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Voters.Network - advancing Australia's future
Voters.Network - advancing Australia's future
Voters.Network - advancing Australia's future

GAINING PERSONAL COLLECTIVE POLITICAL POWER THROUGH NETWORKING

6 June 2019

 
Whistleblowers and warships, politicians and the people!

CHINESE WARSHIPS entered Sydney Harbour on the 30th Anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre by their government forces, of people simply wanting to be treated fairly.

The presence in Sydney Harbour was undoubtedly intentional and designed to give some Chinese message to Australians. We will have to imagine what that was.

China was "correct" to send the army into Tiananmen Square in 1989 because it led to "stability"”, China's Defence Minister Wei Fenghe has been reported as declaring.

Of course it led to stability. Whenever the government murders people who want a free voice to say what they want in their country, it will bring stability.

When those who rock the boat are fed to the sharks, the rest sit quiet and do what they are told. But running China is China’s issue, not ours.

Which brings us to two recent cases of whistleblowers who felt that government employees were acting illegally or unreasonably.

A tax office employee blows the whistle on the practice of using garnishees and illegal or unfair practices to collect taxes that people refuse to pay. There is nothing wrong with using garnishees to collect taxes from people not prepared to pay their fair share of running the country – education, hospitals, schools, defence, transport, welfare. In 50 years of dealing with the Tax Office professionally I have only once been treated unfairly.  I reported my unfair treatment by Votergram to each of the 225 Members of Federal Parliament and the ATO officer was called before a tribunal and disciplined. I tend to think the ATO is over lenient with tax avoiders rather than over aggressive. But the whistleblower should surely first report the matter to senior ATO officers. If they do not deal properly with the issue he or she should report the matter by Votergram to every federal MP. That would produce swift retribution. Even if the government wanted to cover it up the opposition would not let that happen. Whistleblowers should never be sacked or victimised. That confirms the original crime.

If some officer of the ATO was acting illegally then the Federal Police should be acting against that officer, not the whistleblower. They would only be justified in raiding the News Corp HQ if the whistleblower has released personal information on taxpayers that those taxpayers did not want released. It is not the job of the Federal Police to protect a cover up of illegal activity by bureaucrats or public servants who we, the voters, pay, just as we pay the Federal Police.

The Federal Police have also raided the ABC apparently to collect information about the leaking of information about the murder of innocent women and children by government employees in the army. Bad things happen in war and they should be admitted and where possible compensated. We all make mistakes but some people are ruthless and brutal killers. They are probably an advantage in the army. Our national security does not depend on the Federal Police covering up war crimes. If they have any role, it might be to prosecute the war criminals themselves, not the whistleblower who alerts the Australian people to the crime.

However, the proper course of action is for the whistleblower to report the war crime to our elected Members of Parliament. That is what Parliament is for. Not just to the Minister for Defence but by Votergram to every Member of Parliament. That would guarantee an investigation and disciplinary action. Our MPs will never support war crimes or government crimes, whether committed by Hitler’s Nazis, Stalin’s secret police, Chairman Mao’s Red Army or Australian soldiers. But few of us are perfect ,so all parties deserve a fair go, including soldiers in combat and tax officers collecting money from people who have already received in cash much more than the tax they are required to pay out of it.

Let everyone remember that it is good, not bad, to report illegal conduct within government. But the place to report it is by Votergram to every member of the parliament responsible. I guarantee that will produce the outcome that every whistleblower desires.

Reporting a problem to the media just makes the government look stupid and nobody like to have that happen, so they react. Reacting by prosecuting the whistleblower instead of the government criminal or wrong-doer is just childish and in itself makes politicians look corrupt.

That these raids have occurred on the watch of the newly elected Liberal National Coalition will make many Australians wonder whether their government politicians see themselves as dictators like the Chinese leadership whose warship sailed into Sydney Harbour proud of its Tiananmen Square massacre.

I do not think that is what our government MPs intend. If I am correct in that, they should move very quickly to prosecute the government employees who have behaved badly and get the Federal Police off the backs of those who let the Australian people know when their paid bureaucrats or public servants let them down or get out of control.

Australia will be best served by government when the Australian people and their politicians work well together to Advance Australia Fair. FairGO, free of party politics and with its Votergram service and Voters network, is the best and perhaps only way that can be achieved.



ELECTIONS ARE OVER. NOW THE REAL WORK BEGINS.

Deciding what voters want done.

What do Australian voters want done by your governments under the supervision of the 300 odd state and federal Members of Parliament who you have elected and will pay to represent you and your wishes?

To find out you need to discuss the various issues and your varying views on them in order to reach some solutions that are acceptable to at least three-quarters of those interested.

The best way, perhaps the only way, is to join in the Forum on this site. Be brief, patient, tolerant and explain your views clearly. Part of influencing politicians to do what you want is getting a number of other voters to support you. The forum helps you do that online in the same way that a community consultation does it off line.

If there is no forum on your topic email admin@voters.network  . 

Working with our politicians to have it done.

After discussion on each of those topics voters can move to political persuasion campaigns on the most popular solutions that receive over 75% support.

That next stage will be to explain to all MPs carefully with the support of as many voters as possible, what you would like them to do and then help them to get it done.

