Now is our chance to build a better democracy.
Across the world we are seeing transformative responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, the climate crisis and rising inequality. Nations and communities are providing universal housing and healthcare, free education, and greening their cities and economies to be climate resilient and carbon neutral.
Yet in Australia, nearly a decade of plundering by right wing governments and their corporate donors, compounded by three decades of neoliberal economic policy, has left us with politicians blind to the tools available to them.
The Liberals, Nationals and Labor have taken over $200 million in corporate donations in 10 years. Is it any surprise that 1/3 of large corporations are able to get away with paying absolutely no tax at all - and most don’t pay nearly enough?
These donations heavily influence policy decisions. Nowhere is this more evident than our response to COVID-19 - unprecedented amounts of public money was given to big corporations whose profits skyrocketed, and to the super wealthy, whose wealth doubled during the pandemic. Meanwhile, the rest of us were doing it tough.
We need to stop our nation's wealth being plundered by the wealthy few.
The Liberals and their corporate owners need to be kicked out in order to secure any meaningful reform, while Labor needs to be reminded of what they once stood for, and pulled in the right direction.
We Greens refuse donations from big corporations, which is why we will be free to replicate our success in the ACT at the federal level, including powering Australia with 100% renewable electricity.
That’s why your vote is really powerful - Canberrans have the opportunity to elect some of the most influential representatives in the country. By sending Tim Hollo and Dr Tjanara Goreng Goreng to Parliament House, they could join Adam Bandt and our Greens Senators to negotiate another parliamentary agreement with Labor.
That would start by introducing a 6% billionaire tax and a 40% Corporate Super-Profits and mining tax in order to implement a swath of reforms to make our society more just and sustainable, including:
|🌏||10 years of climate action|
|😬||Dental and mental health fully covered in Medicare|
|🎓||Universal free education|
|🌿||Australia's biggest ever ecological regeneration program|
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The only legitimate climate policy is one that ends the use of fossil fuels.
This is not up for interpretation. It cannot happen after we mine, burn and sell new coal and gas deposits. It cannot happen in 2050.
It needs to happen now.
Australia is currently ranked last among 193 nations when it comes to reducing emissions.
In direct contravention of international agreements our governments have signed, both old parties, pushed by the Murdoch press and the fossil fuel industry, support the expansion of coal and gas infrastructure, including public subsidies for fracking in the Northern Territory.
This is climate vandalism, and is very clearly a product of the millions of dollars Labor and the Liberals take in donations from the fossil fuel industry.
Australia seems to have lost perspective on what does and doesn't constitute climate action. But real climate action is simple. Over the next decade, Australia needs to end coal and gas mining and replace fossil fuels with renewable energy.
Getting there requires the following actions:
- 100% renewable electricity by 2030: public investment in large and small scale renewable energy and storage technology, upgrading our electricity grid to support a decentralised electricity system, and planning out the closure of all our existing coal and gas power stations.
- Ending our reliance on combustion engines: investing heavily in active and public transport, setting clear targets, and instituting a range of incentives and subsidies to make electric vehicles affordable to everyone.
- Replacing fossil fuel gas-fired infrastructure with renewable electricity powered technology.
- Stopping the mining, fracking and exporting of coal, gas and coal seam gas.
- Revegetating degraded and unhealthy land: drawdown and storage of carbon in the soil, making our communities and ecosystems more climate resilient and reducing the impact and severity of extreme weather events.
- Making climate action equitable via a just transition for workers, including retraining and investing in renewable energy targeted at coal-dependent regions.
- Developing a clean energy export industry: using our abundant renewable energy resources and strategic location to export renewable electricity and green hydrogen, as well as advanced manufacturing including electric vehicles, renewable technologies, iron smelting and data storage.
We know this is possible. Here in the ACT, having Greens in government has resulted in Canberra being powered with 100% renewable electricity, as well as cutting emissions by more than 40% on 1990 levels. We have legislated targets to reduce emissions by 50% to 60% by 2025, 65% to 75% by 2030 and 90% by 2040.
