Politics Rants

Being a Good MP

My recipe for being a good member of parliament:

  1. Understand that your position is as a representative for the Australian People, with a focus on your local constituency.
  2. Leave your biases at the door; this includes personal feelings and religious leanings (or lack there of). Surround yourself with people who have differing opinions.
  3. With each Bill that comes across your desk ask: How will this make life better for the people of Australia? Seek out those who will be affected by the Bill and hear first-hand their opinions.
  4. No deals! Don’t do things you know are not good for the people because it might get you something else, even if that something else is better for the people. It’s your job to do the right thing by the people and to call out those who don’t want to do the same.
  5. Transparency is key. Open your diary, your expenses, your office. How often are we told by the government: “If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear.” While it’s a BS line and the people have a right to privacy, you as a politician are a representative of the people and where your interactions as a politician are concerned you should feel they have an absolute right to know these things.
  6. Get amongst the people. You can’t be a very good representative from atop the ivory tower. Meet with your people often, listen to their opinions and grievances. You don’t have to have answers for them then and there, in fact I implore you to listen more than you talk. People want to be heard. As a representative of the Australian people you also need to get amongst all the people. Visit areas that have issues, see what you can do for them.
  7. Be honest in your interactions. Along the lines of Transparency. Don’t say one thing and do another. If you tell someone you’ll get back to them, get back to them. Own your mistakes.
  8. The future is your goal. Short term wins are not the focus. Too many MPs are there for their term and think only of the now. What will this get for me? Will this get me reelected? If there is a short term win that sacrifices a long-term plan, abandon the short term win for the long term goal.
  9. Understand your position ends when your time in parliament ends. There are no other employment positions where your benefits continue after you leave your place of employment. Work to end continuing entitlements that are beyond those other Australians receive for politicians after they leave office. Our former PMs have gone on to do million dollar speaking engagements, book deals, appointments to numerous boards; all while receiving a parliamentary pension and continuing entitlements for staff and travel. That’s all after a time of being some of the highest paid politicians in the world and receiving a bunch of entitlements while in office which likely saw them spending very little of the money they were receiving.
  10. Do no harm. It’s an all encompassing rule. A catch-all to round out our list. It’s not hard to be a good person. Be one.

It’s not a definitive list, it just came off the top of my head, I’m sure it can easily be improved, but I guess what I’m saying is it isn’t hard to not be an ass and I don’t know why our politicians seem to have a problem with it.

Politics Rants

Private Health is Piracy

A rant for today about Private Health, you know, the service we’re all made to sign up for by our government.

There’s a lot said about socialised medicine. The gist being it’s a burden on our society we can’t afford as a nation. The government that has just been returned to power is going to attempt further freezes on medicare services over the next few years, which will result in people being out of pocket for minor health services.

But here’s the rub… in a society that sees socialised medicine as a necessity, in the absence of a private health industry, the focus of the government would be on making and keeping people well. Money spent on preventative initiatives is money saved on procedures and services that won’t need to be done. Socialised medicine would be about making people well.

The Private Health Industry is about making as much profit as one can. Providing sub-standard or high-cost services at the expense of the patient. Premiums are paid which often do not cover the full cost of the services leaving the patient sometimes gaps to pay.

The private industry is about the premiums, they rise annually and sometimes quite a bit. Medibank Private (my fund) pat themselves on the back in their 2018 financial report for only increasing the premiums by 3.88%, but that 3.88% when it’s on a premium that has been increasing year on year represents a similar increase as the one back in 2001 when my premium was just $35 per month. On average, it seems, over the last 19 years it has increased by $5 per month per year.

These are for-profit companies, accountable to shareholders, high-paid CEOs and boards. Medibank Private in recent years reports a profit, after tax of about $535.6 million a year.

Medibank Private takes in over $6 BILLION a year in premiums. And they are just 26% of the market.

If instead of paying the premiums we pay for Private Health insurance, we paid more in taxes and supported our public health system I think we’d be much better off. 

There are 33 top-tier private health providers, four of which entered the market in the last three years. It seems strange we throw our money away as we do on services most of us don’t use.

I’d like to see a reform on Private Health, a removal of the requirement to have it, and better emphasis on making ourselves healthier and happier.

