Driving policies that benefits all Australians

Housing Gambling Worker Rights Welfare Aged Care Immigration Indigenous Affairs Illicit Substances Media

SOCIAL > Housing

Major Policies

  • Support and push for implementation of recommendations found in the current inquiry into housing affordability in Australia.
  • Push for changes to the tax code to disincentivise the use of housing stock as a speculative asset vs a basic affordability need for all Australians.
  • Push for national mandates regarding renters' rights across Australia.
  • Push for an increase in the availability of public housing.
  • Improve building requirements for all residential properties and overhaul the current building inspection process for projects.

Housing affordability is one of the major problems facing Australians today. Homeownership is a big indicator of pension requirements at retirement for Australians. Government policy has driven a mindset amongst Australians that the property market is best used as a money-making tool as opposed to a basic human need. This is pricing ordinary Australians out of being able to own a home. It is time we discuss as a nation whether the whether the idea of homeownership for all is still viable. Or do we need to look at models seen overseas where renting is the norm but apartments and renter rights are vastly different to what we see in Australia.

There is currently an inquiry into housing affordability in Australia, and I believe this process will provide better recommendations than I can on my own in consultation with the public. It will be my job to ensure that the process is not taken over by lobbying from those with self-interest to keep things as they are and ensure that recommendations are implemented.

My personal belief is that a basic need like housing should not be treated as a speculative asset to be used to grow wealth. I will be pushing for amendments to the tax code that mean there is no potential tax advantage given to someone buying a second house over that of someone buying their first house. We also need to understand that the current programs of giving first home buyers more money or making it easier for them to borrow larger sums of money are not long-term solutions; these are policies that act as drivers to keep inflating the market.

Whether we can change the direction of housing in Australia and make it more affordable to be an owner-occupier or not, we need to give renters more rights. While it is true that a renter does not own the house, it is their home, and they need to be able to make it feel that way. I know from my personal history as a renter, there is little more demoralising than not being able to hang pictures, living in a property that was built to the lowest quality, or having to fight for landlords to do basic maintenance and repairs. Having said that, I have had some great landlords; the problem is not knowing what your future landlord will be like. We need national mandates surrounding rental properties and requirements to be a landlord; owning a property doesn't automatically make someone fit to be a landlord. We also need to examine the term length of rental properties; not knowing if you will need to move every 12 months is stressful, and when you need to move, it is a hidden expense that is rarely discussed in these forums.

The government has a duty to the people in Australia to ensure that housing is available for everyone if required. The great plan of privatising social housing, which has led to the current tax code and makes property investment so attractive, has not achieved what it set out to do. Public housing is generally required for those with the least ability to afford it; this is not the type of housing the majority of speculators are buying and renting out. This is also driving the trends in construction that do not provide for these people. The government must increase the availability of public housing, and it must be distributed amongst various areas as opposed to being concentrated. The availability of stable housing strongly correlates with better care of properties, reduced costs for renters, improved quality of life, and reduced recidivism for reformed criminals.

We also need to look at the construction industry to determine if the current self-assessment for building certification is adequate. There have been numerous examples of new residential buildings having serious structural issues just after completion. Even at the small unit level, new builds often have numerous flaws requiring remediation by the first owner. Self-assessment is not working as intended, and a more robust process must be found.


SOCIAL > Gambling

Major Policies

  • Change gambling advertisements and rules in Australia.
  • Push for a Royal Commission into the gambling industry in Australia incorporating current license holders and the social impact on Australian society and the net effect on the economy. It should also look into the animal welfare of race animals.

Australia is the biggest gambling nation globally, with an average loss of over $1,300 per Australian. We are bombarded by advertising on our TVs during ad breaks, sponsored segments on shows, on the internet and even on the jerseys of sports teams. The normalisation of gambling in Australian culture leads to a younger generation that is more focused on exotic bets in a match than the actual sporting event.

For decades, local pubs have been swapping the floor space used for live acts with gaming rooms for pokies. This is to the detriment of the local music and arts scene and local communities' economic and mental health. Over the past couple of years, we have also seen state inquiries into casino licenses finding that the large enterprises running these establishments have been ignoring national money laundering laws and inspectors stating they do not have the power to monitor these establishments actively. Due to the nature of gambling, it acts as a regressive tax on those who have lower incomes. There are many stories of gamblers who know they have a problem and attempt to be put on no entry lists to establishments yet still seem to be able to enter gaming rooms unopposed.

