Prog. Eco. Pol. Net.

Prog.Eco.Pol.Net?

Progressive Economic Policy Network!
NSW Labor has reconstituted the Economic Policy Committee. There are 10 people on it. But there are many, many more people interested in economic policy in the NSW Labor Party. If you’re reading this, I think you may be one of them.
So what to do? How to give people a say and an opportunity to push for better policy?
Presenting- Prog. Eco. Pol. Net.

A network of people who want to do three things:
1. Write and develop quality economic policy.
2. Produce interesting things that explain that policy, like papers, posters, t-shirts, videos, memes etc.
3. Go out and organise, agitate, educate and promote those policies, by visiting branches and attending Conferences, hosting seminars and lectures, signing people up and giving them the low down.

Are you keen(s)?
We’re open to anyone who wants to make a difference. We’ll have a meeting/teleconference before Christmas. Would you like to come? Let me know.
Thanks!
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Many people have no idea who their political representatives are!

Some recent polling by Lonergan Research shows that 70% of people surveyed in Queensland and 68% of people in NSW didn’t know who the leader of the ALP in those states were. 51% in NSW didn’t know who the Premier was.

It’s all in this Lenore Taylor story http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/13/who-is-warren-truss-poll-reveals-holes-in-australians-grasp-of-politics

I suppose the question is, why? Why do people not know or care who their political representatives are?

And whose job is it to enlighten them, if that is indeed a worthy aim? Does Australia have a higher or lower proportion of ‘low information voters’, as they are known?

For me, it is really up to political parties and their leadership to distinguish themselves from the overwhelming amount of information that befuddles us each day. And to ‘cut through’, they should be clear about what they stand for, and back that up with action that can be seen by the public. If necessary, the ALP should be prepared to upset some vested interests, and actually seek out conflict with the privileged few, if needed. As Paul Wellstone said, sometimes you have to start a fight to win one.

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No more privatisations, no more tax cuts for the 1%! Speech to NSW Labor Conference 2014

Here is my speech to the NSW Labor State Conference. I tried, with the 4 minutes that I had, to be as faithful as possible to the hundreds of conversations that I have had with ALP members and supporters since I first put my hand up to be a rank and file representative on the NSW Labor Policy Forum. I would love to hear your thoughts in response.

Here’s a video of the speech shot by my partner Victoria Brookman, at the end you can meet our new edition Delina! Speech to NSW Labor Conference 2014: http://youtu.be/ueRyqvGU_bg

“When you ask ALP members what they want from a State Labor govt, here’s what they say:

Build infrastructure
And attack inequality

Set targets to reduce inequality, reverse the 30 year trend towards a more and more unequal society, and report on these targets at every State Budget.

Pay for it with increased taxation -taxation that’s progressive – and increased debt.

Since I was elected a rank and file member of the Policy Forum, I have addressed over 50 Branches and Party units to talk about what members want Labor to stand for, to put pride back in the Labor jersey after the disasters of the Obeid, Tripodi era.

Over 700 Party members responded to our Jobs and Economy Policy Survey…and I can say with certainty that they want a different Labor government to the last one.

The style of government typified by Bob Carr and Mike Rann was appropriate for its time and did many good things.

But times change.

The global recession of 2008 marked the end of the neoliberal era.

Two weeks ago, this Town Hall was packed with people listening to Professor Joseph Stiglitz talking about the price of inequality. A man who advocates a 70% top marginal tax rate.

We’ve woken up from a thirty year neoliberal slumber and we won’t fall for it anymore!

No more privatisations!

No more tax cuts for the 1%!

We, as a government, will build!
We, Labor in government, will grow education and health services, not cut them!

We’ll build transport and environmental infrastructure, to pass on to future generations a more sustainable, more liveable state!

That’s what Labor Party members want.

And we are willing to fight for it.

To make up for the deficit in infrastructure and services, we are willing to go to our neighbours and friends and convince them that we can only fill those holes if those that can afford to pay, pay a little extra.

