Sunday, 9 December 2012

Time For A Reality Check
We live in rapidly changing times, but when are we going to have a rational debate about the really important issues.
The level of politics in this Country at a National level has descended into a point scoring, vicious and no-policy debate.
When are we going to discuss the crazy debate about budget surplus, both sides of politics know that we won’t achieve a genuine surplus and if we do it is engineered or we change the goal posts. Both sides know now is not the time for a surplus, but both are locked into vote buying.
Why aren’t we having independent discussion about the increase in the GST levy, The Henry Review would have been the ideal vehicle but that was excluded because the Government knew the outcome and it would have been too hot an issue to accept.
The increase in any GST levy could have funded the really important issues like Gonski Review. We could have implemented the long awaited NDIS, infrastructure that would alleviate bottlenecks at Ports and new possible train service to Tullamarine and new road plans could be well under way, including Eastern – West Gate Tunnel Link. The terrible state of our hospitals would also have seen improvement.
Surely tax payers are entitled to something better than highlighting all these important initiatives, but they are down the track for future Government which may or may not be able to fund them.
This Government has done very well in spite of a hung Parliament to get many important legislative changes up. It is time for the LNP to put forward genuine policy issues if they are to be a credible alternative Government.
Another issue which I know will never get up is a proper debate about the effectiveness of State Governments. We are all sick of the duplication of services and the blame game when it comes to funding of Education & Health. Surely elected Senators could speak for State issues if we ultimately got rid of State Governments & we would save money.
Also over the past few years State Government have cut back funding many issues that affect local Government. Many Council are now struggling under the weight of required services like roads, drainage and waste management, along with still funding superannuation.
The issues that I have highlighted are just a few of the real concerns that confront Governments in this Country. We really are the lucky Country with low unemployment, low interest rates and relatively low level of debt.
In having said that, when you listen to main stream media, you would think that Australia is facing the financial cliff. Times are good for the mining industry, even though commodity prices have come off their historic highs. Unfortunately Retail is terrible and not all pockets of society are benefiting from the mineral boom, therefore I believe that MRRT is a good thing and the carbon tax ultimately will be a great tool in changing people’s habits.
We have got to get used to both sides of politics arguing their policies over the next 9 – 10 months and it is somewhat confusing to know what’s right and what’s just spin.
The next election should be fought on policies not personalities and it would be great if we had an independent body costing  some of the promises.
We, the electors are sick of what has taken place over this term of Federal Parliament with the vitriol, the name calling and lack of respect of our elected members. Enough is enough.
It is time for the proper debate of what’s important for the Country, not what’s important for political party’s survival. We all deserve better. All I can say is, thank God for the independent members who bring a level of sanity back to the debate, as they don’t have to vote on party lines. The parties think they have all the answers and wisdom, but quite often factions control the debate for the wrong reasons.
So please for the sake of us ordinary un-aligned voters, think of your constituents, have that reality check and consider what’s important for this Country over the next 10 years. Not what’s important for the next term of Government.

Keith Sutherland

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