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September 26, 2023

A glimpse of a smarter, fairer future 

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After weeks of wrangling, following the Greens shock election win, Prime Minister Max Chandler-Mather announced today he had sealed a deal with Coalition partners, Labor and independents, to pass ground-breaking reforms to reshape Australia. 

‘We’re finally bringing an end to the failed ideology of neoliberalism, with its absurd “trickle down” theory. This has created a massive increase in inequality. 

‘The priorities of my government are to tackle inequality and supercharge action on the climate crisis. It’s completely unacceptable there are homeless people in one of the world’s richest nations. It’s very wrong that we are some of the highest per capita carbon emitters on Earth. We’re going to change that. This new package of reforms will begin the process.’ 

Deputy Prime Minister, Tanya Plibersek, said there had been some tough bargaining, but agreed that such reforms are needed. Her party will not stand in the way of the passage of legislation needed to implement these significant changes.

Drones replace AUKUS 

The AUKUS agreement to buy eight nuclear-powered submarines, now estimated to cost $435 billion, will be scrapped, and no compensation payout will be considered. To replace this, $50 billion will be allocated to a program for Australian-designed and made drones, both aerial and underwater, to be built in South Australia.

As the prime minister said, drones have shown their effectiveness in Russia’s war on Ukraine.

‘These are the way to defend Australia, making it impossible for any enemy to invade successfully. In any case, the submarines would not last a week in any conflict’.

Other controversial changes in the package include a wealth tax on individuals worth $100 million or more. This will start at one per cent, per annum, rising to five per cent per annum for individuals worth more than $1 billion.

John Howard’s capital gains tax (CGT) changes of 1999 will be reversed. The Howard government introduced a 50 per cent discount on the capital gain for individual taxpayers. The Hawke government introduced the CGT in 1985, and John Howard had vowed to scrap the tax altogether, but halved it instead. Labor, in opposition in 1999, did not oppose Howard’s changes.

The effect of slashing CGT by Howard was a massive increase in wealth for property investors. 

This new reform will quarantine properties and assets acquired prior to 2020, which will still be taxed at the discount rate. Labor had wished to quarantine assets acquired before the announcement of the changes, but the prime minister put his foot down as he wanted to capture massive gains made during the covid pandemic.

The proposal to hypothecate tax gains made on properties to a social housing building fund will significantly increase accommodation and help fulfil the PM’s promise to house every homeless person within five years.

As part of the housing package, negative gearing will be largely phased out. From July 1, negative gearing will only be permitted on two investment properties, but not on additional properties.  

Voting age lowered

Another reform is the lowering of the voting age to 16 for federal elections. The Greens successfully moved to lower the voting age in the ACT last year and other states are expected to follow. Voting for people of 16 and 17 will be optional and remain mandatory after 18. The opposition is likely to vigorously oppose this change after their disastrous election result at the hands of younger voters.

Opposition leader, Melissa McIntosh, said, ‘Children of 16 and 17 shouldn’t be dragged into politics. They should be spending their time playing and learning. Let children be children.’

Parliamentary terms will be extended to four years giving governments more time to make necessary reforms without having one eye on the election calendar.

Income tax reform

One of the biggest changes in this reform package will be to personal income tax. Workers will pay 15 per cent tax on each dollar earned between $25,000 and $45,000, 30 per cent between $45,000 and $100,000, 35 per cent between $100,000 and $200,000 and 50 per cent over $200,000. The Greens wanted a greater differential between the lowest and highest paid, but were obliged to compromise with their coalition partners.

Higher taxes on fossil fuel exports will be used to power the changeover to 100 per cent renewables.

Massive changes are on the way, as imports of petrol-driven and diesel vehicles come to an end. 

Most stand-alone dwellings will become self-sufficient in energy, with the assistance of federal subsidies. 

Landlords will be obliged to provide such systems to tenants of rental properties.

Melissa McIntosh said the opposition will be opposing almost all these reforms, and accused Max Chandler-Mather and the Greens of turning Australia into a ‘woke Socialist state’. She attacked Labor, accusing them of selling out the people of Australia.

Asked about her comments, the prime minister laughed and said, ‘Let her try telling that to the two hundred thousand homeless and those paying more than half their incomes on rent! These reforms are for them.’

♦ Richard Jones is a former NSW MLC, and is now a ceramicist.

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      • I think we’re already somewhere along the way. What some of us might be sceptical about though is whether it’s going to be just so easy.

