THE only things we hear coming out of Canberra these days revolve around gay marriage, dual citizenship and personal ambition.
But in case they haven’t noticed it, there are a lot of more important issues for the community at the moment than these distractions.
That’s not to say that marriage equality isn’t important to those who haven’t got it. It is.
But the sooner our political masters stop using it as a wedge issue the better. Just get on with it, for goodness sake.
Top of my list of more important issues is youth unemployment.
And it can’t have helped that the Federal Government changed all the employment service provider contracts in Gippsland this month and the governments of both persuasions in Victoria cruelled the TAFE sector.
There’s also the related issue of the collapse in Australia’s manufacturing base.
You can talk about wages being too high in Australia if you like and companies moving their manufacturing bases off-shore to get cheaper labour but Sweden, with a similar wages structure to our own, seems to have done fairly well with the likes of Scania, Ericsson, Skype, Ikea, Electrolux, Husqvarna, Nudie Jeans, Saab and Volvo to name a few.
Can you make a similar list of iconic Australian brands?
For a so-called ‘lucky country’ we come up terribly short in the area of taking innovation through to the market, and at the moment, the Abbott Government is trying to kill R&D as well.
Next on the list would be all those things that come under the general heading of a lack of government funding, including:
• Better access to education and training
• Stronger emphasis on science, research and development
• Better public transport and roads
• Affordable housing
• Better aged care services
• And the impact of climate change on the environment
You could also add to that the rorts in the social security system and company tax avoidance that are diverting billions away from important funding initiatives in higher education, health, the pension, the NDIS, NBN and all the rest.
Because of the personal political ambition-first approach of both Coalition and Labor MPs, you can’t even have a sensible conversation about the tax system or social security rorts without someone making short-term political gain over GST increases or attacking the poor.
Meanwhile those who are collecting two, three or more illegal payments from Centrelink are laughing all the way to the bank.
Why, for example, do Centrelink payments account for almost half the white goods leasing income for Radio Rentals?
Not listing the father’s name on the birth registry is a classic trick enabling people to collect a single-mother’s benefit for example.
The point is that the job search allowance and legitimate social security benefits could be lifted to liveable levels without the rorts but no one’s got the bottle to take it on.
The short-sighted point-scoring that goes on between Bill Shorten and Tony Abbott isn’t helping anyone. We’ve got to be a lot better than that.