These are just rambling thoughts as I’ve come across topics in the last few days, in no particular order or coherence. They are making me think about who to vote for this time around. I may add to these thoughts, as I’m still thinking about some of them.
National Broadband Network
I really like the idea of investing in something that will provide infrastructure that might last into the next century. It offers the opportunity to provide all sorts of new ways of doing things that could change rural Australia relieving the living pressures on the major cities. It also replaces/improves basic telephonic infrastructure that was required anyway. (And copper is more useful in other things, rather than stuck under the ground
It’s going to take a long time (in political time) to connect everyone.
Not every one realises why physical connections are more secure and capable of even faster speeds (as the technology improves) than wireless connections can provide.
I get really annoyed when the Shadow Minister apparently finds it acceptable to invest in France’s FTTP network, but thinks his fellow Australians don’t deserve a similar service!
Some business plans will profit, some will not, and the intervening period will be painful (again)
lt should provide something like a third-party insurance in case of accident or misfortune. Considering how swiftly disaster can strike leaving an individual with life-long debilitating conditions through no fault of their own, knowing that financial support for housing or equipment to make that life more livable does make sense.
It also makes sense from a particularly Australian egalitarian perspective that we look out for each other. A national peculiarity of which I am particularly fond.
Not yet fully funded.
Not yet rolled out across all Australia.
Very vulnerable to ideological destruction at this stage of its development.
School Funding Reform
Making more money available for primary education and early childhood education is a good thing.
Providing money for non university and life long education is also a good thing, but l think that various business sectors should also invest in more trade training too.
Cutting funding to universities is not necessarily a long term thing, and it would seem some universities are taking the opportunity to up prices and student numbers while cutting teaching and support staff and reducing the quality available (but that has gone on for a while, the Gonski proposals have just made it more visible).
There doesn’t seem to be any provision for means testing so that the money can be directed to the schools where it will be the most needed.
The current “Gonski proposals” are also being used as an ideological bludgeon by both ALP and LNP governments to wring more for their favoured education style. The ALP seems to want a more centralised curriculum, the LNP states want the money but not the direction.
(Which reminds me: how many LNP politicians objected to the BER, yet cut the ribbon on the buildings that it paid for?)
The LNP, or more specifically the Liberals, have a policy of returning control of schools to local communities. A procedure in the US and the UK that has led to a lowering of literacy and numeracy and a return to the small-minded education that I remember from books on the history of education as being of use to the servant classes.
Paid Parental Leave
I’m conflicted on this one. Partly because it wasn’t available when my children were born, although we did get a child endowment that helped when they were small. We made the choice that Mum would stay home, my sibling chose that Dad would stay home, but we both chose to manage on a single income. So it is worrisome to think that current young parents seem unable to cope with those choices.
I think of all the policies that been proposed, this one is really only half-baked.
1) Because once the baby is big enough, and the parent needs to go back to work, where do the babies get parked until the work-day is done?
There are insufficient current resources for child care and the cost is getting positively ridiculous! What profits a family if both parents are working, yet the child-care costs are more than either of their incomes? They would be better off just dropping down to one income and provide the labour. Essentially that’s what we did, but then, things were a lot less expensive then!
2) Alternate visions of PPL are on offer, but while the ALP version is already operating and not particularly costing too much, the LNP’s has been questioned quite heavily by the very people who could benefit most from it (and the whole idea of taxing big companies to pay for the PPL of “women of calibre” is just so … let’s say big business don’t seem overly impressed either).