        I can’t see Mr Max operating all that successfully in a coalition though. It might involve some compromise and realism.

  1. Max will hopefully ban all live export and mulesing and tree clearing for animal feed or grazing. Also, a ban on horse and greyhound racing with immediate effect.

    • Hopefully live exports will have gone already by then. No doubt Max and his government will also start a massive genuine habitat restoration programme,

    • Mr Bellamy, why doesn’t “Mad Max” and his Green wannabees just drop the pretence and go out to Regional Australia and tell these Regional Communities that the Greens, (on coming to Govt, of course), are going to immediately close down their long established Aussie way of life? I’m certain that will work wonders, just look at the marvelous reception Bob Brown and his faithful band of followers got at Clermont when the Greens told a mining community that they were going to take their life-long livelihoods away from them. If that ill-conceived foray into Regional Australia was anything to go by “Mad Max” is going to have a ripper of a time.

      • Keith, when a gutless Federal ALP vacated the climate field in the run up to the 2019 Federal election, our brave environment defenders stood up for climate, the Bob Brown Foundation led the anti-Adani protest that travelled up the east coast of Australia. Its all to cerebral for you Keith, so out you come again, with your anti-Greens phobia rantings to deflect from the massive fail of the ALP in 2019. The ALP’s giant own goal over Adani destroyed any climate credibility that the ALP had and with it , went the 2019 Election.

        It’s always the same with the ALP, too slow, too lazy or just plain gutless when it comes to serious climate action.
        Its why Adani happily makes $’spolitical ‘donations’ to the ALP, no doubt a reward for all the ALP’s support for Adani.

        Keith, the Greens did the work in the runup to Election 2019 with their policy – ‘Renew Australia 2030: Powering past coal for a future for all of us’. Give the Greens policy a read Keith, you might learn yourself up, just for once. Send the Greens policy over to your handlers at ALP HQ, it will give them another Greens policy to copy, instead of lazily couch dozing that your ALP mob excels at doing.

        • Oh yes, the Greens are courageous all right. They have all the courage of the party of protest and not the party of government or opposition. Big difference. But I can see their attraction for you. Greens supporters have all the freedom to carp and talk big.

          But in doing so I’ll set a little challenge for you. Try a little constructive consensus building discourse and expand the vocabulary you do it with beyond a couple of hundred words! 🦎

        • Joachim old son, I’m sorry to say that I’m getting really worried about your state of mind, you are totally detached from reality; If the Greens and boofhead Bob had all of that ground-breaking, you-beaut policy, how come the Greens didn’t get elected to Govt?. You might be impressing your handlers over at the Greens HQ with all of this Green hyperbole you try to peddle to us, but seriously my man you are really only making a dick of yourself here.

          • Keith, oh the pain, OUCH.
            You couldn’t refute what I wrote, because it the truth. So cue your desperation of more of the same of deflect and distract with your anto-Greens phobia business. It isn’t working Keith, everyone can see right through you. But Keith, do please carry on making a goose of yourself, it is wonderful and free entertainment.

            Keith, Keith, Keith, you need to get some help / therapy to stop your obsessive worrying about the Greens.
            Keith, you need to focus on your real worry, worry about your “oncer” PM Albo and his rabble ALP Govt.
            Keith, latest Newspoll Numbers; PM Albo in net negative approval territory, ALP primary going down, Yes Voice support in freefall – the ALP Trifecta of Fail.
            Keith, the punters have worked your ALP mob out. But hey, just keep plugging away about the Greens, yeah. Rofl!

  2. Richard Jones, brilliant piece!

    The LabLibNat Cartel have had their goes and just take their turn at the tiller dishing up the same old bollocks.
    We need real change, ‘Yes we can’ with the Greens, to get the country back on track.

    Prime Minister Max, GOLD!

    • Joachim, Joachim, Joachim old son, what a great little spray, that should get a you a pat on the back from your handlers over at Greens HQ. for that one. But sadly it makes as little sense, and is just as irrelevant as all the rest of the fanatical rubbish you to manage to scribble together running that constant protection racket for the Greens continuing gross stupidity, and you really need to get some help for that constant pain you obviously suffer from my man, it really can’t be good for you.

  3. I’m not allowed to ask if this advertorial has been paid for by the Greens but it’s seems it’s fine for the Editor to ask me if I’m on the Council payroll. 🤔

    • Of course you’re allowed to ask that. I’m not a member of the Greens. Do you think we will get these urgently needed reforms with either major party forming government? It appears not. Both are too conservative to do the right thing.

