Because of the plethora of independents and unrealistic, wreckers, vandals and dreamers like the Greens and single issue parties on the cross benches who will just continue to block and indulge in their fantasies, wet dreams and politics of obstruction, the only way through the gridlock is to adopt the Abbott plan to reform the senate.
Failure to act on this and kick the can down the road is not an option and would simply pass on the debt to the next generation. This is already happening with Australia’s debt now nudging half a trillion dollars.
The staggering stat highlighted recently and the dilemma confronting Australia is contained in these two sentences. In 1975, each elderly Australian was supported by 7.5 working people. Today that figure is 4.5 and by 2055 that figure will be 2.7. This slide has to be arrested and some tough decisions need to be made. They then need to be rammed through the Star Wars bar room scene that passes for the Australian senate. Without major changes to the senate that’s not likely to happen because of the vested interests. Everyone is on the teet. From childcare to Medicare and every acronym known to man in between.
If the senate WON’T change, it MUST be changed, or NOTHING will change and although it is fraught with danger under a progressive government, altering section 57 of the constitution via a referendum, as suggested by Tony Abbott does have merit. The plan would streamline and simplify the entire process of dealing with the senate and allow legislation that has been twice rejected, to go directly to a joint sitting, without the need, complexity or expense of going to a double dissolution election.
As it stands at the moment the only way to get their legislation through a recalcitrant senate the government of the day can only have a joint sitting of both houses after a double dissolution election.
This normally works out well but was a disaster after the 2016 with Turnbull on such knife edge with a one seat majority he couldn’t and wouldn’t dare to go to the next step of a joint sitting for fear of the predictable and humiliating drubbing.
Although it would involve altering section 57 of the constitution via a referendum, the Tony Abbott plan would streamline and simplify the entire process and allow laws that have been twice rejected by the senate to go directly to a joint sitting, without the need, complexity or expense of going to a double dissolution election.
Although since 1901 there have been 44 referendums in Australia to change the constitution and only 8 have been successful, I think that given the record debt of half a trillion dollars (10 years ago we had no debt and billions in the bank) and the politics of obstruction exhibited by the senate, Australians are generally sick and tired of the trashing of the economy purely for political point scoring and would give such a change, even in the face of a massive Labor and minority interest scare campaign, a tick.
Think of it this way. Greece was once at the half trillion dollar debt stage, they passed this way once and now they’re pretty much a bankrupt state.
Remember, if the senate WON’T change, it MUST be changed, or NOTHING will change.
If not, don’t complain when international forces impose their will and force change upon you.
And that will a change that you won’t like.
Below is an extract from Peter Van Onselen’s column in Saturday’s Australian.
“…..The uncomfortable truth that no politician wants to confront is that Australia doesn’t have a plan to pay down the national debt. Worse still, there isn’t even a plan to develop a plan.
There’s lots of rhetoric about improving the budget bottom line, from both sides. But there is little or no focus on reducing the debt that has already accumulated. So bad has our addiction to debt become that we barely even discuss ways of paying down the accumulated debt any more. At best the focus is on lowering the deficit, which is a different thing entirely.
The reality is that government is only going to get bigger in the years ahead, to meet populist expectations of what the state should fund on behalf of individuals. Small-l economic liberals are not only losing the debate on the economy, they are losing the war within conservative parties over what the guiding principles of the party organisations should be.
Dries from the 1970s and 80s would be horrified with the elevation of culture war issues above economic principles. Battles aimed at reclaiming the cultural agenda from the left suck so much political capital out of right-of-centre parties that there is little capital left to argue for and secure tough economic reforms.
But the interest bill is growing and will only rise further if the AAA credit rating is lost. The flow-on impacts of this toxic mix don’t bear thinking about. Throw in state government debt and private debt, and the picture worsens.
Like it or not, even proponents of smaller government are going to have to accept that the reach of the state is growing. Partly because of the ageing of the population, given all the associated costs, and partly because community expectations of what the state should provide are changing. Unless a rearguard action is put into effect by economic liberals to shift expectations, ways need to be found to fund the growing reach of the state. And all of this goes on as we battle to return to surplus, forgetting the ultimate goal of paying down the accumulated debt.
Who honestly thinks any government fortunate enough to chart a pathway back to surplus would thereafter let future surpluses run into the tens of billions so that the leftover cash could be ploughed into paying down debt?
Not likely. Extra monies would go into new election promises or handouts to appeal to politically important segments of the community, or be quickly gobbled up by recurrent expenditure.
Today, we are drifting. Economic reforms (in any meaningful collective sense) have been put in the too-hard basket and socially we are regressing to an era where the concept of the other is more powerful than any national embrace of diversity. And the state just keeps on growing….”