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Policies that should be put to voters at the forthcoming Australian Federal elections

In the Australian Federal elections to be held on 18 May, the choice of candidates should include candidates who are resolved, should they win, to do their utmost to rectify the serious threats to the very survival of Australia and the rest of humanity. The most critical of these threats is the threat of nuclear war. Regardless of who is held to be most at fault - Russia, China or the United States - any parliamentarian, worthy of holding office, would use his/her influence to try to remove this threat. Neither the Liberal/National government nor the Labor 'opposition' are doing so, nor, as far as we can tell, are the Greens, One Nation nor any other sitting member of Parliament.

They have also failed to address other threats to our global life support system, most typified by the destruction of more than 3.6 million hectares of pristine tropical forests in 2018 as reported in The Guardian on 25 April (3.6 million hectares is roughly equal to a square with a side of length 190km). In addition, there is the destruction and degradation of other wilderness areas and farmland, ever larger quantities of pollution and the high consumption of non-renewable resources. A candidate seeking to rectify all of these problems would, if elected, act to eliminate their principle causes - neo-liberal 'free market' economics and population growth.

We believe that such a candidate would support the policies listed below. We intend to ask each candidate standing for each House of Representatives seat and for each of the 12 Senate seats for each state, whether he/she supports, or is opposed to, each of the policies. Our first priority will be to ask this of independent candidates and candidates of parties other than those listed above. Their responses or lack thereof will be posted here on CanDoBetter.

Please feel encouraged to ask each candidate seeking your vote will he/she try to implement such policies if elected and post any responses below.

There are 56 policies in all. They are divided into the sections: Effective government participation in the economy, Sustainability, Basic needs: Full employment in secure and fulfilling occupations, Education, Basic needs: other, Democracy, Transparency and Accountability, ForeignPolicy: Syria, Foreign policy - Palestine/Israel, Foreign policy - Other Middle East, Foreign policy: Ukraine and Russia and Human rights: Protection of human rights, civil liberties, freedom of speech and proper legal conduct by the authorities.

In the Australian Federal elections to be held some time next month in May 2019, voters who would like to see any one of the policies listed below implemented, are entitled to know whether each candidate asking for his/her vote will, if elected, try to implement that policy. We intend to ask each candidate, including the sitting member, his/her intentions should he/she be successful. Each response, or lack of response, will be posted here, to candobetter.net. Please feel encouraged to express your views about these proposals as comments or, should we make that feature available, to vote for or against them.

Effective government participation in the economy

1. The scrapping of the 1993 National Competition Policy Review Report (a.k.a. the "Hilmer Report") (pdf here) and its neo-liberal economic prescriptions of privatisation and deregulation.

2. Government owned enterprises: Seek to establish government owned enterprises in all significant sectors of the economy where they don't already exist: insurance, banking, real estate, funeral services, car retail, car hire, passenger airlines, buses, rail, sea, road and air freight, mining, tourism, supermarkets, and other retail outlets, etc.

3. Rebuild manufacturing: Re-build a large Australian manufacturing sector through (1) the establishment of government-owned manufacturing enterprises and (2) tariffs to protect private manufacturing companies from unfair overseas competition;

4. Sovereign control of Australia's wealth: Outlaw the sale of Australian land, natural resources and built resources to non-citizens. Long-term leases to foreign corporations also to be forbidden.

5. Public audit of previous privatisations:All privatisations, particularly those which have occurred since 1983, to be publicly audited. Privatisations to be audited include Telstra (formerly Telecom), Medibank Private, the Commonwealth Bank and state banks, public transport, insurance, the Port of Melbourne, electricity and water. Members of the public and interested groups be invited to make submissions. Establish the costs to the community of these privatisations of these privatisation as opposed to the benefits;

6. End corporatisation of government enterprises and reverse existing corporatisations: Corporatisation is generally understood to be the first step towards outright privatisation. One past corporatisation is that of Australia Post. Australia Post could be made to resume its past charter which required it to provide training, career structure, job security, decent wages to employees, good service to the public and not just to achieve the maximum financial profit. Where applicable, the charter of government-owned services and infrastructure should also include protection of the environment.

