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|Palmer United Party
|Make Australia Great Again
|Upper House: Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, Northern Territory, Queensland, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia
Lower House: All
|There are no surprises on UAP’s Senate How-to-Vote cards. All the parties preferenced are right-wing and either mildly critical of vaccine mandates, or rabidly anti-vax. The Liberal Democrats get the best slot, followed by either Shooters, Fishers and Farmers, Australian Christians, or the Informed Medical Options Party. One Nation is number 4 across the board, followed by the Australian Federation and Australian Values Parties respectively. Curiously, no HTV card was provided for the ACT and NT.
|2019 — 2014 (VIC) — 2013
Policies & Commentary
If you haven’t been subjected to wall-to-wall advertising harassment from the United Australia Party (hereafter referred to as UAP) this election, congratulations! Mind telling me how you manage it? I mean, seriously, even my mobile games are nagging at me to vote UAP. As for the SMS spam – well, all I can say is that I’m very glad my phone has an excellent spam filter. Wish I had one for my TV, as well. It’s no exaggeration to say that UAP appears to be operating on the theory that saturation coverage will gain them votes, although whether they think this will be accomplished through brainwashing or simple browbeating is an open question. Its policies make it clear that presenting a rational plan doesn’t even remotely enter into the equation.
Take the “Home Ownership” policy. UAP serves us up a big whack of scare-mongering right off the bat, screaming that if home loan rates go up to 4%, “over 60% of Australians will default on their mortgages and lose their homes” to the wicked witches that run our banks. At 6%, it claims, that figure will rise to 80% But fear not, gentle homeowner, because here comes the UAP fairy to sprinkle its glitter and cap home loan rates at 3% per annum for the next five years. Sweet relief, the kingdom is saved!
Oh, was I being flippant?
Actually, I’m treating this policy with the contempt it deserves. It’s rubbish, utter nonsense all the way down.
Currently, some home loan variable interest rates are already above 4%, so if UAP is right we should already have seen over half of Australian homeowners heartlessly booted out into the cold. But what’s the real story? According to Moody’s, mortgage delinquencies are sitting at… wait for it… 1.15%. Now, given the choice between believing a highly respected financial services company, and the guy in the pub who does UAP’s calculations on his smartphone, I know who I’m going to believe.
As for capping home loan interest rates? Can’t be done. Governments have no power to compel banks to do any such thing. None. Nada. Zilch. This promise is not even worth the time it took to type this paragraph. I can’t even call it disingenuous, because – given the presence of experienced politicians and business people in its ranks – I believe there’s simply no way UAP doesn’t know that it can’t possibly deliver. That, in turn, raises the ugly suspicion that this policy is a deliberate lie designed to panic people into throwing themselves at the feet of the UAP and begging for relief.
On the economy in general, UAP has one sensible policy. One. It’s basically the same “Buy Australian” initiative that many other parties are promising this election. It doesn’t go as far as some, though; there’s no pledge for the government itself to buy Australian and support Australian industry. UAP seems content to simply label products and “encourage” people to buy them.
The rest of the economic policies are almost as laughable as the home loan nonsense. UAP’s ads trumpet its intention to wipe out Australia’s ”trillion dollars of national debt”. Oh look, another scary figure. But what does it mean? The UAP has latched onto the gross debt figure, which doesn’t take into account Australia’s financial assets, rather than the net debt, which provides a more accurate overall picture. Currently, net debt is forecast to reach $763 billion this financial year. But hey, let’s go with UAP’s number, and see what it proposes to do to pay that down.
It’s so simple! Why did we not think of this before? First, let’s whack a huge 15% tax on all iron ore exports. The money will come rolling in and we can erase our debt and live in a world full of sunshine and rainbows. Then we’ll dig up all our uranium and embrace our bright nuclear future, et voilà! – no more energy crisis. On the subject of digging things up, let’s process all our minerals ourselves so we can create eleventy million new jobs and then sell the refined products for buckets of lovely moolah. (Wait, but aren’t we going to tax iron ore exports? How can we do that if – silly me, expecting consistency).
Finally, we’ll force all Australian superannuation to be invested in domestic markets, and the money will come home ”just like when John Curtin in World War 2 brought the troops back”!
I’m not kidding. That’s a direct quote from the superannuation policy on the UAP website.
Where, oh where, do I start?
Let’s look at the nuclear energy policy. There’s not one word in UAP’s policy about the complete absence of necessary infrastructure, nor the lack of skilled labour to undertake the process of refinement and power generation. Apparently, processing and power plants will simply spring fully completed from the ground when the UAP is elected and casts the magic spell, “Because we said so”. People will magically acquire degrees in nuclear engineering. Nuclear waste will vanish in a puff of optimism, and we’ll all live happily ever after.
The iron ore tax? I pause for howls of derisive laughter. Good luck getting any foreign market to agree to pay that. I’m sure Brazil, South Africa, and Canada will be very happy to undercut that. Yes, Australia is the highest exporter of iron ore in the world, but that doesn’t mean we have a monopoly on the resource. We can’t simply force other countries to accept such a ridiculously high tax, and there’s no incentive for them to do so.
