21st Century Australia Party – Policy
Jamie McIntyre Launches the 21st Century Australia Party
Jamie shares his Australian politics 25 Point Plan to deliver a abundant, prosperous 21st Century economy, for all Australians to fairly share in the massive wealth our large nation can provide
“Delivering an abundant, prosperous 21st Century economy, for all Australians to fairly share in the massive wealth our large nation can provide”
Australian Politics and 21st Century Australia
1. A New 21st Century Political System for Australian politics
We believe in a new 21st Century political system for Australian Politics where voters get to vote directly on major policies instead of politicians – and voters get to elect who our Prime Minister is like many other countries get to elect their President or Premier?
Why is it in our proudly democratic country of Australia that voters are denied the right to vote on who ultimately becomes Prime Minister or Premier in Australian politics?
The creation of a new political system is a radical concept, however do our current political parties really serve our interests in the most effective way?
Why not have elections or referendums based on policies, not parties. I mean, do we agree with all the policies of our preferred party? Of course not.
But we’re forced to vote for a party even though we might only agree with some of their policies. And when elected they claim a mandate to implement all their policies, even though we didn’t give them such a mandate.
Or, for example, they say their policy is, “no to carbon tax”. Yet after being elected they implement a carbon tax, and use taxpayer’s money to run ads asking us to say yes to a carbon tax.
Didn’t the majority already say “no”? And why even run ads asking us to say yes, when we don’t actually get a choice again to say yes or no?
Our point is this: let’s vote on major policies – not parties.
We would still have politicians (albeit less of them) but we vote based on policies and for politicians based on the quality of policies.
With technology today we can easily vote on major policies. And the ones that aren’t considered major enough, the elected politicians can vote on. No more need for politicians to tow the party line.
Imagine the more honest, congruent, passionate debates when politicians can debate policy and not party politics.
Imagine how fast, simple, easy and accurate it will be when we as voters get to vote on major policy online.
Our current political system is dominated by two adversarial major parties (Labor and a coalition of Liberal and National Party), who despite having very similar policies on many issues find it difficult to agree on almost anything. They are strongly focused on winning the next election and constantly engage in petty point scoring with members being expected to adhere to the party line on all issues.
Our parliamentary system is based on the 19th century English Westminster system, though the behaviour of members of both major parties in Question Time in particular is nothing short of disgraceful, with the removal of members for unparliamentary behaviour being a common occurrence.
Both major parties have rejected legislation proposed by the other side while in opposition but then successfully introduced similar legislation while in government.
In 2012 with a hung parliament the voters of Australia appear to be totally disillusioned with our two major political parties. What do we need to do to have more equitable governance, and in the Australian vernacular, a fair go for all.
2. Australian politics – Government Spending
We believe government spending in Australian politics should be removed from the hands of politicians and placed in the hands of an independent board similar to how interest rate settings are set by the independent Reserve Bank of Australia.
We strongly feel this is perhaps the simplest and most effective way to improve Australia. Why leave something as important as Government spending in the hands of elected politicians and current governments in Australian politics?
When governments provide free money we should not be surprised that there are strong incentives to take it. The Building the Education Revolution (BER) program is a case in point.
Julia Gillard’s critics claim she was responsible for overseeing the spending of $16.2 billion on the BER, including a $1.7 billion blowout and up to $8 billion in waste through mismanagement, gouging and state government substitution.
Critics of the BER program claim huge cost overruns have been committed and covered up. As a nation, Australia eventually outlaid upwards of $16 billion of funding to get maybe as little as $10 billion worth of projects on a value-for-money basis.
NSW alone appears to have chalked up a figure of almost $1 billion in inflated costs on BER projects.
Some states, such as NSW, do not appear to have had a strict control over their costing structures and may not have used robust benchmarking of costs of similar projects in commissioning their educational investments under BER.
This dangerous cycle, combined with allowing individuals who have little or no financial management experience to run an entire economy, especially one as large as Australia, is perhaps economic suicide for Australian politics.
It also leads to vote buying, abuse of the democratic process and enables minority factions to control what is meant to be a majority ruled democratic system.
Imagine if interest rates were set by the Treasurer? How this would be influenced by popular politics? It clearly wouldn’t work!
This is why an independent Reserve Bank board is free to operate without undue Government influence. The Reserve Bank Board has skilled and experienced business people recruited to the board, not individual politicians who usually lack the business or financial skills required for such an important task.
I strongly believe Australia must and should move to electing an Independent Board filled with the best business and finance brains, and those representative of the community to oversee and manage Government spending and to recommend and find efficiencies and cost savings in the public sector.
