Those 2020 Ideas In Full

Kevin Rudd set the tone for the 2020 summit with this, ‘the job of government is to set a strategic vision for the nation.’  The PM then urged delegates to ‘ignore’ critics of the summit. Opposition Leader, Brendan Nelson, agrees with Kev saying he quite likes the summit, as there is ‘some method to the madness’.

So that’s it folks – there is simply no opposition to 2020. What they said is going to happen. So what did they come up with? What are the ideas that our brightest and best 1,000 (gender balanced of course) have produced? 

I’ve tried to pick up the actual ideas as opposed to the vapid, nauseating, white picket-fence, white middle class, patronising apple-pie dirge (for example in the ‘productivity’ room, the participants proposed encouraging ‘children to try new things without fear of failure’). Fuck me, why hadn’t i thought of that before? 

So take a deep breath, pour yourself a stiff brandy (whilst you still can) and come with me for a walk about as far as you can travel away from Liberty Street…

Social Policy

“We’ve got our fair share of welfare workers who came with a clear focus on 5% of the population” remarked Chair, Tim Costello. Do you really want to hear what they came up with?  ok – big deep breath needed …

A national paid maternity scheme.

A new health equality commission.

To legalise all drugs to reduce prison overcrowding. (yes!)

Barry Jones wants everyone to be forced to live in densely populated urban hubs. (jeez -who the hell invited the Brownshirts?)

The introduction of a rent-to-buy scheme by 2020 whereby the government guarantees the mortgages of those who can’t afford them. (err…anyone here heard of sub-prime?)

Federal recognition of gay marriage.  (yes!)

Maxine McCew wants a 50% quota on female MPs (a teensy bit sexist perhaps?  why not a quota on all Christians, Muslims and ginger-haired people too?) 

Constitution

For Australia to become a republic by the year 2010. 

To strip every Australian of their citizenship and only to re-issue it to those who could ‘prove their environment-climate friendliness’.   (i have double checked this one – it’s true!!)

To jail politicians who lie (a straight swap  – smackheads for politicians?)

To abolish the States.

A national Bill of Rights enshrining human rights protections (can you just imagine what would go into this Bill?)

The Environment

Xstrata want to replace the government’s renewable energy target of 20% by 2020 with a clean energy target. (certainly an improvement)

The Australian Youth Climate Coalition wants the 20% renewables target by 2020 increased to 50% and nuclear power taken off the table. This to be paid for by raising employer Super payments to 12% and investing the extra 3% in renewable energy sources.  (my 8 year-old boy has more mature ideas)

To instal hydro-power turbines at the heads of sydney Harbour.

To establish a Reserve Bank to oversee the carbon emissions trading system.

An energy audit for low-income households, offsetting their tax with low-flow showerheads (i didn’t make that up, i promise).

Ros Kelly wants an audit of all existing Commonwealth legislation to ensure it is environmentally sound.

Former Defence Force Chief, General Cosgrove, wants corporations to accept smaller profits to become more environmentally conscious (stick to flying planes, idiot)

Health

To force sedentary workers to take 30 mins of exercise per day. (‘force?’)

To make it compulsory for children to eat fruit at school.

To introduce a tax on ‘junk food’. (how do you define ‘junk food’? )

The introduction of Health Savings Accounts.

To ban smoking for all Australians born after the year 2008 (but to legalise drugs – see above)

Health Minister, Nicola Roxon, wants the introduction of an annual fitness test with financial incentives for those who pass (a tax on the working class to subsidise the middle class? – why not go further and tax pokies, booze and ciggies?  oh – they already do. Bit of a bummer to be working class in Rudd’s Australia.)

Indigenous Issues

The re-establishment of ATSIC (a different name so it’ll all be different this time around).

Warren Mundine violently disagrees with the above calling it a ‘white man’s dream’. He wants all State governments to help Aboriginals to learn English (the smartest guy in the room?).

A new treaty between black and white Australia to formally recognise Aboriginal and TSIs as the first people of Australia (imagine if England adopted a new proposal to recognise ‘descendants of the Angles, Jutes, Celts and Saxons as the first people of England’) 

The establishment of an Indigenous Future Fund to provide ongoing funding for indigenous people (because unconditional welfare has worked so well so far – have they listened to a fucking word Mundine and Pearson have said?)