7. Public inquiry into the health effects of 5G Wi-Fi networks Many scientists have warned that electromagnetic transmissions in the projected Australia-wide 5G network which are which is 100 times faster than the current 4G network may pose significant health risks. Introduction of 5G Wi-Fi trransmission must be halted until we are sure that it won't adversely affect our health. If it is shown that 5G is harmful, then it should be scrapped and fibre-optic cable used instead (or satellite transmission where fibre-optic networks can't be laid).

7. Access to broadband Internet to be made a right for every Australian citizen: In all urban regions every residence should have access to fibre-optic cable. In remote communities, access could be through satellite communication.

8. Free Internet social networks: The government seek to establish alternatives to Facebook, Google, Twitter and YouTube. These social networks are to respect the privacy of their users and be transparently administered. Rather than being funded by advertising, these services should be funded by general revenue. (Given that YouTube offers to remove advertising for an annual fee, it surely stands to reason that many Australia Internet users would be prepared to pay through the taxation system to be free of advertising.)

9. Open-source software: Promote the use of free open-source software by (1) requiring all government and statutory authorities to use the open-source Linux operating system and open-source applications such as the Libre Office suite in place of the Microsoft Office Suite and (2) Establish a public fund to adequately remunerate Australian producers of open-source intellectual property including software.

10. Premises for small business: Acquire or build suitable premises for use by retailers, food producers and other small businesses. Rents and charges should be affordable and not a barrier to capable people being able to set up their own businesses;

Sustainability

11. Reduce migration: Reduce Australia's net migration to zero. Net migration should remain at zero at least until such time as we can know that no other native Australian animal is threatened with extinction because of the loss of its habitat to accommodate newcomers. [1] Require the Victorian government to dismantle the "Live in Victoria" web-site as immigration is a federal, and not state, responsibility. See Foreign Policy on refugees;

12. Stop the clearing of native forests: Whether for throw-away paper products or building products, the logging of native forests be outlawed. Only timber from plantations can be used;

13. Stop the killing of native wildlife: Outlaw the killing of native Australian wildlife. Re-build destroyed forests and grasslands and repopulate them with the native species which previously lived in those regions or else similar species where those species are extinct;

14. Reusable beverage containers: require that all beverages be stored in standardised reusable beverage containers for which refunds are to be paid. [2] Refunds for the smallest beverage containers should be no less than 50c. Refunds for larger beverage containers should be more. Outlaw the use of throw-away drink cans;

15. Recycle organic waste: Organic waste to be recycled as garden compost or in larger specially built organic waste recycling sites. If organic waste is to be collected it must be sent to those organic waste recycling sites possibly in conjunction with recyclable green waste;

16. Eliminate wasteful packaging: Impose a tax on the volume of any packaged goods to provide an incentive to eliminate wasteful packaging that adds to the quantity of landfill at garbage tips. (Note, this, in conjunction with the previous policy could reduce the quantity of garbage and (supposedly) recyclable waste to close to zero.

17. Composting Toilets: Composting toilets to replace toilets requiring sewerage outfall. Government to create incentives for the use of composting toilets in preference to toilets with sewer outage. Ultimately sewerage systems to be decommissioned.

18. Stop built-in obsolescence: Outlaw the deliberate manufacture of artifacts to break, wear down prematurely or to fail due to lack of spare parts and outlaw the importation of such artifacts. Where planned obsolescence can be proven it should be taken by our law enforcement as proof of a criminal conspiracy to defraud members of the public;

19. Local production and consumption: Encourage the local production and consumption of all food and artifacts. Reduce the need for importation from overseas and transport over long distances;

20. Community Food Gardens:Facilitate the establishment of community fruit and vegetable gardens. Produce from such gardens could be exchanged or sold at local markets(see next point);

21. Community Markets:Facilitate the establishment of local markets on common land where anyone can, for a small charge, set up a stall to sell or exchange fruit, vegetables, other prepared food and artifacts;

22. Relocalisation: Work premises for the public service or government statutory authorities to be relocated close to where people live. Private sector to be encouraged to do the same. Over time this will reduce the need for cars, public transport and roads and should allow most to cycle or walk to work;

Providing for Basic Needs

Basic needs: Full employment in secure and fulfilling occupations

23. Job guarantee: Federal government guarantee a job to everyone not employed by the private sector, local or state governments.