Why it will work

You will most likely achieve your goals because:

There is no reason why politicians would not implement good ideas from voters.

Politicians depend on voter support for re-election to their chosen careers.

Politicians are infinitely more helpful to voters that the media or the population give them credit for.

Peak Bodies and Community organisations

If you belong to a Peak Body representing professionals, businesses, farmers, residents who are involved in lobbying governments, encourage them to join in the forum. FairGO has an enviable record of successes in enabling Peak Bodies to achieve spectacular political successes for their members. Alternatively you can phone Greg on 0428 417 496  or email greg@fairgo.org .

In the old days people joined or formed an organisation to speak for them. Today FairGO can show members of any organisation how they can leverage their political power to persuade policy makers. The old system no longer produces the same results but new strategies are even more effective.




22 May 2019

Fake polls and campaign roles make FairGO better for achieving goals...$45 billion for one client.


After all the Hullaballoo of this massive election campaign that has cost candidates and activist groups around $100 million in all and taxpayers probably more, the net result is that the Liberal National Party has lifted its absolute majority by perhaps 2 seats and Labor has lost the same. The independents and minor parties have changed composition. The balance of power remains the same. The senate has changed a bit but not much.

It has not been a great victory or a great loss. That is an illusion peddled by the media. It only seems so in the light of the fake polls that led many to believe that Labor was going to romp it in and decimate the government parties. It also led the PM to work like a Trojan doing everything he could to remain in power. He is to be commended for that. If he works that hard for Australia it will be a good thing.

In fact the Australian voters calmly looked at the past performance of the government and the promises of the Opposition and decided to pretty much stick with the status quo – a small Coalition majority in the House of Representatives and enough non-Coalition  members in the senate to block bad legislation.
There was a swing to the Liberal/Nationals of .07% so that the end result to last night was that  51.05% of people voted Coalition while  48.95% voted Labor.

Voters network members had the advantage of being able to refer back to their own personal record of how they had rated the way in which their federal mps had represented them in parliament, as one of the factors to consider when voting. You can rate your state and federal MPs and in fact any other MPs you deal with, monthly if you wish.

Elections are winner take all, so about half the voters are happy and the other half are unhappy. Voters network members in that other half have full access to FairGO's political persuasion services to persuade the government to do what they want.

Elections are times for......
Politicians to persuade voters to do what they (politicians) want done.
They are not times for.....
Voters to persuade politicians to do what they  (voters) want. When voters ask for something just before an election, politicians will often agree as one might expect, but actually doing it later is something else again.

The time for voters to persuade politicians to do what they (voters) want is in between elections when things actually get done. There is no better, cheaper, more effective way of doing that than by consulting FairGO. At a starting price of just $69.50, the comment we most hear is “How could anything that cheap solve anything?” Well it does, because politicians care a lot more about what voters want than voters imagine, but the asking must be done in a particular way. Strategy is all-important.

One industry peak body has won government benefits of $45 billion dollars from a modest FairGO campaign by its members that at the same time delivered huge benefits to the Australian community.

A Fair Go with FairGO
The PM promised “A fair go for those who have a go”.
Let us then “have a go” at getting his government to deliver the fair go that you want.

Don’t put up with neglect or unfair treatment and don’t just complain!
Contact FairGO and start an easy campaign.

Be one of those who have a go at getting a fair go from this government.
You will most likely get it, because the PM said you would and other MPs will help to see that you do!

Contact: greg@fairgo.org ; phone 0428 417 496 or 02 99883312 from anywhere in Australia.

FairGO has been helping Australians to get a fair go from government for over 30 years without any involvement in party politics. FairGO exists for you to enjoy good government. It receives no government or other major funding and relies on to voters to pay for its inexpensive services, so it remains completely independent. People say the rewards are well worth what they pay.

9 May 2019
So many problems; so many demands


As the election approaches we are deafened by group after tragic group telling it’s heart-rending stories of unmet need.

Yet I know from experience over 30 years that many of these problems can be solved by relatively inexpensive Votergrams from concerned voters willing to share their solutions with all members of the parliaments responsible.

Nothing moves fast with government so I have learned to be patient, but slow gradual progress is better than a flurry of activity that produces promises of the earth that simply do not materialise.

We also realise that every dollar spent by the government on solving problems is contributed by Australians in their taxes, duties, levies and government charges. None of it is a gift from heaven.

As I listen to organisations I see the one factor so frequently missing is what has enabled us to perform miracles for peak bodies and individuals alike. It is the persistent engagement of individual voters in persuading politicians of the need for action and providing those politicians with the solutions in the right way. What organisations lack that voters have is voter power – the ability to hire and fire elected representatives every few years. When we add that power to the in-depth work of well funded bodies they usually coast in without too much trouble. We have done that for pharmacies, skiers, chicken producers, victims of crime, road safety, debt laden farmers and many others. It just works and it is inexpensive.

FairGO has had 3 decades to develop the persuasive strategies that turn failure and despair to success and victory. The reality is that politicians are only too pleased to promote good ideas to government departments who they effectively control. Why wouldn’t they try to please the voters and make government work better? It is not their money. Their jobs depend on pleasing voters. They go into politics to help the people but most of the time the people don’t ask them for help or don’t ask for it in the right way of the right people.