This would put the power of tax revenue back in the hands of the people and away from the clutches of inexperienced, biased and often incompetent politicians who have clearly shown they can’t be trusted with the most important part of running a country – that is, its’ economic management.
This change alone would revolutionize our political system and bring true accountability to our spending and ensure Australia’s wealth is no longer squandered to minority interests or biased and/or unskilled, or simply incompetent politicians.
Large public companies have independent boards, so why doesn’t Australia as a nation have one?
It is common practice in order to protect the interests of shareholders and employees, public companies have independent boards making strategic decisions and overseeing the management of companies.
It makes sense to have the best business and finance brains and the largest shareholders recruited to oversee the financial, compliance, organisational and business affairs of large companies.
It may not be a perfect system, however it provides protection for shareholders and indirectly, if it’s a competent board, provides protection also for employees. .
What does this have to do with running a country you may ask? I would suggest, everything. Why doesn’t Australia have an independent board with the best business brains and finance brains recruited to oversee and control Government spending?
Would this not protect the taxpayers’ (shareholders) money better?
Would it not protect the voters’ (employees) long term interest better?
3. Education and Australian politics
We believe in a new modern day 21st century education curriculum to replace our current 19th Century industrialisation era education system. One based on practical real life education with financial education as a necessity.
A modern day 21st Century Education system can be delivered for no extra cost then the current education budget.
In fact it can be delivered for billions less and prove better services can be delivered by a results driven government that knows how to make things happen for via Australian politics.
There is no excuse for continuing with our flawed 19th Century Education System when a modern 21st Century one can be implemented immediately and save billions in the process.
We need business education taught at school to develop and breed smart future entrepreneurs. Schools should be the hub of innovation where many business’s and apps are created.
For example, recently, a former Australian 17-year old had just sold the app business he started as a 14-year old for $28 million to Yahoo.
How many more budding talent in schools are there that we are not developing or profiting from the encouragement of entrepreneurial talent?
Why can’t our schools help develop and fund some selected start ups and profit from the success of such projects like the large American colleges do?
Our society depends upon the success of entrepreneurs. Students need to be taught the importance of entrepreneurship in society and that there is no abundant society without them.
Every job and every single tax dollar all starts from entrepreneurial success.
This makes our current Treasurer Swan appear ridiculous as he attacks entrepreneurs and our wealth creators as he makes them out to be the enemy of the state. In fact, it is his indirect employers, the corrupt unions, who are the enemy of the state and who endanger our society with their greed, deception and theft.
4. The Establishment of a Sovereign Wealth Fund
It is critical to preserve Australia’s wealth after the mining boom and to ensure our government doesn’t waste the boom years generating large mining revenues.
In fact, all proceeds from the mining tax should go to such a fund with the goal of building a sovereign wealth fund comparable to those of Norway and Dubai.
Such a fund also could be used to help stabilize and lower our currency by shifting some of our wealth into overseas markets to diversify and expand Australia’s sovereign wealth and better balance global inflows.
5. Review State Governments for Australian Politics
Review state governments to consider only having two levels of government in via Australian politics and not three. Thus, critical areas such as health, education, transport and infrastructure will be under one national system. States could have state appointed ministers to look after the interest of the states. This will potentially save billions per month. It will eliminate gross inefficiencies of various state bodies overlapping and duplicating several layers of various state bodies. Moreover, it will also ensure fewer elections.
Why do we need state and territory governments? We have eight in total with all the consequent levels of bureaucracy, to say nothing of the huge numbers of parliamentarians and their staff. They are costly and ineffective.
Why should we carry the massive costs of three layers of Government? Not to mention the extra administrative burdens on business as well as additional taxes and inefficiencies.
I mean why isn’t education, transport, health and infrastructure all Federal and a singular nationwide system, rather then State based. Are we not one country?
Think about how much would this save in time and money. We’re talking billions per month. It is estimated the removal of state governments will save a massive $50 billion per annum.
We can have state appointed ministers to represent the interests of each state instead, fewer politicians and less elections to vote in as well.