      • I think I can ask what I like Richard. Whether the moderators let it through is another matter. There are a few areas in which they are rather sensitive.

        It depends on what urgently needed reforms you mean. Much of the urgency is due to the stagnant or hostile policies and practices of the Coalition for a decade and it’s not that simple to play catch up in one term – especially in the current, complex worldwide context.

        I understand impatience but some of us still remember the euphoria of the Whitlam victory after a couple of decades of bloody awful conservative rule. Riding a wave of hubris, the Whitlam government was naive enough to think that because the public finally got sick of the other lot they were ready to have their foundations rocked. Well it seemed they hadn’t shifted quite so much after all and three years later they were out. Such a waste!

        I know there is a very different landscape now but politics is still the art of the possible and there is a lot more possible if governments don’t crash and burn and break election commitments but bring the community with them. Not enough time? True, but it didn’t help the cause having that diabolical lot for so long last time.

        Constantly running them down, wedging, sledging, politicing (and yes the Greens are doing plenty of that) doesn’t give the government time to implement an agenda. I just reckon you could give some acknowledgement of the things Labor has done in just eighteen months and also be a bit more honest about the difference in difficulty between holding the reins and having two free hands to hurl rocks.

        • When the activist moderator is on, 20% of what I write is approved. When one of the guys do it, 95% of what I write is approved. I notice other regulars ‘appear’ silent also. I emailed her about it once and was told she just didn’t have the energy to be bothered reading them all.

          • What she actually probably meant was: she couldn’t be bothered reading all the off-topic, name-calling, swearing, nutcase crap, and she won’t approve comments that do not use the correct terminology for Indigenous Australians (accepted names are “First Nation”, “Indigenous”, “Aboriginal”, or their mob names).
            She also won’t approve any comments that swear and name-call Echo writers.
            Posts where commenters reply to themselves won’t get through.
            If you can’t have an opinion that is clear and concise without swearing and name calling and using correct terminology then it won’t get approved – and threatening posts and ones that call down the ghost of Nick Shand won’t get approved either.
            She also won’t approve posts from down the rabbit hole – the Leporidae and their bunnies don’t like it

          • She allows name-calling, racial vilification, off-topic comments, essays, and all manner of things, but don’t try to do them back to people, it won’t be allowed. And don’t point out the inconsistency, lest thee be punished for impudence. No reasonable person has a problem with there being rules. The public are animals. Wouldn’t you agree?

        • I stood in ‘72 and witnessed the whole thing.
          Gough Whitlam won two elections and perm changed the face of Australia in three turbulent years.
          I’ve seen nothing akin to that in the past 16 months. This has been a very timid government, tinkering around the edges, seemingly afraid of criticism in the Murdoch media, and the changes are minuscule compared to what’s possible.
          Anthony Albanese has the numbers in both houses to make major reforms but there’s no sign of it.

          • Exactly Richard, it did change the country but I think the fact he was elected meant it was changing anyway. But three years‼️ with the Tories reversing pretty much everything they can as soon as they get back.

            Yes Labor’s learnt and anybody who underestimated the Murdoch Press and sky after dark, willingly giving them the fodder they need, is not very astute. They largely ignore the Greens as insignificant and that’s not their target audience anyway – so it’s fine for them.

            Labor DOESN’T have the numbers in the senate which provides the Greens ample opportunity for product differentiation publicity seeking.

            I think my thoughts were eloquently encapsulated by Michael Brennan, outgoing chair of the National Productivity Commission, at last Wednesday’s Press Club briefing. He was responding to a question about tax but I think it’s more generally applicable to more radical reform.

            To paraphrase: ‘When we’ve had successful efforts at tax reform in Australia in the past, there has been a long lead up and a lengthy period of intellectual consensus building before it.. I think it’s unfair to throw all this back on government and ask why aren’t you out there leading the debate, why aren’t you out there taking grand political risks with tax reform. I think WE often need to help build that community consensus so the government can then act on it.’

            It seems to me that current adversarial party politics is not working towards consensus building in the national interest these days and the Greens are no exception. Move even gently on tax reform, or even mention it and the Coalition screams, hasten slowly and we have sledging and pontification from the Greens. Both sides are heavily into weaponising important issues but nonetheless vote together to stymie the Government agenda. Not very consensus building! Not very progress building!