24. Full employment and equity: Implement "Creating effective local labour markets: a new framework for regional employment policy" (2008 2.4 Mb pdf file - download from somewhere on the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (known as CofFEE) - will advise when the new location of the pdf file is known);

25. On-the-job training, career progression: re-establish on-the-job training and career progression in all government departments and statutory authorities as an alternative to training at TAFE colleges and tertiary institutions; Encourage private enterprises to do the same;

26. Reduced working hours: Immediate reduction of the working week to 35 hours - to be worked over 9 days per fortnight where it suits the employee. Given the repeated claims of Australia's increased economic efficiency since 1983, the economy should easily be able to manage if working hours were reduced to 35 hours per week, just for a start. Outlaw compulsory overtime. Require employers to offer workers, who don't need a full wage, to work even fewer hours with greater flexibility in their start and finish times;

27. Close down sweat-shops: Governments must proactively act to close down factories, which use low-paid workers working for long hours. Re-introduce the state award system;

28. Commonwealth Employment Service: re-establish the Commonwealth Employment Service (CES), which was dismantled in 1998 by the Howard Government. The plethora of private job agencies which replaced the CES has not been nearly as effective in helping job-seekers to find full, part-time or temporary employment;

29. Train Australians in needed skills: Only allow employers to employ foreign skilled workers with Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visas (previously Section 457 visas) where it can be shown that no worker in Australian worker can fill the vacancy.

25. End Section 457 visas: Only allow employers to employ skilled workers where it can be shown that no worker in Australia can fill the vacancy. (Were the Commonwealth Employment Service reconstituted - see 28 - it would become much easier to fill vacancies from within Australia);

Basic Needs: Education

26. Stop education funding cuts: Reverse the funding cuts to tertiary institutions and TAFE colleges;

27. Abolish university fees: Make tertiary education again free as it is in Argentina, Brazil, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Norway, Slovenia, Sweden and Syria;

28. Provide for students' living needs: Re-establish the Whitlam Government's Tertiary Education Assistance Scheme (TEAS) so that University students don't have to work to support themselves;

29. Stronger Tertiary Arts Faculties: More funding for university arts faculties. Provide more careers in the federal public service for Arts graduates. Encourage the private sector, NGOs and states to do the same;

Basic needs: Other

30. Housing: Act to ensure that each Australian citizen has secure affordable shelter. Where state housing commissions fail to provide adequate public housing, provide federally funded public housing;

31. Public liability insurance: Establish public liablity insurance as it exists in New Zealand. No-one, who has organised a public event and who has taken all reasonable precautions, should fear financial ruin as a result of any mishap;

Democracy, Transparency and Accountability

32. Federal electorate constituency meetings: Each member of the House of Representatives be required to attend meetings of his/her constituents during election campaigns and at regular specified intervals;

33. Full accounting of taxation and public expenditure: All losses and gains should be accounted for in the Federal Budget. Losses should include: unutilised skill and experience by the unemployed and under-employed. The budget must give estimates of the value of government services which cannot easily be quantified monetarily;

34. Transparency with the private sector: Except where national security may be compromised, no 'commercial in-confidence' contract to be signed with any member of the private sector at the initiative of the government. Discriminate in favour of contractors who do not require 'commercial in-confidence' contracts;

35. Publicly owned newsmedia to give all sides of the story: Where facts are disputed in any conflict, whether domestic or international, the charters of the ABC and SBS require that they give both sides of the conflict the opportunity to put their case to the viewing public. (See also Foreign policy);

36. Direct Democracy: In the next term of parliament, put to voters a referendum to adopt Direct Democracy as practised in Switzerland;

Foreign policy

37. Use public discussion to prevent war: Invite representatives of foreign governments with which Australia is in conflict to put their case to the Australian public on television in interviews. Where possible, representatives of Australia put Australia's case in interviews on those countries' newsmedia (for example RT and PressTV debate);

Foreign policy: Syria

38. Recognise the elected Government of Syria: Recognise the government of President Bashar al-Assad as the legitimate government of Syria. The Syrian government enjoys far more popular support than the Australian government or any of the Western governments opposed to it, as verified in the June 2014 Presidential election and the Parliamentary elections of April 2016;