The 21st Century Australia Party plan to unite the country comprises of objectives, outcomes and a five stage transition plan designed to achieve full unification for Australia by the year 2025, as follows:
• Unification (or amalgamation) of Commonwealth, State and Territory governments to achieve a strong national government
• Strengthened local governments
• Financial benefits of about $20 billion per annum in the public sector, $40 billion per annum in the private sector, and at least $50 billion (or about five per cent of GDP) across the Australian economy as a whole (in 2009 dollar terms)
• Improved democracy and government at national and local levels
• No State or Territory governments
• A seamless national economy
• A seamless national approach to the environment
• A national education system
• A national health system
• A single set of laws of the whole of Australia as part of a national system of law, order and safety
• Regional administration and cooperation not constrained by State and Territory borders
Five Stage Transition Plan
To be reviewed on completion of each stage
Stage 1: Foundation Laying (2014 to 2018)
• Local government strengthened by constitutional recognition, functional empowerment and increased funding from the Commonwealth government
• Abolish State and Territory taxes
• Ongoing efforts to establish national health, education and legal systems (such as the efforts to establish the national curriculum, national occupational health and safety laws, and national registration systems for businesses, tradespeople and professionals)
• Explain to the public that financial benefits in the order of at least $50 billion per annum in 2009 dollar terms, or about five per cent of GDP, can be achieved across the economy overall under a two-tier government structure comprising national and local governments, but no State and Territory governments
Stage 2: Confirmation ( ~ to 2018)
• Referendum calling for the amalgamation of Commonwealth, State and Territory governments to form a single national government under Commonwealth control, leaving local government and regional administration of government functions otherwise unchanged in the first instance
Stage 3: Preparation – After the Referendum at Stage 2 is Carried ( ~ 2015 – 2020)
• Establish a single national set of laws and regulations across all fields, where such laws can host local variations where required for different geographic and climatic conditions (for building regulations, for example), and can be applied at the discretion of local governments, to achieve a seamless national economy and seamless national legal and environmental management sytems
• Establish fully national funding systems under Commonwealth control for education, health and other functions currently funded at least in part by State and Territory governments
• Commonwealth Grants Commission designs methodologies to provide Commonwealth funding direct to local governments rather than State and Territory governments
Stage 4: Unification Day (2021)
• Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments form a unified national government under Commonwealth control
• Courts previously operating in States and Territories become Commonwealth Courts
• Lands and assets of State and Territory governments are transferred to the Commonwealth
• Unification Transition Bureau is Formed
• State and Territory Parliamentarians have the choice to retire or become part of the Unification Transition Bureau for a maximum of four years
• All employees of State and Territory governments become employees of the Commonwealth government, including education and health sector employees and the police
Stage 5: Consolidation to Achieve Full Unification (2021 – 2026)
• Rationalisation of former Commonwealth, State and Territory bureaucracies to achieve a single national government bureaucracy
• Generous (all carrot, no stick) incentives and redundancy payout plans for surplus public servants
• Transfer of financial and human resources from bureaucracy to local government, schools, hospitals and other “coalface” public service units
• Refinement of boundaries used for regional administrative units to they no longer stop at State and Territory borders
• Financial benefits amounting to approximately $20 billion per annum in the public sector, $40 billion per annum in the private sector, and at least $50 billion per annum (or about five percent of GDP) across the economy as a whole, are likely to be achieved from about 2020 onwards after the initial costs of transition more or less cancel out such benefits over the period 2016 to 2019
Source: Dr Mark Drummond | Co-convenor of Beyond Federation Thesis University of Canberra
6. Review of the Carbon Tax
Review of the carbon tax and its replacement with a system where funds are paid directly to a renewable energy fund to ensure the environment receives 100 per cent of the proceeds. Thus it is not a tax revenue earner for governments of Australian politics and actually helps the environment.
This controversial tax introduced by the Gillard Government in 2012, against the wishes of the majority of Australians, will cause significant economic losses for little gain.
Firstly, a carbon tax that does little to help the environment is an unjustified waste of time and money.
If its purpose was truly to benefit the environment and less about profit and bribing certain sections of the population, a possible solution is to simply create an incentive for renewable energies industry. All major commercial polluters such as coal companies would be taxed a certain amount per tonne to contribute towards an approved renewable energy fund or project.
This means 100% of any moneys raised go direct to the creation and support of renewable energies.
Significant polluters could even be given the opportunity to create their own renewable energy divisions as long as it meets the predetermined criteria.
This means many larger carbon emitting companies would be incentivised to invest into renewable energy projects directly and in many cases they would turn it into a division within their companies to potentially profit from eventually.
Thus it becomes an investment for companies, not so much a tax.
This is a much more co-operative approach resulting in a direct, positive, long-term contribution to helping the environment whilst minimizing the negative financial impacts.
It also will avoid the tens of billions of Australian revenue that will simply go offshore over the years as a result of the current carbon tax which will drain our economy and fail to invest in Australian Renewable Energy Projects.
