Big ideas for an uncertain future
The big challenges facing Australia require big solutions.
The insecure future of work, the myriad ways young people are getting screwed over, global warming and our broken political system require far more than just tinkering at the edges.
The Greens are starting a new national conversation to test the status quo and build a better future.
We are challenging to old parties to work with us and introduce these bold ideas to the national conversation. Here are some of the most exciting new initiatives we will be campaigning on in the lead-up to the next federal election.
During his speech at the National Press Club, Greens Leader Richard Di Natale invited Nada, an inspiring young Muslim woman, to tell the country her story in her own words.
The Path We Choose
Greens leader Richard Di Natale addresses the National Press Club in Canberra on Wednesday 15th March 2017, outlining the Greens' vision for the world we want to live in.
The Future of Work
Working patterns are unlikely to be as they were before. Technological change has threatened jobs for centuries, but today’s technological ‘quickening’ will have an enormous impact, with estimates that up to 5 million existing jobs will be lost in the next ten years. This enormous disruption presents us all with an opportunity to question what it is we really value.
While we once fought for shorter working hours and greater leave time, the entrenched political consensus is that a good life can only come from more work. We rightly talk about the 16 per cent of people who want to work more hours, but why do we never talk about the 26 per cent who want to work less? A four-day working week, or a six-hour day can free up more time for leisure, volunteering, being with loved ones and all the simple things that make us happier.
Universal Basic Income
Whether we like it or not, a massive reorganisation of work is underway. The question that needs to guide our response to this challenge is, who do we want it to benefit?
The winner-takes-all economic system has been rejected. Wages are flat, but corporate profits are booming. Inequality is out of control.
Combine this with the real threats to job security and we need to ask, is there another way outside of individualism that we can secure prosperity? We should not be afraid to follow those countries trialling a universal basic income. A secure income could drive research, innovation, creativity and reset what is meaningful in our lives.
Rebuilding Our Political System
None of these big ideas can be confronted without overhauling our distrusted political system.
The first step has to be an end to big corporate political donations. Let’s call these donations what they are – state-sanctioned bribery. Corporations aren’t philanthropic entities, they expect a return on their investment. Parliament won’t make laws in the public interest when political parties are worried they might lose cash from a big corporate donor. We also have to deepen democracy, through an anti-corruption institution, explore the idea of citizen juries to inform decisions and electoral reform of fixed terms, and better establish a voting system that fairly aligns the number of votes to the number of seats in Parliament.
It will take persistence and patience, but enacting significant reform demands it.
A Peoples' Bank
Finance and banking are used by everyone almost every day, but the big four banks have a stranglehold on the market to impose various fees and charges. In a truly competitive market, such price gouging and record-breaking profits wouldn’t exist.
A people’s bank would inject real competition into the banking system. Citizens could vote with their bank accounts, it would create jobs in call centres and branches right around the country, and it could pursue social objectives rather than purely profit-driven ones. Privatisation has been rejected by the public. There is a strong case for state-owned enterprises to reclaim a place in the delivery of essential services.
Land Duty, Not Stamp Duty & A Tax on Pre-Existing Wealth
By trapping people where they live, stamp duty acts as a tax on decision-making. Older Australians won’t leave empty family homes and young people can’t move into them. People won’t move for work or leave broken relationships.
Stamp duty also increases the debt home-buyers are saddled with. Finding a way for the federal government to help states swap stamp duty to a small, broad-based land owner’s duty should be a national priority. It will create far more national productivity than $50 billion of company tax cuts and is a massive macroeconomic reform that our leaders never engage in for fear of opportunistic political opposition. The Greens are not afraid to point to a way forward.
Australia is one of the few countries that does not tax pre-existing wealth. Someone who has worked hard and earns a solid salary gets taxed more than someone who inherits a string of ‘old-money’ assets. As the ownership of wealth is being distilled into fewer hands, we need to revisit the fairness of our tax system or we will witness the further concentration of massive bundles of wealth handed to a select few people. Wealth from assets and investment earns a greater profit than income from wages. In addition to scrapping tax breaks for capital gains, we need to explore how we share growing wealth with everyone, either through taxing inheritances through our superannuation system or stand-alone tax changes.