 1 person with a Votergram can make a huge difference. 20 people can make up to 50 times the impact; 100 people might make 500 times the impact. There is a geometric progression of results in the techniques FairGO offers.

FairGO does not replace or take over from a major body. It simply magnifies the persuasive power of that body’s submissions to government.
So to some extent all the “noise” we are hearing in the media as the election approaches is just noise. When many worthy causes ask for money just before an election, what are politicians going to say to most of them but “yes”. Trouble is that after the excitement of the election passes so does the memory of the multitude of “promises”. Pre-election is not the time to put in a plea for good government. The time to do that is when the election results have been announced and the Members of Parliament have settled down to the stark realities of the job.

It is then that they will be most attentive to the needs of voters who are concerned enough to put the price of a tank of petrol on the table to fuel their  claims. But strategy is all important. Politicians are not easily persuaded, because their good decisions are public and criticised more often than they are praised.

Votergrams are magic darts that carry messages that are often heeded by the very politicians who say they do not read them. FairGO is after results, not acknowledgements.

Drop me a line at greg@fairgo.org  any time you want to find out about seriously  influencing government.



30 April 2019

ELECTION - Promises ! Promises! Q & A.

What do voters get from pre-election promises?

Years of disappointment!

What do voters get for electing politicians on the basis of pre-election promises?
Nothing worthwhile from the winning party, so that it can offer everything in pre-election promises next election instead of providing services and infrastructure during its term in office!

What do I get from judging politicians on past performance?
A very good idea of how they will perform in future?

How can I know how they performed since last election?
Voters Network members can look up how they rated their MPs every month since July 2016. Join Voters Network now free.

Who am I really voting for?
You are really voting for the re-election or replacement of your own local MP, nobody else!

Does my vote really make a difference in my local electorate?
Yes if you forget party leaders and cast your vote to get the best local representative possible it will make a good difference. If you don't it might produce bad government!

What if I am in a “marginal” electorate?
If you are in one of the 10% of electorates that are marginal, your vote could re-elect or replace your local MP and influence which party wins government.  Your vote would be even more  effective if you encouraged neighbours to vote the same way you do by explaining why you do.

Is my vote wasted if I am in one of the 90% of electorates that are “safe”?
Not necessarily, but your vote will most likely not change who is elected to represent you. If your local MP has been good and you vote for them, that increases their winning margin so they look better to their party. If your representative has been bad and you vote against them, that reduces their winning margin and makes them look bad to the party. That might cause them to be replaced with a different candidate from that party next election. Thus you can encourage better performance by how you vote.

How can voters vote in a safe electorate to gain more power to influence their local MP & government?
Voters give themselves more power in a safe electorate by putting the local MP last and the major opposing party first. That reduces the current MP’s winning margin and makes that MP and their party pay more attention to voters from that electorate. The party that represents a safe electorate can ignore its voters because it will never lose the electorate and the other major party can also ignore the voters there because it can never win the electorate.

What is the best way to use my vote?

The best way to use your vote is to reward a good local member and get rid of a bad one, because the more bad MPs there are in parliament the worse government you will have to endure. Good government begins with good local MPs because parliament is a voting forum like a community meeting.

Is there a better way to gain enough power to make a difference, shape society, guide government?
Yes. It is working with government via elected politicians through membership of Voters Network and by using FairGO’s Votergrams and strategic campaign management systems. Never do battle with government staff. They are the ones who can say “NO” to you. Go to all of the politicians. They can say “YES” to you. You have no hold over government employees, but you get to re-hire or fire politicians every few years. Members of Parliament are your most under-utilised resource. The can be incredibly helpful if you go about it the FairGO way.

But doesn’t everyone say “you can’t get government doing what you want”?
Many people say that, but not many people who have sent Votergrams say that. That view is mostly caused by people who have been treated badly by government staff. Obviously government is doing what some people want. You can be one of those by joining Voters Network, using Votergrams and for bigger campaigns, having FairGO manage it for you.

Email me if you have any questions - admin@voters.network . Thanks Greg



9th April 2019

Compulsory superannuation winner or loser for the Australian people?

Wage stagnation

Did the employers add the 9% super out of their own pockets or did they , within a few years, embrace it within the same pay scales as before? Is that one reason wage rates have remained flat for most employees while the executives have enjoyed extremely high pay and corporate profits have skyrocketed. Did employers just quietly ease their pay rates down in real money terms so that they ended up paying the same inflation adjusted pay rates with superannuation included that they had previously paid without superannuation at all?

Banks benefit most
What is far from understood by most Australians is that the banks benefitted most from compulsory super. They won a triple whammy jackpot. Not only were they the most skilled people in Australia at money management and so able to run superannuation companies. They were then able to invest superannuation money in their own shares boosting the price to give senior executives on share bonus schemes an extra benefit as well as making it easier to raise capital and loan funds to re-lend. But it was the third leg that was the winner. By depriving young people of 9% of their pay and having it directed into superannuation funds controlled by banks or companies the banks controlled, those young people were deprived of money that would otherwise have been used to pay off their home loans.

