This time of year, if you’re a progressive, is either dismal (think Christmas as the ultimate celebration of a religious, family-oriented, consumerist society) or optimistic (what further societal revolution could possibly be wrought in the year ahead?). On an optimistic note, in case you are not yet tuned in to how the most progressive of the progressives think, read on … (And Happy New Year!)
1. Lower the age of consent to 14
By then, puberty is (almost) over. Physical relationships (of all sorts) are happening. So, what goes on behind the shelter shed really needs legitimisation. Decriminalisation as a start.
With the age of consent re-set and lowered to 14, older adults in positions of authority no longer have to be so careful about whom they chat up, or where. No longer will the song line “just a teenager in love” resonate. These are fully-formed adults, just waiting for societal approval to get it on (or off).
Oh, and it will make it much easier for the odd teacher, youth worker etc. to defend his or her actions in initiating a sexual relationship with a no-longer-vulnerable teen in their former care.
2. Lower the voting age to 14 as well
Sure, 16 is a first step. But we’re not finished yet. Once our kids – whoops, young adults – are through Year 7, they have been bombarded (on social media, if nowhere else) with knowledge about which political party is going to a) save the world, b) ensure uninterrupted Centrelink benefits through to the grave, and c) implement the rest of this list, to vote early and often.
If you can already join a street march and/or violent demonstration by 14 — carefully disguised by a hoodie, a balaclava or (most effectively) one of thousands of identical Guy Fawkes’ masks — you should also be allowed to have your say peacefully at the ballot box.
3. Release all people in detention
We’re not just talking (undocumented) asylum seekers here. Criminals too shouldn’t be in prison because it makes many of them – especially the younger ones – more likely to re-offend. (Of course, it is a little harder for them to re-offend while still behind bars, but never mind that.)
Prison and detention facilities are a Victorian legacy that society finally needs to cast off. Community service is the order of the day. And if they don’t turn up for community service, well, they will have even more community service to do, later. The community needs to be served!
As a first step, allowing all would-be migrants to Australia to mix freely with our wider population fulfills our National Anthem’s promise of “boundless plains to share”. Germany has, as so often before, set the example on this one.
4. Shut down the defence forces
Imagine a free, three-day rock festival taking over Sydney’s Garden Island the day after the RAN moved out! Imagine the RAN also releasing its iconic real estate at South Head back to the nation, perhaps to house released asylum seekers and prisoners, while they’re getting accustomed to Sydney. The breezes are wonderful and the views to die for!
Then they’re those superfluous RAAF bases. First up, we could use Richmond RAAF Base to fly in the cousins and parents-in-law of newly-released would-be migrants. There’s nothing like 36 hours on a noisy, slow, propeller-driven Hercules to say “Welcome Down Under, Brothers!”.
And imagine the money we’d save with no defence budget anymore! That could all be spent to…
5. Build a giant solar farm across all of outback Australia
We could power every podcast of Q&A with a massive solar installation in the outback. And we should give ownership (plus acknowledgement) to local native tribes, who would have sit-down money for life! On a hot day, air-conditioners in inner-city wine bars across Australia could hum merrily, knowing they were carbon neutral, and that their power was contributing to black power too.
When clouds come over, which implies wind, we could switch to wind-power. The thousands of huge wind turbines would be sourced locally, however. And manufactured by non-profit collectives in former car factories, powered by energy from the massive solar farm. And using steel that was smelted in Third World countries, using coal we no longer burn ourselves.
6. Pay all Australians a living wage
Let’s face it: Work is oppression. There are so many jobs that people just don’t want to do. And wouldn’t do if it weren’t for that wretched money, the root of all evil. The way out of this is to pay all Australians a living wage, Replace student and job-seeker allowances, disability and old-age pensions, all in one go. Then we are all free to work at whichever job we feel most sets us free – or none, if we don’t feel like it.
Imagine how motivated a workforce Australia would have if everybody who was at work actually wanted to be there, and was enthusiastic about what they did! Two centuries back, the industrial revolution chained millions of former rural dwellers to the yoke of grimy machinery. For what?
Now is the time to set the people of our cities and towns free again. And the first step is to pay them all a living wage, from money gained after we …
7. Lift the top rate of income tax to 90%, above $100,000 a year
Good studies show that the sum of material happiness rises no further above an income of $100,000. So, beyond that, we should confiscate whatever is “earned” by individuals and return it to the rest of society that gave them such a great start in the first place! Many progressive parties have raised top income tax rates to over 90% before, and got away with it. The only way to crack down on the excess of corporate remuneration is to remove it, and redistribute it to all in society who have missed out. If high-fliers want to keep more filthy lucre, well, let them move overseas to Switzerland, Monaco or the Cayman Islands.
Australia is the land of the fair-go. If you want more than that, it is time you were far-gone instead.
8. Abolish all non-government schools and healthcare providers
From cradle to grave, the government knows how to look after your best interests, better than you.
To have two tiers in education or healthcare is to divide Australians. We should all learn from the same curriculum, taught by teachers who have learnt and inwardly digested the latest government line. Religious, private or even selective state education has no place in an equitable society.
When we are sick we should attend the same doctors, and wait in Emergency at the same hospitals. Only in these ways we will develop that camaraderie and unique sense of national pride that ensures our healthcare systems to meet the needs of all Australians – until their time comes for euthanasia.
9. Ditch the Queen
She may be 90 this coming year, but surely that’s enough length to reign over us?! (Her mother made it to over 100, so we can’t afford the risk that Betty II might go even longer!) It’s not just becoming a Republic that would be good for Australia, but starting major reparations to all survivors of dispossessed indigenous Australians. Even a formal treaty is not good enough! What is needed, as per Canada’s example, is to carve up Australia into several indigenous nations. (The details need to be established by a few native title conferences, but these could soon be arranged.)
And, no, the new indigenous nations are not just going to be in the bush and the tropics. We need to give back the most valuable real estate, Sydney and Melbourne CBDs. Only this way can Australians whose families came here in the last 228 years make it up to the ones from before.
10. Outlaw criticism of any of the above
The problem with implementing real change is that some people don’t like it and refuse to understand just how good it will be for all of us. While we are going through the period of change, it is best if those people keep quiet, lest they slow major progress or (shudder) block it altogether.
Just as the people who oppose the climate change agenda should shut up for humanity’s sake, so too should anyone who has doubts about the progressive agenda. (Doubts can sometimes be expressed in closed-door meetings of key decision-making committees moving the agenda forward. But, of course, these doubts would all have been resolved before the committee goes public.)
Which means, as a first step, there should be none-but-affirmative comments on this article.