Because comrades and friends, our tax system is broken. It is regressive and inefficient. There are two ways to fix it. Tax consumption, or tax property. With income and company tax unavailable to the states, and shrinking as a proportion of revenue anyway, Labor faces a choice. Tax consumption, hitting the poorest hardest, or tax property. Taxing the unimproved value of land is the fairest way, and it has the support of Treasury pointy heads, and may even help fix our housing crisis.

Friends, the way to win elections has changed. We now need to inspire an army of activists to directly contact our neighbours and show them, convince them, that we stand for democratic equality. That despite what they saw with Obeid, we are against elites enriching themselves.

And the big picture on economic policy has changed. Neoliberalism, with its privatisations and constant tax cuts, is a zombie ideology, dead but still stalking us.

It’s time to put a bullet through its brain!

Now we can enter a new age where democratic equality is pursued through fair taxation, high quality services, especially in education and health, and a clean, sustainable environment with good public infrastructure, especially in public transport.

That’s what Labor members want, and that’s what we will create!

I look forward to creating it with you!”

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Shorten backs rank and file vote in Senate preselections- huge win for Party reformers

In today’s speech on ALP reform, Bill Shorten went much further than the ‘leaks’ suggested. He has backed giving members a say on Senate preselection, something that has been opposed by NSW ALP General Secretary Jamie Clements.

Shorten said:

“Local Labor voices need to be heard in Senate selection across Australia – and the first steps must be taken now.

I have instructed our National Secretary to work with the National Executive and the Western Australian Labor Party to recommend the best way of giving local party members a meaningful say in the selection of Senate candidates.

We will be setting a new standard for selecting Labor Senators.

Our work in Western Australia will be used to inform our other State branches in allowing local members to contribute to Senate pre-selection nationally.”

ALP members all around NSW have been passing motions at local meetings demanding a say on Senate and NSW Upper House preselections. Now, with Shorten’s imprimatur, it will be much harder for the opponents of reform to resist the growing tide of support for real democratisation.

Shorten’s full speech is here: http://billshorten.com.au/towards-a-modern-labor-party

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If not now, when?

One note- the Poms have now adopted one member, one vote for electing the Party leader.

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Draft Motions on Jobs and the Economy

Here are series of potential policy motions that Branches and SECs could put forward to conference if they so choose. Please amend them at your discretion. If you disagree with them, you could change them to ‘NSW Labor will NOT…’ etc. Or you could just ignore them! Overall, I strongly encourage your branch/SEC to propose some motions to Conference before the May deadlines.
Rule changes and Policy Platform Changes to be considered at Annual Conference must be received by the Party Office by 12noon Friday 2 May 2014.
All other Annual Conference agenda items must also be received by the Party Office by 12noon Friday 9 May 2014.
………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
General Preamble:
NSW Labor’s economic policies will be an expression of Australian and Labor values of equality and fairness. Labor in Government will build essential infrastructure that the private sector cannot or will not build. We will use the State’s spending power to facilitate better outcomes for local small and regional businesses. Regulation will be geared toward ensuring fairness at work and fairness between smaller and larger businesses. Above all, Labor will reverse the 30-year trend toward a more unequal society.
………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
Motions:

1. NSW Labor will set explicit yearly economic equality targets, and report on these at every State Budget, and include NSW equality figures in the State Budget papers, using internationally accepted measures of inequality.
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2. NSW Labor will adopt a process where all major legislation will include an equality impact statement, whereby the Parliamentary Budget Office or Treasury will assess the new Bill’s likely impact on economic equality.
………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
3. NSW Labor will increase the overall tax revenues of the State in order to make up the shortfall in services and the infrastructure deficit experienced by NSW residents. Any increase in taxation revenue will be progressive in nature, levied on those individuals and entities that can afford to pay.
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
4. NSW Labor will reform State taxes to set the State Budget on a sustainable footing, including moving away from Stamp Duty towards a broad based progressive land tax, cutting insurance and fire levies by lowering the threshold for payroll tax, and investigating a Sydney vehicle congestion charge to cut vehicle taxes and charges.
………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
5. NSW Labor will increase State borrowings from a per-capita rate of around $2000 per person to a figure closer to that in other major Australian States. This money will be used for vital social and economic infrastructure, with public transport the highest priority. With assets of $320b and liabilities of $156b, the State can afford to borrow more to fix serious social, environmental and economic infrastructure deficits. Maintenance of credit ratings will no longer determine NSW Government budgetary policy.
………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