Home buyers deeper in debtDeeper in Debt
Superannuation has forced many young people into much larger debt than they would otherwise have had and enabled the bank to virtually lend their own money back to them at a much better rate of interest when discounted cash flow is taken into account, than their superannuation earned.

The stock exchange
Another beneficiary of compulsory superannuation has been the stock exchange where the value of listed shares has risen dramatically because there is so much superannuation money available to buy them. Whether in the end those shares are actually worth what has been paid for them by the superannuation funds will probably only be known when those shares are sold. What is obvious is that a serious correction of the stock market could make a very big difference to the superannuation money available to anyone needing to draw out that money during the time of any such correction.

rainbowThe value when needed
But how much money will be in the superannuation pot of gold at the end of the lifetime rainbow when people need it most. That depends entirely on whether the superannuation managers have invested well or badly and on how well or badly the Australian and global economies have gone over the years in which the superannuation money has been contributed. Most of the money is invested in listed shares, real estate, or business ventures. A global depression or even recession could substantially reduce the value of any person’s superannuation. In addition to that the recent Royal commission into the banking and financial services industry has revealed that it is run by many people whose honesty is questionable. So the opportunity for money to simply be stolen or frittered away is substantial.

Safe as houses
It is my view that the very best superannuation any person can have is their own home thus ensuring that they at least have somewhere to live. If they can avoid the bureaucrats and politicians who seek to have them living in high-rise units like battery hens, then with any sort of luck they will have a backyard in which they can at least grow fruit and vegetables at fairly reasonable cost. Of course it is important to have other investments and cash if possible but to own a house in an Australian city is a great advantage because over time homes usually hold their value and frequently increase even after inflation adjustment. But it at least avoids homelessness.

The real question
The real question therefore on superannuation is why governments did not allow employees to lock their superannuation into homes before putting it with superannuation managers? The answer I would suggest is that the present system of compulsory superannuation has provided massive profits for the banking and finance industry.

Australians should think through the facts and decide for themselves what they think is happening. Should they feel at any time that changes are necessary to the superannuation laws then they should approach FairGO  or join Voters Network for a concerted campaign to change the laws and allow them to direct their superannuation. After the present housing boom has settled down and politicians have become smart enough to develop inland cities, it may well be prudent to have the laws changed so that after five years of paying off a home loan the owners can withdraw enough superannuation money out of their fund to pay off part of that loan with a strict proviso that any money coming from a sale of the home will either go into another home or back into the superannuation fund from which the money came.


Using your own vote


Voters Network members in NSW greatly valued the DIY how-to-vote form we made available to them for the recent state election. This innovation lets you give your preferences where you want them to go rather than letting others effectively cast your vote. Your vote is your only bargaining chip for good government. Use it wisely!

There is much talk about political parties giving their preferences to One Nation but for the Federal election in May we expect to give all Voters Network members their own form again to ensure they have an easy way to allocate their own preferences.
Using a political party’s how-to-vote card gives the party the right to decide who you elect.

Of course you can influence government
People often say they have given up trying to influence governments. None of those people have used the Votergram service I established after people said it to me in the 1980’s. Of course you can influence government. Politicians are just as happy to help you as hinder you. Why wouldn’t they be? It is not their money, what you want probably will not affect them personally and getting your vote is what they really want.  Any time you want to know how to influence government, ask me greg@fairgo.org . You can shape society via elected politicians first by strategic use of your voice and then by your vote, provided you do it strategically which is what Voters Network helps you with.

Gun safety
The One Nation NRA exposure is certainly revealing. I wonder who conceived the sting??

Funding helps Voters Network help you
Thank you to those who have upgraded to Advanced Membership recently. Each $40 (after gst) makes a difference to what Voters Network can do as the main unaligned multi-issue voter support group in Australia.

Set the Agenda -
NSW network members
- Tell your freshly elected local MP NOW what you want from them over the next 4 years. Make a list. Head it “Please, as my local representative, attend to the following during this term of office”.  Number each request. Be brief, 1 line per request if possible. Between 1 and 10 items, no more. Deliver, mail or email it direct to your state MP or send it to us and we will send it by Votergram free for you. Keep a copy somewhere safe and each month, before you rate how well your representative is representing you, look at your list and see what you can tick off as being done. Phone, visit or email your MP to ask if necessary.
Do this and you will find you get better results because you will be working with and encouraging your local MP to do what you want and giving them feedback by your rating. It will make a difference that’s for sure, but don’t expect miracles yet. Be patient because it will take time for your MP to adjust.


22 March 2019
Debt Agreements – home, business, farm

Debt agreements have become popular as an alternative to bankruptcy. So we are told.

Farmers & first home buyers are among those most stressed by debt following the drought, floods, fires and housing price collapse.

However there is another matter that often arises in debt issues. That is whether the debt has been properly created in the first place.

Has the builder made the roof waterproof as promised; did the wealth manager or professional perform as promised; did the bank adhere to the law and code of practice; were the goods fit for purpose.

Some people feel that they would have to go to court to fight a debt on such issues. Others go to the government run Department of Fair Trading or a financial counsellor.