I do not believe that gambling should be banned in Australia. People should have the right to gamble if they wish. There are potential economic benefits in the form of tourism and the associated jobs they provide. However, we need to look at the real economic impact, including mental health support and any government assistance required for people and their families who lose it all. At a minimum, we need to make the impact of gambling more visible to the average Australian, ensure operators are following all required legislation and stop giving them priority when it comes to local bylaws, which they are exempt from.


SOCIAL > Worker Rights

Major Policies

  • Improve worker rights for all people working in Australia.
  • Make wage theft a criminal offence under Australian Law.
  • Conduct a public campaign ensuring that illegal workers know Australian worker rights still protect them.

Australia currently has low unemployment figures, but this does not tell the full story of Australian workers' actual conditions. We are seeing an increase in underemployment, short-term contracts and the increasing casualisation of the workforce. These are issues that harm workers as they have no certainty of their future and can impact things such as getting a home loan, knowing where they will be living in the next few years, or getting proper worker benefits from their employer. Corporations see record valuations and profits, but worker wages have been close to stagnant. As a nation, we see increased wealth, but it is not going to the average Australian worker; it is being funnelled overseas or top executives. The wealth built by Australians is not going to Australians!

We need to make wage theft a criminal offence under Australian Law. We hear of large companies being found to have conducted wage theft, often attributed to error. These companies are not being held to the same standard the average Australian is when making a simple error in calculating their taxes. The Liberal Party removed wage theft as a criminal offence from the Industrial Relations Omnibus in 2021 as retaliation for getting their way with other aspects of the bill. This was the current leadership putting its ego before the needs of the public.

Finally, we need to ensure that proper representation for exploited immigrant workers is available and publicised. The legal status of exploited workers should not allow bad employers to continue business. If a business cannot survive if they fail to follow statutory regulations, that is a business that should not be in operation.


SOCIAL > Welfare

Major Policies

  • All government welfare and pension payments are to be indexed with CPI.
  • Welfare payments are to be focused on the end recipient instead of using corporations to distribute the benefits.
  • Modify Jobactive network incentives for providers, push for review for undoing the privatised model implemented in 1998.
  • Recommend review into NDIS structure and charge out model.

Many Australians on welfare support payments, disability payments and the old aged pension live below or very close to the poverty line. For most, the increases are below the cost-of-living increases seen by everyday Australians and fall far behind the rate rental prices have been increasing. When these payments were first introduced, a value was decided upon based on living costs at the time. It should be standard that all payments from the government should increase at the same rate cost of living does.

Australia was rated the number one economy globally on how we handled the Global Financial Crisis. That was largely due to payments directly to residents, who then kept our economy alive. This was such a successful scheme that other nations copied it when the financial impact of the COVID19 pandemic hit their shores. Australia wrote the playbook on how to survive a situation like this, but the Liberal government decided it couldn't copy a proven method because it was something that Labor would do. This led to delays in rolling out a recovery package directed at employers instead of employees. This became a method of getting money into the accounts of corporations, many of which ended up not being impacted as severely as they predicted with no requirement to pay back excess welfare to the government. This is an example of the government putting their ego and mates before the average Australian.

In 1998, Australia privatised its job-seeking program from CES to the current Jobactive model. This created an industry that put profits before genuinely trying to find the best outcome for job seekers. The biggest winners of this scheme were international service providers and local companies with strong links to major Australian political parties.

We also saw a slew of illegitimate VET providers with training material that was inadequate for an entire workforce. Providing a service to help people find new jobs is inherently difficult. The current payment incentives mean those who need the most help and support have the lowest priority. It also incentivises placing people in jobs that all parties know are not suitable and likely will result in quick turnover, creating more payments for the Jobactive providers. When there are conflicts of interest between a private corporation and a social need service, the private company will put their shareholders before the needs of the person who needs help. If we maintain this private network, we need to adjust the payments to providers to ensure better outcomes for job seekers. It is this alignment of incentives that are currently missing from the system.

The NDIS in Australia is in place to provide financial support to disabled Australians who need help. This has led to a situation where entire companies have been created to act as middlemen to link disability support providers and patients. While the government is working to crack down on fraud from unscrupulous providers, they are missing the common practice of support workers being charged out at much higher rates than normal if it is an NDIS appointment vs a non-government funded appointment. After talking with people who use the NDIS scheme, there also seems to be a lack of understanding from various assessors who decide the eligibility of people for the NDIS. These are third party people who have no link to the patient history and are just following a checklist who potentially have no proper understanding of the disability being assessed. We need to understand if the current assessment process and the implementation and charge back to the NDIS are suitable and working as intended.