How about processing all our minerals here? Well, apart from the inconsistency with the iron ore tax that I’ve already pointed out, this is another situation where the Infrastructure Fairy will have to put in some overtime, because the massive expenditure required to build all these processing plants seems not to be a concern for UAP. Sure, building a strong ore processing sector is a nice idea, but in its current form it’s completely unworkable. Not to mention, the sheer amount of trade negotiation that would need to take place to get countries to pay for processed products is truly staggering.
As for superannuation – again, we run up against that inconvenient stumbling block of “outside the government’s power”. Short of truly draconian legislation (with all the legal pitfalls that entails), there is no way UAP could force superannuation funds to invest solely in Australian markets. The chances of getting such legislation passed are somewhere between “virtually impossible” and “not a snowball’s chance in hell”.
What the UAP doesn’t seem to grasp is that if we start treating the rest of the world like this, there’s nothing to stop every other country doing the same. Currently, we depend upon imports of machinery, vehicles, medical equipment and pharmaceuticals. That makes us vulnerable to pressure. There’s also over $4 trillion invested in Australia by other countries, the USA and UK being the largest of these. The prospect of even a small percentage of that money going elsewhere is alarming. We simply can’t afford to live in the shiny bubble UAP thinks it can deliver us.
Since the rest of UAP’s economic policies depend upon the ones reviewed above being successful, I’m not going to waste space on them here.
Let’s look at the social policies then.
“End Lockdowns. Forever” is first cab off the rank, and here we see some of the vitriol that’s been poured out by UAP candidates opportunistically attending anti-vax rallies. Lockdowns cause “untold damage!” Our Valiant Aussie Diggers are exploited by “power-drunk State Premiers” and used against The People! But all is not lost – the UAP is here to throw open the prison doors and let us once more feel the sunshine bathe our delicate souls in its rays of freedom!
Oh, and National Cabinet’s got to go, because … something something, Constitution.
Give. Me. A break.
I’m not sure if UAP has noticed, but the country isn’t in lockdown anymore. Mind you, given their audience of choice appears to be woefully irrelevant campers at Parliament House who think the government is oppressing their lives, perhaps they haven’t noticed. As for a blanket policy of no lockdowns ever again – I mean, come on, how short-sighted can you get? Even if we have reached a status quo with Covid-19 (and the current infection and death rates suggest that this is, in fact, not a good thing), there will be other pandemics. And there may well be a need for restrictions to protect Australian people.
Notice I said “restrictions?” That’s because, at its heart, this policy is not just about lockdown. It’s about doing away with closed international and interstate borders, social distancing, QR code check-ins, and, of course, mask-wearing. UAP doesn’t say this in its policy document, oh no, but go to YouTube and watch its candidates rant about the inherent oppressiveness of all those measures. UAP could have saved itself so many words if it had just said what this policy really means: Let It Rip.
The spectre of vaccine passports is raised next. Since we don’t have anything like that in place, and there are no plans to make it happen, we can safely move on.
The next policy is very, very sly. On the face of it, the idea of respecting “the sanctity of Doctor-Patient Relationship” (sic), is appealing. After all, who likes the idea of the government getting its hands on our records and using them for its own advantage, as former Prime Minister Tony Abbott infamously did with women’s private medical records when he was Health Minister back in 2006? But hold up. Look more closely. This isn’t about protecting privacy, this is about the mean ol’ government stopping doctors from prescribing hydroxychloroquine and Ivermectin and other ”alternative treatments”.
Clive Palmer, the face of the UAP, is a champion of hydroxychloroquine, even going so far as to import one tonne of it in August 2021. He was even going to donate it to the government for free distribution, isn’t that swell of him? And we’d all know just how generous he was, because he wanted his foundation’s name and logo printed on the packaging. Eventually he acquiesced when the government informed him that would breach laws surrounding medical packaging.
Clive’s attempted “philanthropy” failed to take into account two teensy-tiny factors, however. First, at the time he arranged the purchase, there was already a mountain of evidence to show that hcq did little – if anything – to cure Covid, or even mitigate symptoms, and governments accordingly were not recommending it as a treatment. And second, the government warned Palmer four months earlier that it would not be taking any such donations. The shipment that arrived in August sat unclaimed, and was eventually destroyed. There’s more than a whiff of sour grapes in this so-called “sanctity” policy, then.
UAP’s health policy depends entirely on the trillions of dollars that would flow from its economic proposals, as does its promise to raise pensions by $180 per fortnight, so again, let’s move on.
Defence, for UAP, seems to be largely about submarines. Specifically, our now-broken contract with France and the AUKUS agreement. Did you know that the federal government actually adopted UAP’s policy when it decided to shaft France? No neither did I. And neither, I suspect, did the government. This is nothing more than big-noting, and frankly, it’s embarrassing.
So here we are, left with a platform that is inaccurate, impractical, and unworkable. A bunch of random people on their fifth round at the pub for Friday night after-work drinks could do better than this lot. This isn’t even equivalent to a high school level exercise, since teenagers are well aware by this time in their lives that you just can’t get something for nothing. It’s a pathetic, badly-written fairy tale spun by serial text pests who are willing to spend millions of dollars in the hope that maybe enough people will buy it to allow the UAP to escape being chucked on the remainder table.
I wouldn’t use the UAP’s policies as toilet paper, even if we went back to the days of panic hoarding. They’re simply that worthless.
Just a reminder that Loki and I lack the necessary Eurovision knowledge to choose the songs that Catherine liked to include, but we’d love to see what you suggest in the comments below 🙂