All these can be effective remedies.
However, FairGO and GBAC are expert at examining debt to see whether there are extenuating circumstances that need to be negotiated between the parties before any payments are made.

This particularly applies to credit cards and business, home or farm loans, where the bankers are often happy to write off substantial amounts of money in order to resolve an ongoing dispute.

It is hard to generalise, but clients achieve a saving of up to ten times what they pay to achieve it. Anyone is welcome to find out what can be done by emailing greg@fairgo.org or phoning 0428 417 496. FairGO & GBAC have decades of experience and successful negotiations.



14th March 2019

Voters Network and FairGO help you turn government problems into society solutions

If we want to enjoy our lives and society better than we are at present then we can do something about it this year:

Look back over your Voters Network rating history to give you an idea of how well you have thought your MPs have been representing you over the long term. Vote accordingly.

Tell your local MPs by the way you vote, what you think of the way they have acted to date as your representatives in parliament. Unless you are in a marginal seat your vote will only do that. The MP will be re-elected anyway in a safe seat. If unsure check Anthony Green’s electoral pendulum.

Consider standing for parliament in the future yourself, either for a political party or as an independent. Pay and conditions are good. Voters Network is a good wayfor candidates to engage with voters.

Send a message to your MPs, your elected representatives, saying what you would like them to achieve this year or in this new term of parliament for you. Start behaving like they are your elected and paid representatives & tell them what you want done. If you don’t tell them they cannot know & someone else will.

Remembers to support and thank them when they do what you want. "Thank you" will be the most important and useful phrase you use if you want results.

For best results send a 100 word Votergram to every MP in the parliament. That is much more effective and then when your local MP stands to speak on your wish list all the other MPs will have heard it from you without any "party" connotations and so might be more likely to support it.

Join Voters Network free and learn how to get society working the way you want it to. Then you can upgrade for more benefits.

Pick a few areas of our society important to you that government could improve or could have others improve. Join or form a Voters Network taskforce on one of those subjects and work together on getting changes made. Taskforces already exist on Domestic, family and sexual violence, immigration & population, Murray Darling Basin. Ask your Hub Leader for details.

Check in the first week of every month what your local state and federal members have been doing – Parliament house website  & Hansard give a mass of information. Google to find them. Read the papers, listen to radio, watch TV news and current affairs. You pay them so it is good to know what they are doing for you.

In that same week go to the ratings page on voters network website and rate each of your local MPs and any other MPs who you think represents you  and your goals either  well or badly. That gives them feedback and gives you a record to look back over when deciding how to vote at the next election. Feedback is essential for performance.

Find out the department head of the division of government working against you and with others start investigating how good that person is for the job and our community.  On our own each of us is weak but together as voters working at those matters on which we mostly agree, we become very strong.

In this next term of office any time you want something done, achieved or stopped, remember that FairGO exists to give you the power of political persuasion to influence your life and society.

FairGO does not make a big fuss about it and has no political party favourites. They are the perfect political persuaders to give power to the Australian people, this year as they have for the past 31 years. They mostly serve the vast majority of Australians who avoid the extreme left and right of politics. 

FairGO also helps students. There is no need to go on strike from school. It is better to persuade politicians to do what students want. FairGO will provide very inexpensive Votergrams and free support for students. They have most to gain by shaping society and we know from experience that politicians take a lot of notice of students who send Votergrams. FairGO can do it with you or for you, as quiet achievers. Voters Network adds the strength of numbers and taskforce facility.

FairGO and Voters Network are 100% Australian owned and member funded.



5th March 2019
Changing government minister and promising the world prior to the elections.
Is this a tragedy or an opportunity for voters?


The media are having a field day as federal government ministers leave office before the next election. The most obvious reason is that they fear having to spend a term on the backbench in opposition which is not nearly as much fun as being a minister in government. Some have contributed everything they can and realised that they are not likely to be given an opportunity for promotion. Others will see great opportunities in private enterprise that flow as a former minister but would diminish after a few years on the backbench or in opposition.

At the same time politicians are showering voters with promises as if there was no tomorrow. Perhaps the reality is that they have done very little during their time in office and saved up the good projects to announce as promises in order to attract votes pre-election. On the other side of the fence many voter organisations are applying heavy pressure to politicians and political parties to give them benefits from the public purse in exchange for votes. Is it any wonder that politicians make what we take to be promises that they cannot possibly honour in order to satisfy the baying mobs that demand benefits?

We voters might ask whether all of this forebodes tragedy or provides opportunity. The lack of experienced ministers to the extent that ministers have any experience at all in their portfolio, may in fact give the voters a great advantage. It is possible that many of the bad policies under which we suffer are not in fact the concepts of our elected representatives at all but rather the self serving manipulations of bureaucrats to further their own careers or endear themselves to private enterprise bodies seeking profits from public policy.

If that is the case we voters, by getting alongside our elected representatives who are given new ministerial office, may together out-shuffle the bureaucrats who have been making our lives a misery. The one thing government ministers and members of Parliament can do is remove department heads who are not performing properly. A declaration of "no faith" from voters would be a good start. We have already seen off one department head that way.