            David Pocock, the Lambie team and the Teals seem way less into wedging and grandstanding. And I wouldn’t call your futuristic efforts “intellectual consensus building”.

          • Mr Jones, I also witnessed the events of the Whitlam dismissal in 1972, and lessons were learnt in the Labor Party from those events. Australian politics have changed enormously since then, it’s rather surprising an experienced ex-politician like yourself can’t see that, unless of course you just don’t want to see it?

      • Mr Jones, seriously, since the Albanese Govt was elected it has demonstrated it IS prepared to do “the right thing”; Labor Govt’s in the past have proven that rapid change without voter support is domed to fail, all that will deliver is another Conservative Govt that immediately reverses any Labor gains, the worst possible outcome, it’s not rocket science Mr Jones. As for the Greens, their vote of between 10/13% has not hardly changed in the last 20 years. Their biggest claim to fame is the blocking ability when they manage to get the balance of power in the Senate, but as the present Labor Govt is demonstrating by simply sidestepping the Senate and putting extra money into housing out of normal budgetry means the Greens are once more consigned to irrelevancy. Please a little more balance Mr Jones.

        • Keith, “.. as the present Labor Govt is demonstrating by simply sidestepping the Senate and putting extra money into housing out of normal budgetry means the Greens are once more consigned to irrelevancy.”, except of course without the Greens taking their stand on the HAFF, we wouldn’t be seeing the ALP’s “everything is impossible until its not”, reaction of using, $’sBudget, NOW – instead of the waiting for the HAFF maybe in 2024, 2025, 2026 … depending upon whether it makes any money on the stock market and then only spending $’s500millions per year. Keith, what sort of sick joke is that when we have a Housing and Rent Crisis, right NOW. Those famous words, “no one held back no one left behind”, I wonder who said that, surely not the guy that grew up in public housing.

          Keith, Keith, Keith, The Budget…. is there to fund expenditure, yeah.
          If PM ” everything is impossible until its not” Albo can find $’s10billions for a HAFF, then he has $’s10billions right NOW. But apparently that can’t happen for PM “everything is impossible until its not” Albo.

          So Keith old son, with many thanks to the Greens!, we have seen PM “everything is impossible until its not” Albo get up from his couch dozing and react to irresistible Greens pressure.
          Keith, PM Albo has dipped into the Budget, NOW / June 2023, to find that $’s2billions Social Housing Accelerator. Thank you Greens!
          Keith, PM Albo has dipped into the Budget, NOW / August 2023, to find $’s3billions New Home Bonus. Thank you Greens!
          Keith, PM Albo has dipped into the Budget, NOW / August 2023, to find $’s500millions Housing Support Program. Thank you Greens!

          Keith my man, $’s5.5billions has been found by PM “everything is impossible until its not” Albo.
          That is what The Budget is there to do Keith old son.

          Keith, the ALP’s ‘irrelevancy’ on housing, thankfully we have the Greens as the antidote to “fix things”.

          • It just MAY have something to do with the improved budget situation, or policies that were already in place ( if you remember they said there would be more coming). I find it hard to believe it’s to appease the Greens as they didn’t extract any commitment from the Greens to pass their bill to pass the HAFF and for immediate housing for the most vulnerable.

            But even if you’re right this crowing you Greens do is a bit childish. Isn’t it a cause for congratulation- you certainly don’t encourage more cooperation with Labor. And isn’t it good that you can get a sympathetic ear from them? You’d get zilch from the other lot.

            Did you listen to Michael Brennan’s comments about “intelligent consensus building”.

    • Not so Tweed. The Greens would need to win another 35 seats in the House of Reps to have enough to be the senior partner in a coalition government.

      • Mr Jones, you are indulging in satire now aren’t you?, I wouldn’t think the words “senior partner” would even be included in the Greens bible, it would only cause a great deal of uncontrollable panic.

  4. Richard, you shouldn’t frighten people like that, “the Greens shock election win”, “Mad Max Chandler-Mather as PM”, where did you possibly dream that thunderbolt up from?; I almost had a seizure when I read that and had to reach for medication, please don’t do that again, have some consideration for your readers.

    • Perhaps it’s the only way to return to a fairer Australia when a person on a single income could buy a house, when rents were affordable , when the education system worked, when there were no billionaires, when university was free and the health system worked for all Australians. The priority then was not constant tax cuts for the wealthy and pandering to multi billion dollar overseas corporations making donations to major political parties.
      We’re so used to this grossly unfair system, we think it’s actually normal. It’s not.