Of course there is a weird feedback loop in our society, that props up a lot of these forced industries… superannuation. It is often invested in these big ripoff industries like Health Insurance and Banking. But superannuation is a rant for another day… 🤭


Loss Leader

Saw an interesting post of twitter implying Clive Palmer may have been a Liberal shill this Election. The UAP ran with some solid US vs THEM messaging that is expected from Clive and his ilk, and wouldn’t be tolerated if it was directly done by any of the major parties as blatantly.

He spend a crapload of money (Some suggest more than $60,000,000) and ran candidates in all 151 electorates, something no other minor party came close to.

The belief being he’s done this to hand the fringe vote to the Lib/Nats and now asking what is he likely to get in return. Because if he was really after his own seats he would have picked fewer seats to contest and poured all that money into just those electorates he thought he might be able to win, but he didn’t do that… instead he ran in ALL electorates and handed his losing votes to the Liberal/National Coalition, handing them the election and no doubt creating a bunch of chits for him to cash in at a later date.

Let’s keep an eye on this one and see what comes Clive’s way over the next few years. 🤔


Election Woes

My poor brain is breaking trying to figure out why this election is so close! How are the coalition not being trounced. What did Labor do so wrong in Queensland?

Appears the United Australia Party and Pauline Hanson’s One Nation are helping the libs out.

I guess the ignorant fear campaigns still play well with voters in Australia. 😓

One positive, kind of, Tony Abbot is out. ABC called his seat for Steggall. It’s a loss but a win for Tony. As a former Prime Minister, he has a ticket to a cushy retirement. As a back-bencher (as he was going into this election) he would have been on around $220,000 a year. As a retired PM his pension is something like $350,000 + an Office + Staff + Travel… until he dies and all at the expense of the Australian people. No other job in the land works that way, where you keep getting paid after you’re out.


Election 2019 Update 3

16,424,248 electors enrolled to vote – 😳

I wonder what the informal vote count will be… ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

0.01% of polling places have counted first preferences.
0.02% of polling places have counted Two Candidate Preferred (TCP)


Election 2019 Update 2

37% of people voted before the election, either via postal vote or pre-polling. Crazy. 

In the last State election we postal voted, in this one we pre-voted. Makes so much more sense than joining the throng of folks on a cold autumn morning. 

We do of course miss out on our democracy sausage, so there is that down-side. I guess we could always duck down and grab on going around the queue of voters. Probably won’t though. :-P


Democracy Day 2019

I voted over a week ago, but if you haven’t yet, today is the day.

And if you’re voting today please remember a few of things:

  1. Your vote is important. Consider your candidates: On the big white paper, vote below the line, then you don’t have to care about who the candidates are giving their preferences to.
  2. If you’re voting where they’re serving democracy sausages buy one… you’ll likely be voting at a school, they need all the help with fund raising they can get. Buy a snag on some white bread, put a little tomato sauce on it… enjoy the taste of freedom, while putting a bit of coin in the pocket of your local polling place.
  3. Remember, this is not your only way to influence our political landscape. Once the election is over, even if it didn’t go the way you wanted, you have access to your local member, and every member of parliament. If you have an issue you’d like to share an opinion about write to them or call their office. It’s their job to represent you, even if you didn’t vote for them.

But Grains of Sand…

If you believe Alan Jones’ BS about our one grain of rice not making a difference, and if you’re thinking of voting for a party that doesn’t have a climate change policy or has a commitment to fossil fuels. Then don’t vote… your vote is just one in a pool of millions, how much of a difference can it make? 

Why be so stupid to think that your one little vote can make a difference given you think our addition to the CO2 emissions aren’t worth the worry?

You’re just one person, don’t vote, you can’t make a difference, the idea you can is just a hoax! – Or so Alan Jones would have you believe.

Instead of “It’s just one grain of rice” as if how could that do any harm… Jone’s response should have been… “How amazing and frightening that that one grain of rice is so incredibly dangerous.”

Meanwhile, don’t you love that his tie and pocket square match the set, and even the bowl they used blends in nicely! I’ve never watched Alan Jones on Sky News before, is it typical for the set to match is choice of accent colours?

Read more about it and see the video on The New Matilda