Those who see an opportunity in this current situation are urged to join Voters Network and help to work with new government ministers to see that their departments actually do what the Australian voters employ them to do.


20 February 2019

Harassment of women by police
Domestic and family violence has grown in Australia partly through the support of police who believed that it was good sport. We have a long way to go before we overcome criminal attitudes within the police force.

Reading today’s paper one might wonder how anybody could have faith in the New South Wales police force or the court system after a policeman using his authority to confiscate a woman’s phone posted personal photos of her naked body and that of her boyfriend from it onto Facebook.  What sort of nasty police do we employ? He has now resigned. There is no reason to believe he is the only one like that in the force.

Lenient sentences encourage crime
What is far more worrying in this case is that a magistrate let him off with a 2 year good behaviour bond and a $1,000 fine. He only has to be good for 2 years. Why not the next 20? How can we stamp out domestic, family and sexual violence when magistrates give a slap on the wrist for such abusive behaviour.
In the end those at fault sit in the NSW parliament, most of them men, many probably believing that it is a man’s right to treat women any way they like.

Prison, fine or compensation
How suitable is prison when it costs us $100,000 a year to keep a person like this there?
What is the point of fines if governments become so dependent on that they let crimes continue in order to earn the fine money?
Why should we not have instead a penalty of compulsory compensation from the offender to the victim paid through the ATO or OSR to avoid offender contact with the victim. Surely it is the victim who needs to be compensated, not the state.
What if the compensation in this case was $100 per week for 5 years?
What if for sexual intercourse without written consent, it was $200 per week until the offender was 70 payable to the victim’s estate if she died first?
What if for rape with violence it was $400 a week for life.?
Loss of money is a powerful deterrent for crime.

No excuses
It does not matter what illness men who violently abuse women suffer from, or how nice a reference they get from their mates. What matters is the suffering they cause to women they abuse. Until we get that straight, the violence will continue supported by politicians, judges, magistrates and police.

If you have a different view or feel that I am wrong then please use the Voters Network forum on domestic, family and sexual violence to say so. FairGO exist so that governments will take heed of voters’ views, not just mine. I am opening this up because when we cannot trust the police to behave decently then the voters need to get involved and have our politicians clean up the police force.

Let’s get it solved
Over 1 million women in Australia are not getting a fair go from their men. How can we help them? Voters Network is working hard to have governments fix this problem by eliminating the violence. Both women and men will have to be part of this solution. It is not just a man’s problem. Women must demand equality, avoid dangerous situations and learn to defend themselves just as men do.  Men need to control their anger and feelings generally, recognise what cowards they are to pick on physically weaker women and if they do not stop, be physically restrained  to protect the community at a time the abused women feel is appropriate.  Governments need to ban discrimination and put more wealth in women’s hands. Many women are doing that themselves now.

Voters Network is working hard to find  a confidential place where a record can be made of any violent incident backed by medical evidence, nowhere near police, which a woman can use to activate a prosecution many years later when she and her children are no longer in fear of their lives. Violent men should then be made aware, by government advertisements, that there may be a time-bomb awaiting them years later, if they are abusive now.

7 February 2019
CHANGING THE BANKS OR CHANGING HOW YOU BANK

 The banking, insurance and financial services Royal Commission is a prime example of how voter pressure eventually forces the corrupt, incompetent and negligent  politicians to go with the honest conscientious ones, to do what voters want.

For years FairGO has told all politicians by Votergram what the major banks were doing to customers and sought changes. We will never change the banks. Some are very good and some are very bad. Now customers & voters have to take charge and control their banking into the future. That way all banking experiences will be good if we do it properly.

From all over Australia bank customers have come to us for assistance in preventing banks from taking their life savings, their enjoyment of life and their homes, businesses or farms. They have seen family, friends and neighbours lose everything and sometimes take their own lives.  Some dishonest bankers have done terrible things to enrich themselves, earn billions of dollars for their bank and satisfy the demands of wealth manager shareholders who have control of bank shares on behalf of superannuants.

Banks will always be happy to lend people into trouble so that they are hooked on debt for years, paying ever higher interest rates and charges as their debt accumulates, until they are sold up.

Superannuation managers will always use superannuants’ money to advantage themselves.

Insurance companies will always pay high-powered sales people to sell policies that do not cover the risks as they pretend. They will always pay tough lawyers to help them avoid paying claims for as long as possible or at all.

Regulation does not work. We have proved that!
Regulation does not work because government which controls it does not work well itself and:
many politicians do not want it to work
many powerful bank, insurance and wealth management directors do not want it to work
many regulators do not care and are not held accountable by politicians or voters.

There is no easy way for bank customers. They must look after themselves if they want to be treated fairly. We have established Australia-wide facilities to help them do that. Brokers, bank staff or financial counsellors funded by banks or government are not really the answer. Why? They often have a closer relationship with any given bank than they do with any given customer and they mostly do not want to offend any bank. A consultant cannot serve two opposing interests. Either it serves the bank or it serves the customer. We serve the customer every time and the bank never. Offending the bank to protect the customer is what we do best!

