The 2022 Federal Election: as underwhelming as a stale slice of Wonder WhiteTM encasing a slippery, budget snag.
We at Prosper could never walk past a democracy sausage. No matter how greasy and cold.
With the Lib/Lab reducing their respective policy platforms to mere motes, invisible to the naked eye, it has never been more appealing to preference a minor party or independent.
It is with the minors and independents that we find some truly audacious policy proposals. From capping mortgages to taxing billionaires. Prosper has produced a brief policy scorecard to help you vote.
Prosper doesn’t have much to say about animal welfare or submarines. Our scorecard covers the following key areas of policy, ranked in order of importance:
- Tax reform – Here we are looking for policy that shifts economic activity from unproductive rent seeking. We are looking for tax cuts on incomes, small businesses, investment, transfers, payroll etc. and increased taxes on rents, land, and extraction, rezonings. Value capture to support infrastructure spending gets a big tick from us. We’d also like to see market-based approaches to pricing externalities like carbon taxes.
- Natural Monopolies – Certain goods and services can never be efficiently provided by the market e.g. the national electricity grid. These ought to remain in public hands. Points to any candidate willing to stand for that.
- Housing – Which parties have the best policies to deter land speculation, and reduce wealth inequality from inflated land prices? Here we are looking for policies that cool demand like mortgage caps or reforming tax settings like negative gearing. Supply policies that get a tick from us include non-market housing options such as land trusts, and, yes, social housing.
- Democracy – Prosper has long advocated for proportional representation, but with trust in our democratic system at its lowest ebb, and the fumes of government overreach still making us dizzy post-pandemic, we’ll take a federal anti-corruption commissioner with teeth. This is particularly important for our nascent water markets.
- Guaranteed incomes – Prosper hasn’t adopted a position on the various forms of guaranteed incomes. However, many of our supporters hold with citizen’s dividends, job guarantees and/or basic income. For your information.
Note that we’ve omitted single-issue focussed parties, or those not paying attention to Prosper’s core areas of concern. This is why you won’t find Pauline Hanson’s One Nation, for example.
Policy platforms compared
Here’s what notable minor parties are taking to this election:
An old classic from the 90s ‘ keep the bastards honest’. A largely social democratic platform that includes government intervention in housing, tax reform, but also supports private markets and market mechanisms e.g. the energy sector. Big on government integrity, accountability and transparency.
Sustainable Australia gets unfairly characterised as a party of racist NIMBYs. Read the fine print, people! Sustainable Australia’s platform includes reforms to Capital Gains Tax, Negative Gearing, Land Tax, Resource Rent and rezoning windfall taxes. These reforms are coupled with reductions in company tax for local manufacturing, higher income tax free threshold and broader GST.
Sustainable Australia wants to axe demand side measures that inflate land prices and return natural monopolies and essential utilities to public ownership. They want citizen initiated referenda and a federal ICAC.
Federal Housing Trust, Carbon Farms, Manufacturing Renaissance Bank, High Speed Rail: the Greens policy suite reads like a Lonely Planet Guide to a utopian science fiction future.
The Greens propose a 6% wealth tax on 122 billionaires and a 40% corporate super profits tax. In Australia this is basically banks, miners and property-interests (which is to say mostly on rents rather than earnings), but holistic tax reform it is not. The Greens are the only party putting a carbon tax on the table, alongside oil and gas royalties, and abolishing fossil fuel subsidies.
Additionally, the Greens seek to reverse privatisation of key natural monopolies, and introduce public competitors into banking and energy retail. The Greens plan to directly supply subsidised housing is what most housing experts agree is needed. This is coupled with a ‘best in show’ shared equity scheme that doesn’t stoke demand.
An eclectic minor party amalgamation of the Science Party, the Pirate Party, the Secular Party, Vote Planet, and Climate Change Justice. They are a motley crew of futurists, libertarians, and progressives.
Progressive in their preference for greater funding welfare, public housing, and some types of taxes. Libertarian in their preferences for land value tax + UBI (or negative income tax). Fusion “oppose rent-seeking and parasitic monopolism”, and also support intellectual property reform, integrity measures and whistleblower protection. Notably, Fusion’s housing policy ticks all Prosper’s boxes.
Libertarians in the neoclassical vein, the Lib-Dems want to lower income and company taxes, but they lose marks for total blindness to rents (though their Victorian MLCs seem to be across the land tax issues). Policies include lowering the minimum wage, rolling back some nanny state protection rackets, removing the banking bailout guarantees. Nowhere on housing.
The party of sex, drugs and pretty good tax policy. Leader Fiona Patten spearheaded an inquiry in homelessness in Victoria and supported the rezoning windfall gains tax.
The Australian Progressives will “support policies that de-prioritise tax advantages favouring “rent seeking” and speculation rather than a person’s self earned income.” Specific measures include raising the Income Tax-Free Threshold, phasing out Stamp duty in favour of a broad land value tax, and opposing all first home buyer grants. Enough said.
While focussed on Animal Welfare issues, the AJP have some interesting economic policies centred on a Green New Deal. Victorian AJP MLC, Andy Meddick, has supported reforms advocated by Prosper Australia. We have it on good authority that the AJP contains quite a few closeted Georgists.
Rex Patrick spearheaded an inquiry into Oil and Petroleum resource rents. Making Freedom Of Information requests that reveal government rorts and corruption is his hobby. Bit of a legend really. We urge South Australians to put him back in our Federal senate.
TNL has some pretty audacious economic policy ideas based on their belief that “…neo-classical economic policy…is a deception designed to move income up to the 1% most wealthy…”
Notably their housing policy is almost entirely centred on reducing demand for credit by linking mortgages to rents. TNL is seeking a MMT informed Reset to change the underlying political-economy of the housing market. Renegade economist Steve Keen is their senate candidate for NSW.
Here’s what the majors have to offer:
The Coalition government income tax reforms legislated in its last term, have reduced, flattened and restructured marginal income tax rates. The final stage of income tax cuts will significantly decrease taxes for high income individuals.
A re-elected Coalition Government will not put in place a mining tax, a carbon tax or make adverse changes in fuel tax credit arrangements so vital to the rent seeking- sorry- resources industry. It will support the US and OECD lead push for a minimum 15% enforced company tax to limit multinational tax avoidance, and “extended” funding for the ATO’s tax avoidance taskforce. It will also bring the “LAMITO” tax offset to an end – an enduring “temporary” tax relief measure for low-middle income taxpayers (that also increases the distortion/complexity of the tax system).
Coalition housing policy focuses on providing finance assistance through the NHFIC for both community housing providers, and through the home-guarantee scheme. The latter, along with the HomeBuilder measures are fatally flawed as they stimulate demand and drive up prices.
After cutting their losses from the last election the ALP’s tax platform is basically the same as the Coalition’s. They will reduce multinational tax avoidance by capping interest payment reductions to a percentage of profits. They will also cut tariffs and fringe benefits tax on electric vehicles to increase their uptake.
Having abandoned reforming property tax concessions, the ALP has shifted its focus to funding more social housing through a leveraged investment fund. In addition to the Coalition’s policies, it will introduce a national shared equity scheme. This will marginally increase prices at the current scale, but will allow the government to become a property co-investor in while providing low to middle income landless buyers with support (including free rent) – making the scheme self-funding. This means smaller deposits, smaller mortgages and repayments for participants, with the option to buy out the government’s stake in 5% increments.
The ALP supports keeping the NBN in public ownership, as well as creating the Rewiring the Nation Corporation to upgrade the electricity grid to unlock new private investment in renewable energy.
We look forward to your feedback and comments. Make it count, Australia!