      • These problems are being created on purpose. All the people in all the countries of the western world are having all the same hardships. Once everyone is at the breaking point, you will be offered a ‘solution’. Your ancestors volunteered for their 1000 years of feudal serfdom.

      • Richard are you falling into the trope of the “good old days”? There’s a mixed bag here but let’s look at when a single wage could buy a house.

        The ABS 2001 year book states that “ as early as 1911, Australia had a reasonably high level of home ownership, about half (49%) of all households either owning or purchasing their own home” and encouraging home ownership was seen as an important aspect of government policy. By 1947 after a couple of wars and the Great Depression, it had increased to only 53%.

        “Following the creation of the Commonwealth Housing Commission (CHC) in 1944 (Curtin Labor Government) and the first of many Commonwealth State Housing Agreements (CSHAs) in 1945, policies encouraging home ownership have been given high priority … Examples of these include low interest loans, grants to first home buyers and low deposit ‘start-up’ schemes. All of this meant that, by the early 1970s, Australia had the second highest rate of home ownership in the developed world, coming second to only to Iceland.”

        It’s from the zenith of the 70s that the trend has gone down due to a range of factors but wealth inequality took a huge turn for the worse with global inflation trends and a prices and wages spiral. It meant many of those buying in the 70s had, after a short time an original loan sum and repayments, that became a much smaller percentage of their wage. Some, but by no means all, used this opportunity to amass extended property portfolios.

        By the late 70s though, most households had become dual income to some extent.

        Why is home ownership now so out of reach? Mainly because of escalating land prices for which again, there are a range of factors. I won’t disagree with you that supply of public housing and other government policy doesn’t play a huge part but think about how the current government’s housing policies reflect those policies post was policies that worked well. Think about their proposed investment in a fund for ongoing expansion of social housing and who is holding it up!

        Similarly, has there ever been a golden age of rent affordability? Sure it’s got worse with the double whammy of higher interest rates and other overheads (insurance etc) leaving landlords looking to recoup their margins and for others simply housing supply fed over demand.

        The ABS again: “ Since the late 1970s, the Commonwealth Government has broadened its involvement in private rental assistance programs, progressively widening the range of persons eligible for assistance through such schemes. It has also increased the amount of assistance available to individuals and families.

        “Investment in the private rental market has also been encouraged, largely through the provision of tax breaks such as depreciation and negative gearing of rental properties.”

        Which government is attempting to address housing supply? Which government just increased rent assistance?


        Good luck PM Max with eliminating homelessness with rent freezes and abolishing CGT and negative gearing. Best not to announce these policies before the election – remember 2019?

        Btw, prior to Howard’s fiddle with CGT, there was a discount based on the cumulative inflation rate over the period of the gain. After ten years Howard’s chemo was much simpler but a huge differential for short asset turnover. Labor proposed changing the discount to 25% rather than 50% but the rest is history!

        Free education? Free tertiary education was introduced as we know by the Whitlam Government in 1974. I started university in 1972 (see not all baby boomers got free uni and many are older than me!) Reflecting on my own experience though, things were a little different then. Of the 45 years 7s I started with, seven (two repeats) were left in year 12. From that seven only one chose to go to university. Funding it wasn’t such a drain on the public purse.

        By the 80s free education was such a success that tertiary education was becoming the norm not the exception and the Hawke Labor Government attempted to keep it sustainable with the introduction of HECS. Better than the bad old days and preventing the taxes of low income earners paying for the degrees of those who would eventually have much higher paying jobs. Yes HECS has ballooned and universities have been gutted under the Coalition governments we’ve had since Hawke/Keating with just a two-term gap – particularly the last one.

        Health – well that didn’t work that well pre Whitlam unless you could afford private health insurance. Again it was Fraser, Howard and Abbot who led the assaults on Medicare/Medibank with this government increasing incentives for bulk billing (among other measures) and taking on the Pharmacy Guild.

        Add to this little potted history, globalisation and international trends and it becomes apparent this oversimplified little grab bag of “once upon a time” doesn’t cut it as a justification for a piece that appears in the Opinion pages but, though it offers values many aspire to, offers very little in serious analysis.

        I’d still maintain that most of the backward steps have happened with the Tories, most worthwhile reforms have happened under Labor and I think, after what we’ve seen since Howard, this lot deserves a chance and more importantly TIME!


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