Within a year of launching its Votergram service in 1986 and in the face of bank de-regulation, FairGO’s founder converted his Chartered Accountancy practice into a banking consultancy to give bank customers a fair go, just as his Votergram service had done for voters. He was able to help people who were being cheated out of their businesses, homes and farms by greedy, ruthless and unprincipled bankers and insurance company executives. He showed people how to get cheaper, better loans.

Just as democracy will never work well until it is driven by voters, banking, insurance and superannuation will never work well until it is controlled by customers.

GBAC Advisory has been formed specifically to assist Australian bank customers and in fact customers anywhere in the world to do just that. Its tie with the Better Banking Network will also help spread information to customers.

Competition brings care and compassion
One guiding principle is to inject a measure of competition into a person’s dealing with banks. GBAC Advisory has developed a system called BankBids so that any bank customer can quickly see how to get the best treatment from the banking industry. It gets banks bidding for a customer’s business! When depositing money in an interest-bearing account, BankBids will enable any customer to obtain competitive quotes from other banks. That is the only way of enjoying the best interest rate available. In a similar way when seeking a loan BankBids will enable the customer to find out what is offering from other banks. It will then help customers negotiate the best rates possible.

The variables in a loan are the rate of interest, the charges imposed, the contract terms and the degree of care and interest in the customer provided by the bank’s senior staff.  There are thousands of really good bank staff around. It is just that they sometimes work for corporate criminals and fraudsters in their boardrooms. GBAC Advisory helps customers negotiate for the best deal that those banks can offer in competition with one another. GBAC Advisory has spent years helping bank customers all over Australia get a fair go from their banks. It does for banking and insurance what FairGO does for democracy.

Voters Network members and FairGO campaigners will always receive extra-special treatment when seeking assistance from FairGO or GBAC Advisory.

The Laugh is on Loyalty
A second guiding principle that applies in the current era when bank loyalty counts for nothing, is to change banks readily in order to obtain the best services.

Customers who remain with the one bank out of loyalty simply invite the bank to exploit that loyalty to increase its own wealth at the expense of those customers. Bankers joke about how easy it is to rip off a loyal customer who just trusts a bank. An elderly client of ours saddled with a debt of over $500,000 for which he did not apply or gain any benefit said when I queried him “When I get a document to sign from a reputable bank like ... I just sign it.” The bank did not even have the decency to invite him into their offices when they asked him to sign this guarantee. He did not know what the bank knew about the borrower’s financial situation.

Loyalty is now punished not rewarded by banks. Many senior bankers live by the motto “Never give a sucker (trusting customer) an even break.”

Holding accounts with a number of banks is the best protection any customer can have. It provides options to handle any particular transaction with the bank that will provide the customer with the best service.

Survival of the strongest
In this age of unprincipled greed by the financial services industry, supremacy of the strongest has replaced the concept of a fair go. No longer do our bastions of industry “Advance Australia Fair” but they “Advance their profits regardless”. Like voters, bank and insurance customers benefit by taking an aggressive/defensive position in all financial dealings. Customers who approach a bank from a position of strength do best.

It just happens that those who run FairGO and GBAC Advisory are well qualified and experienced accountants, business people and farmers. They know just how to advance the interests of customers in the financial services industry, as they do with government.

Governments, banks, insurance companies and wealth managers will work primarily for their customers if their customers demand that they do so in exchange for their votes or business. Australians in their roles as voters and finance industry customers can control the way in which they are treated. They gain additional strength from services like FairGO, Votergrams and GBAC Advisory rather than relying on very corruptible regulators. We help them use their votes as bargaining chips with politicians and their custom as bargaining chips with the banks, insurers and wealth managers.

As the song goes “You don’t have to suffer in silence” but you do have to act aggressively in your own defence. Let us give you a hand to get the best from the banks.



1 February 2019

WHY IS THE RIVER DRY? IT WOULD MAKE AN AUSSIE CRY!!

HISTORY
The fish kill in the Murray Darling is similar to the problems presented to me by three southern Queensland farmers on the Balonne river below Cubbie Station years ago. It flows into the Darling. Using FairGO's Votergrams we helped them persuade the Queensland government to restore the water to the river. It was a typical FairGO success story which we have replicated over and over for 30 years.

HOW TO RESCUE A RIVER
But since then no-one on the river has approached us for assistance to make government do the challenging job of sharing the water with many users in 4 states.
When rescuing a drowning person it is important to keep yourself safe first, for if you drown you cannot rescue anyone. In the case of Murray Darling, the first need is to have the river healthy and flowing well. Only then can it provide water for those along its reaches. But everybody must be sensible and only take out enough water for the river to keep flowing at full capacity. That means recognising the finite nature of the water in this river system. It is not the mighty Mississippi!

VOTERS DRIVE DEMOCRACY BY GUIDING GOVERNMENTS
Only voters have the influence to save the river and those who rely on it. Obviously governments cannot or will not. Money cannot buy favours when voters demand a fair go and back that demand with their votes, free of any party-political preferences.
Together we can solve this. Divided we will all suffer and the river will dry up.
In the end it is up to you and me. If we don't care, why would governments who represent us care?

