Policy Positions

Below are some of the policies about which I am most passionate. There are many more and I am happy to discuss them with you. We will be holding public fora and you are welcome to get in touch via our contact page. 

Climate 

Australia has played politics with climate change for 15 years, failing future generations, wasting economic opportunities and entrenching our reputation on the world stage as a spoiler and a freeloader.   

 

I commit to:

  • Adopt targets of 75% reduction in emissions by 2030 and Net Zero by 2050; 

  • Adopt the International Energy Agency recommendations of no new coal mines or mine extensions and no new gasfield exploration and drilling; 

  • Stop payment of subsidies to the fossil fuel industry via R&D grants, tax concessions or provision of dedicated infrastructure such as in-land rail; 

  • Support the wholesale electrification of the economy fueled by renewable power generation; 

  • Support the development of clean hydrogen for economic activity where direct electrification is technologically challenging or financially prohibitive; 

  • Establish a Just Transition Commission to ensure an equitable transition to a decarbonised economy with a focus on development of clean energy hubs in regional Australia;  

  • Establish an independent Climate Authority to monitor progress against our commitments; 

 

 

 

Integrity 

Integrity in politics is paramount. Without strong leaders committed to doing the right things for the right reasons, we are doomed. Careful considered policy positions dictated by facts and evidence – why is that even the slightest bit controversial? And yet it seems almost radical in Australian politics today.  

I commit to: 

  • Supporting a rigorous National Integrity Commission; 

  • Transparent policy development; 

  • Promoting open and accountable Government; 

  • Arms-length appointment of key Government roles, particularly in independent and quasi-judicial bodies; 

  • Strengthening of whistleblower protections and the immediate discontinuation of prosecutions against Bernard Collaery, David McBride and Richard Boyle; 

  • Ongoing and open dialogue with the Boothby community; 

Health Care

Whilst we have always known the vital role that our frontline workers play in protecting us from illness and nursing us back to health, COVID has reinforced it. It has also shown the risks we face if we refuse to remunerate these critical workers appropriately.  

 

I commit to:

  • Uphold the principle of equal access to healthcare for all Australians regardless of background, geographical location and financial position;

  • Inclusion of dental care in Medicare;

  • Greater investment in mental health services;

  • Greater investment in preventative health, including resourcing GPs to allow them to deliver a broad array of screening and diagnostic tools.

  • Greater investment in drug rehabilitation services;

  • Greater integration of services between federal and state systems, and different types of health services, including general and mental health services, disability services and aged care.

  • Increased pay and improved conditions for frontline health workers.;

  • Strengthening of Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme;

Aged Care

Our Aged Care system was in crisis before COVID. Now it borders on collapse. I support an immediate implementation of the key recommendations from the Royal Commission in the timeframe it outlines including:

  • Embrace of central “universal right to high quality, safe and timely support” with an end to the rationing of care;

  • Better coordination of the system to integrate all disparate elements including residential, home and respite care, which would flow from a new streamlined and empowered Governance structure;

  • Increasing pay of workers through supporting the Health Services Union and the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation’s case before the Fair Work Commission to increase the pay of aged care workers;

  • Mandating minimum staffing requirements within facilities;

  • National registration of aged care workers;

  • Greater investment in Home Care Packages to ensure maximum waiting period of one month from the time of approval;

Given that so many of the problems in Aged Care are more acute in privatised Federally funded facilities, I believe the time has also come to examine whether the fundamental economic underpinnings of our system and whether it best serves the community.

Economy 

A strong and just economy values everyone’s contribution and stimulates equitable and sustainable growth. 

 

I commit to: 

  • Repeal of the Stage 3 tax cuts that undermine our progressive taxation system and result in a deterioration of our budget position by $19b per year at a time of increasing demand for services and skyrocketing debt; 

  • Development of a wages policy that stimulates wages growth to above inflation levels, including lifting the wages cap on public service wages and bringing workers in the gig economy into the Award system; 

  • Immediate increase of JobSeeker to $450 per week while undertaking an urgent review of level of wider welfare payments and mutual obligation requirements; 

  • Promote housing affordability by investment in public housing and removal of distortions in the housing market. 

  • Support for small businesses impacted by COVID. 

 

Gender Equity 

2021 was a year when women said “enough!”. We will no longer accept the constant fear of harassment, violence and abuse. We will no longer accept gendered employment and industrial structures that see women’s contribution to the workforce and care economy undervalued and underpaid.   

