Debt not in the debate

If we are going to deal with our issues, there's a fundamental issue that needs to be addressed

  • Apr. 18, 2013 8:00 a.m.

John Harding’s editorial in the April 11 edition of The NEWS touched some vital issues.

Yes, we do have some excellent candidates, all of which deserve to win. But to what end?

I have heard nothing so far on four elementary concerns which dominate the legislature and are seriously damaging our economy. There is a tacitly agreed vacuum, where there should be boiling debates.

Our debt now exceeds $50 billion, doubling in the last decade even though huge provincial assets have been sold off  to try and balance a budget heavily distorted by usurious interest — there is no other word — while 80 per cent of total interest charges are off-budget so that they don’t attract too much public attention.

No plan exists for extinction of these debts — they just go on growing in a numbing silence while necks are broken to try and show a ‘balanced’ budget.

The electoral system itself is heavily dysfunctional and regularly disenfranchises millions of voters in ‘owned’ constituencies across the country.

For these folk, it is simply a waste of time voting. Lip service is regularly paid to the problem but nothing is done.

Our federal government itself, with a handsome majority of votes actually cast (and being a spokesperson for the nation, no less) was established by a mere 25 per cent of the electorate because huge numbers had not enough confidence that their vote would count for anything and stayed at home. Again, there is silence.

The totally-accepted system by which purchase of influence is effected by very large donations to parties is a disgrace to a democracy. Large donations from wealthy people and corporations (with tax rebates of course) effectively buy policies and sway legislation, making small donations from earnest party supporters pretty much irrelevant.

Why is this pernicious system tolerated? Listen hard — you hear nothing. And the very existence of tax havens is an insolent finger to all those whose tax is deducted at source, and to integrity itself. There should be great penalties for such malarkey, but it doesn’t get a mention.

I think our able and pleasant candidates need to do some elementary research on what they are trying to get into. There is, beyond doubt, enormous scope for a whole new way of doing politics and these issues alone easily trump the debates on pipelines and clinic cost over-runs, whatever their local impact.

Russ Vinden