Voluntary Assisted Dying. Crunch time at Queensland Parliament.

Last year, the Queensland Parliament voted to authorise its Health Committee to hold public hearings throughout Queensland to assess public attitudes to Voluntary Assisted Dying and Palliative Care. They did an extraordinary job of holding hearings far and wide across the State and encouraging all opinions to be expressed.

I spoke at one of the hearings and it was evident that there was huge support for Queenslanders to have the right to choose to end their lives peacefully and in comfort when faced with an incurable illness. It was also clear that people felt that palliative care services were not adequate and were not an alternate to Voluntary Assisted Dying as many people will choose both. People who attended other hearings gained the same impression as I did. Continue reading “Voluntary Assisted Dying. Crunch time at Queensland Parliament.”

THE LEFT HAS BEEN LEFT

Jeremy Corbyn has led British Labour to a massive defeat.

Bill Shorten led the Australian ALP to the loss of an election that should never have been lost.

Hilary Clinton led her left wing Democrats to lose an American Presidential Election to a candidate who will be remembered as the worst President in American History.

These astonishing events lead us to ask the question,

WILL A CANDIDATE FROM THE LEFT EVER WIN A MAJOR ELECTION AGAIN?

And how is it that this all happened.?

Let’s look for a moment at all three. Continue reading “THE LEFT HAS BEEN LEFT”

SHORTEN’S END

Twenty years ago, Trade Union legend Bill Ludwig introduced me to Bill Shorten, telling me that here was a young guy who was going places.

Shorten and I met for coffee at Melbourne University where he was studying part time to get his MBA. I liked him and asked what were his future plans for his life. Without hesitation , he replied.

“I intend to become Prime Minister of Australia”. Continue reading “SHORTEN’S END”

AUSTRALIAN DEMOCRACY NEEDS A REFORMATION

Let us for the moment presume that Bill Shorten will become Prime Minister of Australia on Saturday evening.

Once he settles into the job, I will seek a meeting with him to advocate a number of changes to the way in which we elect governments and the manner in which changes can be made to the Senate which is currently a blot on democracy.

Firstly, Compulsory Voting must cease. Continue reading “AUSTRALIAN DEMOCRACY NEEDS A REFORMATION”

INLAND RAILWAY- POLITICS OF DISASTER

Back in the days of his prime, Barnaby Joyce announced that the Coalition Government had allocated 9.5 billion dollars for the construction of the Inland Railway.

He had demanded this from Malcolm Turnbull as the price for National Party cooperation at the time of Turnbull’s coup to topple Abbott.

Turnbull reluctantly agreed, but insisted that it had to be funded ‘off balance sheet’, ie, not taken from general taxpayer revenue in the next Budget, but funded by loans to be taken out by the Federal Government’s own railway company, ARTC (Australian Rail Track Corporation) against its balance sheet. Future revenue would pay back the loans.

This was mentioned only in the fine print of the public announcement. Most voters think it is being funded by regular government grants.

In other words, Barnaby Joyce proceeded with the project without allocating one cent of government funds to it. This means that his in-depth commitment to it has been Nil. It was simply a vote getting stunt. Continue reading “INLAND RAILWAY- POLITICS OF DISASTER”

FULLY FRANKED MUST BE FRANK AND FAIR

It is beyond dispute that Bill Shorten is correct when he states that a cash refund of franking credits on investments should be claimed only by a taxpayer.

What is in dispute is the timing and manner in which he intends to legislate changes to current taxation laws on those credits.

His planned legislation must be changed to exempt all shares purchased prior to 30 June, 2019. This will give retirees the same privileges that he has stated that he will grant to those affected by his changes to taxation benefits relating to negative gearing and capital gains.

To deny this, will mean that he will be declaring that property developers are more worthy citizens than retirees and deserve privileges that are to be denied to retirees. Continue reading “FULLY FRANKED MUST BE FRANK AND FAIR”

THE YEAR THAT NEVER WAS

2018 has been the most pointless of my 87 years.

