PENSION WITHOUT POLITICS

At Budget time every year, and at every election, Australia’s Age Pensioners take an unwarranted political and social pounding.

They are accused of being an intolerable burden on younger taxpayers who are concerned that most pensioners may be welfare cheats.

The cynical aspect of it all are that their accusers are mostly tax evaders who constantly cry out for more corporate welfare such as tax cuts, subsidies and low interest rates.

Nevertheless, the fact is that the Age Pension today amounts to a payout of 45 billion dollars a year, a figure that will double by 2030 as more Australians grow older and take a lot longer to die.

The question for us all is how we finance it without sending oldies to the gas chambers as some fascists would like to do.

We can start by taking an objective look at the current situation and work out how to turn it into a positive.

The Age Pension is indisputably inadequate, very close to the poverty line, and has been for a long time. Continue reading “PENSION WITHOUT POLITICS”

THE TRUMP TRIUMPH

Donald Trump ran the smartest, most unorthodox election campaign I have ever seen and he won an astonishing victory.

Hillary Clinton did the exact opposite. Her campaign was a stunning disaster that totally lacked political nous or any understanding of voter sensitivity.

Pollsters were discredited forever.

The sun came up yet again the next morning.

There will be another Presidential Election in four years.

In the meantime, we will survive.

So, with positive minds, let’s have a look at what happened and talk about what we do next. Continue reading “THE TRUMP TRIUMPH”

Goodbye Menzies

The great political party, The Liberals, formed by Robert Menzies seven decades ago, is in its death throes. It has been assassinated by right wing zealots, none of whom would have ever been welcomed into its ranks by Australia’s longest serving Prime Minister.

I was at High School when Menzies commenced his political comeback by uniting a collection of conservative parties to form The Liberals. In doing so, he declared that he was commanding the centre ground of politics in Australia, planning to push Labor to the Left and the Country Party (now The Nationals) over on to the Right. It made common sense as most Australians wanted a government without ideology that made pragmatic decisions to secure Australia’s post war prosperity.

Menzies achieved his aim for 16 years, retiring at his own timing and on his own terms. Then, the rot set in as the Liberals moved steadily to the right, finally going heavily in that direction when Tony Abbott arrived and inflicted 19th century economics and morals on the nation, sending it into decline on many fronts. Continue reading “Goodbye Menzies”

THE PURSUIT OF POWER

Malcolm Turnbull has won the 2016 Australian Election. He got there by the skin of his teeth, but no one can dispute that he is entitled to form a government.

Now, he has to make it all work for the good of Australia and for the sake of his own political future.

What a hell of a task both jobs will prove to be as he has three Opposition leaders – Abbott, Shorten and Joyce, in that order. Continue reading “THE PURSUIT OF POWER”

THE POLITICAL DISCONNECT

On election eve, I have belatedly come to the reluctant conclusion that politicians and voters actually live in totally different worlds which are light years apart.

In reality, the gap between people and the political establishment is huge, so much so that few will disagree with me when I say that politicians appear to be dwelling on a remote planet that has no affinity to the rest of us.

Even more glaringly obvious is the fact that, despite a seemingly endless campaign, neither Turnbull nor Shorten has hit the trigger that switches on voters. Indeed, they have actually switched us off with their childish fear tactics and patronising policies that are designed to buy our loyalty.

Independents and Minor Parties are in closer contact with voters mainly because they are not burdened with outdated ideology or a born to rule mentality, but they too have a way to go to bridge a yawning gap that is a national disgrace.

So, there will be a revolt on Saturday as voters exercise the only power they possess – the treasured democratic privilege of taking revenge on underperforming politicians who weigh down both the Coalition and Labor. Continue reading “THE POLITICAL DISCONNECT”

DEATH OF MAJORITY GOVERNMENTS

The Australian Election of 2016 will result in a Hung Parliament in both Houses.

This political deadlock will be profound, significant and long term, causing a long awaited upheaval in the structure of political parties.

A majority of the population will be horrified with this event, but a sizeable minority will welcome it as it will give democracy a genuine chance of working effectively. Continue reading “DEATH OF MAJORITY GOVERNMENTS”

D-DAY FOR THE AGE PENSION

It is an indisputable fact that pensioners in Australia have been underpaid for more than a century. Nevertheless, little mention of it is being made in the Australian Election of 2016. In truth, there is a defining silence surrounding it for reasons that totally escape me.