7. Mining Tax Review
Mining tax changed to a small simple Federal Royalty Tax with 100 percent of the proceeds going to a Sovereign Wealth Fund and/or Infrastructure Spending Fund or the tax should be abolished.
The mining tax has already damaged Australia’s global reputation from Australian politics.
If such a tax is necessary, we need to ensure 100% of it goes into a Sovereign Wealth Fund or Future Fund.
Australians would be more inclined to support a mining tax if it was going to directly benefit the future of our nation, unlike the proposed tax which will simply prop up budget deficits of a Government that can’t spell the words ‘fiscal responsibility’.
Something not too expensive that mining companies could accommodate however would raise significant cash-flow direct to a Sovereign Wealth Fund.
This would be a much easier sell and as long as it wasn’t excessive.
8. Turn Australia Post into a Bank
Banks and provide discounted home loans to Australians.
As a bank Australia Post would greatly improve regional Australia’s banking services as well.
Australia Post is one example of a government business that has hired and adopted private sector talent and culture and as a result improved service levels and profitability.
It’s not that governments can’t run businesses. In countries like Singapore and Dubai for instance they do it very well.
For governments to run businesses they must posses a private sector culture allied to productivity and service, not an often lazy public sector mentality tied to no key performance indicators.
9. Review the power of unions
Changes made to review the power of unions and to reduce their abilities to abuse their power and cause further damage to national interests. We would move unions to be under the control of ASIC and treat unions the same as corporate Australia, as well as ensuring unions pay tax. Laws should prevent unions from interfering with the Australian democratic system, along with limiting the use of corrupt union funds to support any political party and preventing unions from the exploitation of workers.
Our issues with corrupt unions are:
- Some large unions have abused the democratic political process in Australia continually, for their own self-interests. For example the union factions provide funding and support to the Labor party in such a way they dictate their policies to Labor, dictate who their leader is, and strongly influence who is pre-selected to run for parliament.
- Our so-called ‘democracy’ is determined by a group of secretive union secretaries privately meeting to decide who will run for which seat. These same union representatives even dictate to the Australian people who will be Prime Minister. It was the unions who removed our democratically elected Prime Minister, Rudd, in favour of an unelected individual with no mandate to be Prime Minister, Julia Gillard. This rampant abuse or our so-called democracy should cause concern for all Australians, including union members.
- On top of this, some unions are often rife with fraud and dodgy deals, doing whatever it takes to maintain power. The Craig Thompson affair provides ample evidence of union member’s funds being abused.
- Added to that, corrupt unions often tend to act in their predicable self-interest. That is, they demand wage rises, whether industry or businesses can afford it. They are also largely responsible for the uncompetitive, high labour costs in Australia, which threaten the very future of Australia’s economic prosperity. And the corrupt unions are almost solely responsible for Australia’s poor productivity, growth and inefficiencies, another major threat to our future economic prosperity.
10. Introducing a fee for immigration visas
Our Australian politics policy on People Smugglers is a multi prong approach.
1. Help remove the financial incentives for people smugglers by introducing paid for visas to gain access to Australia to select immigrants
2.Work more closely with Indonesia to stop the boats and turn back the boats where feasible
3. Incentivise Indonesia to reduce the number of people smugglers leaving for Australia.
4. Ensure we allow sufficent visas for humanitarian causes.
The introduction of a fee for immigration visas to raise potentially $15 billion per annum, (approximately 200,000 immigrants per year currently coming to Australia) while simultaneously reducing people smuggler operations by removing the financial incentives of desperate people to pay people smugglers.
We would immediately charge for visas to enter Australia for all immigrants, because Australia has a lot to offer.
We would also offer a “jump the queue” visa, one where you pay a greater amount to jump the queue.
Even families paying people smugglers could instead buy a government visa if they qualify, as many are currently paying $10,000 to $50,000 to people smugglers. In recent times a number of academics have added support to this idea.
This would reduce people smuggler’s business, because why would people pay them for a false promise when they can apply to get a real visa and safe passage?
Our country can afford to accept more immigrants. In fact Australia needs a lot more hard working immigrants because in turn it increases everyone’s wealth and currently many industries are struggling to find enough workers.
11. Removal or reduction of payroll taxes
employees, which accounts for almost 70 percent of the businesses in Australia. This will also stimulate job creation.
To tax employers for creating jobs is not smart policy. Our party believes it will lead to further outsourcing of jobs overseas. That means Australians are losing jobs due to the tax disincentives.
At least in the short-term pay roll tax should be removed or reduced from companies with less then 100 staff. That way small to medium businesses can grow and employ more people, before being bled to death by incompetent governments who mismanage our money.
