There are many things that need urgent reform in this country:
- The Australian Workers Party is a party that wants to see common sense changes, changes that will benefit working people and their families and the nation. Reforms are needed badly across the board; in the processes of some of our institutions, and in the day-to-day functions of government. Parliamentary reforms: You only have to watch Parliamentary question time once to know our Parliamentary processes need drastic reform. AWP will push for functional reforms to improve accountability, efficiency and to try to address the elitist and disengaging aspects to our system of governance. The Westminster System has served us well, as did the horse and cart in its time, but at the moment the processes of debate and behaviour in our House of Representatives and Senate do not reflect contemporary Australia or the norms of civil discourse. The unruly pantomime of Parliament does not help the Australian people. The rules of debate need to change. We will advocate for a Peoples' Convention, where ordinary citizens will come together to set in place a series of reforms to not only make our Parliament more functional but also to make MPs more accountable. We strongly believe: - That Question Time needs to be reviewed in its processes. Debate is stifled or delayed by the use of “Dorothy Dixers” (loaded questions from members of the government to Ministers designed to allow them to sing the virtues of their own policies). This is an antiquated and useless charade and it needs to end. - Members of Parliament who do not show up for every session of Parliament without a valid excuse or medical certificate should be docked a days pay. They are paid well to be present for debates and to vote on Bills. It is their job. The very least they could do is show up. A "walk out" of a Parliamentary session should be seen as dereliction of duty and should be treated accordingly. They need to respect the people they are paid to represent. - Members of Parliament should be forced to adhere to the same industrial relations laws and superannuation contributions and regulations as every other worker. - The Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President of the Senate should resign from their political parties whilst holding their Speaker or Senate President posts. This will allow a non-partisan position from which they can perform their duties. - The use of props and other devices to over dramatise or incite disruption or laughter should be punishable by a loss of a days pay. It isn’t a circus or a stand-up comedy routine, it’s the peoples’ house and they should respect that. - Special privileges such as discounts on meals in Parliament House, a free gym, free parking and other perks which are subsidised by the Australian people need to end. They should incur the same costs every other worker has to in their jobs. - Parliamentary allowances need to be dramatically reviewed. The meal allowances, the living away from home allowance and many, many others, which are not even close to reflecting those in other occupations need to end. This is an enormous burden upon our country. The pigs-in-the-trough mentality has to end. - All the entitlements of members of Parliament need to be in line with the rest of the community. The Australian community need to know that their representatives are active for reasons other than pure financial gain. - Parliamentary remuneration should be set at a rate that is in line with community standards. - A ban on all post-Parlimentary positions related to portfolios for at least 10 years: No member of Parliament should benefit from an insiders job when they leave Parliament. This is a form of corruption, or at the very least, it has the perception of such. - A lifetime ban on any former MP acting as a lobbyist for any organisation or as a self-employed lobbyist consultant. - Restrictions upon access by paid or industry lobbyists to MPs. Lobbyist should not have unrestricted access to MPs or Ministers as this could result in or have the perception of corruption. - A limit to the amount of terms a MP can serve: We feel that renewal is important to democracy and is healthy. No MP should linger around Canberra for twenty or thirty years. We feel that MPs should have a maximum limit of 4 terms (or 12 years). That is adequate time for a contribution to be made and frankly, if no significant contribution is made in that period, there is slim chance it will be made beyond four terms. Representative democracy needs to remain relevant and reflective of the broader society it is there to serve.
There are other reforms outside of political ones that we will be pushing hard to change: - Religious organisations should pay tax: There is no reason that any religious organisation should be exempt from paying tax. Many churches are asset and cash rich and their business concerns generate considerable income. That income needs to be taxed like any other business. It is only fair and reflective of a secular society. - Public funding to religious school and learning institutions should stop: We live in a secular society. Public finances should not be used for religiously controlled establishments. - Religious organisations should adhere to the anti-discrimination (and other workplace) legislation that all other organisations have to comply with.
Legislative and Public / Government Service reforms: There are many laws in Australia that are in need of reform. Our idea is to push for a blanket view: - All new laws should have to face a "no disadvantage" test to the average citizen; that is if a Bill does not progress the living standards and opportunities of ordinary Australians, it would be considered a failed Bill and would be rejected automatically. - All senior Public Service departmental heads should be sourced from within the Public Service structure. Corporatising departments have been shown to be a failure. For instance, the head of the NDIS is a the former CEO of Bankwest. Our Public Service, especially social service departments should not be run as for-profit corporations. - We believe outsourcing government departments or part thereof, should cease immediately. Tendering to corporations such as Serco, for the running of detention centres or NDIS and Centrelink call centres should not be allowed. - We support the establishment of a Federal Independent Commission Against Corruption. This body should have wide ranging powers and be adequately resourced and most of all must be completely independent from Government. This is needed to deal with issues of systemic corruption and the abuse of power. - We support the establishment of an ongoing Standing Commission on institutional paedophilia and child abuse. This body would have the powers of a full Royal Commission and would be active for a period of no less than ten years. - We support the establishment of an ongoing Standing Commission on abuse and mistreatment within the aged care system. This body would have the powers of a full Royal Commission and would be active for a period of no less than ten years. - We support the establishment of an ongoing Standing Commission on mistreatment and abuse in the disability sector. This body would have the powers of a full Royal Commission and would be active for a period of no less than ten years. - We would advocate for the abolition of the ABCC; its sole objective is to disempower workers and attack organised labour. - We would advocate for the introduction of Industrial Manslaughter into the criminal code for any issues of neglect or malpractice which resulted in the death of a worker. - We support the prohibition of any government advertising to promote policies or initiatives within a six month period of the expected expiry of a Parliamentary term. Public funds should not be used to promote government policy or initiatives under a de facto "information" advertising blitz. - We would support the initial investigation into the feasibility of publicly funded election campaigns. This would eliminate the need for any party political donations and thus would eliminated any actual or perceived improper influence or corruption. - We would support the abolition of fixed per-property charges for utilities such as electricity, water or gas. Ending per-property charges would reduce costs to families and low income earners. - We would support the introduction of a "living wage" as opposed to a minimum wage to address the impact of unemployment, stagnant wage growth and higher costs of living.
WORKING POOR - NO MORE! We seek real political change for all workers and their families through equality, progressive reform and social & economic justice.
Authorised by M.Ptolemy, PO Box 4062 Winmalee NSW 2777