Queensland-based policy think tank the Australian Institute of Progress, has called for a truthful election campaign, saying the choices facing Queenslanders were too important to permit political fictions and misinformation.
AIP Executive Director Graham Young said the Institute was concerned about the political trend towards repeating false claims until they were accepted as the truth by the majority of voters.
“Repetition of untrue slogans on the basis that the more frequently and loudly they are repeated the more likely voters are to believe them to be true is not a democratic practice, and we call on the political parties to avoid it,” Mr Young said.
He said the decision to call the election for early in the new year, while many voters were not tuned in to the news agenda, obviously suited the government’s political needs but was not ideal timing for a sensible discussion of the issues facing Queensland.
“As a Queensland-based think tank the Australian Institute for Progress will seek to ensure that there is adequate discussion during the election of policies that contribute to progress in this state. This will involve policy advocacy, and also monitoring of claims made during campaigns by all participants, party political or otherwise.
“We are broadly in support of the government’s moves to pull expenses into line with income and reduce government debt to manageable proportions, and we will support policies which do this no matter which party promotes them. This is particularly important with Queensland being a resource-based state. Resources are cyclical and we need a budget robust enough to deal with that cycle.”
The AIP believes progress in Queensland depends on a continuing increase in gross state product. It also depends on this being translated into rising living standards for individuals. This partly depends on increasing the size of the economy, but it also involves increasing the share of the economy that accrues to citizens.
This can best be achieved by making government as efficient as possible so as to maximise services and minimise tax. It also means systems of governance where individuals and individual businesses are empowered to make their own decisions, and which are transparent and prevent non-state actors, such as some businesses and unions using unfair practices to increase prices.
It also means improving the sinews of social capital, particularly education, which has been failing Queensland students for decades. This impacts kids from poorer backgrounds worse than the better off.
Adoption of policies along these lines will automatically lead to an improvement in living standards and employment prospects and healthier and more vibrant communities and citizens.
In particular we believe that it is important that the state has a debate on these issues, and call on the political parties to conduct a clean election.
Key policies for the 2015 Queensland Election
- Budget repair, ensuring that operating income is greater than operating expenses and that debt is paid back from cashflow and sensible asset redeployment, including sales/leases of mature assets and those that can be better run by the non-government sector.
- Privatisation of the energy sector so that consumers enjoy lower prices and better services.
- Providing a better service by government for the same or less expenditure, particularly in areas like health, education, families and housing
- Concrete plans to increase numeracy and literacy rates, provide children with the content and research and analysis skills to adapt to any future cultural or employment environment, and an awareness and appreciation by children of their own culture. The most important welfare measure is a good education.
- Investment in infrastructure that will improve the quality of life for Queenslanders and increase efficiencies leading to greater productivity and state wealth.
- Solving the housing affordability problem.
- Enabling and promoting the industries where Queensland has a competitive advantage, specifically mining, agriculture and tourism.
- Renegotiating the federal compact so the state has access to adequate revenue to meet its commitments.
If all of the above are done, employment and incomes will increase while the cost of living will be held in check as much as possible.