Nothing dreadful happened to me or Australia. It was just a boring time of decadent politics and absent ethics in which not one inspiring thing happened and there was much to lament.

There are many regrettable issues that deserve a mention, but I will talk about just three.

The Royal Commissions on Child Abuse and Aged Care.

The Royal Commission on Banking

The demise of Malcolm Turnbull.

I write, not as a lament, but in the hope of working out how we can make sure they are never repeated. There simply has to be a better way to run our country. Continue reading “THE YEAR THAT NEVER WAS”

VALE LIBERALS FOREVER

For 75 years, the Liberal Party of Australia has been a respected and enduring institution of our nation which will be remembered kindly for many notable achievements.

However, it is breathing its last and rigor mortis will set in very quickly and permanently.

Its record over the past few years has been so lamentable that few will weep.

The death spiral began when Fraser illegally removed Whitlam in 1975, then governed with such a guilty conscience that he will be remembered as a very dismal Prime Minister.

Temporarily, Howard steadied the ship, but the rot set in when Turnbull ruthlessly destroyed Nelson and Abbott replaced Turnbull in as stupid a ballot as has ever been held.

Abbott’s reign in Opposition and Government was as close to insanity as can be imagined and Turnbull let down Australia in everything that he did and did not do, a huge disappointment to me personally and many like me.

Now Morrison is an illegitimate Prime Minister, not accepted in this high office, as he was put there by 45 people, most of whom the nation disrespects.

It is all over. Nothing can save the Liberals, absolutely nothing. Continue reading “VALE LIBERALS FOREVER”

NO SAFE SEATS

We have reached a huge watershed in Australian political history.

There is now no Member of the House of Representatives in the Australian Parliament who holds a safe seat, not one, no matter what their current majority may be, not even Scott Morrison and Bill Shorten.

And neither the Coalition nor the ALP can be certain of getting more than one Senate candidate over the line in any State. Their number two Senate candidates cannot be confident of getting the required quota. And I joke not.

Some, quite wrongly, will see this as a terrible catastrophe that will ensure huge a period of very unstable government.

However, it is far more likely to provide a refreshing change in which the political establishment will self destruct and never again be able to return to its inefficient complacency and its inability to be accountable.

Above all, it shows that Australian voters have had a massive gutful of bad government and blame it on all the major parties, without exception.

Incredibly, most politicians are blithely unaware of their very uncertain future and need to be blasted into recognition by getting a brutal dose of acute voter anger.

How have we reached this incredible political crisis? Continue reading “NO SAFE SEATS”

EGO defeats NOUS

When John Howard departed the political scene in 2007, there began an era of instability that has all but destroyed legitimate democracy in Australia.

I am in my 87th year on this planet and I have never witnessed a more shameful Parliament than this one. Sadly, only a few of our Parliamentarians are aware of it. They live in a world of utter unreality, totally divorced from voters who now feel a huge sense of insecurity.

What can we do about it?

Nothing at the moment.

We have to wait for an election and hope that the deadwood in all Parties will be wiped out and replaced by Independents of quality who will force quality debates that will result in fine policy decisions.

Barton and Deakin achieved this with minority governments in the first decade of Federation 120 years ago and passed historic legislation that serves us to this day. They had brains and vision and they were leaders who had people skills. Our current Parliament hasn’t got these attributes and never will.

How did we get into this mess? Continue reading “EGO defeats NOUS”

TRUMPED BY TRUMP

Donald Trump is the worst American President in my 86 years on Planet Earth.

In all likelihood, he is the worst since George Washington kicked out the British.

But, let me stop beating around the bush and admit that I utterly and thoroughly despise him.

Having said this, I must confess that there are times when I am tempted to cheer him, especially when he kicks the hell out of the political establishment. They absolutely need their guts hit out of the park because of their complacent insensitivity to the needs and aspirations of humanity.