Did you know that in Australian politics the state governments were supposed to remove payroll tax in return for GST revenue when GST was introduced? It’s true, but they failed to.
Few employees realize that companies pay 4 to 5% payroll tax on top of each employee’s salary (on top of superannuation).
That’s approximately $2,500 for someone on $50,000. And $5,000 for someone on $100,000 – plus 9% for super.
12. Ban Cigarette Sales for those born in the year 2000 onwards
Ban cigarette sales for those born in the year 2000 onwards to reduce the huge health liabilities smoking causes.
We live in a world in which the mass commercialization of cigarettes in the early 20th century rapidly out paced our understanding of their health consequences.
About 15,500 Australians die every year from smoking-related diseases, more than road accidents, murders, alcohol and other drugs combined. Every year, three foreign tobacco companies make a combined profit of more than $500 million in Australia while leaving the country with a combined social cost of more than $31 billion.
After the government banned cigarette advertising on television and radio; the tobacco industry increased its print media advertising. The government then banned print media ads, so the tobacco industry increased its sponsorship of sporting events. The government then mandated plain packaging, so the tobacco industry hired a battalion of high priced lawyers and took the matter to the High Court and lost.
This relentless tug-of-war persists as 70,000 young people are recruited into the ranks of smokers every year.
To resolve this impasse we would mandate that cigarettes can be sold only to a person over 18, and who was born before 2000. This would gradually phase out cigarettes in Australia by forever prohibiting their sale to the next generation.
This proposal balances the rights of existing smokers and the need to protect children born this century from the pernicious effects of tobacco addiction. When it was raised by a group of oncologists in Singapore in 2010, more than 70 per cent of people surveyed supported the plan, including 60 per cent of smokers.
The proposal would not criminalise smoking; it would solely impose heavy fines on vendors caught selling tobacco to anyone born after 2000. Despite knowing that cigarettes will kill about 50 percent of long- term smokers, we are somehow happy to carve out an exception for tobacco companies.
Ultimately, it is very difficult to come up with a good reason that justifies the premature deaths of 15,500 Australians every year.
It is time for the government to pick up a knife and cut the problem in half. The phase- out proposal ensures that current smokers will be unaffected, while future generations will be protected.
> 13. Run an efficient productive government
Run a smart efficient productive government so as to create savings to reinvest into better services.
Many people don’t understand basic economics. Their argument is, “How can you lower taxes and afford such measures, as cuts will have to occur and services surely will be affected?”
However this is a misconception and a limiting belief that holds individuals and entire nations back.
By lowering taxes smartly it can stimulate growth; for example if an economy is turning over $100 and averaging a tax take of 30%, it is generating $30 from every $100.
If we lowered the tax rate to 25% and this stimulated the economy to grow to $150, we would then have 25% of $150, which is $37.50.
A total tax increase has been achieved by lowering certain taxes to stimulate growth.
It might be argued a 50% larger economy will require an additional total tax take, however there are economies of scale. If economic stimulation is achieved via productivity and efficiency gains, then economy of scale gains will be even more beneficial.
We can learn a lot from the very successful Singapore experience. Singapore used to be a third world country, a tiny island state with a small population and almost no natural resources.
Yet Singapore has far out performed Australia, a large continent loaded with abundant natural resources and a small population per land space.
Interestingly, Singaporeans also value education more highly than we do (Australia benefits by educating many of them at tertiary level) and they have also have been much better savers and investors.
Australia has done well economically from a fortunate inheritance. However, if we also had the ability to have a private sector mentality in government organisations and companies we could also see greatly increased wealth for all Australians.
Singapore provides us with valuable lessons to learn from if we are truly serious about greater prosperity for all Australians now and into the future.
14. Increase the tax free threshold
If you are an Australian resident for tax purposes, the first $18,200 of your yearly income is not taxed. This is called the tax- free threshold. Therefore, by claiming the threshold, you reduce the amount of tax that is withheld from your pay during the year.
In 2012-13 the $18,200 tax-free threshold for pay as you go (PAYG) withholding purposes was equivalent to $350 a week.
We think it is critical to give a boost to low income earners in Australia and lowering tax rates for low income earners is a far more productive way to do it then create welfare dependency via wealth distribution.
Those willing to have a go deserve to be empowered as opposed to those bludging off the system. Low income earners as a whole don’t raise a lot tax revenue as most of this burden is carried by the middle class and wealthier.
By helping low income earners with a leg up they can boost their incomes and they are more likely to move up into higher tax brackets, thus increasing tax revenue from increased output and productivity over time.