To set aside a fixed number of Parliamentary seats for indigenous people (err..isn’t that, err, undemocratic and err, racist?)

Tax

To means test all welfare payments. (yes!)

The re-introduction of death duties. (no!)

To abolish stamp duty on housing (yes!)

The Arts

To establish a Ministry for the Arts.

To tie 1% of federal funding to the Arts.

Hugh Jackman wants politicians to be ‘forced’ to attend arts events.

To increase the Australian content on SBS by 50%.

A 125% tax deduction to encourage Australian film production.

Education

To enable students to repay their HECS debt by doing community service.

More Asian language teaching 

For businesses to ‘adopt’ a school.

I reserve the right to make changes to the above as more news comes through.  

more from Andrew Bolt, Tim Blair, and Catallaxy. 

66 thoughts on “Those 2020 Ideas In Full

  1. “To tie 1% of federal funding to the Arts.”

    To clarify, this was specifically for 1% from each of the other departments existing budgets. The reason it was worded this was was to be “revenue neutral” – they were apparently required to have at least one third of their ideas to be low- or no-cost.

    Hehe – the Arties idea of revenue-neutral is, “Give us an extra couple billion – fully funded by taking money from other areas”. What a pack of arseholes.

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  3. So what did they come up with? What are the ideas that our brightest and best 1,000 (gender balanced of course) have produced?

    Garbage in, garbage out.

    To means test all welfare payments. (yes!)

    I’m not sure why you think this is a good idea.

  4. “To legalise all drugs to reduce prison overcrowding”

    This is what the best minds in Australia could come up with??? I’m fairly sure that more than a few of those “great minds” were high while they spat out that idea.
    Why dont they go a few steps further and legalise crime? then turn the jails into drug labs. Sure it will be anarchy but think of the productivity gains!

    “Maxine McCew wants a 50% quota on female MPs”

    She has just showed she is a complete idiot and virtually guaranteed her failure to hold her seat in the next election

    “To strip every Australian of their citizenship and only to re-issue it to those who could ‘prove their environment-climate friendliness'”

    Lol, they could try, but they would fail. There is no way they could possibly deport all the guys that fail to regain Aus. citizenship. Another joke of an idea.

    To introduce a tax on ‘junk food’

    OMG! They did actually pick smart people for this thing right? Seriously, who would willingly accept this idea? Vegetarians, Vegans and idiots, thats it. and from this summit im starting to think that the percentage of ‘idiots’ within Australia is a major problem.

    “To ban smoking for all Australians born after the year 2008 (but to legalise drugs…”

    Ban the bad drug. Legalise more deadly drugs & get more criminals on the streets. Maybe foreign spies are the ones proposing these ideas, trying to bring Australia down from the inside. So far they have done a great job.

    “To set aside a fixed number of Parliamentary seats for indigenous people (err..isn’t that, err, undemocratic and err, racist?)”

    Idiots, just idiots. Firstly, who is proposing these dumb ideas? and secondly, who is listening to these crap ideas and not challenging them. Pre-schoolers could see the holes in some of these “ideas”

    I hope they do take Aus. citizenship off everyone cause i dont want to live in the same country as the idiots that came up with these ideas

  5. Pommygranate:

    Both corporate and personal welfare are issues that need to be addressed.

    For example, I just lined up some tax concessions and grants for a small company, the end result being that the company will be receiving more from the govt than it pays in taxes, and this is a rather profitable company. Yeah, I should have charged a commission on that one … .

    An old friend of mine, invalided through chronic illness, wife and 4 children. Wife works as bookkeeper. They have 5 computers, high speed broadband, 3 cars, housing commission, all the latest gadgets, heaven knows how many mobile phones, and a small fortune in health care expenses. This one family pulls more from the govt than 4 or 5 no dependents people on the dole. That is not so uncommon these days.

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  7. Pommy – I don’t like the wealthy getting welfare either. I don’t much like anybody needing welfare in the first place. However means testing welfare increases EMTRs. On balance I see no merit in means testing of welfare. As far as I’m concerned it ought to be that either nobody gets it or everybody gets it.

