Positive steps in the face of 30 days of WTF


Between the nuclear submarine announcement, the ongoing pandemic crisis, anti-science protests and even an earthquake, September has packed a hell of a lot into its 30 days. Adam Bandt counters with some positives from the Greens.

By Adam Bandt

Amidst rising pandemic pressure, anti-science activism and even an earthquake, September has also been a month of optimism as the Greens look to the future with big policy announcements, new candidates and preparations for international climate action.

This month we launched two really exciting pillars of our election platform.

1. A ‘tycoon tax’

The pandemic has exacerbated and accelerated soaring inequality in this country. Some people are living on less than the poverty line, while billionaires and big corporations are raking in exorbitant record profits. And that inequality is made worse by a tax system that takes from the poor and gives to the rich, in the form of tax cuts for billionaires and big corporations.

It’s time to make billionaires and big corporations pay their fair share of tax. That’s why we’ve announced that in balance of power after the next election, the Greens will kick the Liberals out and push the next government to impose what has been dubbed a ‘tycoon tax’ - a corporate super profits and mining tax that will raise $338 billion over the next 10 years.

Big corporations with turnover of more than $100 million that are making super-profits will be liable for a super profits tax of 40 percent, and mining corporations making super-profits will also have to pay a 40 percent super-profits tax. This is a key part of our platform to help fund the universal services that will make life better for everyone, including getting mental health and dental into Medicare.

When we tax the billionaires, we can afford to build a better life for all of us.

And what does a better life look like?

2. Getting mental health care into Medicare

Before this pandemic, too many people were missing out on mental health care. Now after months of lockdowns and uncertainty we have a mental health crisis. That's why the Greens are taking to the election a new plan to ensure you can access unlimited psychology and psychiatry fully covered by Medicare.

If you’ve ever seen a psychologist, you might know that you can get a Medicare rebate for 10 sessions a year. But for most patients, there’s still a gap payment, and that gap is widening. Medicare pays $129.50, but the APS (Australian Psychological Society) recommends the fee for a session is $267. Over 10 sessions, that gap can really add up. And if you need more sessions, you can’t get them on Medicare.

Under our plan, you’ll get free psychology and psychiatry on your Medicare card. We’ll lift the rebate amount so that your therapist can afford to bulk bill, and your sessions will be unlimited.

Free mental health care on your Medicare card is possible when billionaires and big corporations pay their fair share of tax. Everyone should be able to access mental healthcare when they need it, not when they can afford it. This is one of the key issues we’ll push for in balance of power.

Welcome Dorinda Cox

The other exciting thing that happened this month was the passing of the baton in WA from outgoing Senator Rachel Siewert to our new WA Senator, Dorinda Cox.

Accompanied by the First Nations and WA Greens community, Dorinda Cox walked from Kaarta Gar-up (Kings Park) to Parliament House, and made history as WA’s first Aboriginal female Senator.

Congratulations, Dorinda! Read more about Dorinda's story here.

Rachel’s exit from the Senate also involved some portfolio reshuffling, and you will hear more from your new spokespeople soon. A full list of the new portfolios can be found here, and the amazing diversity of our new line up has been reported in the media (with Jordon Steele-John even getting his own article!)

Gearing up for Glasgow

Looking forward, we’re preparing for the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as COP26, which will be held in Glasgow, Scotland between 31 October and 12 November.

The conference is crucial. It has been called the ‘last chance’ climate summit, because time is running out for the world to cut its pollution quickly enough to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement. It’s also an opportunity for the international community to pressure Scott Morrison and the government into adopting climate targets that are consistent with constraining global heating to 1.5 degrees.

The Greens are urgently calling for net zero by 2035 and 75 percent cuts by 2030, consistent with the science and the independent Climate Targets Panel, and we will use the conference to pressure the government to get out of coal, oil and gas and go further and faster on climate.

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