But, the problem is that his skills end at the point of his boot. He has not got a clue what to do next, because his sole skill in life is as a gut kicker.

All this means is that we should pause for more than a moment and do some objective analysis of THE DONALD because we are stuck with him. Continue reading “TRUMPED BY TRUMP”

LET’S KILL WELFARE

It is unfortunate that the word ‘welfare’, which used to mean well-being, now implies that recipients are unfortunate people who need to be propped up by the rest of society, much to the anger of an increasing majority who resent the sense of entitlement that many welfare beneficiaries seem to have adopted.

It’s time to remove it from our vocabulary and from our economic and social system, replacing it with a NATIONAL DIVIDEND that is paid to every Australian citizen every year.

This is not just another political idea, it is an unavoidable change that will be forced upon us when robots and their artificial intelligence take over the productivity of the nation leaving millions of us without employment while the Federal Treasury absorbs the revenue of a technology driven Australia.

So, it will be smart if we plan for it now instead of having it forced upon us in panic mode. Continue reading “LET’S KILL WELFARE”

GIANT REFERENDUM

I have never before in my 86 years encountered an era in which so many Australians are utterly disenchanted with, or distrusting of, politics.

This means that there exists a once in a lifetime opportunity to make huge changes in the way Australia is governed.

Voters have given up trying to find the right leader. They clearly do not think that such a person exists at this time. So, their only hope lies in changing the rules under which Parliament operates.

This can clearly be achieved if the largest referendum in the history of Australia can be held on the day of the next Federal Election which is currently likely to happen in late 2018 or early 2019.

As I see it, there are six important constitutional changes that should be presented and adopted.

Let me set them out. Continue reading “GIANT REFERENDUM”

A FUTURE WITHOUT ADANI

We are led to believe that the economic future of North Queensland is utterly dependent upon the opening of the Adani Mine in the Galilee Basin. Without it, we are told that there will be massive unemployment and a general economic downturn.

Indeed, it is of such enormity that an election in Melbourne for the Seat of Batman in the Federal Parliament will be decided on the issue, even though the electorate and the mine are thousands of kilometres apart.

This nonsense, spread by politicians, free market advocates, climate change deniers and general fear mongers, badly fails the pub test.

The stark fact is that development of the North and the Inland has never been backed by either serious political will or genuine investment, nor has a well researched long term plan of sustainable development for the region ever been prepared, let alone implemented.

The Adani mine was chosen as a quick fix for years of neglect and it was based on series of appalling fabrications. Continue reading “A FUTURE WITHOUT ADANI”

THE ADANI ELECTION

Queenslanders go to the polls on Saturday, 25 November, to elect a State Government.

Ostensibly, it is a contest between Annastacia Palaszczuk and Tim Nicholls as to who will be Premier of the Queensland Parliament,

It is absolutely not.

The battle is about whether or not one of the largest coal mines in the world will be opened in the Galilee Basin of Queensland and send its coal to India via the Barrier Reef.

This creates a complicated political situation as both Palaszczuk and Nicholls strongly back the opening of the mine, as does the likely holder of the balance of power, Pauline Hanson and her competitor for that role – Robbie Katter.

One would think that this would place the Adani mine in the safest of political positions, but it does not. It is an issue that will dominate the headlines until voting day as Adani protesters turn up to disrupt every political meeting, particularly those of the Premier.

Its chief beneficiary will be the Greens who have never before prospered in Queensland.

They will gain the balance of power and deny Hanson her dream. Continue reading “THE ADANI ELECTION”

DEATH OF A PARLIAMENT

In my schooldays in the bush, the farmers around my little timber town often had the unpleasant task of putting down an animal that was in such bad shape that the most humane step was to end its existence.

Last week, I spent three days at Parliament in Canberra meeting MP’s and Senators – 33 of them in all – some for 15 minutes. others for half an hour. As usual, all were courteous and did their best to be helpful as I talked about plans to establish an Age Pension Tribunal, create Affordable Housing Communities, foster Intergenerational Partnerships and talk about finally achieving the vision that I have had for twenty years of building an Inland Railway.

