Who first - me, or the country?

September 08, 2017

Senator Cory Bernardi submitted the following opinion piece to the Adelaide Hills Weekender, which was published yesterday.

The major challenge of politics is to convince people that your policies will deliver meaningful benefits for them and the country. These two demands are often competing, which means the rights of one must triumph over the benefit of the other.

Consider our national debt for example. It is over $500 billion and growing each day. It’s a debt that our children will be asked to repay for our spending excesses of today. That debt can only be repaid in four ways.

  • We can raise taxes which will slow down economic growth and likely impact some Australians disproportionately. When you consider that over 80 per cent of tax is paid by less than 20 per cent of individuals, doesn’t this just impose an even greater burden on those doing the most?
  • Then there’s expenditure savings.  This sounds ideal unless you’re one of the individuals who have a benefit taken away. In fact our ‘entitlement’ mentality has fuelled a perpetual grievance industry that is happy to see savings made as long as it is at someone else’s expense.
  • Debt can also be ‘inflated’ away. As the costs of goods and services rise, the notional value of debt declines while its absolute value remains fixed. It’s as simple as $100 is not worth as much in ten years as it is today because, thanks to inflation, it buys less.
  • Finally, debt can be defaulted upon. Whilst this has serious consequences, some nations seem to be serial defaulters, leaving creditors to pick up the tab.

 None of these scenarios are ideal and each one has a different set of implications for different groups of people. In short, whatever course of action is taken there will always be a loser (and possibly a winner!).

 Little wonder too few of our elected officials have the stomach for tackling the big issues. The national debt is one but there are many more. Immigration, jobs, foreign investment, social cohesion and cost of living are what most people raise with me. These are all important issues and are seldom given more than expedient lip service by those seeking your vote.

 Australians deserve better from our political class. They deserve to know exactly what their representatives stand for and the principles they seek to uphold. They deserve a better way for themselves and the country.

 Next time someone asks for your vote, ask them why they deserve it. They’ll likely tell you something you want to hear but it’s wise to consider it from the perspective of the national interest.  After all, isn’t it incumbent on us all to leave future generations a nation that is in an even better state than when we lived in it?

Senator Cory Bernardi


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