Thursday, 30 June 2016

WHY ARE WE WASTING SO MUCH TAXPAYERS MONEY ON ‘ASYLUM SEEKERS’?


There are two main perspectives of many as to how to view and deal with the issue of ‘asylum seekers’. One is from an economic rationalist viewpoint, the other is from a humanistic, compassionate perspective.

Economic rationalist- Currently we are ‘wasting' over $400,000 p.a. per person on imprisoning people seeking asylum in offshore detention centres. For less than 10% of this figure we could process these people onshore and place them in the community on a bridging visa. For those people who are granted asylum many ask what will we do with them and what about the jobs they take.

Jobs are created through people. No people and there are no jobs. The more people we have, the more jobs are there created through an increased need for houses, food, education, etc. On top of this we currently operate a flawed 457 visa scheme where many people inappropriately take many Australian jobs and worse still much of this earned money goes offshore. If we replaced these people on 457’s with people seeking asylum we would be saving many millions of dollars. Not only would millions saved on offshore detention costs we would also be employing people who would be putting much of their wages back into the local economy rather than sending much of it offshore. This approach would be cash flow positive for our budget.

Compassionate path - Probably best summed up by paraphrasing an old quote. ‘Sometimes the longest journey a politician takes is the one from their head to their heart.’



http://www.ncoa.gov.au/report/appendix-vol-2/10-14-illegal-maritime-arrival-costs.html

Sunday, 19 June 2016

REPEAT VIOLENT OFFENDERS- IS IT TIME FOR A PARADIGM SHIFT?


Our community is constantly under threat from repeat violent offenders, be that violence of a sexual or physical nature, due to flaws in our current judicial system. In order to protect our citizens, especially our children and women, we need to reassess the way we deal with these offenders for the good of the community as a whole.

Repeat violent offenders have deranged brain functioning and many of them either they do not want to be rehabilitated or science currently doesn't have the answers as to how to do so. For these people we need to handle them in the way we would for any member of the community who has a serious, contagious physical disease that poses a threat to the well being of our community.

Using the highly contagious and often fatal viral disease Ebola as an example, if one of our citizens was infected with Ebola the health authorities would take the position that for the sake of the community we need to isolate that person until they no longer presented a significant threat to our well being.

So to do we need to take a similar view with repeat violent offenders. These people are ‘contagious’. They are spreading violence within the community leading to abhorrent short and long term serious side effects to our community.

Why would we ‘isolate’ someone infected with a serious physical disorder capable of causing great harm like Ebola and yet not be ‘isolating’ people with a brain disorder who are also capable of causing serious harm?
Once these offenders have finished their prison terms we need to be approaching the problem in the same way we would with a person infected with Ebola. We need to keep them isolated in gated communities where they can live out the rest of their life and be prevented from harming our children and communities.
No doubt this approach would represent a economic cost to our community. If we look at the bigger picture though this cost however is minimal compared to the social and economic cost that repeat violent offenders are imposing on our society currently through their violent behaviour.

A somewhat controversial aspect of this new approach would be to consider offering chemical or immunological castration for those repeat offenders who are deemed of lower risk of repeat offending. This approach allows them to re-enter society after serving their prison term and is reversible so they always have the freedom of choice to stop the ‘castration’ and go back to permanent life in a gated community.

Violent behaviour has many aspects as to what drives it particularly in relation to it’s biological and psychological underpinnings and testosterone is certainly not the cause of these people’s violent behaviour. There is however little doubt that testosterone plays a crucial role in priming the brain of these people by lowering the threshold and increasing the likelihood of these repeat offenders engaging in further physically and sexually violent behaviour. Science supports this notion and one only has to talk to a horse trainer or cattle farmer to hear strong anecdotal evidence support in of the view that suppression of testosterone production plays a massive role in altering sexual and physical behaviour in animal models.

Whilst controversial I believe if we can look at the bigger picture this approach has great merit and needs further discussion and refinement from many stakeholders.

In conclusion ultimately the wisest approach to dealing with violence in society requires our efforts to be directed at prevention rather than cure. Until we have enough people in our political ranks who can realise most violent behaviour is set up in childhood via these children experiencing or witnessing violence which leads to significant effects on the functioning and structure of their developing brain circuits we will never see our community make significant inroads into dealing with this crucial problem- one that impacts us both socially and economically.