6. NSW Labor will launch a new phase of investment in public transport. At the centre of this will be a plan to increase the capacity of Sydney’s public transport network. Sydney is the economic heart of NSW, and if Sydney has major constraints on growth, such as the transport infrastructure deficit it faces, then the whole State suffers. As such, investment is urgently needed in Sydney transport infrastructure.
By the end of Labor’s first term work will have begun on a second Sydney Harbour rail crossing. Within a decade Labor will build the Parramatta to Epping rail link, with or without Federal support. Very fast rail services will run to the city from western and south western Sydney. Necessary upgrades on suburban lines to ensure regular and comfortable services will be made. Support will be ongoing for the South West and North West rail links, with a view to linking the lines up at a new hub in western Sydney, possibly at a new airport, depending on Federal Government decisions on that project. Light rail in Sydney CBD and South East will be completed, and light rail projects rolled out in Parramatta and other western Sydney hubs as needed. NSW Labor will support plans for a Federally funded very fast train, with a stop located in western Sydney. Until substantial improvements are made to Sydney’s rail network, Labor will freeze all public transport fare increases, with no fare increases guaranteed for Labor’s first term.
………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
7. The previous Labor Government instituted a program to replace demountable classrooms in our education system with permanent buildings that better enabled students to learn in comfort with appropriate facilities. This program was halted under the O’Farrell Liberal National Government. NSW Labor will invest $2.2b over four years to replace 4000 demountable classrooms in NSW public schools. Priority will be given to those demountables that have been in use the longest.
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8. NSW Labor recognises the absolutely vital role that Technical and Further Education plays in giving NSW citizens pathways to better jobs and more secure lives. NSW Labor will reverse the O’Farrell Liberal National Government’s TAFE fee increases and cuts to courses such as fine arts at Hornsby and Brookvale TAFE.
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
9. NSW Labor will invest in a major upgrade of existing public housing stock and in a new round of public housing construction, to make up for the estimated 66% ‘unmet need’ in public housing. The recommendations of the NSW Auditor General’s report ‘Making the best use of public housing’ will be implemented in order to address housing affordability at the most acute end of the housing market.
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
10. NSW Labor will conduct a commission of audit into the comparative effectiveness of taxpayer money spent on early intervention and education versus that spent on corrections and juvenile justice and justice reinvestment programs, with a view to moving the focus of state expenditures from punitive and corrections expenditure to early intervention and justice reinvestment strategies.
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11. NSW Labor, recognising the success of such programs in places such as the United Kingdom and Finland, in its first term, will begin the rollout of a program for universal and free access to early childhood education services for all children aged 3 and above, with the ultimate aim of providing, by the year 2025, free and universal childhood education of 15 hours per week for all children over 3 until they reach school age. The initial rollout of this program will focus on indigenous communities and areas of high social disadvantage, including rural and regional areas.
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
12. NSW Labor will restore funding to the Office of Industrial Relations to ensure employers are meeting their lawful obligations in terms of industrial instruments, workplace safety and workers compensation. NSW Labor will ensure NSW agencies work closely with Federal agencies to ensure compliance with taxation and superannuation legislation. NSW Labor will ensure that all workers are paid the legal rate of pay, whether they are employed under Federal or State industrial instruments. NSW Labor will facilitate access to up to date information on correct rates of pay to assist small businesses pay the right wages.
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13. NSW Labor will support small business by ensuring that corporations that receive State contracts pay small business contractors within a reasonable time frame, and by regulating for and investing in rapid dispute resolution processes for small businesses that are seeking payment from larger entities. NSW Labor will ensure that local governments give small contractors a fair go at receiving work at the local level.
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14. NSW will establish more small business incubators, particularly in areas of high social and economic disadvantage, to facilitate entrepreneurship and self-employment.
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15. NSW Labor will support rural and regional businesses and globally exposed businesses through a variety of measures, including implementing Labor’s current platform on procurement policy. Labor will seek out opportunities for directly investing in regional tertiary education and research and development relevant to regional industries, such as agriculture, enviro-tourism and sustainable energy. The formation and extension of regional development corporations and committees will be encouraged, especially where gaps exist between current regional committees, such as in the Shoalhaven.
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16. NSW Labor will not pursue further major asset sales or long term leases.
………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