  8. To strip every Australian of their citizenship and only to re-issue it to those who could ‘prove their environment-climate friendliness’.

    In terms of the impact on votes, is this what they call a gerrymander? It doesn’t seem overly democratic.

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  10. Terje – welfare is a necessary evil for some people. yes – it does increase EMTRs, which is why it is so damaging. but id still prefer to hack away at it rather than increase its prevalence.

  11. John – without doubt corporate welfare is as destructive as personal welfare. In fact, isnt one of Mrs. Rudd’s company’s the beneficiary of a huge amount of corporate welfare?

  12. Pommygranate,

    Yeah that is true! In my case at least the company has the potential to generate a lot of export income for Aus so the downstream effects should eventually be positive. Nonetheless, given that we are talking in 6 figure sums for a most definitely small company, that is just too much.

    Personal welfare is way out of control. While I can appreciate Terje’s point, at least means testing of welfare will be a start to reducing it. He is right in the sense of inequity about it but providing welfare to those who don’t need it to survive is making it a privilege rather than a keep you out of jail option.

    I think Denmark has a scheme where if you are unemployed for more than a year they put you in a job. I don’t have a problem with that because I have done many different types of work and believe everyone should be prepared, when times are tough, to step outside their comfort zone and just find something to do. Sadly this attitude is being lost.

    By the way, in my experience at least the companies of the likes of Mrs. Rudd’s are bloody useless. And the Comm. Rehab Service is worse!

  13. Means-testing welfare does not increase EMTR if it is matched with tax cuts. You simply need a system where welfare recipients do not pay tax (but lose welfare) and taxpayers do not receive welfare.

    I used to be against means-testing, but I now realise that it is simply impossible to ever introduce the concept of self-sufficiency and independence without means-testing. This should apply to all welfare — including childcare, health, education etc. This will force the govt to be explicit about all of their welfare. More details coming in my CIS paper “declare independence”… coming soon.

    Of course drugs should be legalised. The guy that likened that to “legalising crime” (Pete) obviously doesn’t understand the concept of private property rights and individualism. How the anti-freedom crowd can maintain their ignorance in the face of overwhelming information and educational opportunities amazes me. Unless they’re 16 years old.

    But otherwise, these ideas don’t look good. :\

  14. I can accept the notion that welfare is either taxed or else means tested, but doing both creates perverse EMTRs and generally creates multiple disfunctional senerios (as is the case at present). Under the current mixed bag setup and having negligible political capital I’d prefer to retain the former and ditch the latter. Of course there are configurations of tax and welfare (eg 30/30) where tax and welfare are so neatly integrated that there isn’t much to debate. When I start seeing you guys argue more generally that welfare should be tax free then perhaps I’ll be more sympathetic to retaining means testing.

  15. Two more coercive measures that i missed –

    i) to ‘force’ children to eat fruit at school (how? by physically forcing it in their mouths?)

    ii) to ‘force’ sedentary office workers to take 30 mins exercise per day

    These ideas are truly terrifying. Are people simply unaware that this is how Stalin’s Russia operated?

  16. It’s a good litmus test of what Australian’s think the role of the government should be. It tells me that Libertarians have a hell of a lot of work to do.

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  18. Great commentary Pommy.

    After reading that, I may be able to actually hold onto my vomit when I read the papers today.

  19. I saw a proposal to increase out productivity by increasing our literacy rate.

    I never knew illiteracy was a chronic problem that affected output per worker in Australia. (What is out illiteracy rate anyway?) Paticularly when there are stable, well paying menial jobs (slaughterhosues, mines).

    It is like the myriad of occupational licensing, punitive taxes and restrictions on capital and goods flows never occured to the luminaries.

  20. “It tells me that Libertarians have a hell of work to do.”

    I reckon the LDP should make a public statement on the general statist/anti-freedom direction of the 2020 ideas and the alternative that they offer (and perhaps use the moment to make light of the Libs’ failure to provide any real opposition.) I’m not sure that the media would take notice however – does the LDP have an official PR person or people? It’s always going to be a hard sell to get a lot of Aussies realising the benefits of greater freedom. Feeding Aussies statist ideas such as the 2020 ones is like feeding fast food to ignorant children – tastes sweet and is superficially satisfying but they don’t realise that what they’re eating will eventually make them sick. Libertarian ideas are like brussel sprouts. (The metaphor is a bit dodgy but you get the point.) How do we get the message across to the ignorant masses that 2020 is a waste of time at best and dangerous at worst? Can the LDP use this disgrace to gain some public exposure (and maybe pick up some disgruntled righties?)

