Taking Advantage of a Crisis for Good
“It’s an Ill wind that blows nobody any good“
The present crisis indeed presents a unique opportunity to remove progressive impediments of recent decades and rebuild the economy and become a productive sovereign nation again. Together with proposals for repeal and abandonment of agreements, treaties and measures that do not or no longer benefit Australian citizens. I would propose that a significant reduction of government, bureaucracy, related rules and regulations as the essential stimulus to keep Australia working and productive.
Prudent economic managers believe in surplus budgets to pay down debt and to establish a positive balance sheet for future economic shocks, but, in the present economic circumstances believe it far more important to protect Australians from the effects of a global crisis on top of our local difficulties of drought and bushfire recovery.
That the Wuhan virus will be defeated is a certainty, however, the unmistakable ineptitude of government suggests it will be later rather than sooner.
Australia is the only nation continent and a prudent government would have sealed the borders with only citizens and permanent residents allowed to return with a mandatory 14 to 21 days in quarantine.
We have the facilities, they just need to be reopened. Yet as late as last Thursday thousands of passengers were allowed to disembark from liners without testing or while tests were still underway and there is not even a basic regime of temperature checking in place at travel hubs. So much for banning cruise liners from docking preemptive testing and isolation and quarantine measures.
Outside of the health crisis that is now causing a huge economic dislocation and will cause, if not a depression, then almost certainly a deep recession as businesses are simply unable to operate under lockdown conditions, shortage of labour and loss of custom. Exacerbated by daily changes being imposed in ever-increasing severity likely until the health crisis abates and a semblance of normality returns.
Now is the time to plan and implement reforms and changes to the system to ensure the nation is never again exposed to the travails of unfettered globalism or the loss of sovereignty that it entails. We must seize the opportunity to reinvigorate the competitive federalism the founders envisaged and stand aside while Australians reclaim their country.
The suggestions proposed can stimulate the economy without great expenditure, outlays or higher taxation and reduce the burden of the non-productive bureaucratic incumbency.
The measures are designed to put money directly into the hands of citizens, be they consumers, farmers, small business, entrepreneurs, industrial concerns or service providers. All taxpayers large and small benefit from the measures. It is also designed to lower the amount of revenue (taxation in all forms) available to government and thus reduce the size of government and return discretional spending to the people.
1. Reimpose debt levels on the Commonwealth to create a balanced budget within 5 years. Thereafter no deficit may be incurred without a supermajority (66%) of the Parliament. The Government like most citizens and consumers will be forced to live within their means. It will also require the Commonwealth to divest itself of and cease funding departments, entities and programs it has acquired over time that are not explicitly laid down in the constitution in order to balance its budget. Suggested permanent change.
2. Dramatic Income Tax reduction cuts. Reduce Personal income tax to a flat 20% across the board with tax-free thresholds of 10,000 per adult and 5,000 per child for up to 4 children in a family with a combined income declaration. Stringent limit to personal deductions. This is immediate and goes straight to the wage earner. It does not need a qualification or application. Citizens better understand how to spend and invest THEIR money. Suggested permanent change
3. Business Capital expenditure amounts paid in this financial year made fully deductible for any Australian made goods purchased. A stimulus to business expansion and growth of manufacturing and reduction of imports. Suggested permanent change.
4. Alter the Superannuation Contribution rules (essentially a tax) to stipulate all investment must be in Australia and Australian Companies, Organisation and or Ventures. All funds (private and public alike) to have 6 weeks to divest themselves foreign investments. Provides for Investment stimulus in infrastructure and Australian Industry and the economy in general. Suggested permanent change.
5. Provide small business (turnovers less than 25 million) a GST tax furlough for two quarters that may be extended by the parliament. This is an effective grant of 10 per cent of turnover for immediate use. This measure may allow small business to retain staff and casuals but in many cases just keep afloat until recovery occurs. Temporary measure during the crisis.
6. Provide a select committee of parliamentarians (only they can be held to account) to Declare selected areas, regions or locales of the economy as RA (recovery affected). RA is then eligible for grants and assistance on a case basis. To administer, immediately appoint a three-member commission to decide the merits of all grants and assistance. Appointees will be prominent and successful Australians who will direct and ensure that the system works and provides the assistance required. They should not be public servants. All decisions by their majority agreement.
It shall be their job to get it done. This can include proroguing most government rules and regulations (red and green tape) for a given period, interest-free loans, specific grants to individuals, businesses, community groups or councils and relevant state programs.
The bushfire and drought relief examples of failure and hardship caused by bureaucratic ineptitude across the board require a dynamic can-do approach to resolve and reinvigorate disaster relief and economic recovery. Temporary measure during the crisis.
7. Provide a select committee of parliamentarians to decide and recommend what industries are strategic, and what goods should be protected as required. Ultimately, and within 1 year all government purchasing should be of Australian made goods and services.
To further this a tax reduction of 5% for any business that invests in these named industries and a further 5% if that investment is in a rural or regional location. This stimulus is for 3 years in the first instance and may be extended by the parliament. It can include businesses, including superannuation funds, that invest in new manufacturing and factories for identified strategic and defensive weaknesses in the supply chain.
Items such as medicine and medical products, agricultural inputs and chemicals among others declared as strategic supplies. Australia will effect barriers ensuring all critical supplies are manufactured and available locally. Parliament may extend or make permanent. Temporary measure during the crisis.
8. Exercise our rights under Article 28 of the Paris Agreement and withdraw; similarly withdraw from all treaties, agreements and organisations that cause Australian deindustrialisation, transfer of capacity or the provision of taxpayer funds to any supranational body that claims jurisdiction or can affect decisions sovereign decision making. No such future treaty or agreement shall be entered into without referendum approval by the people at the next election. Suggested permanent change.
To this extent, we have great faith in the citizens of Australia, but we would be neglecting our duty and that of those we charge with this undertaking, if we did not verify, even after the fact, that those given grants and assistance were firstly deserving of that assistance and secondly it was properly applied; so we shall enact very strong penalties for fraud and misappropriation. Those that apply for assistance must be under no misunderstanding that malfeasance of any kind shall be dealt with in the harshest possible manner.
However, if the stimulus measures and changes proposed are successful we shall power ahead with a greatly more productive economy with new Australian capabilities and security for its citizens.