39. End Sanctions against Syria: End sanctions and invite the Syrian government to re-establish its embassy. The sanctions were imposed and the Syrian ambassador was expelled on the absurd fabricated pretext that the Syrian government had massacred its own supporters at Houla in 2013. Pay reparations to Syria for the death and destruction caused by sanctions and terrrorists from Australia;

40. Oppose the terrorist war against Syria: Oppose the illegal proxy terrorist war against the people of Syria which began in March 2011. By one estimate, that war has, so far, cost the lives of 400,000 Syrians, including 100,000 members of the Syrian Armed forces by one recent estimate ;

41. Stop Australians from going to war against Syria: Support Australian Federal Police actions to prevent Australians from going abroad to fight against the Syrian government. Seek collaboration with the Syrian authorities to bring any Australian citizen, known to have participated in that war against the Syrian people, to justice;

42. Compensate the Syrian government for care of Iraqi refugees: Remunerate the Syrian government for the trouble and expense it was put to for having to care for 1,300,000 refugees who fled to Syria as a result of the illegal wars of 1991 and 2003 and sanctions against Iraq in which Australia participated;

Foreign policy: Palestine/Israel

43. Support peaceful resolution of conflict: Act to bring an end to the Palestine/Israel conflict that will allow all sides to live in peace.

44. Dismantle Israel's nuclear weapons stockpile: The dismantlement of Israel's illegally acquired nuclear weapons be part of the peace settlement;

45. Free Mordechai Vanunu: Demand that Israel free former Australian resident Mordechai Vanunu who revealed to the world Israel's illegal possession of nuclear weapons. Offer Mordechai Vanunu asylum in Australia;

46. End the theft of Palestinian land: Oppose the illegal seizure of land by Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank and the Golan Heights;

Foreign policy: Other Middle East

47. Oppose the invasion of Yemen. Ask that the United Nations take action against the invasion of Yemen by the Saudi Arabian dictatorship. Condemn the supply of weapons, including banned cluster bombs made in the United States, and their use by Saudi Arabia;

Foreign policy: Ukraine and Russia

48. MH17: Demand an open public enquiry into destruction of Malay Airlines Flight MH17 in which 28 Australians were amongst the 298 killed on 17 July 2014. Request that the MH17 Black Box given to the Netherlands by East Ukranian rebels, records of communications between Kiev air traffic controllers and MH17 and the United States' government satellite surveillance recordings of flight MH17 be released be made available for that inquiry, as the Russian government has done with its satellite surveillance recordings;

49. Support democracy in Ukraine: Support those Ukrainians in Eastern Ukraine who are defending themselves against the regime that was installed in the CIA-orchestrated coup of January 2014;

50. Crimea: Recognise the secession of Crimea to Russia from Ukraine in February 2014, which was overwhelmingly supported by the inhabitants of Crimea in a referendum, as a legitimate act of self-determination and self-defence;

51. Venezuela: Repudiate the appointment by the United States of Juan Guaidó to be 'interim president' of Venezuela in place of the legitimate elected President Nicolas Maduro. Repudiate the recognition of Juan Guaidó by the current Australian government. Oppose United States' aggression against Venezuela, including sanctions and the theft of gold and money belonging to Venezuela;

Human rights: Protection of human rights, civil liberties, freedom of speech and proper legal conduct by the authorities

52. Asylum to whistleblowers: Request that the United States' government publicly try Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning before a jury for their alleged crimes as requested by them. Should this request be refused, offer political asylum to Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning. Should the United States obstruct Australia's attempts to grant asylum, raise this issue at the United Nations. (Also see Free Mordechai Vanunu);

53. Julian Assange: Act to ensure, now that Julian Assange has been arrested by the British authorities on 11 April 2019, after six and a half years illegal detention at the Ecuadorian embassy, facilitated by the UK government, that the UK government uphold all the rights that Julian Assange is guaranteed by British Law;

