Economics

The economy must be equitable, serve the needs of everyone and provide the best chance to meet the challenges of the future.

Principles

The Australian Greens believe that:

  1. A prosperous and sustainable economy relies upon a healthy natural environment. Economies exist within, and are dependent upon, natural systems. Environmental stewardship is, therefore, central to sound economic management.
  2. In order to provide for the needs of present and future generations, economic management should prioritise improving the quality of life rather than the production and consumption of material output. The pursuit of continuous material-based economic growth is incompatible with the planet’s finite resources.
  3. Human induced climate change poses the greatest threat to our world, requiring Australia and all nations to transform to a low carbon economy. The cost of addressing climate change now is far less than the cost of failing to do so.
  4. Measures of national progress should include indicators of ecological sustainability and social wellbeing.
  5. Ending poverty and reducing inequalities in income and wealth are essential to social wellbeing and democracy. Achieving economic and social justice depends upon democratic participation in economic decision-making.
  6. Governments have an essential role in regulating markets and ensuring that any externalities are reflected in market prices of goods and services. In a mixed economy, markets that function well and are well informed, fair, efficient and competitive, have an important role in the allocation of resources
  7. Organised labour is fundamental to the achievement of a democratic and equitable economy.
  8. Deliberate and coordinated government intervention and, where appropriate, government assistance is necessary to encourage a diverse and resilient Australian economy and create more green employment opportunities in a dynamic economy.
  9. Future prosperity for Australia requires a diverse, innovative and productive economy with an educated and skilled workforce. Public investment in science, research and education is essential to realise this goal.
  10. While government finances must be sustainable over the long-term, it is appropriate to stimulate the economy during economic downturns and save during economic booms. Government financing should be managed to increase public equity.
  11. Government policies that guide investment should prioritise the long-term public interest not the short-term desire of companies to maximise profits.
  12. Natural monopolies and essential public services should generally be in public ownership. Whether in public or private ownership, natural monopolies and essential public services should be subject to a regime of transparency, accountability and stewardship that ensures maximum benefit to the public. Not-for-profit involvement with the provision of essential services and infrastructure should also be subject to a long-term community benefit test.
  13. Government financing is the preferred mechanism for funding public infrastructure.
  14. A secure and expanded revenue base is required so that governments can fund a high standard of infrastructure and human services including education, health, transport, environmental protection and social security. Much of the additional revenue required should be raised by taxing polluting industries, resource extraction and economic rent.
  15. The taxation and transfer system as a whole should be progressive, not regressive.
  16. Growing inequality of wealth is of concern and should be addressed though the tax system.
  17. Tax revenue from the extraction of finite resources should be invested for the future or focused on providing public infrastructure.
  18. The tax regime can be a powerful tool to transform the economy using appropriate incentives and penalties that reward socially and ecologically responsible effort.
  19. Social services such as health, education and social care, should be available through universal access to high quality public and community services.
  20. Public assistance is generally best provided through universal service provision or targeted payments, rather than through tax concessions which often fail to assist low-income earners.
  21. Unemployment benefits, pensions and other government allowances should enable all Australians to live with dignity, provide an adequate income and be structured to avoid poverty traps.
  22. Organisations which focus on creating community and public benefits, such as those with co-operative and collaborative structures, should be supported.
  23. Strong support for local and regional economies is important as they contribute to a sustainable national economy by providing diversity and resilience.
  24. There must be recognition that Australia’s economy has been built upon the ongoing dispossession of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ lands. 

Aims

The Australian Greens want:

  1. An economy that will reduce greenhouse gas pollution to atmospheric concentration of 350 parts per million or less.
  2. The integration of broad measures of genuine national progress into the national accounts including the production of a comprehensive national balance sheet.
  3. A reduction in the inequities in the current tax and transfer system, including but not limited to
    1. reform of the taxation of trusts, in order to reduce complexity and minimise tax avoidance;
    2. removing subsidies for the extraction and consumption of fossil fuels;
    3. redirecting funding from subsidising private health insurance towards direct public provision;
    4. reforms to the taxation of superannuation to benefit lower income earners;
    5. strengthening the progressivity of the income tax and transfer system across all income levels including by reducing effective marginal tax rates for low income workers, and increasing the marginal tax rates on high income earners; and
    6. securing the tax and transfer system against manipulation and evasion, to ensure that everyone pays their fair share.
  4. Taxation reforms that improve housing affordability by no longer rewarding speculation and reducing asset inequality.
  5. A shift in taxation that helps restructure the economy by rewarding productive activity that avoids pollution, degradation of natural resources and rent seeking.
  6. To support resource rent taxation across a broad commodity base.
  7. To increase the transparency and accountability of the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) in making its decisions against the National Interest Test. The National Interest Test should be strengthened to incorporate national, ecological and social objectives.
  8. Government industry assistance to be subject to rigorous assessment of environmental, social and economic impacts.
  9. An end to subsidies and tax concessions to environmentally harmful industries. Instead, subsidies should be provided to aid the development of alternative industries and training to assist in re-employment.
  10. To provide direct industry assistance towards the energy efficiency and renewable energy industries, in order to spur research and development, overcome market inertia, create new long-term employment and rapidly decarbonise the economy.
  11. A simpler, more transparent superannuation system with fairer rates of taxation and ethical investment structures, which provides equitable retirement incomes, particularly for women.
  12. Greater incentives for superannuation funds to invest in public infrastructure.
  13. Full accountability of government and corporations to the broader community, including implementing holistic accounting measures at all levels of government to incorporate social, environmental and financial impacts into policy development and assessment.
  14. Transparent and accountable public utilities and government business enterprises. Where public subsidies are provided, information on the full environmental, social and fiscal costs should be publicly available.
  15. Greater powers and resources for regulators to police anti-competitive behaviour and abuses of market power.
  16. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to have the powers and resources to prevent the formation of monopolies through 'creeping acquisitions', and to divest monopolies and oligopolies of assets if they are abusing their market power.
  17. Measures to reduce excessive executive salaries.