However increasing taxes on higher income earners is a socialist policy and has no place in a modern 21st Century society.
We must not penalise top performers but encourage them with reformed tax policy, to show that they matter and that we greatly appreciate their valuable tax contributions. We also want these people to perform even better and generate greater incomes and profits to generate even more tax revenue.
Taxation should be a win-win. All Australians becoming wealthier via wealth creation is achievable; not the deeply flawed thinking of wealth distribution that destroys economies and incentives for people to perform.
15. Remove contributions tax on superannuation for low income workers
Remove contributions tax on superannuation for low income workers from 15% to nil. Our party would give low income earners a leg up as this can only reduce dependency on future pensions.
Helping all Australians become self-sufficient in retirement should be a priority and combined with proper financial education this can be achievable.
It is worth recording here that recently the key players of the Labor, Party Prime Minister Gillard and Treasurer Wayne Swan contemplated the preposterous idea of taxing withdrawals on superannuation for people aged over 60.
Fortunately, other members of the party recognised the ludicrousness of the proposition resulting in Gillard taking back her words and ruling out the tax.
Readers should contemplate the adverse effect of Labor’s super tax as it would not only affect the wealthy, it would also hurt the average hard working Australian.
For instance, a 21-year old working for the next 40 years and contributing nine per cent of their salary with a reasonable rate of return will accumulate more than $1m. However, that doesn’t necessarily make the individual wealthy.
A five percent return is only $50,000 which means living off $961 a week. In approximately 40 years, with rising costs of living, an individual will barely get by with $961 a week.
Julia Gillard will retire to an equivalent $8million Government Super and Treasurer Wayne Swan $5.6million.
16. Look at ways to increase tax revenue
Look at ways to increase tax revenue to provide better services from taxes that don’t affect or penalise Australians
A famous statement in regard to business growth comes from business guru Peter Drucker, who says there are just two ways to grow a business.
The first is to innovate and the second is through marketing strategies. These lessons can be applied to growing the tax base of a country.
Through innovation we can generate not only increased tax revenue without causing a disincentive, but also innovate to lower the cost of doing business or running a government.
An example of innovative tax revenue increase that doesn‘t disincentives Australians is my example of a Visa tax to migrate to Australia. I assert that by offering a paid Visa to all potential immigrants including boat people, it would greatly reduce the financial incentive of people smugglers to bring illegal immigrants via boat plus raise billions.
Currently many of these illegal immigrants are paying $10,000 to $50,000 to be smuggled to Australia. By offering a paid Visa the Government could sell genuinely safe passage to Australia, people could apply to buy a visa instead of paying money to people smugglers, plus legal immigrants from around the world would gladly purchase a visa.
This has the potential to raise billions in extra revenue as well as saving the lives of desperate people risking their lives and entire life savings, and often their entire community savings to pay illegal boat smugglers.
Although radical, the point is in this example is that a Visa tax can raise billions without penalising Australian tax payers or the Australian economy.
It’s new tax revenue to boost Australia’s tax revenue. There would be many other ways to innovate to raise tax revenues form sources that don’t impact negatively or disincentivise Australian tax payers.
17. Lower the company tax rate
Our country has an uncompetitively high corporate tax rate, it is the 28th highest in the world, which needs to be lowered.
The recent Henry review wanted a substantial cut in the company tax rate, lowering the company tax rate from 30 percent to 25 percent but, like so many of the review’s proposed reforms, there was never a political constituency for it and the Gillard government did nothing to build one.
One way to achieve a lowering of the company tax rate at less cost is to create a tiered tax rate.
For instance, profits under $250,000 could be taxed at only 15 percent, profits between $250,0000 and $1 million could be taxed at 20 percent, profits between $1 million and $10 million at 25 percent, profits between $10 million and $100 million at 27.5 percent, and profits above $100 million at 28.5 percent.
This would encourage new companies to grow stronger faster, as well as creating more jobs before being burdened with a higher tax rate and simultaneously increase the chances of more companies paying higher tax in the future.
18. Provide Australia with a value for money National Broadband Network (NBN)
The current $42 billion NBN is overpriced and a poor return on taxpayer’s money. Taxpayers will be asked to pay twice for it (with our taxes first, then again every month to use it).
Sure an NBN would be great and everyone agrees that faster broadband is critical. One that covers a large majority of the population for a fraction of the cost would save $15 – $20 Billion and still enable faster broadband for regional Australia.
The debate isn’t about whether we need a NBN, that’s a given. The debate is we need one sooner and for better value for money, which we can have. Plus the debate should also be about how can governments spend $42 billion of our money without a simple cost analysis or any control over such reckless spending.