Dr. Michael McCluskey
Independent candidate
Wannon

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

VOLUNTEERING PLEDGE



Volunteers play a vital role across many aspects of the community from SES, CFA, Meals on Wheels, Angel Flight, Lifesaving Australia, Riding for Disabled, palliative care, CWA, Lifeline, Coastguard, school assistance, to name just a few.

Volunteering cuts across many walks of life and serves to enrich our community and its citizens as well as save the Federal government many millions of dollars in unpaid services.

Without volunteering our country would not function, both socially and economically, to the level it currently does.

"By taking this pledge, I acknowledge that volunteering supports the work of the federal government through the delivery of core programs, making a significant contribution to the Australian economy and society.

I further acknowledge that the delivery of successful volunteering programs requires adequate funding, which has not kept pace with growth in demand. I am concerned by reports that the number of volunteers in Australia is decreasing and believe Government must show the leadership required to encourage more people into volunteering.

I pledge to work in partnership with the volunteering sector to support the work of volunteers, volunteer managers and volunteer-involving organisations if elected on July 2.”


Dr Michael McCluskey
Independent candidate

Wannon


SUBS OR BUBS?



Where do our priorities lie?

One of the key issues governing the financial and social stability of any group of people, whether it be at the family level, business level or right up to the Federal political level, is our capacity to do wise prioritisation of funding.

When we can wisely allocate funding according to the most crucial of needs then we are on the path to progress and long term security. At the family level food/water, housing, education, clothing, health etc are the key areas where we invest for our children's well being. When these needs are satisfied as wise parents we then tend to our children's other needs.

Until we have more people at the political level who are capable of developing the wisdom to subscribe to a similar thinking of prioritisation of funding, our children and grandchildren won’t obtain the optimal outcomes they could in terms of both their economic and social well being.

Currently the government is proposing to spend $50,000,000,000 (or significantly more if other projects such as Myki, F-35 fighter project, the NBN, TAFE replacement education provider schemes, etc are any guide to go by) on 12 submarines. Much of this money will also be spent offshore, the true amount of which will probably be revealed after rather than before the election.

Our military is a crucial part of the Australian life and provides both defence capability and humanitarian assistance if need be for both ourselves and our close neighbours. Like all things in life however there is the need for the balancing of priorities.

The key question we will need to ask ourself in 30-40 years time is will our children and grandchildren have been well served by spending that $50-70 billion on 12 high tech metal tubes floating around in a very large ‘bath tub’ or will they have been better served by spending that money on improving violence prevention, education, healthcare and road/rail transport?

Will 12 high tech metal tubes in any way prevent any major power from invading us? 

Sometimes we can get lost when high number are floated around by people in politics so I have put the 12 subs into perspective assuming the unlikely event of there being no further cost blow outs

With $50 billion we could

  • fund the crucial Murray Basin rail project upgrade 120 times 
  • build 40 new Royal Children’s hospitals
  • fund the new Victorian government response to family violence 80 times 
  • duplicate the Geelong-Colac freeway 90 times 
  • be far closer to preventing and treating all forms of cancer
  • build 7 new airports for Western Sydney 
  • fund the Coalitions offer of $14 million for Deakin Warrnambool for the next 3500 years

My guess is as long as we have people in politics who don’t have the courage and wisdom to do the bigger, picture ‘intergenerational thinking’, our children and their children will continue to live in a country where they will have to struggle harder to achieve their economic and social potentials.

Dr. Michael McCluskey
Independent candidate

Wannon

Sunday, 12 June 2016

ARE NEGATIVE GEARING AND CAPITAL GAINS TAX CONCESSIONS TEARING AT THE ‘FABRIC OF SOCIETY’?


