Would you be willing to pay an extra $9 every time you fill the car with petrol if it would help fund the national disability insurance scheme?
Should the rate or reach of the GST be increased to give the states more money for education?
Or are these lazy options for governments who already collect enough tax and simply waste what they’ve got?
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When Peter Costello famously encouraged Australian families to have a child for Mum, one for Dad and one for the country, he was focused on a significant national challenge, the ageing of the population.
Population ageing is the product of two demographic trends, longevity and a declining birthrate. It is a challenge for many western nations, including Australia.
Australians are living longer, on average, than at any time in the past. While this will increase costs, especially for aged and health care, it is not an insurmountable problem. It is the combination of longer living and declining fertility that threatens the economic growth of the nation.
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At a time when annual births (around 300,000) are double deaths (around 150,000) in Australia, Labor’s reduction in the baby bonus from $5,000 to $3,000 for second and subsequent children is welcome news. This fiscally responsible measure alone will save the nation up to $500 million every three years. But the government should go further.
We live in a finite world and can’t grow forever. The sooner we adjust to a stable population, the easier it will be to manage growing scarcity of finite, non-renewable resources. Quality of life and intergenerational equity through the sustainable use of energy, food and water resources is our priority.
The Stable Population Party supports young families and freedom of choice on family size, but not governments providing financial incentives to have large families. We advocate a broader strategy to encourage ‘replacement-size’ families: Limit both the baby bonus and paid parental leave to each woman’s first two children.
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Sure, it’d be really great if the guvmint would buy us all a big yard glass full of beer when we turn 21. I’d like a beer now, come to mention it. Where’s Swanny when you need him?
In all seriousness, the government is not here to fund our lives. We’ve got people called employers to do that. That’s why yesterday’s slashing of the baby bonus from $5,400 to $5,000 is a step in the right direction.
Honestly, when did we get it in our heads that the government should turn up with a cheque at every major milestone in our lives? Having a baby? Have some taxpayer money! Buying your first house? Have some more! It’s middle class welfare gone mad.
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When a friend told me I was mentioned in The Punch, I looked forward to reading the article because I associated The Punch with Punch, the British weekly magazine of humour. Instead of wit, I found the article by Tanja Kovac in The Punch yet another inaccurate diatribe against pro-lifers.
Tanja asks where are Archbishop Hart, Margaret Tighe and Babette Francis? Archbishop Hart is very possibly on his knees praying for you and for the many social welfare agencies of his Archdiocese.
Tanja, just look up the phone book under “Catholic” and you will see the long list of activities undertaken by the Catholic Church to help those in need. Ever heard of “The Vinnies” (the St. Vincent de Paul Society)? Or Mother Teresa’s “Missionaries of Charity”? As for Margaret Tighe, like me she is probably working at a computer replying to tiresome articles from those who don’t bother to get their facts straight.
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It just doesn’t sound right – a church that wants to stop incentives to breed.
But that’s exactly what’s happening with the Anglicans. They want to get rid of “any policy that provides an incentive specifically and primarily to increase Australia’s population, notably the baby bonus”.
Even stranger, despite an inbuilt desire to disagree with any religious views on reproduction, I reckon they’re right.
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