If we can do it in the ACT, we can do it across the rest of the country - but we need Greens in government to make it happen.
We will raise all social security payments above the poverty line to $80 per day.
Never forget: poverty is a policy choice.
We are a wealthy nation, and the pandemic showed us it is entirely possible to raise all income support payments to above the Henderson poverty line, including JobSeeker, the aged and disability pensions and student and carer payments.
This simple act could, with the stroke of a pen, effectively end poverty in Australia.
We know this because it's what the Federal Government did last year. In doing so, they saved countless lives from both COVID-19 and severe mental distress. Right now, they are failing our most vulnerable. In cutting income support payments back below the poverty line, they are actively putting people in harm's way even more than usual. By raising income support above the poverty line to $80 a day, we can put an end to such cruelty.
We would also end the arbitrary compliance systems designed to punish people for having their basic needs met. Our privatised, punitive welfare system consistently fails to recognise disability and mental health needs, whilst ignoring the unpaid work that is vital to our collective good, including studying, raising children and caring for the sick, vulnerable and elderly.
We will get dental and mental healthcare fully funded via Medicare, so everyone can afford to go to the dentist and get the mental health care they need.
The exclusion of dental from medicare has never made any sense. Dental care is just as important as other health services, which is why the last time the Greens were in the balance of power we managed to get children's dental care covered by Medicare for 3.4 million kids. This time, we will finish the job, and provide universal dental care for all.
Meanwhile, Australia is facing a mental health crisis.
One in three Canberrans will need support with their mental health, and the COVID-19 pandemic has seen a huge increase in need.
In government, the ACT Greens are proud to have created a dedicated Minister for Mental Health. In this role, we've worked with the community to invest in early intervention and created a new mental health emergency response team.
But our piecemeal federal system is failing us - it treats mental health as a secondary servic, providing inadequate support through medicare by only making services available once someone is in crisis.
People need to be able to access support regardless of where they sit on the continuum of need. That means we need a mental health system that delivers acute care while also investing heavily in early intervention and community based services.
The Greens in Federal Parliment will deliver free and unlimied mental healthcare by:
- Removing Medicare’s cap on psychologist and psychiatrist appointments.
- Lifting the Medicare rebate and Medicare Benefits Schedule.
- Increasing the Better Access Initiative so people can have unlimited free appointments with a psychologist or psychiatrist.
Stay tuned for more on our mental health priorities, including our plan to tackling long waiting lists and ensuring we deliver the best quality care by investing in training for GPs and other allied health professionals
The Greens also know that to support good mental health and reduce the incidence of suicide, we have to address the economic and social factors that heavily impact wellbeing. That means making sure everyone has access to housing, employment, income support and education, as well as social engagement and connectedness.
Mental health and other social, economic and environmental issues are intertwined, and promoting positive wellbeing means tackling them together. Our vision for the future seeks to do just that.
We will make sure everyone has access to high quality, properly funded, free childcare, university and TAFE.
Our public education system has been eroded to the point where family wealth determines the quality of someone's education, including whether they can attend childcare, TAFE and university.
This starts with our expensive, privatised early childcare system, which prevents many parents from returning to work, particularly single parents, women and low income families. This means thousands of kids from low-income families are starting primary school needing to catch up to kids whose parents can afford childcare.
School funding then reinforces inequality. Expensive private schools often receive more public funding than public schools, while 99 percent of public schools will be funded less than the Schooling Resource Standard by 2023. Meanwhile, 100 per cent of private schools are going to be above that benchmark. This is not what a universal public schooling system looks like.
The university sector is crumbling; not only were universities specifically excluded from JobKeeper support, the government forced a massive overhaul of fees and funding that will mean further cuts in the years to come.
The university sector was in decline well before COVID-19 - 30 years of neoliberalism and a decade of funding cuts had already hollowed out our places of higher learning. We’ve been left with bureaucratised, underfunded institutions run by a managerial class focused on the commodification of learning, rather than the production of knowledge.
- Students are saddled with decades of debt for diplomas or degrees that offer significantly less class time, classes to choose from and career opportunities.
