t n e d u t S
Issue 2, 2014
The magazine of WA Young Labor Unity.
Luxury Conservatives How ‘family values’ have become all about the value of your family’s bank account. PLUS Senator Glenn Sterle vows to fight vicious Coalition budget cuts
Peter Tinley AM MLA on the importance of Unity values Young Aussies are footing the bill: AYL President Edward McDougall ‘Unity in The Community’ - WA Young Labor Unity’s social scene
In This Issue: Editor Mitchell Goff
Luxury Conservatives: How ‘family values’ have become all about the value of your family’s bank account. Page 3
Sub-Editor/Layout Coordinator Sally-Anne Curtain With many thanks to our contributors: Peter Tinley AM MLA Luke Walladge Senator Glenn Sterle Jesse Fleay Edward McDougall
Peter Tinley AM MLA discusses the importance of Unity values. Page 4 The Abbott Government is just a pack of rogue Young Liberals. Luke Walladge explains why. Page 5 Senator Glenn Sterle vows to fight to protect Labor - and Australian - values in the face of nasty budget cuts. Page 6 Reclaiming Society: An Affirmation of Unity by Jesse John Fleay. Page 6 Australian Young Labor President Edward McDougall explains how the Abbott Government is ripping off Young Australians. Page 7
Have a question for us? Contact Student Unity Magazine:
‘Unity In The Community’ - WA Young Labor Unity’s Social Scene Page 8
Facebook facebook.com/student.unity.magazine Email email@example.com Mitchell Goff firstname.lastname@example.org Sally-Anne Curtain email@example.com 2
Those Luxury Conservatives By Mitchell Goff Paul Keating once famously said, as perhaps only Paul Keating can, that Labor would not adopt the fantastic hypocrisy of the modern Liberal Party that preaches family values but legislates to lower their wages, conditions and working entitlements, and seeks to destroy the social safety net. Paul Keating and his predecessor Bob Hawke governed Australia during a period when those parties around the world which purported to wear the conservative colours were undergoing a rapid transformation from parties of families to parties of market extremism.
go as far as to fabricate a budget emergency just so they might make life harder for those of us who work to keep this country moving and our families safe and provided for. Where are those conservatives in the Liberal Party who claim to hold the banner for working families? Tony Abbott once opined that he was the greatest friend of Medicare and of working people and we quietly held out hope that he might put the brakes on the free-market extremism that now infects his Party. But that hope was misplaced.
Abbott has betrayed Australian families by slugging them with cuts to the Family Tax Benefits, ripping $7 out of the already During that period, Australia’s tight family budget to go and Liberals were out of power and see a doctor when their kids are out of ideas. Hawke and Keating sick, robbing their grandparents opened up the country while of the pension after a lifetime of protecting working people, leaving working and quietly paying taxes. their Tory opponents without a chance to wreak the havoc their We deserve better than to be policies did on other nations. But told that kids aren’t expensive as now they’re back, and now they they grow up, or that going to have their chance. the doctor’s is the same as having a middy and we should just get Nothing better encapsulates this over it, or that our grandparents transformation than the heinous squander their superannuation anti-family, anti-worker budget on cruises and caviar just so handed down by this cigar- they can qualify for the pension. chomping band of thieves headed by Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey. Whatever happened to these The Liberal Party has demonstrated preachers of values? Whatever they cannot be entrusted with the happened to dignity and fairness? interests of ordinary Australians Not even Cory Bernardi, that and that they are prepared to South Australian Liberal Senator 3
who poses as the last friend Australian conservatism has, could be depended on. He was quoted in media in recent days decrying the pathetic debt levy which requires the upper end of town pay a measly one-off payment that – as it turns out – is easily avoided upon retaining a pricey accountant. Not a word from Bernardi in defence of the attacks by these extremists on universal healthcare, on schools or on families. Bernardi is happy to see the system which destroyed our jobs during the Global Financial Crisis run your life forever. He is a traitor. Abbott, Hockey and Bernardi are luxury conservatives. They are happy to take your votes and dupe you into thinking that if they make a few key statements on some social issues that matter to no one that they’ll have your votes forever. They are luxury conservatives and ideological extremists. They will destroy our way of life. Labor will defend it.
Student Unity Magazine Editor, Mitchell Goff.
