What if we had a government that got serious?

There is so much more we can do, and must do, if we are to survive, let alone thrive.

Instead of drifting for another thirty years, or two hundred, we could go and ask the First People how we can help. Perhaps we could talk to them about negotiating joint sovereignty over this amazing, ancient land.

We could do what the IPCC says we must, based on the science: no new carbon extraction projects, abolish carbon subsidies ($10 billion or more per year) and phase out carbon burning as fast as possible, with net zero by 2035 if not sooner.

We could stop getting tangled up in other people’s disastrous and highly counter-productive wars. China would be far less of a threat to us if we just deal squarely with it instead of pulling the tiger’s tail on behalf of someone else.

We could stop punishing the unemployed, and the other unfortunates we claim to be helping.

We could notice that Murdoch lost, along with the Coalition. Those carpers are irrelevant, fewer people are listening to them any more. If we get on with restoring this fair-go country then most of the rest will stop listening too.

Stop subsidising excessive housing investment that helps to drive up prices: abolish negative gearing and restore the full capital gains tax.

Better still, regulate bank credit the way it was regulated in Menzies’ day, so the commercial banks can’t just endlessly create new money to bid property prices further into the stratosphere. Sack the economists who don’t understand that commercial banks create new money all the time.

Sack all the economists who can only think in terms of GDP and growth. Replace GDP with proper balance sheet measures of material, social and environmental well being. Govern for increasing well being as we recycle and reduce our extremely wasteful and destructive use of resources.

Govern for full employment, which means keeping unemployment at 1-2% as it was in Menzies’ day, a time of unsurpassed growth in prosperity without serious inflation.

This will require immigration to be reduced, which we need to do anyway. Our relatively low unemployment is clearly due to the closed borders during the pandemic, though everyone avoids mentioning it.

Snowy 2.0 is an uneconomic, polluting waste. Stop it, and instead build a dozen or twenty medium-scale, off-river pumped hydro storages in sensible places where they can be more readily connected to the grid.

Nationalise the grid and put the engineers in charge of it. Get rid of the destabilising, counter-productive National Electricity Market.

Get over the obsession with unfettered markets. You have to look at the incentives that operate within them. For example aged-care operators’ incentive is to reduce care in order to cut costs. Electricity generators’ incentive is to create artificial shortages so prices spike.

Stop the desecration of the National War Memorial, get the arms merchants out of it, and put the money into the other, starving national institutions that are the real repositories of our cultural inheritances.

Bring Julian Assange home and support all whistleblowers. Stop protecting politicians who act illegally or with flagrant immorality. Of course the present crop of politicians won’t do that, they’re too compromised themselves.

There will be many other things to be done, but this list is a measure of how far short of good government we still are.

Labor is still afraid of its own shadow. Actually it’s a mystery who these so-called Labor people are. Would they be any different if they were vetted by the CIA?

Liberal voters have seen that their party was hijacked by extremists and grifters, and they voted for proper liberals when given the opportunity. It’s Labor’s turn to be cleaned out of careerists and grifters, or whoever they are, and replaced with proper progressives.

Australia has outsourced its foreign policy. The Coalition was outsourcing almost all functions of government to giant foreign consultancies. Our fossil fuel industry is largely owned by giant foreign corporations that pay us no tax. Many other enterprises are dominated by foreign ownership. We are still a colony, a colony that hires itself out to whoever wants our cheap resources and labour.

Donald Horne wrote in 1964 “The success of Australian industry in most significant sectors has been that of an advanced colonial society, with overseas capital and enterprise employing intelligent native labour”. We have only regressed.


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