Back to the Future
Our so-called conservative parties, the Liberal/National Party Coalition in the state of Victoria and the federal Coalition do not seem to realise that a centre-right political party cannot win by moving to the Left. Labor and the Greens occupy that territory and conservatives can only win elections by articulating their own inspiring vision for the future.
Former premier of Victoria, Dr. Denis Napthine, is a good man and voted against our awful 2008 Abortion Law Reform Act. But when he was elected Premier following the resignation of Ted Baillieu, he seemed to lose his nerve, became determined there would be no change to the Abortion Act of 2008 and silenced pro-life Liberal Party MPs. It is hardly surprising that pro-life MP, Geoff Shaw, became frustrated and resigned from the Liberals to sit as an Independent. Mr. Shaw could possibly have been placated if Dr. Napthine had amended Section 8 of the Abortion Law Reform Act which coerces doctors into referring for abortions despite their conscientious objections. The Australian Medical Association opposes Section 8, so there was no excuse for Dr. Napthine not to table legislation respecting doctors' consciences and professional judgments.
Federally the Coalition is doing no better. Prime Minister Tony Abbott continues to behave as if he is still spooked by Julia Gillard's charges of "misogyny". His appointment of former Australian Democracts leader, Natasha Stott Despoja, as an "Ambassador for Women" was an insult to all the highly competent conservative women who could have served in that post admirably - if such a post was necessary at all. As columnist Grace Collier wrote in the Weekend Australian, 23/24 May 2014, "Rather than focusing on the shrieking rage of enemies, the Government should focus on addressing the disappointed silence of friends".
Mr. Abbott does not seem to have noticed that Julia Gillard increased the tax-free threshold from $6,000 to $18,000. This was not a bad change in itself, except that it further discriminated against single-income families who were offered no comparable benefit to compensate for the fact that they only receive $18,000 tax free while a two-income family receives $36,000 tax free. It is hardly surprising that the Federal Coalition are doing as badly in the opinion polls as their Victorian counterparts were before losing the November elections. Abbott has done nothing for the pro-family voters who are his natural constituency, and he can hardly use budget constraints as an excuse when he is promoting paid parental leave and child care subsidies payments for career women but nothing for full-time homemakers.
Mr. Abbott should seriously consider Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper's income-splitting policy announced in October 2014: A spouse is able to transfer income for tax purposes up to $50,000 to the lower-income spouse with children eighteen years and younger, in order to collect a non-refundable tax credit of up to $2,000 per year. Thus it is the middle and lower income families, not higher income ones, who will benefit from this tax cut. The Canadian government also announcd tax breaks for about four million families, averaging an after tax benefit of $1,140 per family and that the maximum amount of expenses allowed under the Children's Fitness Tax Credit will be increased from $500 to $1,000, so that even those who don't pay income tax, will benefit. This cover costs associated with children's sport.
Endeavour Forum's sister organisation in Canada, REAL Women, stated that their government's policies on families "are a tribute to parents and children who play such a crucial role in society." We hope you are listening, Mr. Abbott.