What Do We Stand For Anymore? – A Values Based Conversation
By Peter Tinley AM MLA
Sometimes for an organisation, answering the most basic of questions can be more challenging than solving the most complex contemporary problems. When I was in business I often found myself chasing opportunities presented by the market only to have them turn into costly cul-desacs. When analysing my losses I found in nearly every case that I had strayed from the core offering of my business. And so it is true with our party. As we seemingly grope around in the dark for relevance to a changing electorate we risk going down policy cul-de-sacs, and then blaming our organisational structures. The harder question to answer is the one posed by branch members from time to time; “What do we stand for?” As an elected member of the Party I find this a very challenging question by itself but I absolutely despair when I hear; “I don’t know what we stand for anymore”, as if to say; “I used to know, but now I don’t”. The fact is that we haven’t lost our way or “don’t know what we stand for anymore” - we have simply stopped asking that very question of ourselves. I was recently invited by the North Perth Branch to facilitate a values workshop alongside Vicky Burrows, a strong Young Labor activist. This wasn’t a meeting about policy or party rules, it was simply a facilitated discussion on Labor values and how we live them. Yes, policy was discussed but only to understand the application of our values. But which values
are more important than others? This occupied the majority of our workshop time because it was the contradiction of values that challenged us when one value was turned from virtue to villain in different policy contexts, such as mandatory sentencing and asylum seeker policy. But the fact is that everyone who participated in our workshop was clearer about our values only because we talked about it.
is all you need to convince you that Phyrric victories in an empty chamber late at night are a poor substitute for government. Therefore a statement of purpose is an essential extension of our values to form a practical guide for an agenda of government through to 2017. So what would I propose for such a statement? There is nothing more authentic or consistent than the one purpose the industrial and political wing of the Labor movement has advanced for the last Of course the application of values 123 years, that is; social mobility is never clear and always dependent through economic opportunity. on circumstance, but how and when do we compromise? These This statement is richly laden fundamental conversations are so in values and hard economic important to our organisation for practicality to deliver the modern no other reason than to reinforce version of pathways out of two things; we are a movement and poverty. Admittedly the modern not a “brand” to be spun, managed fight is not as clear as it was when and relaunched from time to time we were fighting for minimum and secondly; we are a party of wages and reasonable hours, but government. A movement requires the opportunity for ordinary values-based conversations at the Western Australians is no less core of every policy choice and dramatic. Western Australia is the the second requires us to carefully most trade-exposed state in the compromise to ensure we occupy federation. Our reliance on export the government benches at some of raw commodities along with our point. This is not to say that we will emergence as the second largest do anything to get elected to then global supplier of LNG makes us have our credibility destroyed in a truly internationalised economy. government as Tony Abbott is fast The fight now moves to ensuring coming to realise. Consistency is the standard of living we, and our essential, in my view, to ensure we parents’ generation enjoyed, can be are authentic in what we say and passed on to successive generations. do from opposition to government And as our traditional industries and this is where values need to contract through participation in translate to a statement of purpose. the international economy we need to show that other great Australian Our movement is at its best when value of courage and undertake it values the opportunity to govern reform in the way we think. This over self-righteous indignation means more challenges - not less from the moralising far left such for our party, and if we’re prepared as the Greens party. The smallest to talk about it then that is a amount of time in opposition perfectly acceptable place to be. 4
The Abbott Government: Just a pack of rogue Young Liberals
By Luke Walladge
Have you watched the recent Federal Government antics and thought, what the f**k is wrong with these people? Well, the answer’s very simple. The problem with the current Liberal Government is that it’s largely controlled by people who used to be Young Liberals. Tony Abbott’s university exploits were legendarily offensive even by the standards of 1979. Christopher Pyne made a nuisance of himself at Adelaide University not long before he started making a nuisance of himself in Federal Parliament. Joe Hockey was a student protestor who, ironically, now hides from them and their fearsome rhyming chants. And as anyone who’s ever dealt with a Young Liberal will tell you, these people can be incredibly nasty, petty and vindictive. Who else but a juvenile sort of Tory, trapped in a timewarp from their university student days, would think it a worthwhile use of taxpayers funds to rake over the history of the ‘pink batts’ scheme? While it’s indeed tragic that four young men died installing roof insulation, the sight of the self-proclaimed party of personal responsibility using these tragic events as political ammunition to fire at the corpse of Kevin Rudd’s Labor government is just sickening. Left ignored were the transport industry’s 73 deaths last year alone, or the more than fifty deaths in the construction industry. No, when given the levers of power these overgrown Young Liberals thought it a great lark to blow millions on a partisan trolling exercise. So it’s hardly surprising that this first Abbott Liberal Budget is a grab-bag of motions from a Young Liberal National Conference circa 1996, right in between speeches on abolishing the poor and lowering tax rates on Daddy’s BMW. Regulated university fees and equal access to education?
Going down. The retirement age? Going up. The principle of universal healthcare? Gone like a bullet leaving a gun… and never mind all the claims that the fee is only $7. Being told the bullet was only a small one isn’t any comfort if you’ve been shot through the head. Make no mistake. This Budget is not just a big folder full of numbers – it is a political attack on the working people of Australia. This is the Budget the Liberal Party have wanted for 30 years. They tried to abolish Medicare in the 1980s, they tried to dismantle the social safety net with Hewson in 1993. They wanted a more regressive GST in 1998 and they’ve always, always wanted to smash the union movement by fair means or foul. And since you can’t do that in a Budget, what’s better than yet another Royal Commission for that one as well? And like that Royal Commission it’s a Budget based on exaggeration and deceit. “Budget crisis”? “Debt and deficit”? Australia’s debt is one-seventh of the level of other countries in the G20. Australian debt is rated AAA, showing there is no market concern whatsoever about our ability to pay back our credit card. And had we followed the Liberal prescription during the GFC we’d be in recession with high unemployment, low economic growth, falling government revenue and huge demand for government services… leading to, you guessed it, an even bigger deficit. Young Liberals in charge, indeed. If it wasn’t so serious, nobody would take them seriously. The atrocity of this sado-Thatcherist Budget was compounded by - on the very day it was about to be handed down - the Labor Left’s Melissa Parke moving a Caucus motion on offshore processing of refugees.
Leaving aside the fact that refugee issues are the third rail of Labor issues (you touch it, you die), the distraction from what Kim Beazley would have called “kitchen table” politics on a very bad day for the Liberals only went to prove that, as ever, the concerns of the Left are abstracted from the concerns of ordinary Australian people. The battleground of this Budget, of the next two years and of the next Federal election whenever it is held will be these areas. Health, education, rights at work and whether it‘s Australian to have a fair society of equal opportunity or a user-pays system that benefits only those who’ve worked hard, been smart and earned themselves a rich parent or two from birth. Are you with us, are you with them or with the irrelevant people on the sidelines spouting lines that let down the side?
Defending the Aussie way of life By Senator Glenn Sterle
Tony Abbott and the Liberal party have given us a chance to Many Australians were shocked at reengage with the Australian the vicious cuts by Tony Abbott’s people and remind them that it was Government in the recent Federal Labor who created Medicare and Budget; I wasn’t. Superannuation; who fought for the reasonable wages and conditions Having opposed Tony Abbott and that Australians now enjoy. his Liberal ideologues for many years as a Labor member, union Australians everywhere will feel organiser and now as a Senator, the pain of Tony Abbott’s broken I am not surprised at the vicious promises through the GP Tax and way in which they hit the poorest the increase in the Fuel Tax, and parts of Australian community the increase in the pension age to the hardest, while protecting their mates at the big end of town. This has always been the Liberal strategy, but now it has finally been laid bare to the Australian people in the most callous way. By Jesse John Fleay
70 to name just a few of the harsh measures of this budget. My commitment to you as a Labor Senator is that I will oppose Abbott’s brutal budget cuts and new taxes at every stage. I will speak against them at every opportunity. I will make sure that Tony Abbott and the Coalition are reminded at every turn that they cannot break a promise to the Australian people without suffering the consequences. I hope you will too.
Reclaiming Society: An Affirmation of Unity
The Australian Labor Party must rise on behalf of the Australian people and fight this ideology at every step. Labor Members of Parliament will play their part through opposing this terrible budget, and we know that Labor party members will play their role as well. I encourage you to be active members of the Labor party. Attend party meetings and speak your mind. Speak to your family and friends about the terrible effect this budget will have on them. For too long now the ALP has been talking about issues that do not resonate with traditional Labor voters and because we know longer appear to care about the challenges they face, they no longer feel that we are the party to represent them.
Australia has, for generations, been known by many names: the lucky country, the clever country and the ‘land of the fair go’ to name a few. As we head into the middle of 2014, we are faced with a social dilemma; a deeply concerning wave of monetarism is rearing its ugly head and our way of life is threatened by legislative vandals. We face high levels of unemployment in the name of neo-liberalism, we face social decay with the excuse of savings and we face a loss of many rights enjoyed by employees with the excuse of a need for ‘improved productivity’.
