Are these promises built to last?

The election campaign trail is a bad place to go looking for good policies. As CPD fellow Mark Bahnisch writes over at New Matilda:

"The flim-flammery of
symbolic and wasteful promises is a function of treating politics as a
horse race…we,
the voters, are not treated as if we’re seriously concerned about how
policies affect our lives and the whole show runs along its merry way
as if politics didn’t matter, except to that hermetic circle , ‘the political class’"
Here at the CPD we think a lot about the relationship between politics and policy. Over the course of the campaign some smart programs have been announced, but all too often short-term electioneering and a reluctance to tackle complex issues has led the major parties to make promises that aren’t sustainable over the long-term.

Now that it’s all over bar the mud-slinging, we asked CPD fellows to nominate election policies that won’t go the distance, in a series of election policy road tests:

CPD Road Test: child care rebate

Eva Cox takes the child care rebate for a spin and finds it wanting.

CPD Road Test: schools funding

Labor’s pledge to keeping pumping valuable education dollars into the Coalition’s wasteful SES funding scheme is bad policy, writes Lyndsay Connors.

CPD Road Test: home savings accounts

The home savings accounts proposed by Labor and the Coalition will be expensive to maintain and won’t have much impact on housing affordability, write Ben Eltham and Anna Tweeddale.

CPD Road Test: work and family balance

Both major parties are claiming that their models provide balance and flexibility, but there’s not much under the bonnet, writes Mark Bahnisch

CPD Road Test: australian technical colleges

Why keep two technical training systems on the road when neither is worthy of a pink slip, asks Ben Eltham.

One common theme in the road tests is that both the ALP and Coalition are far
too fond of individual rebates and other ‘affordability’
schemes which increase purchasing power without addressing supply
constraints. An increasing number of economists are now echoing
concerns raised by CPD fellows that these policies are failing to increase choice, access, or affordability.

In his article How the bean counters took over the campaign, Ian McAuley writes about the difference between ‘fiscal conservatism’ and real economic responsibility:

"How can we ensure prosperity once the commodity boom is over? What do we need to spend on our collective assets – our physical infrastructure, our human capital, our environmental assets – to ensure our economic resilience and international competitiveness? How can we restore proper incentives into our taxation and welfare systems to distribute the benefits of economic growth and to preserve trust in our reward systems? How can we restore household balance sheets with real, liquid assets and reduce the insecurity of personal debt? How can we supply housing in places where people want to live? How can we bring the excluded and marginalized into the mainstream economy?"

To get to the point where these questions (and their answers) supplant the narrow focus on interest and tax rates, it’s going to take nothing less than a renewal of Australia’s democracy. And that’s what we’ll be talking about next week.

Health Policy Fact Sheets

The CPD has done a lot of work on health policy since we launched in May. But we know that
not everyone has the time to pore over detailed policy papers. So we have prepared 5 simple fact sheets to outline where
health policy is currently at – and where the major parties have
promised to take it after Saturday’s election.

CPD in the news

About the CPD

The Centre for Policy Development
researches and promotes policies for a fair and sustainable future. If you’d like to
support what we’re doing, please donate online.

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