My 33 meetings covered Liberals, Nationals, ALP, Greens and Independents as there are good people in all of them, but I could sense a background of unease everywhere.

There was a silent acknowledgement that the Parliament was not going well, actually heading towards a state of dysfunction.

The Coalition is divided into three camps – Turnbull, Abbott and those aligned to neither. The ALP is worried that the Polls constantly show that Bill Shorten is not popular personally and the other Parties are unsure as to whether there supporters might have become fickle.

The presence of death pervades the Parliament. It is ready to be put down. Continue reading “DEATH OF A PARLIAMENT”

Political Reformation

Bill Shorten has recommended to Malcolm Turnbull that they join together in a bi-partisan attempt to hold a Referendum on Constitutional Change which will enable the Australian Parliament to have four year fixed terms. To his credit, Turnbull has left the door open for further discussions.

This is a good initiative that I will strongly support and I hope that you will too.

It will enable governments to spend at least their first year of office implementing difficult policies before they inevitably become obsessed with their pressing need to hold on to power at the next election.

In addition, fixed terms will cause Prime Ministers to cease their appallingly undemocratic practice of calling elections on a political whim, treating us all as fools in the process, just as Campbell Newman did so disastrously in Queensland and Theresa May did so arrogantly in Britain.

However, a Referendum will succeed only if other constitutional changes are made at the same time. Continue reading “Political Reformation”

BARNABY or HANSON

The Angry Vote is growing throughout Australia and is doing so at an ever increasing pace as voters grow more and more disenchanted with a political establishment which is so appallingly out of touch with the aspirations of voters.

Currently, Angry Voters see Pauline Hanson as their only vehicle for protest, but most of them don’t like her personally. She is simply a political convenience.

But, even if Turnbull and Shorten manage to destroy her, an event which is highly doubtful, the Angry Vote will remain and grow even faster.

The fact is that all those disenchanted souls need a new political home, another knight in shining armour.

The only possible candidate is BARNABY JOYCE.

This raises an unanswered question.

WILL BARNABY TAKE THE NATIONALS OUT OF THE COALITION AND CLAIM HIS, AND THEIR, PLACE IN THE SUN? Continue reading “BARNABY or HANSON”

THE MONEY MYTH

Controversy has raged around the five million dollars in salary and bonuses paid to the Chief Executive of Australia Post and the ridiculous manner in which those who were responsible tried to hide their stupidity.

Clearly, there is something wrong when the CEO of a Government Corporation is paid nine times that which is paid to his boss, the Prime Minister. Eye brows also rise when that CEO buys a home for around twenty million dollars and then spends five million renovating it. The underpaid postmen out on the beat in hot weather were somewhat less than impressed.

But, it did give the leaders like Wayne Swan an excellent platform to relaunch their much needed drive to have inequality taken seriously by politicians, voters and economists.

The Board of Directors of Australia Post is clearly to blame, absolutely out of their depth. Their Chairman is a politician with no business experience who was given a ‘job for the boys’ when his political career abruptly ended. Quite obviously, that type of political appointment must cease as it is of absolutely no value to Australia. Continue reading “THE MONEY MYTH”

THE YEAR THE MUSIC STOPPED

My end of year travels enabled me to take in some Christmas functions in Adelaide Melbourne Sydney and Brisbane. Inevitably, the conversations got to focus on the sad state of politics and a few facts became indelibly clear.

Malcolm Turnbull has reached rock bottom and few now listen to anything that he says. No matter whether people are left, right, centre or swingers, they are utterly unanimous in this view and highly unlikely ever to change their minds.

They are also unanimous on another matter. They do not want Bishop, Morrison or Shorten to replace him. They just want politicians to get lost.

In fact, they all see Christmas 2016 as the end of the line. It concludes a shocker of a year when the music stopped. Continue reading “THE YEAR THE MUSIC STOPPED”