Policies For The Federal Election: Working Document
by David Archibald
25 April 2016
The 2016 federal election could be as soon as three months away and no later than six months away. So what policies should be adopted to secure Australia’s prosperity and security for the rest of the 21st century and beyond?
If you go to the Liberal Party’s website, all they have in the way of policies is what they took to the 2013 election, including Mr Abbott’s paid parental leave scheme.
There is no need to go to Labor’s website — they have stated that they will bring back unrestricted illegal immigration by boat and the carbon tax. All anyone who opposes Labor has to do is to continually state what Labor’s policies are.
The policy vacuum should be filled and this document is a work in progress, in the expectation that good policies will drive out bad. If you have any input to the policies, please email David.
So let’s start:
Australia has a large and sophisticated agriculture sector. The Federal Government will minimise its involvement in the sector. All federally mandated statutory bodies will be examined for their cost-effectiveness. Ones that are a drain on their industry, such as the Grain Research and Development Corporation, will be abolished.
Most of southern Australia that can be farmed up to the limits of precipitation, is farmed. Expansion of agriculture will be undertaken in northern Australia by capturing wet season rains and using the stored water for irrigation.
In the second half of the 20th century, the Earth experienced the highest level of solar activity for 8,000 years. As all the energy that keeps the Earth warm comes from the Sun, this higher level of solar activity resulted in a beneficial warming.
Some have attributed the warming to higher levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide caused only a small part of the recent global warming, however, because increased heat-trapping by carbon dioxide was mainly countered by increased heat emissions from water vapor. Increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are completely beneficial, because carbon dioxide is a potent plant fertilizer.
There is the strong likelihood that solar activity will fall back to normal, lower levels. Australia will be unaffected but grain production in some colder parts of current grain-growing areas such as Canada will become problematic.
Our policy will be to not spend any funds on climate-related matters and to repeal all legislation that relates to climate, including and not limited to the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Act.
The world is becoming more dangerous as US predominance recedes. A revanchist Russia is not expected to trouble Australia. The biggest near term threat is Chinese aggression in East Asia. Chinese attempts to expand its territory are quite likely to lead to war with a number of southeast Asian states, Japan and the United States. Australia will become involved because of our treaties with Japan and the United States. The worst outcome is that China wins a conflict in East Asia and dictates terms to Australia and other countries. A war in East Asia, whatever the outcome, is likely to result in countries acquiring nuclear weapons to counter aggressive hegemons like China.
Australia will return defence spending to 3% of GDP, below Cold War levels but up from the current target of 2%.
Australia will further develop our defence ties with Japan and the United States.
Australia will also participate in the long war against Islamic extremism as entities like ISIS use their territory to undertake attacks on the West. As long as the likes of ISIS do not have ground-to-air anti-aircraft missile systems capable of reaching 20,000 feet then this war should be conducted by low cost aircraft (turboprop transport aircraft dropping GPS and laser-guided munitions) rather than fighter aircraft.
Thus Australia should prepare for a dichotomy in operations:
- Against high-level threats such as China.
- Low cost containment operations against ISIS and its analogues.
The RAAF is the first line of defence. Control of the airspace over Australia and the gap to the Indonesian archipelago is vitally important. That cannot be achieved with the current intended purchase of F-35 aircraft. The F-35 is a light bomber which will be shot down by more capable enemy fighter aircraft. Australia will limit its purchase of F-35s to those we are currently contractually obligated to buy.
In terms of cost and performance, the best fighter aircraft available to Australia currently is the Saab Gripen E. Australia will replicate the deal that Brazil did with Saab for manufacture of this advanced jet in country. In the interim Australia will acquire existing Gripen C and D (two seater) aircraft from stocks in Sweden and/or South Africa to provide Australian aircrew experience in operating from remote airfields in Australia’s north.
Australia also requires a far larger transport aircraft fleet. To build on the existing fleet, Australia will acquire C-295 aircraft from Airbus and the PSL M28 Skytruck. The latter would be built in Australia.
