Over the past five years, the ALP government has chalked up some outstanding reforms. To name a few –
1. The management of the GFC (including the Home Insulation Program and the Building the Education Revolution);
2. Putting a price on carbon
3. Abolishing WorkChoices
4. Rolling out the National Broadband Network
MMRT MRRT (Thank you, dear TLBD)
6. Plain packaging of tobacco
7. Abolition of WorkChoices
8. Piloting the National Disability Insurance Scheme
9. Piloting trials to reduce problem gambling on pokies
10. “No frills” superannuation
11. Cutting back middle-class welfare (means-testing private health insurance, baby bonus) and better targeting schoolkids’ education assistance
12. Increasing the old age pension
Not to mention:
• THAT SPEECH from the red BISON, Prime Minister Julia Gillard.
So, what’s left for 2013 – election year – and beyond?
Ms Gillard PM has already flagged implementing the NDIS, and educational reforms, are at the top of her agenda. Agreed – but it’s also time to foreshadow plans for a re-elected ALP government. For myself, I would like to see:
. Further winding-back of middle-class and corporate welfare. For example that sacred cow, negative gearing, which does such damage to the availability of affordable housing in Australia, could and must be wound back. Not at once, but incrementally.
. A re-examination of the use of trusts for tax minimisation purposes.
. A re-examination of the “charitable” status of many entities, from religious bodies through to the likes of the IPA.
. Increased funding of basic research, especially in the sciences.
. Proper protection of whistle-blowers.
. Effective privacy laws.
. The separation of “investment” and retail banking.
. The imposition of some form of Tobin tax on all short-term (especially computer-generated) financial transactions.
Last, but not least, we’ve gotta talk about Old Media.
As Carl Bernstein pointed out in the Guardian a fortnight ago:
Murdoch and Ailes have erected an incredibly influential media empire that has unrivaled power in British and American culture: rather than judiciously exercising that power or improving reportorial and journalistic standards with their huge resources, they have, more often than not, recklessly pursued an agenda of sensationalism, manufactured controversy, ideological messianism, and political influence-buying while masquerading as exemplars of a free and responsible press. …
The Murdoch story – his corruption of essential democratic institutions on both sides of the Atlantic – is one of the most important and far-reaching political/cultural stories of the past 30 years, an ongoing tale without equal.
As Patricia WA wrote yesterday on C@tmomma’s That Way Lies Madness thread :
I’d go further and say it’s the most important political development of the past century, possibly longer. For years I’ve been astonished by the complacency of Australians about the blatant bias of Rupert Murdoch’s News Ltd towards Coalition and the Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott. The damage achieved in opposing the Government’s minerals tax and carbon pricing scheme along with promoting the chicanery of scepticism about climate change has continued relentlessly against the NBN and every other Labor initiative. He seems to think he can rule our country like a 17th century monarch. That thought took me back to history classes many decades ago when I was really impressed by Milton’s eloquent plea for freedom of the press during the English Civil War period. Particularly when little Milly Dowler’s death on her way home from my own first secondary school in Walton-on-Thames evoked my own childhood and gave rise to the British, at least, enquiring into his worldwide media empire.
while on the same thread Andrew wrote:
Isn’t it interesting how coalition and OM folklore has it that Abbott is the genius who almost won the 2010 election, instead of the liability that cost the coalition both the election and minority government through indie support.
Isn’t it interesting how the OM are not at all perturbed about the prospect of having someone unfit for the top job running the country; he is erratic, he is a populist, and is policy and detail-lazy.
Isn’t it interesting that Labor’s comeback in the polls has not featured in the roundups of 2012.
And, for as long as I’ve been reading him, Bushfire Bill has relentlessly pursued the case that Old Media “journalists” have been deliberately talking down Australia’s good economy, and have suborned Australians from moderate confidence to whingeing, gloom, and despair.
So my wish, and would that it could be fulfilled before the next federal election, is for a cleansed, reformed, and most of all fearlessly unbiased Old Media, that reports only facts, and keeps reportage and opinion
polls poles apart.
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UPDATE: When writing the original post, I meant to include two significant achievements by the ALP Government, plus a third in prospect: