Two very different visions for Australia put to federal election candidates

The election is only a few weeks away. Source: AAP

The IPA is lobbying politicians and candidates to support selling the ABC, withdrawing from the Paris Climate Agreement and repeal 18C, while the Grattan Institute has laid out a very different agenda.

Selling the ABC, withdrawing from the Paris climate deal and increasing the number of politicians versus introducing universal dental care, tackling homelessness and scrapping measures to shift migrants to regional areas.

These are some of the ideas laid out in two vastly different visions for Australia released ahead of the federal election.

Influential think tanks the Institute of Public Affairs and the Grattan Institute are lobbying politicians and candidates and attempting to spark debate during the campaign.

ABC Chair Designate Ita Buttrose and Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
Ita Buttrose is the new chair of the ABC, but the IPA says new leadership is not the answer.

In its “20 policies to fix Australia”, the IPA recommends privatising the ABC which it says is “beyond reform”.

“New leaders will not fix the problem, regardless of their experience or intention,” the document distributed to all parliamentarians since the election was called last week.  

It calls for a royal commission into the Bureau of Meteorology’s climate data accusing the bureau of tampering with temperature and climate data.

The think tank also wants Australia to withdraw from the Paris Agreement which aims to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

The IPA argues that Australia’s Paris commitment to reduce emissions by 26-28 per cent by 2030 will substantially increase the cost of electricity.

The influential body has had success with its lobbying efforts in the past.

As opposition leader, Tony Abbott supported the repeal of 18C of the discrimination act and after he was dumped as prime minister he advocated for Australia to follow Donald Trump’s lead and withdraw from the Paris agreement.

Some of its other radical proposals include doubling the size of the 151-seat House of Representatives, while reducing the number of ministers, and implement a flat income tax system.

‘Do less, deliver more’

The Grattan Institute is urging the next federal government to “choose to do less, but deliver more”.

Its “Commonwealth Orange Book” has found Australians’ living standards have stagnated and political parties have shirked the need for economic reform.

On health, the independent think tank names a universal dental care scheme as a priority so all Australians can go to the dentist and a review of private health insurance.

dental care
The Grattan Institute are lobbying politicians to support universal dental care.

It calls for a reduction in income tax and adjustments to the welfare and childcare means tests to encourage more women and older people back into the workforce.

On population policy, the Grattan Institute suggests plans to shift more migrants from capital cities to the regions is a “dangerous fantasy” and urges the government to instead focus on meeting the demand in the cities.

The report also finds there is a crisis of trust when it comes to Australia’s political system.

“Australian cynicism is now at an all-time high ... Widespread loss of trust can make legislating policy change more complex because it is harder for governments without political capital to enact ‘difficult but necessary’ reforms,” the report states.

“While there are many causes of falling trust and exasperation with the political establishment, one is the growing sense that people in government look after their own interests, or those of powerful groups, rather than the public interest.”

The institute said the decline in trust could be stemmed by reforming the way political parties are funded and introducing a Commonwealth integrity commission.  

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