Access to affordable and safe housing plays a crucial role in ensuring our families can function to their social and economic potential within society. Without this access the social and economic fabric of society is at risk of unravelling.
Housing is pivotal in enabling families to provide a secure and safe environment for our children to grow up in. Inability to access affordable housing sets our children up for higher risk of reduced health and educational outcomes over their lifetime which puts them at risk of becoming an economic and social drain on our governments. 
Even those families that can access housing but whom have to pay large rents and/or purchase prices in order to do so are also at risk of social and economic disadvantage. Every dollar spent on high cost housing is a dollar the family no longer has to help educate, clothe, feed and socially engage their children in life. Added to this, financial stress in families can lead to relationship difficulties or breakdown which can have ramifications for their children going forward.
Under our current tax system speculation in housing is encouraged due to the generous capital gain tax concessions and negative gearing provisions within our tax system. In particular people on higher incomes receive much larger tax benefits than people on lower incomes do through our negative gearing and capital gains rules because they are in higher tax brackets. 
Our tax system supports speculative buyers to compete against homebuyers, who have no such tax benefits, leading to significant economic and social dislocation for homebuyers particularly young families who are trying to enter the market for the first time. A side effect of the current legislation is that people are rewarded with at least twice the tax benefits for property speculating than what they are for working. This is counterproductive as productive employment is where true economic value is added to our economy.
I support the quarantining of negative gearing losses to the actual investment property as well as the elimination of capital gains concessions for all investments including property and shares. 
In order to prevent sudden price shifts, changes to negative gearing and capital gains concessions would need to be gradually introduced over a 5-7 year period through a step down scaling of the current tax advantages. 
The rights of people who have already entered into property purchases in good faith under the current tax laws also need to be respected so no retrospective changes could be applied despite how misguided the current tax system maybe. The elimination of negative gearing and capital gains concessions could only be applied to future property purchases. This is crucial otherwise allowing retrospective changes to laws can lead to more fear and anxiety going forward and puts at jeopardy the use of wisdom in future financial decisions in all areas. 

Dr. Michael McCluskey
Independent candidate

Wannon

Sunday, 5 June 2016

WOULD YOU ACCEPT THE ‘GIFT OF LIFE’?


In the lead up to the Federal election I want to highlight the sad situation of the many people who are missing out on the valuable ‘gift of life’ due to inadequate numbers of organs being made available for organ transplantation in our great country. 
Organ transplantation is a unique process whereby a patient can only become the recipient of a transplant because another person has donated their organs, either whilst living or after dying. The dramatic clinical benefits of organ transplantation are sadly however not available to all those people who need and would benefit from transplantation. 

In 2015, 435 organ donors gave 1,241 Australians a new chance in life. There are however over 1500 people at any one time on the Australian waiting list hoping for an organ to become available for transplantation.
Australia has struggled for over 20 years to bring the rate of organ donation to the level that other developed countries such as Spain, Belgium, France and the USA have achieved. Our donation rate currently sits at approximately 16-17 donors per million population which places us outside of the top 20 in the world.
There have been many reasons for Australia’s lower organ transplant rate, many of which have been addressed at a clinical and hospital level. 
The two main reasons that are still an impediment to helping the many hundreds of Australian people waiting on the organ transplant list are the low levels of people choosing to register their wishes to donate organs or body tissue on the Australian Organ Donor Register. Also families still have the final say in overturning the final wishes of their loved ones choice to give the ‘gift of life’ to another child or adult.
Over the next four weeks I hope to achieve 1000 new people signing up to the donation register. For many people the decision to do so is often not on our radar due to the busy life we lead. If you believe that you or your family members would accept an organ donation please consider sharing that same gift with someone else and register your consent at 
Please consider sharing this post with any friends who you believe would accept the ‘gift of life’ in the hope they might also consider giving the ‘gift of life’.
If you do decide to register please also add your name to the post so together we can show others the importance of organ donation.
Dr. Michael McCluskey
Independent candidate
Wannon

Thursday, 19 May 2016

IS THE 'MEDICARE SPIRAL' OUT OF CONTROL?

I believe the Medicare system needs a major revamp as there are two parts to the cost of our current healthcare. One is what our insurance pays towards medical charges and the other is the 'elephant in the room' which is what the health care providers are charging.

Under the current system many 'high end specialists' see what Medicare and private insurance pays out to us as patients and then charge significantly  more on top of that. The more Medicare and private insurance covers, the more the specialists charge over and above the Medicare/private cover leading to a continual fee spiral that results in our community paying ever higher Medicare and private health premiums. The only winner there is the bank balances of the high income specialists. 

Private health insurance is a good case in point. In many cases taking out private health insurance actually increases our health care charges rather than reducing them due to many specialists 'loading up' their fees. The main advantage for taking out private insurance is down to increased speed of access to a specialist appointment and procedure if needed rather than saving money as was the original intent.

There are obvious exceptions to this having encountered occasional specialists myself who do not 'load up' beyond what Medicare/private insurance cover. Also many GP's (who are also specialists) do not make anywhere near the incomes of 'high end' specialists. 

I believe we need to move to a better system that limits what health care providers can charge above and beyond the current Medicare  and private insurance rebates otherwise we will continue on this self-feeding debt spiral. 

We also need to be mindful that every dollar that is fed into the pockets of very high income specialists is a dollar we don't have for medical research into diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.

Dr. Michael McCluskey
Independent candidate
Wannon