Australia will also convert transport jet aircraft to deliver anti-ship cruise missiles and land attack cruise missiles.
The RAN’s primary offensive weapon will be submarines. The Collins class submarines are unreliable and need to be replaced as soon as possible. Australia will develop submarine bases on the east coast and more on the west coast. To build our submarine force quickly, more than one type of submarine might be acquired.
A stretched version of the Soryu submarine is the optimum conventional replacement for the Collins class because of its quality, price and the fact that it will be available almost immediately. Virginia class nuclear submarines would contribute to the force structure.
Surface presence will be provided by frigate-sized vessels. Surface vessels these days are pre-occupied with self-defence against missiles and torpedoes that can be launched from considerable distances away. The task of sinking enemy combatants will be undertaken largely by aircraft and submarines.
The larger the Australian Army, the larger any invading force has to be. Currently Australia can only field one armoured brigade at a time. The size of our armoured forces needs to be increased at least five-fold. Australia will adopt the doctrine of detecting enemy forces at as great a range as possible and to destroy enemy concentrations at as great a range as possible.
While most government schools will continue in their current form, the Federal Government will maximise the return on education expenditure by going towards a voucher system for schooling. This relies upon the fact that most parents wish their children to have the best possible outcome, including educational outcome, and are the best-placed in deciding what school provides the best value for money.
The federal Department of Education will be reduced in size and its activities transferred to the states as much as possible. The Department’s focus will be shifted to reducing education costs by moving instruction and testing online as cost-efficiently as possible.
Energy is of great significance in that provision of various forms of energy lubricates our economy and is also vital to national security.
Australia is no longer self-sufficient in its liquid fuel requirements. Refining capacity has also fallen to less than half our refined production requirement.
The solution to both of these problems is the development of coal-to-liquid plants in Australia. The Federal Government will support the development of this industry by rebating the Fuel Levy until each plant achieves capital payback.
Australia will then be insulated from oil shocks and war shortages by dispersed production using low grade coal not suitable for export.
Development of gasification technology (proven elsewhere, but not yet used in Australia) will also be used for making fertiliser in Australia when natural gas becomes too expensive.
Eventually coal will run out as well and Australia will depend upon nuclear energy to maintain its standard of living. This will not be the current dominant type of nuclear power — namely burning U235 in light water reactors, which is inherently unsafe and produces a waste hazard.
Instead Australia will develop the thorium molten salt reactor, which is the most inherently safe form of nuclear power and also the lowest cost.
As liquid fuels become scarcer and the price of coal rises, power from nuclear energy will produce hydrogen for hydrogenation of carbon compounds. This will extend the life of our carbon sources.
Australia will also honour its commitments under the International Energy Agency treaty by stocking liquid fuels equivalent to 120 days of consumption.
Foreign Affairs Policy
Australia will reduce its foreign aid to the minimum necessary to help Papua New Guinea and some South Pacific states. All other aid is wasted and is better spent in Australia.
Australia will do its best to maintain good relations with other OECD countries and maintain workable relations with the rest of the world.
Australia will provide support, when needed, to countries that share our values — mainly the OECD countries.
Australia will remove itself from international bodies too highly implicated in corruption and fraud. For example, international human rights bodies dominated by dictatorships need not be taken seriously, so we will not waste our time or resources on them.
Australia will also withdraw corrupt or anti-Western international bodies.
Australia has the most variable climate of any major land mass on the planet. We have the highest frequency of droughts. During those droughts Australia’s wheat production falls to the level of domestic consumption.
In a world rapidly becoming overpopulated, we do not want Australia to need to ever be an importer of food. Australia’s population may already be at the country’s carrying capacity.
With that in mind, immigration should be wound down to zero as soon as possible. This will also result in less unemployment.
