Joe Hockey has justified the cuts to Medicare rebates, by saying that people born today may live to 150. The Future Party is also optimistic about the life expectancy of people into the future. However, for life expectancy to increase, two things must occur: increases in health care provision and increases scientific research. This government seems intent on making cuts to both these areas, something that puts the notion of extended life at risk.
Its a question about as old as talking about government, politics and the security of the state. Who will watch over the watchers themselves? The Abbott government's answer, apparently, is no one.
The Coalition, ALP and PUP have combined in the Senate today to pass legislation that among other changes grants ASIO extraordinary new powers to declare a "special intelligence operation" - exempting its agents from obeying nearly every Australian law, and making it a crime for whistle-blowers and journalists to report. This effectively eradicates, in some circumstances, two of the major checks and balances on the powers granted to intelligence community - namely, the rule of law, and potential disclosure. The removal of these safeguards is especially troubling in light of the totally inadequate response to recent alleged abuses of powers justified in the name of national security, such as the ongoing pursuit of the former ASIS agent who disclosed spying on East Timor by Australia apparently conducted for the sake of an advantage in trade negotiations.
The Industry Minister, Ian Macfarlane, has proven again why we need a dedicated Science Minister: he doesn't understand how science works. He recently gave a speech in which he argued that scientific grants should be based on number of patents awarded, because in his view this will create jobs. This demonstrates a failure to grasp two critical concepts: the difference between scientific research and patentable inventions, and the reason why we fund science using taxes.
Scientific research is quite different to technological research, despite being intimately related. In particular, only inventions are patentable; discoveries are not. When we think of great scientists, we generally think of Einstein first. Einstein's theories were not patentable, because they were discoveries of the natural universe, explored using novel mathematical ideas. None of these count as inventions for the purposes of patent law.
Exclusive data obtained and analysed by the Future Party has revealed that, in addition to damaging Sydney’s international reputation and tarnishing the city’s nightlife culture, the Coalition government’s lockout laws have failed to achieve their objective of a reduction in alcohol-related violence. In fact, not only has the policy exacerbated the very issue it exists to diminish, but has also coincided with a spike in the number of alcohol related assaults and accidents outside of licensed premises.
We’d like to take a moment to summarise The Future Party’s response to this year’s Federal Budget.
Prior even to the budget itself, rumours and early announcements of cuts to research prompted our Fund Our Future campaign, culminating successfully in the Rally for Research at Sydney Town Hall – and we will, of course, continue to make the vital case for the government to prioritise science and innovation in the weeks, months and years ahead. We have been and continue to be staunch opponents of the government’s agenda to dismantle all meaningful action to reduce carbon emissions, in blatant disregard of the science on climate change – and indeed, we go further than any other party in our consistently strong stance on this issue, whether its our support for fuel excise indexation or for renewable-enabling smart grids and nuclear energy research. Likewise we are long standing advocates of more generous tax and welfare treatment for low income Australians, rather than the cruel, arbitrary cuts favoured by the government.
Abbott’s deficit levy has been widely panned by all kinds, from business, to Liberal backbenchers, to the Labor Party and even The Greens. This is incredible considering the nature of the levy: it is a progressive tax. Yes, I just called an Abbott policy progressive. The tax disproportionately impacts the wealthy, and the overwhelming majority of the population will have no additional taxes to pay.
The Future Party strongly supports the ongoing efforts of the Independent Commission Against Corruption to clean up the political culture in NSW. As Premier Barry O’Farrell noted in his press conferences yesterday and today, it is vital that people cooperate with the efforts of the ICAC and other bodies seeking to stamp out institutionalised corruption in all its forms. It is also vital that our political leaders hold themselves to the highest possible standards of integrity.
Today the Future Party is announcing the “Fund our Future: Rally for Research” campaign to encourage increased funding of Australia’s research institutions. The government’s drastic cuts to funding will damage Australia’s academic research sector. The campaign will include a petition and will culminate in a rally on the 3rd of May in the lead up to the budget announcement.
Following problems with the recount of Senate ballots in Western Australia last election, the Court of Disputed Returns has ordered a fresh vote be held in the state. The Federal Executive of the Future Party has considered whether or not to run candidates. Although several groups have already approached us seeking preference deals and other cooperation, the Future Party has decided not to contest the election. The main reasons for this decision were:
- A lack of current activity among our WA membership, who would need to form the backbone of any campaign on the ground.
- The difficulty of finding, vetting and pre-selecting candidates within the given time frame.
- The diversion of time, money and attention from our efforts: building up the party’s grass roots presence nationally; campaigning on critical federal issues, such as the NBN and research funding cuts; and preparing for the upcoming NSW state election.
- The large number of small parties likely to contest the election, adding to the difficulty of success, and requiring an emphasis on tactical preference negotiations over engaging with the electorate on policy.
If you would like to help organise our WA branch to put us in a position to contest seats there in the next federal election, please contact email@example.com