- Lecturers and teachers are not paid for enough hours to adequately prepare for classes, support students or provide their best quality of teaching.
- Researchers spend an absurd amount of their time wrapped up in bureaucratic admin or competing with their colleges for limited grants, whilst existing on piecemeal contracts that do not allow them to participate in long term research projects.
That’s why the Greens will rebuild a universal, lifelong public education system, by:
- Reversing the Liberals’ cuts and boosting university and TAFE funding by 10%.
- Democratising our universities by giving power back to staff and students.
- Properly paying all teachers and educators with permanent contracts, substantially closing the gender pay gap at the same time.
- Providing guaranteed, long term funding for research.
We will cap donations to political parties at $1000 per year, establish an anti-corruption commission and close the revolving door between politicians, their staff and lobbyists.
Integrity, accountability and openness in politics are vital to a healthy democracy. Unfortunately, our democracy is sick.
Labor and the Liberals have taken more than $200 million in corporate donations in the last decade. These donations come with conditions that make our politicians accountable to their donors, not the people who elected them.
This corporate capture plays out each time parliament sits; whenever you hear an MP echoing the talking points of their corporate mates, whenever a reform backed by overwhelming evidence drops off the agenda, and whenever public money is directed to a private company, like the $50 million slush fund to frack the Northern Territory, we can see the stranglehold corporations have over our democracy.
The Greens refuse to take donations from corporations trying to buy influence because it gives us the independence and integrity to represent our community.
That’s why we will cap all donations to political parties at $1,000 per year, and establish a federal anti-corruption body, to ensure our political class can’t continue to prioritise the interests of their donors.
We also need to address the revolving door between politicians, their staff and corporate lobbying positions, which makes it hard to tell where a political party ends and a corporation’s quest for profits begins.
Many politicians and their staff leave politics for cushy jobs with industry, and many lobbyists are hired by politicians. This revolving door corrupts our democracy, which is why the Greens will:
- Shut the revolving door between politics and big business, by enforcing and extending to five years the cooling off period for post-politics for-profit work that might raise a conflict of interest, and ensuring it applies not just to Ministers and staff but to all MPs and their senior staff.
- Give the Lobbyists Register and Lobbying Code of Conduct teeth, enforced by an independent Parliamentary Commissioner.
- Establish a new Diary Register: a monthly, published register of all meetings with for-profit lobbyists, to disclose all meetings with MPs and Senators, who are present at the meeting, and the subject of the meeting.
We will establish a $6 billion nature fund to enable Australia’s biggest ever ecological regeneration program.
Environmental ‘protection’ laws in Australia have failed - instead, we have laws for the managed destruction of our environment.
Despite huge successes by communities and activists in stopping some atrocious attempts at environmental vandalism, Australia has some of the highest extinction rates in the world and is the only developed nation on the list of Global Deforestation Hotspots.
Our rivers are drying up and species are becoming extinct every week. Our plastic-filled oceans are experiencing population collapse, and forests devastated by bushfires are being logged and cleared.
We need a fundamental shift in the way we think of environmentalism, from reactive to proactive, as outlined in the United Nations' Decade of Restoration.
That’s why the Greens will establish the biggest regeneration project in Australian history.
This is a $6 billion nature fund that represents a future for all of Australians. It’s our commitment to ensuring the next generation have the opportunity to experience the same natural wonders that we do.
This program will restore, connect and regenerate the ecosystems and natural spaces we have in order to make the rivers flow again, bring forests and bush back to life, ensure our marine environments return from the brink of collapse and give critically endangered species the best chance of a future.
This program will deliver tens of thousands of jobs in park and forest management, revegetation of degraded land and marine environments, visitor infrastructure, bushfire management, ecological research and monitoring and specific strategies for endangered and vulnerable species.
Critically, the fund will also create thousands of jobs for First Nations people caring for Country, including land and sea rangers, researchers and guides.
On top of this fund, we will also reform environmental protection laws, so that they actually protect our precious ecosystems. This will include expanded funding for monitoring and compliance, and stricter penalties for causing deliberate environmental damage.