Domestic Security Policy
As per likely future US policy under a possible President Trump, all Muslims will be barred from entering Australia “until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on”. Monitoring Muslims in Australia for potential terrorist acts places an unfair burden on the rest of Australia’s population.
Indigenous Affairs Policy
There will be no division of the Australian population by race. Therefore there will be no separate status for Australian aborigines in the Constitution.
Separate programmes for aborigines suggest a learned hopelessness in aboriginal affairs.
For many decades, the country has been spending more on Aboriginal programs than on defence. This expenditure has been wasted as it has not improved Aboriginal welfare relative to that of the rest of the population. As the programs have failed, the nation might as well stop doing them.
The Federal Department of Indigenous Affairs will be closed.
There is a major role for the Federal Government in the building of roads, dams, ports and airfields, especially in northern Australia.
There are a number of major dams to be built from Victoria, through NSW to northern Queensland and across to Western Australia.
Each project will be modelled and the projects ranked by rate of return.
Similarly, road building has been neglected for the last 40 years and will be a major focus in developing northern Australia.
A judicious spend on roads will reduce the cost of operating in northern Australia. For example, a road from the Three Ways north of Tennant Creek across to Halls Creek will cut close to 1,000 km off the road distance between Queensland and Western Australia. Another road that would save 700 km off the distance from Perth to Kununurra would be a road from Mt Newman to join the Great Northern Highway southwest of Fitzroy Crossing near Wonkajonka.
There will be no changes to existing arrangements. Superannuation will continue to be encouraged as a way for the nation to increase its capital.
Superannuation will not be used as a source of revenue for the Federal Government.
All taxes suppress economic activity. Therefore maintaining a high standard of living requires that government spending be as low as possible so that economic activity can be as high as possible.
Good economic management also requires that the budget be balanced.
Our taxation policy will be to lower the top marginal tax rate and align it with the company tax rate, possibly at 35%. Thus our most productive workers will be encouraged to maximise output by a system of “two for me, one for the government” rather than the current “one for me, one for the government”.
The best way of reducing taxation is to reduce government expenditure to the greatest extent possible.
Australia should have the highest standard of living possible. That in turn means that it will be an expensive place to visit for tourists. Servicing the needs of tourists, like making beds and cleaning, are not the basis of an advanced civilisation with a high standard of living.
Therefore promotion of tourism by the Federal Government will be directed to the segments of the market which are unfazed by Australia’s high costs and distance. Tourism promotion will be tested for cost efficiency.
The Trans Pacific Partnership will be examined in detail to ensure that it is beneficial to Australia as a whole and not oriented to the benefit of foreign corporate interests.
Free trade will continue to be supported. Free trade increases the volume of trade and the size of the economy, which increases standards of living.
That said, countries that places restrictions on Australian activity, such as purchase of land, will face those same restrictions in Australia. For example, China does not allow non-Chinese to buy land in China so Chinese companies and individuals will not be allowed to buy land in Australia.
The federal Department of Health will be reduced in size and its activities transferred to the states as much as possible.
Bicycle Helmet Policy
Australia’s state-based laws requiring mandatory use of helmets while riding bicycles were foisted on the states by the Federal Government decades ago. Bicycle use is now a lot less than it would be without these laws. The rates of death and disfigurement are now higher for bicycle users due to the lack of adequate sun protection. The joy of bicycle use has been diminished by laws designed to enforce the bicycle helmet laws, such as the fine in NSW for not carrying identification while riding a bicycle. A federal law will be passed to allow the riding of bicycles without a helmet, thus overriding the state laws.
Public Broadcasting Policy
The ABC was founded on 1st July, 1932, because the federal government of the day was of the opinion that privately owned broadcasters could not be relied upon to provide an unbiased news service. Today the opposite situation prevails, in that the ABC can be guaranteed to be biased. Regardless of any bias, a state broadcaster is unnecessary when news can be generated and disseminated on the internet and by private broadcasters. Therefore the Federal Government will privatise both the ABC and SBS.