn’t stop them deferring the cuts and saving $20 billion a year for a while.
Accounting experts, KPMG, estimate the tax concession on superannuation is costing $50 billion a year.
The discount on capital gains costs around $10 billon annually, and federal subsidies for private health and education is around $20 billion.
We’re starting to talk about real money. Assuming Labor won’t go the whole hog, in a manner of speaking, surely they could claw back half of this $100 billion a year?
On the other side of the ledger, it’s time to raise the income threshold where people start paying tax. Currently, people on wages from $18,200 a year are slugged 19c in the dollar. JobSeeker also needs to be increased substantially.
Our local Member, Justine Elliot, could make a submission to the Expenditure Review Committee of the Department of Finance along these lines, naturally after having consulted Treasurer, Jim Chalmers. In fact, each one of us could do that.
So, imagining that these changes have been made and we’ve now fixed the cashflow problem; where shall we spend it?
We know who needs urgent financial assistance: Those people devastated by the floods who have lost everything and are still homeless in northern NSW and southern Qld. Make no mistake, billions need to be allocated.
We visited a friend near the end of Left Bank Road, Mullumbimby the other day and were shocked to see the impacts of the incredible flooding.
Giant boulders strewn around like billiard balls, empty house after empty house standing like ghosts.
We were told sixteen out of twenty houses nearby were still uninhabitable.
We’ve visited Lismore several times and on each occasion it has been traumatic. We can barely imagine what it’s like for those who have lost everything.
The Northern Rivers Reconstruction Corporation comes into effect on 1 July.
Buy back properties
The State government will need considerable assistance from the federal government to buy back properties and rebuild others.
It can’t be done on a shoestring.
Anthony Albanese was brought up by a single mother on a disability pension in a Housing Commission home.
Who doesn’t know that by now? He’s on the left.
Now he needs to govern as a leftie, and help those thousands, millions even, who require help.
We don’t want a Liberal Lite Government.
This is not a time to be pusillanimous.
It’s a time for bold and radical reforms.
Richard Jones is a former NSW MLC and now works as a cermacist