What happened to a ‘fair go’ in this country? It has long gone, writes Jack Gleeson. So who is to blame?
Above all else, Australians value a fair go for everyone. We expect
our governments to put regulatory frameworks in place that ensure this.
A fair go demands equal and unbiased treatment for everyone.
We believe that all Australians are equal before the law and are
entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law and
the agencies of our government.
We believe in equality between men and women. We reject any
legislation, policy or procedure that has the effect of discriminating
against either gender.
We believe that our leaders should focus on making an equitable
society rather than widening the gap between the rich and the poor. We
reject foreign ideologies designed to give advantage to the privileged
few and/or facilitate laissez faire capitalism.
We live in a society, not an economy.
We reject government policy based on simplistic financial profit and
loss. We demand that our leaders take everything into account when
setting macro policy. Even though many of us don’t know the term itself,
the concept of the triple bottom line measuring economic value, social
responsibility and environmental responsibility strikes a chord with us.
We expect our governments to invest in research to develop proactive
solutions rather than trying to fix problems with reactive bandaid
We want Medicare and the PBS strengthened and retained.
We expect education and training opportunities for all our kids based on merit – not on ability to pay.
We won’t tolerate attacks on the most vulnerable in our society.
We expect that our senior citizens and those with disabilities will be looked after by governments.
We want job security. We expect that the Australian government will proactively seek to ensure this.
We further expect that if we are unfortunate enough to find ourselves
unemployed the Government will provide effective user-friendly support
services to assist us to find a new position.
We expect corporations and the mega-rich to pay their way, not to be
given a free ride by governments. We expect the Treasurer, the
Australian Taxation Office and other government agencies to ensure that
they do so.
We expect that Government agencies will be properly staffed and
resourced to enable them to fulfil the role the Parliament assigns them.
We expect a fair return to the public purse for allowing our publicly owned resources to be exploited by the private sector.
We demand that full-time workers receive a living wage. A fair day’s
pay for a fair day’s work. We support the Australian Conciliation and
Arbitration system. We are not fooled by ideologically motivated attacks
on the unions that represent many of us.
We value Australia’s role as a responsible member of the
international community. However, we expect our leaders to put
Australia’s interests first.
We do not support free trade deals that don’t benefit ordinary
workers and Australian industry. What we want is fair trade for
everyone. The so-called level playing field.
We do not support unrestricted sell-offs of Australian land, companies and residential properties to foreigners.
We are comfortable with State ownership of key assets in a mixed
economy. We don’t want our public assets sold and the revenue streams
from them forgone forever.
We strongly support our Defence Forces but not politicians getting us
continually involved in other people’s wars. We expect that our
veterans will be looked after by the government.
We expect our leaders to ensure our security, but not to use
“national security” or “law and order” as an excuse to suppress our
We expect that our leaders will ensure that Australia’s technological infrastructure remains on par with the rest of the world.
We expect that our environment will be protected and managed in a sustainable way.
As well as these policy areas it is increasingly clear that
Australians don’t care for politicians with a sense of entitlement
fattening themselves at our expense whilst simultaneously stripping us
of public assets and the revenue stream that is derived from those
We do not accept that being elected to Parliament is a ticket to
enrich yourself and your mates at the public’s expense. Especially if
accompanied by the simultaneous grinding into the dirt of those who can
least afford it.
Being elected to Parliament is not a carte blanche to do
what you want without convincing us first that the proposed course of
action is both necessary and reasonable. We do not take to blatant liars
in our governments, especially after Mr Abbott’s relentless sustained
derision of Julia Gillard over a single instance.
Which of course brings us to hypocrisy: We especially don’t like
politicians who attack their opponents only to do the same things
(themselves) later. Nor do we like arrogant dismissive leaders who think
power means they never have to explain or account for their actions.
Finally, endless wars of words don’t impress us. We don’t
particularly care who comes out on top in the verbal jousting in
Parliament. You will only gain long-term respect and support by
effective action in line with the above principles.