Don't Fuck Up Your Vote


Standing for the seat of Kooyong in 2019 Federal election. All tweets are authorised by Oliver Yates, Kew, Victoria 

I’m running because I’m concerned our current politicians lack the integrity, vision and leadership necessary to address the major challenges facing Australia – climate change, infrastructure, population growth and immigration.

Where I stand on key issues

Community Committee for Kooyong

I want to represent your views and concerns. Not a party’s views, not a faction’s, and not the views of big donors. To me, that’s what being an independent means. If you feel strongly about an issue, please get in touch. I will be establishing a Committee for Kooyong to ensure your views are heard. If you would like to be a part of that process, please let us know at info@oliveryates.com

No new coal-fired power stations and accelerate policies to reduce emissions across all sectors

Australia needs to rapidly reduce its carbon emissions, particularly in the electricity sector where it there are the cheapest opportunities to reduce emissions. Annual reductions of 3 to 4 per cent are needed until 2025. Then when storage and transmission solutions have been built, we will need to accelerate that action to get us on the right decarbonisation path to avoid catastrophic climate change.

Offshore detention and refugee policy

With nearly everyone I speak to, this is a troubling issue. I believe Kooyong citizens want an immigration process that respects people’s human rights whilst ensuring we’re able to strongly manage our borders and support our population. There must be a screening process to ensure we do not accept people who present a credible threat to our security. Offshore detention has been an extremely expensive process that has destroyed people’s lives. People who seek asylum in Australia deserve protection while their refugee status is being determined, but within a reasonable time limit. They should have basic rights to live in the community with opportunities to work, study and receive medical attention. However, should someone break a serious law once they are here in Australia, they should not be entitled to citizenship and could find themselves deported.

Franking credits

Labor’s proposed changes to franking credits have caused people significant and legitimate concern. Many Kooyong citizens have acquired a selected portfolio of shares on the assumption that tax refunds on franking credits will be available. They have planned their future on anticipated investment returns. It is irresponsible to introduce changes that would have retrospective effect. I will support the view of the electorate and oppose this legislation.

Animal exports

Time and time again the live export or processing of animals has resulted in their cruel treatment. The majority of the people I speak to in Kooyong want live animal exports banned. I will support this position and work to achieve this.

Negative gearing

Labor’s policy to limit negative gearing on a prospective basis has some merits, but it appears to be poorly designed. There should be a limit to the percentage of income people can negatively gear, as it’s unethical for people to simply write-off their entire income with the interest expense of many investment properties.

As proposed, Labor’s policy won’t stop people achieving a write-off of their entire income and it could even provide an undesirable taxation incentive – encouraging people to demolish beautiful old homes, only to be replaced by new multiple-occupant residencies that would be eligible for negative gearing benefits. Although this issue hasn’t been raised as a concern by Kooyong citizens, I will suggest certain changes to this legislation.

Labor’s proposed changes to capital gain tax are also prospective and will, in effect, treat all sources of income in a similar way. I will not reject these as Kooyong citizens don’t seem to be opposing them.

Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) and donation reform

Australia needs a strong and independent federal commission against corruption. We need to stop the unhealthy influence of donations. This is critical to restoring trust in Australian politics. A federal ICAC should have real power to investigate a broad range of activities of those in public office, including politicians.

I will support legislation for donation reform as people in Kooyong are entitled to transparency and accountability. We need to restore integrity and trust in our political system

Bill of Rights

Australia needs a Bill of Rights that ensures all Australians are treated fairly no matter their race, gender or sexuality. It should include the right of free speech.

“Big Stick” legislation

The so-called “Big Stick” energy legislation proposed by the government would have forced energy companies to divest their assets if they were found by a court to have abused their market power by engaging in anti-competitive behaviour.

The Bill failed to pass in the Parliament, however, because the government abandoned its own policy. The government withdrew the legislation after the Parliament sought to amend it to prevent the government supporting and financing new coal-fired power stations.

