The message from Queensland: fairness matters

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Kurllpa Bridge, Chris Lofqvist, flickr cc

The astonishing result of the Queensland elections has confirmed widespread dissatisfaction with the Coalition parties. After the way the federal Coalition hammered Julia Gillard for failing to keep key promises, many Australians have been dumbfounded by the numerous broken promises of the Abbott government.

Though in itself a relatively insignificant matter, Prime Minister Abbott’s awarding a knighthood to Prince Philip precipitated a wave of dissent, even among his closest supporters in the Liberal Party and media. It was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back, but dismay at government policies and conduct had been building for some time, especially since the provocatively unfair May budget.

As Malcolm Turnbull rightly said in his New York speech last week, the public will accept policies if they are necessary, well explained, debated, and seen to be fair.

This is a message thinking people everywhere would endorse. It is a message Pope Francis has been reiterating in the international forum, along with other civil and religious leaders, and many leading economists.

Recent neoliberal ideologies and austerity policies are privileging tiny elites with massive wealth, at the expense of most others. We need honest social policies, designed to increase equity, opportunity, and outcomes for everyone, with solid support for disadvantaged groups.

 

 

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