The 2014 Australian Federal Budget is anarchy in practice; it strips away Australia’s social cohesion and anatomy, it denies the instrument and the constitutional purpose of This is an opportunity to change the Commonwealth, overburdening that. This is an opportunity to the States and Territories with win back the hearts and minds of financial responsibilities on an the traditional Labor faithful by unprecedented scale. If politics were speaking to them about the issues an AFL season, Team Abbott would that have always been at Labor’s have been disqualified. If Team hear: Jobs, Healthcare, Education - Abbott was not disqualified, it would have torn itself apart before the first but most of all, Fairness. 6
match. There is no teamwork in the politics of the selfish. If Labor is to succeed in the future, then it must adopt a new affirmation; an affirmation of unity. A builder cannot make bricks without clay, nor can a farmer plant crops without seed. Society cannot function without values and unity is the all-encompassing value that binds all other values; unity will lead us through this current wilderness and into the promise land. Those who have denied the worth of society have always impacted negatively upon it, whereas those who have affirmed the strength and the rhythm of society have always maintained and advanced the structure of its institutions; those are the peacemakers and they are blessed, those are the guards of democracy, which in itself resides at the very heart of the Labour Movement. Unity of labour is the hope of the world; it will forever remain the light on the hill, as it guides generations of Australians upwards, toward their destinies.
Young Australians: Footing the Abbott Government’s bill
By Edward McDougall
There will be no new taxes or tax rises, no cuts to health, no cuts to education and no changes to university fees. These were the promises the Abbott Liberal Government took to the election, the mantra that saw Tony Abbott receive record youth support swinging towards the conservative side of politics when we all went to the polls last year. in their family, through Bob Hawke’s HECS reforms of the 90’s. After the release of the budget this May, it has become abundantly clear With the introduction of university just how loosely the term ‘promise’ deregulation, Tony Abbott will be was used by the Liberals, and just remembered for a very different how little the support of Australia’s reason, as the Prime Minister who youth meant to Joe Hockey when dismantled our university sector the time came to pull out the axe. and restricted the well-rounded education that both he and Joe It has been a long-held value of Hockey were able to enjoy as Australians that we should ensure Australian citizens to the wealthy that each generation can enjoy elite. the same benefits as the last, that every child deserves a decent Already, Australia’s leading start in life, to grow into a happy, universities have been discussing healthy person with opportunities fee structures under Liberal to live the Australian dream and deregulation that would see costs contribute to our great nation. for students skyrocketing to more than $100,000 per year, well out Young Australians are soon going of the reach of almost every young to find that this dream is a fantasy Australian today. as they struggle to deal with the new burdens placed upon them HECS-HELP debts are taking in Abbott’s brave new world of young people an average of a cuts, fees and tax hikes - levied decade to repay already, so it seems disproportionately against the like a final nasty kick in the teeth young and disadvantaged. on top of these reforms to jack up interest rates on these loans at the As a nation, we take great pride in same time. our tertiary education system, and rightfully so. There are those who Many Australian students are matured in the 70’s and 80’s who already living below the poverty enjoyed Gough Whitlam’s free, line, and things are only going to merit-based university system. get harder with the vicious cuts There are the many millions more to youth allowance, the new ‘GP who were able to access university tax’, increases to petrol excise and education, often as the first person perhaps most ridiculously, the 7
punitive new regime for Newstart payments for those under 30. Now that unemployed under 30 year olds are required to wait six months before they receive any form of Government payment after losing their job, we can expect a drastic rise in youth homelessness around the corner. Within the twisted thinking that has formed these cuts, it is hard to imagine what Joe and Tony expect of a 28 year old who is living paycheck to paycheck and finds themselves between jobs. I suppose they should go and live under a bridge until market forces correct their situation. Forget robbing Peter to pay Paul, this is Paul spending his kids’ school fees to buy a shiny new boat, or a fighter jet as the case may be. So if you’re a young person living in Australia you had better sit back and hold on tight - it’s going to be a bumpy ride under Abbott’s Liberals. If Joe Hockey and Tony Abbott want to keep the support of the younger generation of voters who put them into office, they need to do more than light up a celebratory cigar after this cruel, unfair budget.
Left: Convenor Michael Quinn, AYL Junior Vice President Mitchell Goff and Adelaide Kidson representing WA at the 2014 AYL Conference in Canberra. Below: Enjoying a great afternoon of lawn bowls at WAYLU’s first event for 2014.
WA Young Labor Unity ‘Unity In The Community’ Left: Celebrating Labor’s proud union heritage at May Day.
Above: WAYLU’s first ever O-Day stall at Curtin University. Left: With Senator-Elect Joe Bullock supporting the ‘Save Our Medicare’ rally in Fremantle earlier this year.