SOCIAL > Aged Care

Major Policies

  • Force the Federal Government to follow the recommendations found in the 'Care, Dignity and Respect' Royal Commission completed in 2021.
  • Ensure immediate rectification of compliance failures in aged care facilities when found.
  • Prepare Australia for the looming increase in average population age via additional training of staff and construction of appropriate facilities before it becomes a problem.

Australia has an ageing population like many developed countries. Aged care is a large part of our economy, and the majority falls under federal governance. There have been many reports of abuse and neglect within the system, leading to a Royal Commission beginning in 2018. Our system's flaws were found throughout the process, with a list of interim recommendations released in 2019. The government delayed starting work on improving the system, and we saw during the COVID19 pandemic that federally-run aged care facilities were the hardest hit, something that should not have happened. Even today, we see aged care homes failing to provide the level of care required, as exemplified by the Edenfield Family Care home in Port Augusta as late as February 2022. This is not the staff's fault, many of whom have raised concerns, but the government's fault for not holding itself or private companies to account.

SOCIAL > Immigration

Major Policies

  • Ensuring the Federal Government is held accountable to its legal requirements for international arrivals.
  • Provide more funding to improve the quality of detention facilities and staffing for processing.
  • End the use of offshore detention facilities.
  • Develop more agreements with other nations for processed asylum seeker swaps.
  • Wider use of community monitoring for arrivals.

Australia has a terrible history regarding the processing of asylum seekers. We put people into indefinite detention with inadequate access to health, safety and legal facilities. Many people will spend years in these terrible conditions, treated worse than convicted criminals in Australia. We need to end the use of offshore processing immediately and look for ways we can provide community monitoring as we do in our domestic legal system. This is both a more humane way of treating asylum seekers and will help with the eventual integration of new Australians into our culture.

Australia has also failed with our international arrivals process over the past two years. We abandoned citizens overseas during the COVID19 pandemic, and the Federal Government pushed its duties onto unprepared State Governments for quarantine. The Federal Government needs to be held to account and ensure we do not find ourselves in this position again.


SOCIAL > Indigenous Affairs

Major Policies

  • Cross-sectional feedback groups with indigenous communities at all levels of leadership across Australia.

I cannot say what is best for the indigenous communities across Australia. The government seems to spend a lot of money, but we are not seeing progress in improved education and health for the communities. I do not want to cut any current funding but would like to consult with the affected communities to determine what is working and what is not. We can then reallocate and potentially increase funding to projects that will improve conditions for our indigenous communities. We must set achievable and measurable targets based on community needs to impact these groups positively.

SOCIAL > Illicit Substances

Major Policies

  • Provide funding to states to improve the availability of substance abuse recovery programs and legal testing of substances for users.
  • Decriminalise the use of illicit substances and treat them as a medical issue instead of a criminal issue.
  • Promote an investigation into the legalisation of certain substances currently deemed illegal.

South Australia has one of the highest use of methamphetamines in the world. It is also difficult to get into substance abuse rehabilitation programs, including legal substances such as alcohol. The current system is letting down many people and leading to unnecessary deaths. We need to create a system that encourages the reduction of the use of these substances and also creates a safe environment for users before they get into a program. The heavy-handed tactics to police many substances lead to the immoral strip-searching of young people and the risky decision to ingest large amounts of drugs to prevent being caught. We need to explore the decriminalisation of the use of these substances. Other countries that have gone down this path have seen a reduction in drug-related deaths and the reduction in use as people are more able to seek support. We need to understand that decriminalisation does not make access to illicit substances legal nor remove criminal charges for driving under the influence or possessing dealer quantities of drugs or selling them. People will continue to use drugs under prohibition; this measure is a tactic to reduce the risk for users.

We also need to have a national discussion around legalising some substances. Many other, much more conservative countries in the world have begun legalising certain drugs and decriminalising all drugs. This allows a framework for better quality control of substances, a potential new industry for the economy, and increased government revenue from controlled taxation. The availability of some substances can reduce the use of other more damaging substances.


SOCIAL > Media

Major Policies

  • Supporting the call for a Senatorial Inquest into news media diversity within Australia.

Australia is ranked third, behind Egypt and China, regarding the ownership diversity of print media, with papers greatly impacting what is included on TV and radio. We have seen countless times in the past media outlets owned by foreign nationals pushing agendas that directly impact government policy. The media empires often have more say in government policy than the general public. We need to understand how this impacts our society and how to safely diversify media ownership to reduce the power these foreign-owned outlets have on our national policies.


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