  21. Who is ‘Pete’? Will someone enlighten him as to our policy re drugs; that it is a victimless crime, and should not, therefore, be a crime? Taking drugs may not be morally smart, but we object to the government having the power to compel moral choices on anyone.

  22. Greego

    Nice analogy 🙂

    You can obviously write so follow Mark’s advice. The LDP regularly issues press statements. Given there are so few dissenting voices, it may even get a mention.

  23. Will someone enlighten him as to our policy re drugs

    Nicholas, who is this “we” you speak of, this is the ALS blog, rather than the LDP blog. The ALS has no policy positions (that I’m aware of) and while most here would disagree with Pete there’s no need for a single opinion here. The ALS, as far as I’m aware, was set up to discuss all political ideas from a libertarian perspective.

  24. Shem

    Good point. There is most certainly no uniform line on any policy here. For example, Tim Q thinks that legalising drugs is the ultimate test of one’s libertarianism. I think he’s barking mad.

  25. Yeah, I just like to highlight to people that they have more freedom here at the ALS than just the LDP party line.

    For example, at the ALS, someone might like to argue in favour of non-reproductive incest. The LDP would likely never hold such an idea as policy. On the ALS someone might like to discuss the abolition of welfare- a position the LDP is likely never to take.

    While the ALS is a valuable friend to the LDP they are not the same. The ALS deals with libertarian philosophy as much as anything. The LDP deals with libertarian politics. Some on the ALS may not even support the LDP, although they support libertarian philosophy, that is fine, too.

    I hope in the future they become even more separate, yet related, originations.

  26. I still wonder if ‘Pete’ is a real libertarian. Most Libertarians I am in touch with advocate decriminalisation of drugs, at least. Pete, if you’re reading this, what are your views? Are you one of those socialist libertarians who believes in communes? Please, do enlighten us!

  27. And someone at the ALS might suggest welfare recipients aren’t allowed to vote – but LDP is unlikely to do so 🙂

    It’s also worth pointing out that the context of drug legalisation was “legalise drugs to to stop overcrowding of prisons”. Pete was rightly critical of that logic – you could apply it to anything.

    I also don’t believe it is LDP policy to legalise all drugs – and even if it were, you are never going to get a party where 100% of its members support 100% of its policies (or if you do, it would be mighty small and completely unelectable)

  28. nicholas

    hopefully it’s not just libertarians who read this blog 😉

    maybe we should change the name, though, to attract a wider audience.

  29. Perhaps a bill of rights, or whatever name is given to it, will make people and governments think twice about using the word “force” or to stop actually forcing or seeking to force anyone to do things which they don’t believe is right for them or that is not in their best interests.

    One of the worst outcomes of the summit is a communitarian approach to governing, that Rudd has pointed to since election in the use of words like solidarity, which is at odds with individual liberty (another word he has used in the same breath) and personal responsibility, seeking to have people do only what the government of the day will allow them to, impose or will approve of.

    Irregardless of the summit, we need freedom to become our greatest aspiration. Some of us need freedom from government impositions, controls, over regulation and directives, now.

  30. What did Barry Jones actually say about promoting higher-density living? I would argue the main issue preventing higher-density living in Australian’s cities is government regulation (height restrictions, zoning etc.). There’s obviously demand for it, or proprety prices in high-density areas wouldn’t be so high. I’d love to live in higher-density part of the city, but currently can’t afford to.
    Government policy has very actively promoted lower-density living in most Australian cities over the decades, intentionally or otherwise, so turning it around to encourage higher-density living needn’t be any attack on individual freedoms.

