Tasmanian Times

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Economy

2015: the year it became exciting to be alive … apparently

According to cheerleader-in-chief Malcolm Turnbull it’s the most exciting time to be an Australian. Tell that to the sick and old, the young and the poor

Here we are at the end of 2015, and apparently there has never been a more exciting time to be an Australian.

Maybe, maybe not.

What about lowest-paid workers in Australia? Apparently they need to give up penalty rates so that the economy can create more jobs.

What about people who are sick in Australia? Apparently they need to pay more for medical care in order to fill a hole in the Turnbull government’s budget.

What about Australian women? They face the grim statistic that one woman is killed each week by a partner or ex-partner. Apparently they have to wait years just to get a government-funded advertising campaign to address the terror some women face in our homes.

What about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians? Apparently the devastating impacts of dispossession of land and destruction of culture – impacts evidenced in higher morbidity and mortality rates, higher incarceration rates, and poorer education outcomes, just to name a few – aren’t enough to reverse the savage cuts to Aboriginal Affairs in the 2014 budget.

What about gay and lesbian Australians? Apparently laws that would grant them the right to marry can’t be debated by the Parliament, even though Malcolm Turnbull says he supports marriage equality.

What about Australian families? Apparently they have to play a game of snakes and ladders with the Turnbull government. Some families can get more childcare if others give up tax breaks. One family can only gain if another family loses.

What about the Australians working at Spotless? They are amongst the lowest paid, yet apparently they have to pay a higher rate of tax than the company for which they work.

What about Australian workers on an average wage? Apparently they have to fill the Turnbull government’s revenue problems by moving into higher and higher tax brackets.

What about Australian taxpayers? Apparently our money can be handed out by the Turnbull government to big companies to pay them not to pollute, rather than require those companies to pay a tax to the government when they do pollute.

What about the Australian states and territories? Apparently the Turnbull government can take money away from their hospitals and schools and still deny them more funds from an increased GST.

Why is it that the Turnbull government always reaches first for the sick, the old, the young and the poor?

What about any Australian who purchases the staples of life, like food and clothing? Apparently the Turnbull government thinks they can pay a higher GST to fund things like a lower company tax.

Why is it that the Turnbull government always reaches first for the sick, the old, the young and the poor?

Why is a Labor government’s deficit of $18bn and a debt of $191bn a “disaster” and an “emergency”, but the Turnbull government’s deficit of $37bn and debt of $336bn is simply analogous to a long, annoying, family car trip?

Why is the Turnbull government the highest taxing and highest spending Australian administration since the Howard years?

Why doesn’t the Turnbull government have a serious look at proposals that aren’t regressive: a medicare levy, superannuation tax reforms, and multinational tax avoidance?

And while we are at it, there are some people who are not Australian but who, for one reason or another, are affected by the Turnbull government. For them it’s not a very exciting time. Why do the poorest people in the world, women and children in developing countries, need to lose Australian foreign aid so the Turnbull government can dubiously claim it has a path back to surplus?

Why do the some of the most vulnerable people in world – asylum seekers and refugees, and their children – need to be held hostage on Nauru by the Turnbull government as some kind of human deterrence system?

Does anybody really believe the cheerleader-in-chief, Malcolm Turnbull, when he tells us how excited we should be to be alive during his administration?

In 2015, the Australian government changed leaders. In 2016, the Australian people can change the government.

Now, that would be an exciting time.

First published by The Guardian, here

Kristina Keneally is a former premier of NSW. She is the host of To the Point on Sky News and the Director of Gender Inclusion at the Macquarie Graduate School of Management. She serves as patron of the Stillbirth Foundation Australia, director of Souths Cares, and an ambassador for Opportunity International Australia.

Elizabeth Farrelly, SMH: Taking out the trash is a job half done for Malcolm Turnbull

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