A New Manifesto

https://www.flickr.com/photos/elsie/31890325/in/photolist-3PrTc-6DkcJL-oh7u-aSbBte-f6r6k-4G1vWx-3QbC3-dugc8b-bMeu1K-o7JmyL-dideh1-nSCcrL-66Tmw5-3QbxJ-4beuf8-iKJtYy-ppaURs-cNdbL-fCFsHe-dhUyp7-fcy1pP-oX2U7F-2cWNX-7nuAXx-s5hPpK-7mJdtr-oiwPLY-5C6Dtj-v7eW5i-xmWb6j-wQ8FJx-vgv1NK-vfFQf5-uSKqX8-vcUsw9-uDEf8T-5adcix-otAL9x-8ANxnj-9xUrEt-iFJZCX-6u2UrP-jyrbU-7P6mTL-f1sFvH-JukpvF-oCxmWR-HMLeeR-aZ2ARx-7dm9gf

pic by Les Chatfield

So, having looked at what has just happened, what next?

What do people want of their government? Any government, any party? What have they failed to do, in the US, the UK, and here, that has led to Brexit, Trump and Hanson? What are the important basics a government has to cover?

Exactly how these goals I set out below are achieved doesn’t matter. What matters is that these are the things that every government, of any political colour, should aspire to, and be measured against, if no-one is to be left behind again. And if you want to add to them, please use the Comments field below.

Jobs

A decent government must do all in its power to ensure that every citizen has the opportunity of a secure full-time job that is within their capabilities, paying a living wage for a basic 8 hour working day. A living wage means enough to house, clothe, feed and enjoy yourself a little. In return for your 8 hours a day. And if you lose your job, the government must support you with an adequate income at least equal to the national minimum wage until you find another.

Education

A decent government will provide free, secular education, including university education, to all citizens. It will not permit private, religious or any other divisive educational establishments to operate except under state control. A national curriculum, including compulsory age appropriate secular sex and relationship education must be provided to all.

Housing

A decent government must do all it can to ensure that everyone has access to clean, safe, decent and affordable housing in the area where they wish to live and convenient to their employment. If the private sector cannot do this, governments must build, own and maintain adequate stocks of publicly owned housing.

A decent government must not allow anyone to be homeless. It is an affront to human decency to turn a blind eye to people living on the streets. The cheapest answer to homelessness, and the best way to get homeless people back on their feet is known, simple and it works. Give them a home of their own.

Utilities & Infrastructure

A decent government must take care of utilities and infrastructure, including the provision of basic necessities at an affordable price to ordinary citizens, including energy, fuel, water, and public transport. It will ensure that all infrastructure including roads, rail, ports, airports, pipeline and transmission lines are built wherever they are needed and maintained in a safe condition.

Security

A decent government must keep people safe and secure, as far as is compatible with their personal liberty, from both external and internal threats. But at the same time, a decent government will not spy on its own citizens without proven legal cause, nor monitor their communications, nor surveil their movements, without proper prior legal authority.

Healthcare

A decent government must ensure that quality healthcare is available free of charge at need for all citizens.

Taxation

A decent government must prevent the excessive accumulation of wealth into private hands, through progressive tax rates, redistribution of wealth, and inheritance taxes, and divert it to the public good. The export of company profits and the import of losses must be stopped.

A decent government must place the burden of paying for the state on the broadest shoulders. In the first instance that will almost always be commercial enterprizes, followed by wealthy families and individuals. Not on the poor and dependent.

And finally, Equality

A decent government must ensure that all citizens are treated equally at all times and in all situations, without regard to wealth, age, location, race, colour, gender, gender identity, intersex status, sexuality or any other innate characteristic.

This is not by any means comprehensive. It is just a brief outline of the minimum I believe any government, whatever its political colour, must do to gain and retain the trust of its citizens. The US government lost if, and who knows what will happen next? The British government lost it. The current Coalition government has, in my judgement, also lost it, and we are very close to a a US-style situation.

It won’t be like Trump, or Brexit: it will have it’s own uniquely Australian flavour and appearance. But unless this government changes its policies, or we change the government and, furthermore, the incoming government heeds the warning of Trump and Brexit, we will suffer a societal collapse like theirs.

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About the author

Veteran gay writer and speaker, Doug was one of the founders of the UKs pioneering GLBTI newspaper Gay News (1972) , and of the second, Gay Week, and is a former Features Editor of Him International. He presented news and current affairs on JOY 94.9 FM Melbourne for more than ten years.

“Doug is revered, feared and reviled in equal quantities, at times dividing people with his journalistic wrath. Yet there is no doubt this grandpa-esque bear keeps everyone abreast of anything and everything LGBT across the globe.” (Daniel Witthaus, “Beyond Priscilla”, Clouds of Magellan, Melbourne, 2014)