Some choice pars from Jennifer Oriel’s column in today’s Australian. ALP’s fairness means socialist ideology.
Labor has gained poll popularity by mastering the art of framing. No concept has been subjected to more radical reframing during the election campaign than fairness. By modern Left reckoning, indebting citizens to expand state power constitutes fairness.
The ideals of fairness and equality have been retrofitted to serve the New Left’s voracious statism and our most vulnerable citizens are paying the price.
Fairness is not an economic plan. It is a political ideal that typically comes at a high cost with no guaranteed return on investment. Fairness has to be funded. That funding often comes from sources the Left despises: the entrepreneurial class, the private sector and mined natural resources.
The Left’s fairness agenda depends on the redistribution of revenue from wealth creators to state dependants including politicians and bureaucrats. Many taxpayers accept some income sacrifice is necessary or desirable to ensure a welfare net to support fellow citizens who have fallen on hard times. But the Left is reshaping the fairness agenda in the image of more typically socialist ideology.
It agitates for substantive equality where fairness is equated with equality of outcomes. Substantive equality requires the neo-Marxist strategy of levelling enabled by “positive discrimination” in affirmative action laws. It is promoted by the Labor Left, the Greens, publicly funded institutions including the Australian Human Rights Commission and many supranational organisations. By contrast, the Right supports formal equality defined as the equal opportunity to achieve and the equal treatment of individual citizens under the law.
Labor’s fairness agenda is contributing to long-term inequality and intergenerational debt. In policy areas such as education, it has succeeded in expanding the state and the public institutions it regulates at the expense of academic standards that could furnish equal opportunity.
The modern Left sacrifices the principle of fairness and the practice of equal opportunity to service the statist ambitions of its political elite. None are more disappointed than those of us who once believed Labor’s pledge to fairness meant putting the people before the party.