We need to be more active in shaping our society, making bigger and better policy decisions to create the Australia we want. Government can take action to bring our future to life:
Indigenous Australia should be able to negotiate treaties with the federal and state governments, supported by advisory councils in all Australian parliaments and a national indigenous compensation and development fund, financed by a federal Treaty levy.
National Industry Policy must be central to government – we need a clear set of priorities, targets and funding commitments for developing our current and future technology, agriculture and energy businesses. We need a story of economic development over the longer-term and genuine policies that help Australia get there.
A turbo-charged sovereign wealth fund will lead the implementation of national industry policy with a key strategic and funding role for government as investor and partner. Incentives are required to keep investment in Australia to support infrastructure development rather than chasing profits overseas.
A housing strategy and fund should be a key government activity with federal and state governments returning to active community development, working in partnership with councils, communities and developers to deliver better public and private housing. Superannuation funds should receive incentives to invest in lower and middle income housing.
The minimum wage should be boosted so that companies and government share the cost of subsistence and minimum livelihood standards for our workers.
The NBN should be wholly owned and operated in perpetuity by a statutory corporation, supported by all political parties. Our technology platform is too important, too fundamental, to our society and economic development to be politicised.
Our national energy policy must manage the transition to renewables with a rational phase-out strategy for coal; with emissions targets benchmarked to the best international standards and with the goal of moving towards 100% renewables in the medium term.
Free undergraduate university and TAFE education should be reintroduced for all Australians, offering a three-year course at no cost to citizens and permanent residents. Over time, the commercialisation of universities should be moderated.
Legal aid for lower income Australians needs to be improved covering all crime, domestic violence, family law, immigration and some personal injury. Legal Aid and community legal centres must be expanded to deliver the required services.
Women need to be more prominent in government policy with violence within families and reproductive rights given more focus and funding. We need to listen to women.
Unions must be strengthened with clearer rights to strike and organise. The right to strike is a human right; workers control little beyond their capacity to withdraw labour.
We need a serious arts policy and funding to ensure the arts thrive in our communities. Existing arts budgets are paltry and constant cuts undermine the crucial creative and economic contributions made by the arts to our communities.
Public broadcasting is an important social objective of Australian life, equal to public health, education and transport.
Business and Society – Law reform can replace profit maximisation with more balanced obligations for companies and businesses. Financial planners and estate agents should be paid hourly rates not commission fees and have fiduciary duties to their clients.
NGOs can be supported by an expanded DGR (Deductible Gift Recipient) scheme encouraging donations – voluntary tax - that contribute to building our Common Wealth.