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  32. Yes, NPOV, one area I work in his a med-high density SOHO type of arrangement. Very nice, most things within walking distance, and when these areas are designed properly they are very functional, save a great deal in infrastructure, and are very suitable for small businesses and people who prefer to live in what may be called the modern equivalent of a hamlet. Oh I can hear the lovers of bygone eras groan at that appellation. Still true. A woman in the office was raised in Germany and said that a big difference between there and here was that for her at least in Germany she could walk to get nearly all she needed.

    Properly designed med-high density housing can create small friendly communities and the potential savings are enormous. It should also please the greenies because you can put the car away a lot more. Please all of us given the petrol prices.

    Damn bugger the trend has been going the other way. Huge houses for small egos and all the costs that come with that.

  33. Well I hope all Barry was suggesting was that governments to do better in letting the natural tendency of cities to develop higher-density areas flourish. This might even mean sacrificing parts of poorly-used parks and other unused space (and there’s quite a few of those around). I’d be disappointed if he actually felt the need to use a word like ‘force’.

  34. I like my suburban living thanks very much. Although despite have the quarter acre I can still also walk to train, shops, cafe,parks, schools and childcare in under 10 minutes. I have lived in high density previously and it was pleasant enough,however I have no plans to move back.

  35. This is the Australian Libertarian Society blog however everybody is welcome here so long as they follow the rules regarding comments. There is no need to consider changing the name. The local RSL is welcoming to those that are not returned service men/women. It also remains true to its founders with rituals such as a minutes silence each evening. There is no difficulty in being a libertarian blog and also inviting participants that are not libertarians. I sometimes go to church and I practice many christian rituals (eg Christmas) and I sometimes read christian texts and I appreciate many christian stories, but I’m not a christian.

    Likewise if you don’t regard yourself as a libertarian but you can see the merits in Australia having a libertarian voice via the LDP then you should not feel excluded from joining the LDP or supporting it in other ways. There is nobody conducting a purity test at the door. Even in the inner sanctum alternative interpretions of libertarian philosophy and political reality are permitted.

  36. Terje,

    I live on 5 acres in a little valley with a beautiful view of the mountains at the back of the Gold Coast. I was not stating high density becomes mandatory, rather that for increasing numbers of people it works very well. There is considerable demand for the same, particularly here on the coast. I have emailed Humphreys because I am thinking of joining the ALS.

  37. Terje

    My point was one of marketing – i wonder whether the name of the blog sends potential readers and commenters away. Most people have no idea what ‘libertarian’ means and may be put off by something they feel they don’t understand.

  38. Pommy- can you suggest a better name? I think you may be right, but what name should we use?

  39. There has recently been some talk about the fairness of the national paid maternity scheme idea. Personally, i think this scheme is a great idea, but it needs to be worked out differently. It’s not fair to make alkl workers pay for this as many may not be able to have children and some also decide (for whatever reasons) NOT to have children. This type of scheme would be ignoring this minority, taking money that they will not benefit from later. maybe one idea to improve this is to offer people that aren’t having children a few months of general paid leave (sortof like long service leave). Then if people who have taken this leave ever change their minds and have children, they will not get the offer of this maternity scheme and need to do it on their own. Does this suggestion go a bit further in making it a fairer scheme for everyone? Or are people more annoyed at the thought of forking out more money? What are your thoughts?

  40. Thanks for contributing, Ellie, and welcome, but most libertarians would probably believe that society should be reducing the reach of governments everywhere. I tend to think we should all be doing work by contracts, and we would thus be in networks of equal individuals, or syndicates. We could also have medical insurance, and that insurance could cover things like maternity, and its’ consequences. Libertarians strive for smaller governments, less laws, and simpler laws. Your proposal seems very complex!

  41. If we have to have something in this area, how about a super type scheme where people get to put away a portion of their salary tax free, to draw out while on unpaid maternity leave. Best bit – it removes the bias against high income earning women (who, all things being equal, would really be the ones who will improve the gene pool). And it doesn’t impose costs on business. Only a tax subsidy…

  42. Tims idea is practical and could be conducted on a similar line to super. A person running a small business would definitely think twice about employing a woman of child bearing age if that business was likely to be hit with the cost of paying her salary for a considerable length of time as well as that of a temp while she is away.

