As noted in our previous blog, we highlighted where the big parties stand on employment, disability, and aged care issues. With our voting system, you must issue preferences for a minimum of 6 political parties., It is important to note where some of the minor parties stand on employment, disability, and aged care which may support policies that align with your values.
‘TNL’ (Previously known as The New Liberals) Policies and Priorities Employment
TNL believes that the right to work is a fundamental one. It believes in a ‘Job Guarantee Scheme’ (JGS), that is, a “permanent, federally funded, and locally administered” initiative that is open to the public and opts to provide a voluntary program for all those who wish to work at a living wage. As a result, the JGS aims to provide 60% of the median wage, in which employers will have to meet this wage as a minimum standard. The JGS would also exist alongside unemployment benefits for those who do not wish to work as well as private and public sector jobs for those who wish to earn more. A JGS would offer a tailored approach to individuals looking for a job based on their experiences and capabilities whilst pursuing "full employment".
Another policy advocated by TNL is a Workers Bonus Scheme where large companies that have made significant profits pre-tax can elect to have their workers rewarded with a bonus before the money goes to shareholders. Such an initiative would be allowed by allowing a double tax-deductible bonus for doing so.
When it comes to the National Disability Strategy, the TNL party supports all the recommendations made by the NDIS’s Independent Advisory Committee, which can be found here. Further to this, TNL supports the following priority areas in relation to the NDIS:
NDIS funding to be ongoing for those with lifelong disabilities
NDIS funding to be tailored and linked to life and employment goals
NDIS participants to have a consistent contact at NDIA
NDIA to have ‘sufficient’ staffing levels to ensure reviews are handled promptly as well as adopting a 90-day maximum time frame to approve funding
Other areas of disability policy advocated by TNL involve:
Establishing a National Building Code that allows for all new developments and retrofitting existing buildings to ensure disability access
Creating ‘accessible’ websites in accordance with the Disability Discrimination Act
Increasing the Disability Support Pension (DSP) by double what it currently is.
When it comes to aged care, TNL supports increasing the aged pension to double what it currently is. Also, TNL supports the establishment of a ‘Council of Elders’ involving older people of all backgrounds to help pass on valuable life experiences to the next generation
‘Sustainable Australia Party’ Policies and Priorities
Like ‘TNL’ and ‘Reason Australia’, the ‘Sustainable Australia Party’ (‘SAP’) supports a JGS to be administered by the re-establishment of the Commonwealth Employment Services with a national minimum wage of $40,000. Also, the SAP aims to make manufacturing jobs the lynchpin of economic prosperity.
When it comes to aged care, SAP supports better quality aged care homes and community/home care facilities. This would be achieved by having a minimum number of staff and increased home care support
Like SAP’s proposal on making the DSP $500 a week, such a proposal would also apply to the aged pension. Further to this, SAP supports a universal style aged pension that does not consider other income and would apply from when you turn 65 years old.
‘Reason Australia’ Policies and Priorities
When it comes to employment policy reform, ‘Reason Australia’s key aim is to issue a nationwide trial of a 4-day working week. This is encapsulated by the motto “working to live, not living to work”. Another employment policy advocated by ‘Reason Australia is a 6-month paid parental leave (PPL) that is provided at 80% of the salary and is capped at $70, 000. This contrasts with the PPL being the minimum wage. Further to this, ‘Reason Australia’, like ‘TNL’ and ‘Sustainable Australia Party’, supports a Job Guarantee Scheme that allows those who want a job to get one.
When it comes to disability reform, ‘Reason Australia’s focus is on the NDIS. Such reforms include:
establishing an independent review of NDIS funding and service management;
a review of the NDIA’s staffing caps, and;
regulated NDIS funding.
Finally, ‘Reason Australia’ supports the DSP to be above the poverty line and subject to indexation.