 

I commit to:

  • Implementation of all recommendations of the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission’s Respect@Work report; 

  • Implementation of all recommendations of the Set the Standard report; 

  • Provision of affordable and flexible childcare to maximise female participation in the workforce; 

  • Valuing of and supporting pay increases for female dominated industries; 

  • Appropriate funding of initiatives against domestic violence and discrimination. 

Uluru Statement from the Heart

Constitutional recognition of our First Nations peoples is long overdue.  In May 2017 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people reached a consensus position on their preferred way forward, a position now embodied in the Uluru Statement from the Heart.   This followed one of the most rigorous consultation processes in Australian history via the two year First Nations Regional Dialogues.

 

The Uluru Statement calls for structural reform including constitutional change. It advocates for the following in the following order:-

  • a referendum on a Voice to Parliament (Voice);

  • the establishment of a Makarrata Commission to supervise a process of agreement-making (Treaty) and truth-telling (Truth).

 

Voice, Treaty and Truth provide a clear and practical path forward for First Nations’ self-determination in accordance with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.  I support them wholeheartedly.  

More information on the Uluru Statement can be found here.

You can also hear Megan Davis and Tommy Mayor discuss it here on a panel I programmed for my 2020 Adelaide Writers' Week.

Refugees 

We lost our moral compass on refugee policy years ago. It is time to restore sanity and humanity to our approach, and shoulder our responsibilities in our region, particularly as the world is likely to see an upsurge in climate-impacted refugees in the near future that will require international cooperation. 

 

I commit to:

  • Conversion of temporary protection visas to permanent residency visas; 

  • Authorise transfer of asylum seekers still on Manus Island and Nauru to New Zealand as per NZ’s long-standing offer of resettlement; 

  • Provision of community bridging visas to all refugees currently held in hotel and other alternative detention facilities within Australia; 

  • Fast tracking of claims for those asylum seekers in detention in Australia; 

  • Negotiation and cooperation on future policy with our neighbours to ensure effective and efficient processing of asylum seeker claims in our region and avoidance of dangerous boat journeys. 

The Arts

As an arts worker of over 20 years who has worked across theatre, film, contemporary dance, festivals and literature, this is an area in which I am passionately invested. 

 

Whilst conventional wisdom is that money isn’t the answer for everything, after years of neglect and punitive funding cuts, money is an answer for a lot of the arts sector’s woes.  Of particular importance is ensuring that artists themselves – the original gig workers – are better supported.

 

The Federal Government needs to back Australian culture, stories and artists.   This will lead to a greater breadth of offerings for Australian audiences and more Australian jobs.

 

I support the development of a National Cultural Policy.  Policy positions that I believe should be central to this include:-

 

1. A recognition of the centrality of artists in the sector and remunerate accordingly:

  • Adopt of a pilot on the Universal Basic Income model currently being trialled in Ireland and variations of which have been in operation in France, Belgium and the Netherlands;

  • Additional investment in the Australia Council for programs that support individual artists, including an expansion of the Fellowships program;

  • Consultation with Australia Council on a policy that all multi-year funded organisations are required to direct an agreed percentage of their turnover on artists, which, for organisations with turnovers above an agreed amount, should include salaried artists;

  • Ensure intellectual property income is maximised, protected and future proofed so it can be appropriately drawn from all technologies.

 

2. Increase support for our major cultural organisations:

  • Abolishing the “efficiency dividend” on major cultural institutions;

  • Increase funding to major collecting institutions by $100m ;

  • Increase in Australia Council funding to allow multi-year funding for 200 companies in the small to medium sector, up from the current 95.

 

3. Support our screen culture:

  • Implement a quota of 20% for local content on streaming services;

  • Increase Screen Australia’s core funding to allow a doubling of investment in screen projects and additional support for distribution and marketing costs;

  • Restoration of funding for the ABC and SBS;

 

4. Boost the accessibility of arts for all

  • Mandate and fund a minimum amount of arts education for all primary school students through the Commonwealth state schools funding agreements;

  • Maintain the Regional Arts Fund at COVID levels of $20m pa;

  • In conjunction with Local Government-funded performing arts centres in regional and outer metropolitan, support demand-driven access to national regional touring funding.

 

5. Drive better coordination between all tiers of Government, particularly state and Commonwealth, and between different Departments of Government, including Education and Foreign Affairs.

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