- The Guardian
- Issue #2044
Have you heard of the Peace Budget? If you’ve been reading News Corp or Fairfax publications this year, you won’t have seen any trace of it. The Peace Budget is the simple idea that if Australia didn’t spend $170 billion on nuclear-powered submarines, we would be able to spend that money actually helping Australians. The submarines won’t make us safer, but will make Australia less independent, by making our military more closely entwined with that of the USA. Anyone still smarting from their last trip to the dentist, might be interested to know that we could afford free dental with change to spare if we dumped the AUKUS subs deal.
You probably have heard of the Stage 3 Tax Cuts. Tax cuts which will be an enormous present to people on more than $200,000 taxable income per year. The cuts will cost $243 billion. What do we get in return, other than even richer rich people? Supporting the cuts helped the Labor Party avoid being wedged by the Coalition before the last federal election, which must be nice for them. Without the Stage 3 cuts we could raise Jobseeker, disability support pension, and the aged pension. Tough luck unemployed people, anyone with a disability, retirees or just finding dental bills tough. The ALP promised the Stage 3 tax cuts and, barring a revolution, we’re getting them.
We could afford to do a lot of things that really need doing if we didn’t go ahead with the tax cuts and/or the insane submarine spend. Both AUKUS and Stage 3 tax cuts involve the ALP placing its own perceived political survival ahead of the interests of Australians. Both are “bipartisan,” meaning that, sure, democracy is nice and all, but you don’t get a choice on this. In both cases we’re throwing away money “that, without change, will have to be covered by the Australian taxpayer, money that could be better spent on schools, hospitals, and roads.”
Here we quote from none other than that well known Marxist revolutionary Paul Graham, the Chief Executive of Australia Post. That’s right, Graham argues that the Australian government would rather spend money on “schools, hospitals, and roads” than they would on something unsustainable. Is Paul Graham so busy running Australia Post that he doesn’t keep up with the news, and doesn’t know what the government would rather spend our money on than schools, hospitals, and roads?
Another thing shared by the AUKUS military spend, the Stage 3 tax cuts and concerns about Australia Post keeping post offices open and services running is the belief some things are worth more than just keeping the balance sheet sustainable. In the case of AUKUS, both major parties and media outlets assume that doing what the United States wants is so important that money just doesn’t matter. In the case of the Stage 3 tax cuts, the ALP has decided that saving its hide is worth more than increasing Jobseeker to liveable levels. In the case of Australia Post, Australians decided long ago that this was a public good and that we could afford it. We can still afford it. The same way we can afford health, housing, and a decent life for all Australians.
Also sustainable; keeping Australia Post in public ownership. In setting up the latest review, Graham has said that “all options are on the table.” A glance at the history of privatisation in this country shows that privatisation is one option which should be kept off the table.
Keep Australia Post in public ownership! Keep running Australia Post for people, not for profit!