The economy must be equitable, serve the needs of everyone and provide the best chance to meet the challenges of the future.
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. Responding to the scale of our inequality and climate crises require a transformation of our economic institutions and measures of economic value.
3. A socially just and ecologically sustainable economy works to stabilise and rehabilitate ecosystems.
4. The pursuit of continuous material-based economic growth is incompatible with the planet’s finite resources. Economic management must prioritise supporting ecological health and community wellbeing rather than the production and consumption of material goods.
5. The human-induced climate crisis poses the greatest threat to our world, requiring Australia and all nations to transform to a net zero carbon economy as rapidly as possible. The cost of addressing climate change now is far less than the cost of failing to do so.
6. Measures of national progress should include indicators of ecological sustainability and social wellbeing.
7. Ending poverty and reducing inequalities in income and wealth are essential to social wellbeing, ecological sustainability and a just and well-functioning democracy and economy.
8. Achieving economic and social justice depends upon democratic participation in economic decision-making.
9. An all-of-government approach is required to create greater intergenerational equity and the effective and equitable provision of public services.
10. 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 a role in the allocation of resources.
11. Organised labour and strong and enforced workers' rights are fundamental to the achievement of a democratic and equitable economy.
12. Deliberate and coordinated government intervention is necessary to encourage a diverse, resilient economy and to rapidly and equitably transition workers and communities towards sustainable and productive industries.
13. 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.
14. Budget settings must be guided by goals of social wellbeing and environmental sustainability. Governments should utilise their fiscal and monetary powers to fund necessary public investment, build public wealth and stimulate the economy as required.
15. Government policies should prioritise the long-term public interest, not the short-term interest of companies to maximise profits.
16. 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.
17. Government financing is the preferred mechanism for funding public infrastructure.
18. A secure and expanded revenue base is required to address economic and social inequality, and the climate crisis. Revenue required should be raised by greater taxation of polluting industries, resource extraction, economic rents and private wealth accumulation.
19. The taxation and transfer system as a whole should be progressive, not regressive.
20. Wealth inequality is fundamentally unjust and wealth should be redistributed through, but not only through, a progressive tax and transfer system.
21. The provision of meaningful paid work to all who seek it is a fundamental right which promotes dignity and social inclusion.
22. Inclusive employment practices and the equitable distribution of meaningful paid work to all who seek it must be pursued to address growing wealth inequality.
23. Meaningfully reducing inequality requires the taxation of extreme dynastic wealth handed from one generation to another with appropriate exemptions.
24. Tax revenue from the extraction of finite resources should be invested for the future or focused on providing public infrastructure.
25. The tax regime can be a powerful tool to transform the economy using appropriate incentives and penalties that promote and reward socially and ecologically responsible effort.
26. The Federal Government should guarantee an unconditional livable income, complemented by the provision of universal social services, that is sufficient to live a good life regardless of whether people are also employed in paid work.
27. The right to work is separate and distinct from the right to a good life.
28. Social services such as health, education and social care, should be available through universal access to high-quality public and community services.
29. 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.
30. Unemployment benefits, pensions and other government allowances should enable everyone to live with dignity, provide an adequate income and be structured to avoid poverty traps.
31. Organisations which focus on creating community and public benefits, such as those with co-operative and collaborative structures, should be supported.
32. Strong support for local and regional economies is important as they contribute to a sustainable national economy by providing diversity and resilience.
33. There must be recognition that Australia’s economy has been built upon the ongoing dispossession of First Nations Peoples’ lands. Economic justice requires paying reparations and supporting sovereignty for First Nations Peoples.
34. Unpaid work in households and communities, including the fulfillment of caring responsibilities, makes an immeasurable contribution to the wellbeing of our society and should receive greater recognition and appreciation.
The Australian Greens want:
1. A net negative carbon economy that is consistent with a safe climate.
2. The integration of broad measures of genuine national progress into the national accounts based on levels of wellbeing, economic justice and ecological sustainability.
3. A reduction in the inequities in the current tax and transfer system, including but not limited to:
- reform of the taxation of trusts, in order to reduce complexity and minimise tax avoidance;
- removing subsidies for the extraction and consumption of fossil fuels;
- redirecting funding from subsidising private health insurance towards direct public provision;
- reforms to the taxation of superannuation to benefit lower income earners;
- 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;
- the implementation of a tax on dynastic wealth, targeted at those bequeathing or gifting large amounts;
- the removal of tax exemptions for religious organisations that are not enjoyed by other charities and not-for-profit organisations;
- securing the tax and transfer system against manipulation and evasion, to ensure that everyone pays their fair share;
- a preference for taxation of income derived from capital instead of income derived from labour;
- the implementation of a progressive wealth tax on large concentrations of wealth, including anti-avoidance measures; and
- the implementation of a tax on company super-profits.
4. Taxation reforms to improve housing affordability by removing policies which treat housing as a commodity instead of as a home, encourage real estate speculation and have adverse effects on affordability for the general population.
5. The Federal Government to support the replacement of stamp duty with land taxes that target land value and housing wealth, not housing consumption.
6. A shift in taxation that helps restructure the economy by rewarding productive activity that does not result in pollution, degradation of natural resources or derive its profits from rent seeking.
7. The introduction of taxation measures that encourage productive investments and/or discourage financial transactions that do not benefit our broader economy, while working towards the implementation of a global financial transaction tax.
8. To support resource rent taxation across a broad commodity base.
9. To increase the transparency and accountability of the Foreign Investment Review Board in making its decisions against the National Interest Test. The National Interest Test should be strengthened to incorporate national, ecological and social objectives.
10. Government industry assistance to be subject to rigorous assessment of environmental, social and economic impacts.
11. 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.
12. 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.
13. Programs and industry assistance to support co-operative and collaborative enterprises.
14. Reform of the superannuation system for greater public investment options, fairer rates of taxation and ethical investment structures, providing more equitable retirement incomes particularly for women and other disadvantaged groups.
15. The introduction of a publicly-accessible equity audit for all public policy proposals to see whether they compound or reduce wealth inequalities in the future.
16. Government to work towards full employment by guaranteeing that all who wish to engage in paid work are able to do so for the number of hours they wish to work.
17. Increased worker representation on boards of major companies and increased opportunities for worker ownership.
18. Support for workers and communities to transition enterprises that indicate an intention to cease operations, and are major employers, into environmentally, socially and economically sustainable co-operatives.
19. Support for socially beneficial, cooperatively owned alternatives to exploitative sharing economy platforms.
(Economic Justice Policy as amended Special National Conference February 2021.)