We do in fact need a “Big Stick” for all companies found to have abused their market power and engaged in anti-competitive or anti-consumer behaviour, not only those in the energy market. The government should have accepted the proposed amendments that would have prevented government financing of coal-fired power stations. They should have certainly passed the legislation to allow business breakups where they abuse market power.

Supporting local industry

The government must instruct all government-owned entities to select Australian produced goods and services over foreign produced goods, where they are price competitive and compliant with our trade treaties.

The government and government-owned entities should also be allowed to accept gifts of goods and services from Australian companies for use in their businesses so that they can showcase the goods and services of Australian companies.

Austrade should be directed to focus more attention on supporting Australian exports and not simply finding foreign companies to acquire Australian businesses.

Free trade agreements

For too long, Australians have questioned whose interests free trade agreements actually serve.

The Productivity Commission should be instructed to undertake a review of all of Australia’s current and future free trade agreements to determine if, when entered into, they are in the best interest of the Australian people.

The government should also explain to Parliament how and why it entered into these agreements where it is found that these agreements do not, on balance, sufficiently benefit the Australian people.

Matching unfair financing terms

Foreign governments are supporting their own exports by offering favourable financing terms to their local exporters.

Australian firms should not have to face unfair competition. The Export Finance and Insurance Agency should be instructed to offer the same funding support to Australian exporters as being offered by foreign agencies so that Australian firms can compete on a level playing field.

Anti-carbon dumping

Australia currently has an agency responsible for preventing foreign companies dumping their products in Australia when they undermine the markets of our local suppliers.

Australia will ultimately need to establish a carbon pricing regime in one form or another. To prevent Australian companies from being disadvantaged by a carbon pricing regime, Australia will also need to ensure that our anti-dumping agency is able to impose tariffs on carbon intensive products from other countries where a similar carbon pricing regime is not in place.

Preparing for coal closures

Australia’s current coal-fired power stations are old, dirty and expensive to run. Basic economics dictate that, whether we like it or not, more than 10 coal-fired power stations are likely to close over the next 10 years because they will become uneconomic and unsafe to continue operating.

Power stain closures should occur in an orderly and sensible way, whereby the government provides information to potentially affected communities so they can start to make sensible decisions about their futures.

As with any major industry transition, governments will need to work with community representatives to create the conditions to assist the communities to adjust.

Energy transmission and storage

The government has failed to invest in sufficient transmission and storage services that are necessary to secure the supply of lowest cost renewable energy resources around Australia. Many of the best renewable energy resources are in rural areas, where the communities will benefit greatly from their construction, operation and maintenance for years to come.

With a supportive policy environment, businesses could be contracting for the construction of these assets now. This would ensure that Australia’s transition to a clean energy future will be cheaper than if the economic return and timing of such investments remains uncertain.

These assets should be able to generate a return for the taxpayer in excess of government funding costs. The government should be using its balance sheet wisely to ensure that innovative, low cost, clean power solutions are developed rapidly, as this will drive down power prices, reduce carbon emissions and allow communities, businesses, the environment and consumers to all benefit.

Privatisation

Most Australians feel that they have not benefited from the decisions of both major parties to sell off many critical public assets like ports, airports and roads. For the most part, we’ve just had to pay much more for the same, or even reduced services. Governments love the one-off revenue benefit of selling these assets to the private sector as a means to effectively front-end quasi taxation. Typically, they sell assets to new owners with an agreed right that the new owner can increase the charges to consumers.  This boosts the sales price, creating a positive budget hit but it leaves us all paying more than we would have, for the very same service.

The intrinsic assumption that governments should not provide monopoly style services should also be reviewed. Far too often, we have seen new private sector operators out-smart regulators who are supposed to keep them honest. In most cases new owners have reaped monopoly profits at the expense of consumers.

There should be no new privatisation of public assets until a review can be completed of the success or failure of those assets that have already be sold into private ownership.