Author: <span class="vcard">Cian Hussey</span>

Politics can be fixed

With a federal election approaching, the issue of political corruption is shaping up to be a key issue. Labor have committed themselves to a National Integrity Commission and, after sustained pressure from Labor and the Greens, the Liberals eventually announced a similar Commonwealth Integrity Commission. These Commissions sound like a nice idea, but rather than being a solution they are a justification of the root issue: political power.

The leader of the opposition, Bill Shorten, claims that such a Commission is necessary to “restore people’s faith in their representatives and the system”. This is a feel-good line from a power hungry politician, a characteristic shared by all parliamentarians who call for this type of anti-corruption body.

It’s time for a quick history lesson.

Friday marked the 330th anniversary of the birth of Montesquieu, the great political thinker of the 18th century. The occasion marks a perfect time to remember his Read the rest

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St Kilda shows us the importance of free speech

For some, the recent rally at St Kilda beach provides evidence of far-right bigotry in Australia. Those who hold racist, anti-immigrant views must be shut down in an effort to ensure that there are “no Nazis, never again”, as the counter-protestors’ chant went.

These counter-protestors are anti-hate speech and actively tried to stifle the views of the so-called ‘far-right’ individuals who are criticising Australia’s immigration policy. While the counter-protestors have the moral high ground in opposing racism, they fail to realise that their previous actions have given weight to the ‘far-right’.

This is due to insistence by those same types that public debate be politically correct and free speech be limited for those who have differing opinions. Such restrictions on speech are proving to be dangerous, leading to polarisations uncharacteristic of Australian political debate.

As Noam Chomsky said: “Goebbels was in favor of free speech for views he liked. So … Read the rest

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A robot tax punishes people

Life is much better today than it ever has been in history. Since the Industrial Revolution, in particular, new technologies and labour-saving devices have benefited the average worker a great deal. Unfortunately, it seems that some people haven’t got the memo yet.

In modern history, humans have demonstrated a fear of technological progress and its consequences. The Luddites took it upon themselves to destroy looms and knitting frames, which they feared would take their jobs, and it appears as though a Labor government would like to revive the primitive practice.

The Labor Party are tipped to back a new ‘robot tax’ which flies in the face of human progress and promises to constrain the ever-rising living standards the past few hundred years have brought us.

The new tax would be aimed at funding the retraining of workers displaced by technology so they can move into jobs of equivalent conditions and … Read the rest

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The dangers of a two-tiered tax system

Labor has thrown its support behind the Morrison government’s tax cuts for small businesses, and while such reforms should be embraced, creating a two-tiered tax system will have negative consequences for the Australian economy.

Under the proposed legislation, businesses with revenue of less than $50 million will be subject to a 25 percent business tax rate while those earning over the threshold will be taxed at 30 percent. Business tax cuts have become highly politicised in Australia, and the parliament’s unwillingness to budge on the issue puts us at odds with other developed countries who have implemented cuts over recent years.

Lowering the business tax rate would be a great policy, but creating a tiered system is not. There are two ways in which high business taxes will harm the economy. They reduce the savings rate by increasing prices, and they hamper economic growth, job creation, and wages by stifling Read the rest

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What’s wrong with super?

In 1992 in an effort to pre-emptively deal with the challenges of an aging population, superannuation was made compulsory in Australia. While our super system may seem like a good idea, it doesn’t function as it should. Nor will it be able to, unless there are some major policy changes.

Recently, former Prime Minister Paul Keating, the man responsible for compulsory super, called for a “national insurance” scheme to support the elderly in retirement. He claimed that only the government had the ability to insure “across the generations”, and that super wouldn’t be enough to support retirees as they now live far longer than they did, on average, in the early 90s.

Keating is wrong for a number of reasons. Firstly, given the attention span of governments, which peculiarly correlates with the electoral cycle, they should not be trusted to develop sustainable long-term policies. This is evidenced by the fact Read the rest

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Blame the government for high fuel pump prices

Australians are becoming increasingly frustrated with the ever-rising cost of living. This, combined with a stagnant wage environment has led to some becoming more vocal in their anger, as seen in the recent calls to boycott fuel stations. Australians are angry, and rightly so.

The call for a nationwide boycott of petrol stations on October 26 has come about as a result of outrage over the excessive price of petrol and the seemingly lucrative profits shareholders and owners are making. While it’s positive to see people wanting to take action, their anger is misdirected.

What some may not consider is how much of this cost can be blamed on the government, and while the original call to action focused on the role of taxes, many are now calling for price ceilings to be imposed, or for fuel companies to be taxed more heavily. This is the wrong way to deal … Read the rest

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