54. End surveillance of our phone calls, Internet browsing and e-mail: End the dragnet surveillance of all of our private communications by the United States' CIA and NSA, Britain's GCHQ, MI5 and MI6 and Australia's ASIO and ASIS as revealed by Edward Snowden. As Snowden has revealed, dragnet surveillance has not prevented one act of terrorism. Only allow surveillance of individuals or groups where there is reason to fear terrorism or other illegal acts;

55. Port Arthur Massacre: as required by law, conduct a coronial inquest into the murder of 35 Australians at Port Arthur on 28 April 1996 - the largest mass murder in Australia's history. The supposed evidence against Martin Bryant has never been tested in a court of law. All forensic evidence and eyewitness testimony proves Martin Bryant innocent of the crime. The only 'evidence' of Martin Bryant's guilt consists of a supposed confession made after he had been illegally interrogated in solitary confinement for 5 months. Prosecute all those known to have acted unlawfully against Martin Bryant;

56. Martin Bryant: Allow friends and relatives of Martin Bryant to see him in person so that they can verify for themselves the claim by the prison governor that Martin Bryant doesn't want to see anybody;

How you can help

If you agree with most, or all, of these policies, please consider standing as a candidate yourself at he next election if it is not possible for you to stand in this election. If you are a candidate who supports any of the policies listed above or if you know of any such candidate, please let us know so that we can promote that candidate and lift that candidate's profile.

Please feel encouraged to also promote these policies and candidates who support these policies on Twitter, FaceBook, other discussion forums or your own web-site. If you can think of any other policies we should promote, or even if you oppose or don't altogether agree with some of these policies, please also let us know by posting a comment below.

Footnotes

[1] Evidence, that population growth has already exceeded our capacity in some places, can be found in "Crush Hour" about pedestrian congestion in the Melbourne CBD on pages 64-67 of the Apr-May edition of the royalauto printed magazine of the RACV.

[2] Up until the mid-1960s, milk was usually delivered by the milkman in re-usable glass bottles, whilst soft-drink was sold in glass bottles which were refundable. Back then children could supplement their pocket money by collecting soft drink bottles and returning them to the local store for a refund. This ended after a glossy televesion advertising campaign by the Coca Cola corporation that loudly told viewers "Hey, do you know that you can now get Coke in Cans!" Some years later, back in the 1980's I also seem to recall that a proposal was put to the Australian community that all beverages - soft-drinks, alcoholic drinks, jams, other spreads, etc, be sold in refundable containers of standard size and shape so that they could be more easily re-used by different beverage manafucturers and not dumped into landfill. Unfortunately, the proposal was not adopted as government policy.

[3] Policy was previously: 53. Julian Assange: Send a contingent of Federal Police to fly to London, go to the Ecuadorian embassy and escort Julian Assange back to Heathrow Airport and thence back to Melbourne Airport. What British government authority would dare obstruct Australian Federal Police who are clearly acting to uphold the law and to end such a cruel denial of basic human rights?;

Comments

Just now, I attempted (at 1:51pm on Thursday 11 Apr 2019) to post, beneath an article about the announcement of the commencement of the federal election campaign, some excerpts from the above article, with a link back to this page. In spite of my post being obviously relevant to the content of the article, it has vanished. I subsequently posted to Twitter about this apparent censorship:

I am still waiting to see what I posted about "Policies that should be put to voters at the forthcoming Australian Federal elections" at https://candobetter.net/taxonomy/term/9835 to appear on https://nofibs.com.au/ausvotes-2019-day-1-election-date-called-for-may-18-qldaah-qldpol/ - not the first time I have had such problems with this purported "Citizen Journalism"

Margo Kingston @margokingston1 59m
The indispensable @Qldaah has begun his @NoFibs #ausvotes19 blog - Day 1 to date up now, he will add to it till this day is over.

The article, to which I attempted to make the above post, is #Ausvotes 2019 Day 1 – Election date called for May 18: @qldaah #qldpol (11/4/19) | No Fibs. The No Fibs web site is run by Margo Kingston

Maybe others could try to post to 'nofibs' about policies on this page with a link back to here. If you do, please keep your own copy and post it here. A (less politically incorrect) example could be:

"Does anyone else here think that the old Commonwealth Service should be re-established? See: https://candobetter.net/2019_FederalElectionPolicies#commonwealthEmploymentService