Just imagine what else could be done with $15 – $20 Billion in savings – and still achieve a similar broadband outcome. And imagine what could be done for regional Australia with these savings.
19. More water storage
In Australia drought in many areas is a perennial problem, so why not set a short- to long-term target of 100 new dams for Australia, with a national building dam exercise to progress our nation.
Water brings prosperity as anyone visiting the irrigation areas around the River Murray soon realises.
Everyone is aware that Australia at times has great difficulty in maintaining a reliable and steady flow of water to its residents.
In some parts of Australia, Queensland is a good example, we have more than abundant water going to waste (albeit just a few years after a prolonged drought that resulted in very low water storage levels) as witnessed by two floods in recent years. In fact parts of Queensland are the wettest parts of Australia.
Meanwhile, some of the towns in Queensland’s far northeast regularly vie for the title of Australia’s wettest town, whilst towns in the far southwest are almost permanently in drought.
What happens to all that water? The great majority of it goes into the ocean!
If Australia can build a water diversion project such as the Snowy Mountains scheme, why can’t it harvest and redistribute the water wasted in North Queensland?
Northern Australia receives over 300,000 megalitres of Australia’s 380,000 megalitres of annual rainfall.
Around 1930, Dr J. J. C. Bradfield, the designer of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney underground rail system, came up with the idea of reversing the flows of some of the rivers in the North Queensland high rainfall area. The water would then be diverted through tunnels into dams and along diversion channels into the Thompson-Cooper Creek.
Another possibility for consideration is a canal to service the north of Western Australia.
There must be new farming opportunities if water was made available to some areas where water supply is currently a problem.
For the greenies opposed to the building of dams for environmental reasons, they should consider that a lake is merely a dam naturally made by nature.
If we stop building dams, it will halt the progress of food supplies, and interfere with more jobs and lucrative export markets. We need more dams to feed humanity.
Surely dams can be constructed in places that will have little environmental impact?
Our current standard of living wouldn’t exist without the foresight of people and governments who built dams decades ago.
20. Build a High Speed Rail system
This issue has been raised before and the idea has been around for more than 25 years and we really think this type of infrastructure project needs to happen.
Initially the rail project should start with Newcastle to Sydney, and then extend to Canberra and start Geelong to Melbourne, then to Ballarat and Bendigo, and eventually Canberra connecting Melbourne to Sydney.
In Queensland it should start with Gold Coast to Brisbane, eventually to the Sunshine Coast. Last but not least connecting Gold Coast to Newcastle – thus connecting Brisbane with Melbourne, covering the large majority of Australia’s population.
Admittedly, to complete such a large project will require anywhere from $60 to $100 billion dollars. However redirecting fossil fuel subsidies, and other cost savings could fund this. Plus it can be cash positive well before it’s entirely complete. With latest estimates suggesting returns of $2.30 for every $1 invested into it.
The $16 billion the Government wasted on the BER school program could have been put into infrastructure like this, or least into completing the Brisbane to Melbourne Freeways. Unfortunately the Government squandered that opportunity.
A rail network is also more environmentally friendly than air travel and takes congestion off the roads, which are expensive to build and maintain. The fast rail network could eventually pay for itself.
21. Turn Northern Australia into a special economic zone
The vision to develop Northern Australia is an essential step towards the economic progress of the country.
Northern Australia is a perfect spot for an economic zone to boost Australia’s wealth. The idea of utilising an economic zone to boost a country’s prosperity is nothing new and it has proven to work successfully in many places.
China has allowed the development of Special Economic Zones such as Shenzhen, which was initially a village and is now a developed city because of foreign investment.
Hong Kong is another success story of an economic zone as is Shanghai’s Pudong district, a more recent example modelled based on the earlier success of economic zones.
In China’s special economic zones people benefit from greater freedom and are burdened with less tax: wages are subject to lower tax and red tape is minimised.
If it works for China it can certainly work for Australia. However, such an endeavour would require forward thinking and political and public service leaders with big vision and dedication.
Imants Kins, co-chair of Australians for Northern Development and Economic Vision (ANDEV) recently made a very salient point. “Here in our north we can work to solve many of our trade, foreign relations, food, minerals, and indigenous issues.
The north has natural assets that give it a global comparative advantage: abundant water at a time of increasing scarcity of drinking water, abundant land at a time of decreasing global arable land and rising population from seven billion to nine billion by 2050, explosion in world demand for protein and energy (oil, gas and renewable especially solar) as the global middle class grows from 500 million in 2009 to 3.2 billion by 2030”.