Be this as it may, the time has come to correct this huge blot on the humanitarian record of our nation, particularly as a UN Report has stated that 50% of Australian Pensioners live on or below the poverty line. This is intolerable in a prosperous nation. Continue reading “D-DAY FOR THE AGE PENSION”

TAX CUTS & POLITICAL SUICIDE

I respect Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison. They are intelligent, astute Parliamentarians. This makes it difficult for me to understand why they have made tax cuts the cornerstone of their election campaign.

They appear to believe that such cuts will stimulate economic growth and create jobs, but history proves this theory to be a fallacy.

In order to justify this statement, can I suggest to all my readers that you study research reports into tax cuts in USA and Australia over the past fifty years? You will find no economic or social justification for them.

The facts are that every tax cut has created some more billionaires, but few jobs down on Struggle Street. The trickle down effect has never ever trickled down and never will. Of even more concern is that on each occasion there has been a tax cut the national debt has risen. Continue reading “TAX CUTS & POLITICAL SUICIDE”

TAMING THE NORTH

I have been a voter since 1952 and, at every election since then, there has been someone, either a Prime Minister or an Opposition Leader or an aspiring MP, who has seriously threatened to develop Northern Australia.

Sadly, I still wait with fervent hope for a leader to appear who will actually do it. For the past sixty years it has simply been an exercise in vote gathering. Continue reading “TAMING THE NORTH”

THE WINDSOR KNOT

Tony Windsor has made a decision that will change the political culture of Australia and instigate a long era of minority governments.

He will challenge Barnaby Joyce for the Seat of New England in the 2016 Federal Election and he has a better than even chance of winning, as do lots of independents across the nation. Continue reading “THE WINDSOR KNOT”

DEATH OF THE ESTABLISHMENT

In recent weeks, I have watched with acute embarrassment the appalling spectacle of Bill Shorten scaring the hell out of us about a possible increase in the GST and Malcolm Turnbull doing likewise with Negative Gearing. They treated us all as idiots.

They could have shown some common sense by acknowledging that both issues have virtues, but that thought eluded them. After all, the GST does ensure that tax evaders do pay some tax and, if the elimination of negative gearing drives house prices down, this will help young Australians buy a house and Seniors buy a small affordable home.

Their dreadful performances finally made me realise that, in actual fact, the political establishment is now dead and the public have buried it under a huge pile of disrespect. Politicians will continue to play their games, but no one will seriously listen. They are now an irrelevance. Continue reading “DEATH OF THE ESTABLISHMENT”

Iowa sends message to Australia

I have been an avid student of politics all my life, with American Presidential Elections always having a special fascination. My first experience of it was in 1940 when I was just 9 years old. I clearly remember sitting by the radio with my grandfather listening to the result of Wendell Wilkie’s failed attempt to toss Franklin Delano Roosevelt out of the White House.

Three quarters of a century has passed since then and I can tell you with great certainty that no US Presidential Election has ever been more baffling than the current one. Who would have believed that the most powerful nation on earth would contemplate having Donald Trump as President.

Given the immense tragedy that would be, can we take a few moments to look at the pointless struggle of mediocrity that took place in Iowa yesterday. Continue reading “Iowa sends message to Australia”

2016 – Turnbull year of destiny

My holiday reading included a very readable book called Born to Rule, an unauthorised biography of Malcolm Turnbull by veteran journalist Paddy Manning. I enjoyed it immensely.

Paddy makes it clear he is not a Turnbull fan, but he treats the Prime Minister in as unbiased a manner as is possible in politics and journalism. However, it is interesting that, in the end, he acknowledges that Turnbull has what it takes to be a great leader of the nation if he conquers a few idiosyncrasies. Continue reading “2016 – Turnbull year of destiny”

The Remains of a Year of Tumult

I have been around for 84 years, none of them ever boring, but 2015 has been a corker.

Happily, the two most incompetent political leaders of my era were removed from power – Tony Abbott in Canberra and Campbell Newman in Brisbane. Continue reading “The Remains of a Year of Tumult”