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NSW Labor Jobs and Economy policy resources

G’day,
(Secretaries and activists please copy and forward this post on to your Branches/SECs etc)
Thanks to all the Branches/SECs/FECs that have hosted me for the presentation of the NSW Labor Jobs and Economy Policy Survey results! I feel like I’ve been everywhere (man), but there are dozens of Branches I haven’t been to, so here are links and resources that I hope will enable you to discuss and pass resolutions regarding NSW Labor’s jobs and economy policies.
I am still available to come to Branches and present the results.
You can also print out the survey for members who don’t use email and post it back to me- I’ll enter their answers manually.
Here are the slides for the presentation of the results of the survey- they really need an explanation, but they may assist in discussion- Jobs and the Economy survey FINAL 
Every Branch has asked great questions and this email contains links to many of the topics raised.
For starters here is the current 2011 NSW ALP Policy book (there is no 2012 or 2013 book). ALP Policy Book 2011 (also here
 file:///D:/My%20Documents/Downloads/Policy%20Book%202011%20(1).pdf )
Rule changes and Policy Platform Changes to be considered at Annual Conference must be received by the Party Office by 12noon Friday 2 May 2014. All other Annual Conference agenda items must also be received by the Party Office by 12noon Friday 9 May 2014.
I strongly encourage Branches to pass motions about jobs and economic policy as soon as possible and send them in to Head Office, the NSW Leader’s office and to the Shadow Treasurer. (And to me, if you like!).
ALP website- Jobs and Economy Terms of Reference
What is the GINI COEFFICIENT?
NSW Gini Coefficient (higher/worse than Australia’s)
“Are the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer?”- Peter Whiteford
‘Robin Hood’ or financial transactions tax
NSW Financial Audit 2011 “The Lambert Review
State taxes insufficient- page 10
“Over the period 1991-92 to 2010-11,
revenue as a proportion of GSP has declined from 13.9% to 12.6%. This raises issues
about the ability of the State’s revenue base to adequately fund recurrent and capital
expenditure growth. “
Lambert review analysis- SMH
Wealth inequality in UK
Banned TED Talk- Rich people don’t create jobs, Nick Hanauer
Richard Wilkinson
How economic inequality harms societies TED talk
Wealth inequality in the US- perception vs reality
Robert Reich
Inequality is real, it’s personal, it’s expensive and it was created
Robert Reich – The 7 Biggest Economic Lies
Robert Reich- Why taxes have to be raised on the rich
Tax the rich- an animated fairy tale
Joseph Stiglitz interview on ‘The Price of Inequality’
IMF Paper says inequality a drag on growth
\http://uk.reuters.com/article/2014/02/26/uk-imf-inequality-idUKBREA1P1PH20140226
AMWU urges Westinghouse to stay in Orange
NSW State Budget Papers
Infrastructure deficit estimates
Journal of Australian Political economy
NSW Parliament Social, public and affordable housing enquiry (submissions encouraged!)
Australian Senate inquiry into affordable housing (very interesting submission by Prof Saul Eslake)
NW Rail link steel
Ms Berejiklian said the North West Rail Link was not only the biggest transport infrastructure project in Sydney since the Harbour Bridge, it was bigger than the bridge.“More steel will go into the North West Rail Link than was used to build the Sydney Harbour Bridge almost a century ago,” Ms Berejiklian said. “Almost 70,000 tonnes of steel will be used. That’s about 20,000 tonnes more steel than was used in the construction of our famous bridge
No local steel in NW Rail link- AMWU
Question in Parliament by Peter Primrose on local steel in NW Rail link
Please feel free to add other resources and links in the comments- especially ones that could help Branches discuss resolutions.
My blog, facebook, twitter,
lukewhito.wordpress.com
Twitter: @LukeWhito
lukewhitington@gmail.com
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