A Vote For Big Government Or Big Business?


New Matilda's series on the minor parties vying for upper house votes continues. Today, the Liberal Democratic Party and Socialist Alliance put their case.

The Liberal Democratic Party

The Liberal Democratic Party is based on libertarian or classical liberal philosophy. Small government, low taxation, more personal freedom, along with emphasis on individual responsibility. We are against Big Government, the Nanny State and victimless crimes. The Liberal Democrats aim to get the government out of your pocket and out of your face.

Our supporters want to keep more of their hard-earned money, allowing them to make decisions as to how it is spent. There is too much government waste, from both of the old parties. Our supporters want less red and green tape in their business and private lives and to eliminate “sin” taxes aimed at behavioural changes.

We are in it to win a spot in the Senate, so deals were done to ultimately improve our chances. That said, in all cases we put the Greens and Socialist Equity, last. It's pragmatism! We did preference swaps with most of the minor parties, in return for their preferences and it is different in each State. All Group Voting Tickets are available here.

Budget surplus.
Balanced budget. Within the context of a government that limits its ownership of assets to essential holdings, the Liberal Democratic Party believes governments should balance their liabilities and assets to achieve the equivalent of zero net worth.

Carbon pricing
Eliminate it.

Asylum seekers/border security
Free Immigration Agreements with compatible countries.

Schools funding
School vouchers, so parents can choose where they send their children.

Civil liberties
The Liberal Democrats believe in Freedom of speech and expression and a free media. Freedom of association, assembly and movement. Freedom over one’s own body, beliefs, privacy and property. Freedom to protect our own life and property, by whatever means necessary, firearm, knife, capsicum spray, etc. Let’s stop young women being attacked, raped and becoming “helpless victims”.

Private health insurance rebate
No. We seek to rescue people from a situation in which they are dependent on decisions by government to one in which they are able to make decisions for themselves and to provide for themselves.

Socialist Alliance

Socialist Alliance stands for an alternative to the corporate control of society in which the key elements of the economy are socially owned and controlled by democratic systems of popular power. This is necessary if society is to to deal with the economic, ecological and social crises of our time. Climate change, poverty and social justice are the three issues we worry are being neglected in the current election.

All our preferences are ordered on the basis of the political platforms of the candidates/parties from left to right on the political spectrum. They flow to left and the Greens first, then to progressive single issue parties/independents, then to the ALP, the Coalition and right-wing candidates.

Budget surplus
Liberal and Labor governments have squandered the fruits of the biggest ever mining boom which has come to its peak. Since 2005 they have given $169 billion in tax cuts which disproportionately benefited the richest 10 per cent. Mining companies and banks have made record profits but paid the smallest ever proportion of these profits in tax. Meanwhile, 2,265,000 people, including 575,000 children, are still living below the poverty line. Socialist Alliance is campaigning for the mines, the big banks and the energy companies to be nationalised under public/community ownership and control, so that they can be run in a way that respects the environment and social justice.

Carbon pricing
The Socialist Alliance does not support the carbon price or the emissions trading scheme. These crisis-prone market schemes subsidise the biggest polluters, while delaying the big structural changes we need to make now. Another problem with a carbon price is that businesses pass the cost onto consumers. A carbon price targets energy consumers rather than energy producers. Generators will always pass the cost onto consumers and this is problematic for low income people who are on welfare or renting and cannot afford to purchase solar systems or similar to dodge the carbon price. The household compensation package seeks to ameliorate this problem but the whole scenario is convoluted. The Rudd ALP government's decision to move earlier to an ETS – which should called what it is: a pollution trading scam – weakens the scheme even further. The Socialist Alliance calls for the energy sector to be taken into public hands and a for a decade long transition to 100 per cent renewable energy. In this way we would have a public and community owned energy sector that is run as a service rather than a profit making venture. We need to remove the profit motive from energy production at this critical stage of the climate emergency.

Asylum seekers/border security
Seeking asylum by boat is not a crime. People have a human right to seek asylum and be resettled in Australia. There are policies that can be implemented straight away that would reverse this spiralling descent to the bottom. The Socialist Alliance supports:

  • Ending Australian support for and participation in all imperial wars and occupations.
  • Implementing a foreign, trade and aid policy that puts people’s needs before corporate greed. An example is what is being done in Latin America through ALBA.
  • Ending Australia's rogue climate nation status (which contributes to global warming and the subsequent displacement of millions of people) and begin the phasing out of coal and other fossil fuels. The technology exists, it is affordable and will create useful jobs.
  • Closing the offshore and onshore asylum seeker detention camps, ending mandatory detention and using the billions paid to Serco (the multinational security firm that runs these camps) to fly in the desperate refugees in Indonesia and Malaysia who are trying to get on the boats. Also stepping up efforts to resettle refugees from UNHCR camps around the world.
  • Fully respecting and implementing Australia's obligations under the UN Refugee Convention.

Schools funding
The Socialist Alliance welcomes the increase in federal funding for schools. However, the increase being proposed by the federal government is not adequate to fully fund public education. Socialist Alliance calls for:

  • No federal or state funding to private schools, private universities or private vocational education providers;
  • Federal and state governments to reverse the funding cuts to universities and TAFEs, and to increase funds to public universities;
  • Education to be funded out of progressive income tax and corporate taxes;
  • All levels of public education must be adequately funded.

Civil liberties
Scrap “anti-terror” laws and abolish ASIO; adopt a Bill of Rights; full marriage equality; full rights for trans and intersex people.

Private health insurance rebate
We are opposed to the rebate. The Socialist Alliance endorses the principle of universal health insurance which underlies Medicare, and emphasises that Medicare is not just a "safety net". If Australia is to have comprehensive universal health insurance, paid for by progressive taxation and ensuring equitable access to health care for all, there is no need to have private health insurance. Currently, private health insurance is massively subsidised by the Australian government, and it contributes little to total health expenditure. By completely abolishing the tax rebate for private health insurance, more than $2.5 billion could be freed to provide more resources for public hospitals.

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