It is simple common sense that fewer regulations, less red tape and lower taxes stimulate business and prosperity. Such a zone would help create a new large and developed city akin to Dubai. I believe such a city needs to be built in North Western Australia to attract families by providing affordable housing and a gate way to Asia.
We envision a city that would:
- House some of the 750,000 workers that ANZ said would be required by 2050
- Fly mining workers in and out
- Have modern facilities encouraging families to live there
- Be close to Asia
- Offer tax incentives to attract families, for instance no stamp duty would be imposed on house purchases, taxes and corporate rates would be lower thus inviting business development.
Perhaps a smart alternative could also be simply targeting Darwin as an economic zone to have it grow into a major city and be the gateway to Asia. A special economic zone with lower taxes would not only be attractive to workers, but also to investors and companies thus automatically supporting the progress of the country’s economy.
22. Overhaul the health industry
A dramatic overhaul of the health industry to squeeze health service gains via innovation and technology without needing one extra cent of revenue to deliver.
23. Overhaul dole payments
One of the key ways to improve Australia is to slash unnecessary welfare and provide incentives to get the unemployed back to work.
A few simple common sense strategies would involve:
1. Reducing dole payments after 90 Days unless recipients study career enhancing courses provided free of charge.
The dole is a safety net that adds value to society by supporting genuine workers who lose their job until they can find another one.
However, workers receive redundancy payments, which their previous employers have to pay when letting go of employees. Therefore the dole payment for 3 months at normal levels to tide a worker over until they find new work is a useful strategy.
After this period however, it should reduce to act as an incentive encouraging the unemployed individuals to do whatever they can in order to find a job within the 90 day period unless they agree to study.
2. Ensuring the unemployed attend courses to increase their skills
Instead of working for the dole, which in theory is a good idea but costly to implement, there should definitely be a requirement for dole recipients to have to attend up skilling and career enhancing courses paid for by the Government after 90 days.
As a result, this period of unemployment, which is generally unproductive, is turned into a productive time period. This will value add to the economy by enhancing work skills which will not only improve our struggling productivity levels but also remove the debilitating effect of getting money for nothing that welfare causes.
Helping unemployed Australians to improve their skills and productivity will help sustain the economy and ensure a better future for the people of our country. Of course, there should be a grace period of perhaps 90 days of being on the unemployment benefits before it becomes a requirement to attend and complete educational courses to continue to receive the benefits.
And in effect it wouldn’t be called the “dole” but rather retraining and skill enhancing education that not only helps the unemployed to find new jobs but also improves the quality of skilled workers in Australia filling the labour shortage gaps in this country.
These are common sense and effective strategies to boost Australia’s productivity and to eradicate the nation’s addiction to welfare, which destroys the self-esteem of individuals when a person receives money for no contribution to adding value to the society.
24. New technology for schools
Equip every student with new technology for learning such as iPads or tablets at school and access to leading-edge learning apps to ensure we use technology to deliver better quality education for less cost to leave our 19th century education system behind.
In fact with the uptake of Apple technology, iPads have become an engaging learning tool. Moreover apps are providing teachers and students greater resources for learning at their fingertips. This can help revolutionise our education system
Studies are showing that school children that have been using iPads in classes have improved their learning abilities and are far more engaged, and see learning as fun again.
Schools that have started using them found that suddenly learning and behaviour problems in kids have become almost non-existent. Which suggests a lot of disobedience in students stems from the sheer boredom of the traditional 19th Century style school system.
25. Declaring government taxes
Make the government transparent and declare all government taxes in sales of products and services.
We believe a truly honest government will support and believe in transparency. Such transparency would disclose the current hidden taxes.
For example, when you fill your car up with fuel the receipt should list how much government tax is in the cost of fuel; when you buy a car it should show the breakdown of taxes charged by the government; when you buy a property the same applies and so on.
This shows the taxes charged up-front and also pressures a government to remove many hidden and inefficient taxes forcing the government to reduce wastage of tax payers money to support elimination of so many unnecessary taxes.
Most importantly, it highlights to consumers exactly how much tax they pay indirectly outside personal or corporate tax.
We believe disclosing government taxes for Australian politics on goods and services is essential for 3 main reasons.
- Consumers become better informed
- Such taxes become better controlled and
- Wider community will show greater solidarity with honest and transparent government
Australian Politics and 21st Century Australia
For further details on more potential policies, click here to download Jamie McIntyre’s 320 page book, ‘101 Ways To Improve Australia’ ebook.