When it comes to the elderly, ‘Reason Australia’ supports the 2017 ‘Aged Care Diversity Framework’ and its associated action plans. Further to this, ‘Reason Australia’ supports the implementation of all of the findings from the Royal Commission into Aged Care, especially in relation to reforms that the private sector prioritises ‘care’ over ‘profits’ as well as reforming the Aged Care Act to ensure aged care homes receive the highest level of care. Finally, ‘Reason Australia’ supports the Aged Pension to be above the poverty line and subject to indexation.
‘Australian Democrats’ Policies and Priorities
The bulk of ‘Australian Democrats’ (‘AD’) employment-related policies are in relation to reducing the gender pay gap in the workforce. Firstly, AD plans on ensuring that there is an equal representation between male and female commissioners at the Fair Work Commission, with one goal of a balanced representation being to help review all awards in female-dominated industries. Secondly, AD plans on ensuring that annual wage review decisions require reasoning that is transparent and publicly available. This is to ensure that jobs that are female-dominated are not unfairly discriminated against. Further to this, AD believes that the Workforce Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) ought to be involved in helping review wages.
When it comes to aged care, there is a myriad of policies proposed by AP as they believe that the provision of aged care services is a right. These include:
Aged Care facilities to have a registered nurse at ALL times and each resident to receive a minimum of 200 minutes of care every day;
Mandatory minimum qualifications for all aged care staff;
An NDIS-style program for the elderly focusing on rehabilitation and disability as they would not be covered under NDIS due to age cut-off;
Aged care services to be delivered by qualified, well-trained, and well-paid workers, and;
Quality of care indicators to be made publicly and includes transparent financial reporting and staffing hours.
‘Great Australian Party’ Policies and Priorities
Employment is a key policy of the ‘Great Australian Party’ (‘GAP’). When it comes to industrial relations, GAP believes in the importance of ensuring that all parties are treated equally, with a focus on employees' and contractors’ entitlements as well as protecting employers from unscrupulous employees and abuse of powers from unions. At the same time, GAP believes in the importance of unions and that such involvement should be voluntary.
GAP also believes education and reskilling are crucial to employment. It believes that there needs to be a return to indentured apprenticeship-based training on the grounds that such positions are not available due to governments making kids stay at school longer. As a result, GAP believes that such apprenticeships should be made available, with the recommended age being 15-16 years old.
GAP does not have dedicated policies for Aged Care. Rather it has numerous policies for older Australians, which are based on the notion that all Australians over 55 years old should be classified as ‘seniors’ as an alternative to the various labels associated with older Australians. One policy involves lowering the retirement age to 60. Another policy is when a ‘senior’ reaches retirement age and provided that they have paid the ‘Social Security Contribution’ levy, they ought to be entitled to the full aged pensions as well as being exempt from the ‘asset test’.
‘Australian Values’ Policies and Priorities
The bulk of ‘Australian Values’ Party (‘AVP’) policies in relation to employment is based around improving workplace culture in parliament. Central to this is that there ought to be a code of conduct for all politicians and parliamentary staff in ensuring moral behaviour. Further to this, AVP supports a review of all the financial benefits and allowances politicians receive.
AVP has a few suggestions to help reform the NDIS. Firstly, it will ensure that there exist legislative provisions that ensure greater regulation and accountability of NDIS providers to ensure that they do not engage in price gouging and exploit NDIS funding. Secondly, AVP aims to allow for greater regulation of employment conditions for disability support workers to ensure they are ‘appropriately recognised, supported and compensated’. Finally, AVP seeks to reform the NDIS application process to make it easier for carers of people with disabilities to apply or renew assistance for NDIS applicants where possible.
The AVP has a myriad of objectives to help with aged care and older Australians. These include:
Clearly defining ‘elder abuse’ and establishing a legal framework to ensure perpetrators of elder abuse are held accountable
Establishing and maintaining higher nurse ratios in aged care facilities
Ensure aged care facilities are providing nutritional food to aged care residents
Better incentivise older Australians to be employed and more engaged in the community. One strategy that would be done is exempting employment income from the income test for those on the age pension.