I don’t know if Australia is behind the rest of the world in its politicking but our politicians are certainly living in the last century as far as prenting political policies are concerned. We have several good organisations which are able to model political ideas, and work out the effect of them, but for some reason our politicians prefer to put out policies without measuring their effects.

Two serve as examples. Quite large numbers of backpackers come out here and work their way around the country, sight-seeing, meeting locals and more importantly  helping our fruit growers in harvesting seasonal products which don’t warrant fulltime, year round employees. It is a win-win situation for both groups. The conservative politicians have seen this as a pot of gold and are intending to increase the income tax on the backpackers. The result is that many of them have diverted to Canada and New Zealand instead, apparently countries where their governments are more knowledgeable about the situation. We are missing out on what was a beneficial arrangement, the backpackers miss out on seeing Australia and the fruit growers won’t get their crops harvested. This reflects 20th century policy determination when we weren’t able to work out the effects of disastrous policies like this would be.

The other policy which also seems like a stab in the dark is that of negative gearing, in which people who own rental policies are able to offset expenses properties they don’t live in themselves against tax on their income. This benefits people who can afford to buy more than one property, with the rich owning several property’s and getting even richer. The main concern is the effect this has on house values with some suggesting that this artificially raise house prices, forcing young prospective first home buyers out of the market. Again modelling should be able to ascertain the effect of doing away with negative gearing, retaining the current system, or what to me would be a more sensible solution of allowing it to only apply to one property.

Unless the experts can be asked to research the effects of such policies voters are left to take a stab in the dark about the outcomes of such policies and which way to vote. Hardly the basis for determining two important monetary policies in the 21st century. It’s time our politicians moved into the 21st  century in determining policy. We now look in vain for evidence of the effects of new party policies in order to cast a valid vote.