High stakes as Labor prepares for plunder

High stakes as Labor prepares for plunder


Opinion
Under a Bill Shorten-led government, Australia faces a mass redistribution of wealth, according to Peter Austin.

Under a Bill Shorten-led government, Australia faces a mass redistribution of wealth, according to Peter Austin.

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Peter Austin writes about this Saturday's federal election.

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By the time you read this, I will on my way to Europe for a tour organised long before the election was called. I don't know if I'm sorry to be missing the election night telecast, or relieved.

But I do know that while I've been worried in the past about how elections might turn out, this time I'm positively terrified, as Australia faces the greatest economic and social shake-up in living memory.

If the polls have it right (and fortunately, they've been wrong before), a Shorten Labor government is rumbling towards us like an iron ore train from the Pilbara, driven by voters blinded by idealism or ignorance - or both.

Under a Shorten/Bowen-led government, Australia faces a mass redistribution of wealth on a scale that would have won plaudits from Juan Peron, the former dictator of Argentina, whose 1950s socialist policies brought that once-rich nation to its knees.

Here, as in Argentina, wealth is to be stripped off the savers, the investors and the achievers to fund a profligate social agenda, ushering in an unprecedented era of government intervention and commercial disincentive.

Labor's planned tax take is bad enough, but even more damaging is its fanciful climate change policy with its 45 per cent emissions reduction target (compared with the government's 26-28 pc).

This policy, built on the heroic notion that puny Australia's sacrificial actions can make a global difference, has the potential to trash our economy, sending costs through the roof and driving key industries offshore.

It doesn't have to be like this. As Scott Morrison said during last week's final televised debate, it shouldn't be a question of 'choosing' between our economy and the environment, as Labor would have it.

With sensible policies we can sustain both.

The farm sector has particular cause to fear a Shorten government with its Greens alliance, given these parties' known stances on land clearing, irrigation water buybacks and live exports.

That said, it's no secret that the Nats are themselves on the nose in many rural areas, often for sound reasons, but I suggest this is not the time to take revenge by voting for independents or minor parties: the stakes of helping Labor into power are just too high.

Whichever side wins on Saturday, there are two pressing rural issues which to my mind demand immediate government intervention.

One is the utter debacle that the Murray-Darling Basin Plan has become, and here I'm with those who are calling for the plan to be paused, and reassessed in the light of its well-publicised failings.

The other urgent issue is the financial plight of the dairy industry, which demands immediate intervention from government in a market which has clearly failed, to enforce a proper lift in retail prices before there isn't a dairy farmer left in business.

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