Julie Peters

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Speech and policy debate at Northcote Town Hall organised by Darebin People's Action: 26 Feb 1996

Speech - Northcote Town Hall

Julie Peters

Preamble

I'm Julie Peters, the Australian Democrats candidate for Batman.

I was born in Alexandra, Victoria in 1951; I'm the eldest of nine children.

Bought up in Port Melbourne, Broadmeadows and even went to school in Northcote for a short time.

I have a BSc majoring in Genetics with an eclectic group of other subjects.

Australia Used to be the Lucky Country

It tried to become the clever country, missed the boat and became the greedy, short sighted country.

In 1972 I thought we were on the road to Utopia

  • we had full employment
  • we stopped conscription
  • we pulled out of Viet Nam
  • university education became free
  • we had universal health care

We worked hard.
We all thought that by the 1990s we would have all that AND MORE: a shorter working week; and fullfilling lives for all.

So what went wrong?

Australia is still the richest country in the world per head of population.
look at the poverty in Batman
48% of households earn less than $30,000 a year.
Look at the unemployment - 16% - twice the national average
youth unemployment well over 30%

Australian companies are making record profits, most of which goes overseas.

The environment is being daily degraded.
Pollution levels are the highest ever.

Politicians are no longer accountable to the people. Paul Keating handed Batman to Martin Ferguson on a platter. And Martin doesn't even have the decency to turn up here tonight. What ever happened to Representative Government??

I'll tell you what went wrong

Profits became more important than people and the environment.

Hawke, Hewson, Keating, Howard all joined the queue to follow Reagan and Thatcher.

Profits! Profits! Profits!

Whatever became of Social Justice, the Environment and Accountability?

(Pause)
They are starting to find a bug in their Economic Rationalist Model - People!
People who want a decent life - not a greedy life.
3000 years age Lao Tse said: "He who knows he has enough is rich"

Social Justice! Environment! Accountability!

These are not just 3 Democrat Policies. All Democrat policies are Socially Just! Environmentally sound! and Accountable to the people!!

All Australian Democrats can vote on policy and Democrats Candidates are allowed a view different to the party.

In the 90s we have high Unemployment / poverty / homelessness and poor education

Who privatised parts of all fo 28 Government departments? - Keating and Kennett

Who sacked thousands of workers? - Keating and Kennett

Who is removing tariffs indiscriminately, destroying Australian industry? - Keating.

Who is selling off our rich environmental heritage at bargain basement prices?

Who has created high unemployment to keep wage inflation down?

In Melbourne last week I met an eight year old girl begging for money. She was filthy; her eyes were glased over. - This isn't the Australia I want

Some Australians have become very rich

The MAJORITY of Australians are MUCH poorer. The trickle down effect is a bucket full of KEATING KENNETT.

We demand trickle up!

We demand not one Australian living in poverty and then the wealth can trickle up to those who work harder.

The Australian Democrats favor a sustainable economy.

Unlike the greedy Liberal/Labor coalition machinery our economic indicators include.

  • how many people are unemployed
  • how many people are living below the poverty line
  • how much we have degraded the environment

The COMPETITION POLICY which led to all the privatisation works very well to make the rich richer and destroy the environment. Fred Himler ... sorry ... Fred Hilmer, its author is now on the board of Pacific Power.

Competition Policy - Liberal/Labor for - Democrat/Green against

I'm a union delegate and many members of my union are very much against privatisation. We were silenced by Martin Ferguson's ACTU.

Competition between two football teams can inspire higher performance. But the quality that gives the best performance within a team is CO-OPERATION. Surely this is the quality we need to get the best performance from within Australia - and not Competition!

Keating with Liberal support even got the Industry Commission to assess the effectiveness of community welfare groups using Economic Rationalist criteria. - TOTALLY INAPPROPRIATE!

Democrat Concerns with Liberal/Labor Policy

Education

Australia's education spending is now below the OECD average - Is this the clever country? - Education is not a cost - Education is an investment in our future; our children's future.

The Democrats believe every Australian should have access to well-resourced, quality, free, public education at all levels - pre-school, primary, secondary, TAFE and University - NO FEES FOR DEGREES!

Paul Keating and Jeff Kennett know which side their bread is buttered on. Keep education away from the poor, give them gambling, pay TV adn the Grand Prix. Keep them in ignorance. Lack of funding for education entrenches the difference between the rich and the poor.

Industrial Relations

The Australian Democrats support the award system of the Industrial Relations Commission that ensures fair outcomes while allowing employers and employees who want to engage in the fair and productive enterprise bargaining to do so. But we don't want to loose the IRC as umpire if there are disputes.

Health and Community Services

... are seen as costs and not responsibities by the Liberal/Labor coalition. The Democrats strongly support Medicare, a strong Public Health Sector and funding for those in need of mental health support. And we support increased funding to give all Australians quality community services.

Public Housing

All Australians have the right to accessible, safe, appropriate and affordable housing. Under Ralph Willis, the Minister for Homelessness and Poverty, we've seen a 40% decrease in public housing and a hugh growth in waiting lists. Private rental assistance has increased 350%. The money would be far more efficiently spent on public housing.

Revitalising Small Business

We advocate: removal of payroll tax; getting rid of unemployment which gives money to spend; better loan interest rates; 1% of super-funds to be invested in small business; more flexible employment and training programs

Bill of rights

We support Australia having its own charter of rights and responsibilities, initially as law and then into the constitution.

The Environment

I don't own a car; because the major cause of air pollution in Melbourne is spent petrol. And the Democrat candidates for Melbourne, Melbourne Ports and Higgins don't own cars either.

From the earliest days of the Democrats we had very strong environmental policies. We wrote the Bill which saved the Franklin.

Uranium - definitely keep it in the ground! When we tried to stop sales of Uranium to France the Liberal/Labor coalition allowed it.

We're passionate about saving our forests, our coasts, rivers, our threatened species. We are passionate about stopping woodchipping, pollution, toxic waste and indiscriminate land clearing. We believe the biggest threat to the environment is an economy obsessed with growth that says profits are more important than people and the environment. We need green industry and a sustainable economy. We want environmental protection chipped in stone in the Constitution.

Accountability

The Democrats with the balance of numbers in the Senate ensure the Government is not a law unto itself and the opposition can't be purely obstructive.

We have a Charter of Reform

  • right to information for all parliamentarians
  • independence and accontability for the public service
  • Cabinet and the Prime Minister accountabe to Parliament

Independent Australia

We support Australia becoming a republic. We believe in the economic independence of Australia so we can make economic, social and environmental decisions in our own best interests. Forign investments should only be approved if they bring genuine economic benefits to Australia.

The Democrats would establish a new powerful Forign Investment Commission to stop huge profit streams going overseas.

Both the Liberal and the Labor party want to sell off Telstra.

The Senate

We give a committment to never block supply. And believe that the Constitution should prevent any future Senates blocking supply.

On Election Day

A vote for the Liberal/Labor coalition is a vote for more of the same. We've put them 7 and 8 on the Batman how-to-vote card. My preferences go to those who believe in Social Justice, a healthy environment and accountable Government.

Labor can no longer legitimately claim to represent the workers or the Unions. Liberals can no longer legitimately claim to small "ell" liberal. Neither can claim to legitimately represent the majority of Australians.

In English we have a name for the illegitimate --

VOTE 1, AUSTRALIAN DEMOCRATS

-- and Keep the Bastards Honest!!




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© Copyright Julie Peters 1996
Contact julie@natasha.ironbark.id.au