More than $60 million in taxpayer funds will be used to pay political parties for their campaigns, in what is only the first round of payments after the federal election. These payments won’t be instead of, but in addition to, the base annual salary all members of parliament already earn. The major parties, Liberal and Labor, will earn a combined amount over $44 million while a range of smaller parties will be getting a total payment of $16 million.
The Australian Electoral Commission argues that this is a fair use of taxpayers’ money, allowing us to have strict laws on political donations and “protecting” us from corporate interests. What they fail to mention is that there is nothing “fair” about paying politicians for every compulsory vote we give them. It’s time to have a serious discussion over this waste of taxpayer funding.
The same amount of money we spend on political campaigns could be used in far more important areas, reduce our budget deficit or lower the burden on taxpayers. $60 million would be better spent on 1000 new nurses or 5,500 hospital beds in our overcrowded hospitals or 1000 new teachers in our public schools. $60 million would be better spent reducing our our overblown budget deficit. $60 million could be used to reduce the burden of taxes on families and lower income earners.
There are countless ways our money could be used in better and fairer ways, yet we are handing over our incomes towards politicians who have already won an election. It’s time to demand a better use of our taxpayer money.