1. Slash Corporate Tax. The centrepiece of the Coalition’s re-election pitch was the ‘enterprise tax plan’ which will see Australia’s corporate tax rate taper down from 30 per cent to 25 by 2025. Yet even that will sit well above Asia’s average rate of 22 per cent, much less Canada’s take of just 15 per cent. Trump plans to turn around America’s economic torpor by dropping its rate from 39 per cent to a neat 15. If you have cancer, you don’t wait a decade before starting chemo. Forget the 10 year plan and slash tax now.
2. Drain Lake Burley Griffin. Beneath the labyrinth of state and federal bureaucracies lies a subspecies of publicly funded organisations, often styled as charities or public interest groups, that drink from Canberra’s rivers of gold to peddle partisan political agendas. The Grattan institute took its more than $30 million Treasury stipend to campaign without irony for higher taxes and bigger government. The Human Rights Commission uses it’s $30 million to champion a doctrinaire left view of human rights hostile to individualism and core tenets of our intellectual tradition. Friends of the Earth and the Australian Conservation Foundation use our money to campaign against economic development and interfere with property rights. If such groups do indeed enjoy the support they profess they do, they should stand on their own two feet.
3. Freeze public service hiring. There are currently around 243,300 Commonwealth public servants, up from 212,784 in 2001 and 143,193 in 1996. Are we getting value for money? With the Coalition’s much-vaunted promise of a budget surplus now sounding less convincing than an overeager Amway salesman, following Trump’s lead and freezing hiring across the public service is a no brainer.
4. Public service pay freeze. Research from the IPA’s Aaron Lane has found the average public servant brings home nearly $8,000 more than their private sector peers. Add to this perks like overgenerous leave entitlements and beefed up super contributions and there’s no doubt our frank and fearless public service are living large on the public dime. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. Freeze public service pay until the private sector catches up. Then index annual pay rises to no higher than inflation.
5. Means test Medicare. Anyone who has recently visited the emergency room of a public hospital can tell you that universal ‘free’ healthcare isn’t the panacea it’s held up to be. With costs ballooning and set to rise steeply into the future, hard choices are inevitable. If providing care for those who most need it is the measure of our health system’s success, there’s no reason why middle-income and wealthy Australians should rely on other taxpayers to meet their healthcare needs. Means test Medicare so that low-income and vulnerable Australians are the beneficiaries.
6. Bring back the debt ceiling. Bring back the debt ceiling so that members of Parliament are held to account for mortgaging our nation’s future.
7. ‘One in, two out’. Although the government’s Red Tape Reduction agenda has been a modest success, it’s time we double down. Turnbull should follow Trump’s ‘one in, two out’ approach to new regulations so Canberra’s bloodlust for red tape is kept tightly in check
8. Abandon Recognition. What began as a well-intentioned effort to recognise the place of Indigenous Australians in our nation’s founding document has become a sounding board for historical grievance. The Government should cut its losses and focus on real outcomes, not symbolism.
9. Repeal 18C. By making subjective offence a standard for legal sanction, 18C enshrines victim status for state designated minorities. It embodies everything wrong with the disease of identity politics and has no place in a liberal democracy reliant upon the free flow of ideas.
10. Abolish the RET. Funnelling billions of taxpayer dollars into renewable energy boondoggles half as reliable and over twice as expensive as conventional energy has proven a costly hobbyhorse we can do without. If you read beyond the prophecies of the doomsayers you’ll find most experts agree renewable energy will be cheaper than fossil fuel in a generation or two’s time. But before then, let’s not waste a hundred billion dollars satisfying the whims of environmental fantasists.
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