    Pommy; I shouldn’t think the name “Thoughts on Freedom” would be likely to discourage the type of people that we are interested in hearing from. The sub heading “Australian Libertarian Society Blog” shouldn’t be a problem to anyone who is drawn to the thoughts on freedom thing.

  43. Compulsory paid maternity leave would make women less employable and/or reduce their salary (as employers factor in risk of additional costs).

  44. Sorry, I don’t think I was specific enough. The federal government was considering making all workers (men and women) pay a levy (about $5/week) for a maternity scheme which would allow women at least three months maternity leave and men four weeks paternity leave. Because of the levy paid, no employers would need to pay maternity/paternity leave- all they would need to worry about is finding a temporary replacement, and women wouldn’t be less employable (well, hopefully).

    However, from a libertarian stance, Tim’s idea of a super type scheme seems like a really good one. If a person started working at 20 and wanted a child at 30, saving $5/week would end up as $2600 after 10 yrs- $5200 per couple then. That would equate to about 10 weeks leave for a mother without too much financial change(at least for one child anyway) which is petty good. Does it compare? And what about the dads? Wouldn’t men like 4 weeks leave without having to worry about losing your job or how your family is going to manage? I’ve no doubt that fathers can have the same bond with their child as a mother can- if they had the time.

    I just think that this could give mothers the time needed to nurture and breastfeed their children and also give fathers some time to get to know their babies. It also gives mothers some job security. Even if there won’t be a paid maternity scheme, perhaps all employers should allow 12 months unpaid leave so that mums have the time they need and don’t have to start over again in their careers because they had to give up their jobs.

    Nicholas, I would have thought contracts would be worse for the employability of women – are employers likely to employ a woman who is in-between having children, when someone else is available who is “more free” to use skills taught for other contracts needed soon down the line? Or women that haven’t been able to stay in the workforce for 10 years?

    Btw, are there any women bloggers here?? Looks like I’m only talking to men- which is no problem, I like to hear your views too :o) I was just wondering.

  45. Ellie

    Btw, are there any women bloggers here??

    A warm welcome 🙂

    Libertarianism seems to be a male dominated thing these days. Please invite all of your female libertarian mates to join in!

  46. Ellie, I’ve often thought that it takes balls to be a libertarian. Are women too group-centered in their thinking, on average? Could it be genetic?

  47. Nicholas, I think that there aren’t many women libertarians partly because of our group-centred support networks in a way. One reason may be that laws have been needed to give women some essential equalities with men and to keep them that way. It gives women a lot of protection and ensures the continuity of our rights.

  48. Mark-
    You say men use the Internet more- why is that? Why don’t women use it more, to stay in touch? Are they genetically pre-disposed to want audible messages?
    As for the ‘Womans Rights’ argument, you could also argue that it was groups that kept women oppressed, through things like community consensus. Technology, by giving equalising weapons to all, gives women the chance to kill rapists, for instance, thus giving them effective equality. As a Libertarian, I support self-defence, even against groups.

  49. Ellie

    I believe both Mark and Nicholas have valid points. It is true that men are much more intensive users of the net. Nowhere is this more evident than TV, which is increasingly catering to a female audience (the rash of imported American TV shows are all targetted at a female audience as men prefer to surf the web of an evening).

    Most libertarian discussion takes place on the net on blogs as opposed to the media, hence men are being exposed to more libertarian views than women.

    As regards a paid maternity benefit, as a father and an employer, i have mixed feelings on this issue. On the one hand, if paid maternity benefits were introduced European-style, then small business would simply stop employing women in their late 20s and early 30s – obviously counter-productive to the aim.

    However, i also believe that women should be able to take time off during those crucial early months in the knowledge thhat their job is still vacant.

    Your idea of a Super savings scheme is a good one as it achieves some balance. What would happen to the balance of these savings once people moved beyond parenting age? Woud they be returned?

  50. I also believe that as women have benefited the most from the rash of ‘anti-discrimination’ laws, they are more favourably disposed to them. Now that equality has (almost) been achieved, i suspect (and hope) that more women libertarians, lie yourself, will emerge.

    Just curious – of your female friends, how many are libertairan?

  51. A bunch of people got together in Canberra. Some were good, some were totally dumb. Nobody is obliged to put them into effect anyway, so what’s the big deal?

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