Last Thursday was ANZAC Day, which should be a time to take stock of what is important and to remember the ultimate sacrifice that so many individuals have made for our country’s cause. This reflection triggered for me thoughts on why our country has fought the wars it has fought. We as Australians believe in the fair go. Personally, I believe the fair go we often refer to means opportunity and opportunity for all.
I believe this opportunity is created by the individual through hard work and ingenuity and cannot be forced by government. Ingenuity is the key to success and should be rewarded. Ingenuity which leads to a scientific breakthrough, a technological advancement, should be just as valued as that which leads to a company posting record profits.
The best environment for this to occur is a free society where individuals have the freedom to explore any avenue of thought they desire, provided it does not adversely affect others. This should be the ultimate goal of the law and, with this in mind, it is hard to see how many of the overburdening laws become law in this place. I believe this philosophy was at the heart of why we fought in the two great wars of the 20th century.
It should be what continues to underpin our society, and our governments should be reflective of that; unfortunately, it is not what I see today. As individuals and as families, which are the building blocks of our society, our goal should be to give each other the best opportunity through our education and health to live prosperous lives.
Our financial and personal security underpin this, and this is where we rely on government. We are lucky enough in Australia to have free education and basic health care. These things should be guaranteed, but it should be expected that anything beyond basics should be paid for by the individual and what they decide as necessary will exist. For example, private schooling exists for this purpose, and there are waiting lists for non-essential surgery unless paid for through private health care.
Education standards have dropped in this state, leading to more and more parents investing in private schooling for their children, yet taxes have continued to rise. One would think that higher taxes would lead to better standards in education and health; however, those in the public system continue to wait and wait.
Personal security is another issue. We were promised more police and action on bikie gangs, yet there are just as many shootings as there were before. Has this increase in taxes led to better services? The answer is no, and this is why any rhetoric or spruiking from state or federal Labor governments borders on the fraudulent.
Labor governments preoccupied with the day-to-day news cycle, poll-driven electoral pressure and general incompetence has seen an unprecedented increase in government spending. The standard excuse is that it is the government’s job to invest when the private sector will not. I ask the question: is it? What incentive does the private sector have to invest if the government is doing it for them? What incentive do they have if the government insists on increasing taxes in order to fund the very projects they are usurping from the private sector?
This sort of spending only artificially props up the industry, as when the projects are completed there is nothing to build, yet the stifling economic conditions still remain. The commonwealth is no better. Indirect taxes on wealth and job-creating industries, such as the carbon and mining taxes, while uneconomic kowtowing to the so-called working families who have abandoned Labor in the polls; increasing the tax-free threshold, coupled with increasing taxes for those in the middle brackets; and now the introduction of the Medicare levy, are harming the very working families they say they are protecting.
There are two projects that stand out to me, the Building the Education Revolution by the commonwealth and the Royal Adelaide Hospital at state level. Traditionally, these two projects would be under the mandate of government. However, they were executed so poorly that they have become more of a burden than a benefit to the people who funded them. The school halls, which public servants forced upon schools across the country, were a travesty. According to many reports at least $1.5 billion was squandered largely through administration and set-up costs.
The new Royal Adelaide Hospital will cost the South Australian taxpayer $400 million every year for 30 years, and that is before we fund the doctors and nurses and the actual healthcare costs that we need to run it. The reality is that if these Labor governments did not spend so much on projects non-essential to their mandate they would have more than enough money to fund its costs and have plenty to return to the individual and to private enterprise which have kept this country running up to this point and which have made us one of the most prosperous countries in the world.