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Issue #1876      July 10, 2019

Build the alternative

One hundred and fifty eight billion dollars in tax cuts over the next ten years could have created hundreds of well-paid jobs, building the economy and providing much needed public infrastructure around the country.

Unfortunately, the two-party system has once again failed the Australian people. The two major parties blatantly have one ideology. The Australian Labor Party, although they had pledged not to support tax cuts for those on high incomes; despite the Coalition having enough support from the Cross benchers, Labor still caved in.

The flat tax system being put in place – plus the regressive 10 percent GST – drives us further towards the Americanisation of the Australian economy and society. The two-party system has delivered a very regressive tax system for the country and into the future. Within 10 years there will not be enough revenue to support the responsibilities of the state.

Unemployment is high: we hear of many workers desperately seeking permanent employment with decent wages and conditions but having to settle for precarious jobs where they are often robbed of their entitlements, including even their wages. The reality is, secure jobs are becoming increasingly scarce and now it is the “norm” for people to be in precarious employment through labour hire or casual jobs. Let’s just look at the Esso Longford workers who stood at the picket line for a long 742 days to achieve a union-backed agreement that will provide only some of those workers with a job. The current IR system is not working for working men and women.

Attacks on unions have increased and in particular on the most militant such as construction and maritime are the ones on the receiving end. Workers and unions are being charged by the Australian Building and Construction Commission – the government’s attack dog against unions – preventing the right to organise and to fight back for better wages and conditions. The war on unions must end and the right to organise upheld.

Workers need pay rises to stop going backwards in the face of the high and rising cost of living. The $158 billion could have easily fixed Medicare and provided dental care. Over the next ten years the government could have embarked on the construction of public housing to reduce the growing crisis in homelessness.

In doing so it would at the same time provide much needed jobs in the construction and other industries. It could also build a fast train line from Sydney to Brisbane or Melbourne for example.

There is so much more that could be done rather than flattening the tax system which in the end grows the divide favouring those already privileged at the expense of the most vulnerable.

We the people, must work together and build an alternative for the people. A new type of government that ensures multinational corporations pay their share of tax and puts national resources in public hands to build a future sovereign fund would be a good start. A new type of government that would abolish the Goods and Services Tax, GST. This type of government would start to govern for the people of Australia.

* Vinnie is the CPA President.

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