COMPLEX ISSUES
Governments constantly talk about how complex issues are when frequently they are not. However, in this case the complexity is that the matter involves 5 governments; sporting, commercial and farming interests and the river system itself. It also involves a question as to how one should fairly allocate whatever water is available to be taken out of the river.
Is each person who irrigates from it to some extent, entitled to take the same amount out each year? Or should the irrigation rights be allocated according to acres owned/leased, weight or money value of product produced or capital invested in using the water? Should it be allocated on annual rainfall in the area or allocated to those who can pay the most? What is the order of priority?
Who should decide? Government, water users, environmentalists, voters in the states affected, all Australians, farmers on the river system, Australian farmers or foreign owners of properties using the water?

THE DEMOCRATIC TUG-O-WAR
As a committed Christian, Chartered Accountant, business owner, farmer and community group leader, the first lesson I learned about democracy was that it has nothing to do with fairness or justice. It has everything to do with the person who pays the most, works the hardest, knows the most powerful people, is most determined and produces the most effective campaign strategies. It burst my bubble of belief early. Then I remembered my widowed mother telling me once “Life itself isn’t fair Greg. Get used to it.”
So I did and I decided that I would work to help Australians get a fair go from government, banks and other self-centred organisations. Votergrams came into being to allow any voter, community organisation, family business, farmer or peak body to gain support from some of the most powerful people in the land. Our politicians. There were plenty of MPs (about 70%) who never cared much about helping voters, but the other 30% were just marvellous in helping anybody, no matter what electorate they lived in.
We formed FairGO and decided we would not pay anyone for favours. We had no money anyway. We set about developing the most effective strategies based on research, determination and information to persuade politicians to help the voters in need. We gave the credit to the politicians who so kindly enabled us to win about 90% of the campaigns we ran.
Democracy is like a tug of war played by many teams across the diameter of a huge circle, all pulling in different directions. We knew that the winner was the one who pulled hardest on the rope. We formed Voters Network to get teams working with each other rather than pulling in essentially the same direction but on a slightly different paths.

SO WHO IS TO BLAME
In a monarchy it is the king or queen. In a dictatorship the dictator. They all have absolute power.
In our Australian democracy it is, surprisingly, us, the voters who are to blame.
We have passed government over to a tiny minority in the major political parties.
We have elected to represent us in government, people we do not know and whose ability to govern we do not know.
Our constant criticism, lack of support and ridicule of politicians discourages many wise, competent community members from  going into politics.
We have failed to tell our representatives what we want done or to monitor what they do for their $200,000 + salaries we pay them.
We have failed to back our requests, suggestions or demands with our votes, frequently rewarding with our votes the very parties who have done just what we do not want, for fear that others would be worse.

WHAT ABOUT THE RIVERFLOWS
We have, by and large, taken absolutely no interest in what was happening to the water in the Murray Darling basin because we were not interested, too busy or did not see that it was any of our business. That is possibly how the German people felt when they handed control of their country to the personable, sensible and competent Adolf Hitler. Perhaps the people of Venezuela, Syria, Zimbabwe and others felt the same.
If we voters put our wishes on the table, add the opinions of experts and those most affected, digest those views and tell all of our politicians what we want done, those politicians will almost certainly do it. It is a big job but not if we all do our own little bit.
But it is no good telling one local MP or the minister. We must all share our good ideas with all MPs, for parliament is a voting forum like a community meeting, where the majority rules. If we only tell our local MP, our idea goes into parliament with that MP’s party tag. When we send our message by Votergram to all MPs it carries no tag except that of “voter”.

SPECIAL DISCOUNT
For this vital “Riverflows” campaign, Fairgo will offer a special 20% discount for people who send their personal 100 word solution by Votergram to every MP in the Federal, Qld, NSW, SA & Vic parliaments - over 600 MPs. The normal cost to send the message to all those MPs of $119 will be cut to $95. Voters can send their message to FairGO  from a laptop or email their message to greg@fairgo.org. The website form is not yet mobile friendly.
If we don't care enough to do something, they (government ) won't care enough to do anything either. Voters always guide what governments do, frequently by their disinterest.
Greg

27 January 2019

A New National Anthem

For Australia Day my cousin kindly forwarded me a copy of a satirical new national anthem being circulated complete with the Australian flag. One of its complaints was that we export so much of what we produce and then import so much of what we need. This reminded me of two jobs we did through FairGO and its Votergram service some years ago.

The first was an approach by the Apple and Pear growers Association wishing to ensure the continuation of the Australian apple and pear industry and concerned that it might be threatened by foreign imports. We ran a small campaign over a couple of months to alert all politicians in the Federal Parliament to the danger to Australian food production being exposed to products coming into Australia which could easily bring disease with them. As a result the growers Association was able to convince federal politicians that there was a genuine need to protect the industry and that is exactly what the parliament did. This small campaign gave apple and pear produces security for their lives and livelihoods in their industry.

The second was an approach from the chicken growers who were greatly concerned that chicken products would be brought in from countries like Thailand without anything like the protection against bacteria or disease that was applied in Australia. Again we ran a small campaign through FairGO with Votergrams and were successful in preventing those chicken imports into Australia.

As in all matters to do with democracy it is important to keep on top of the government and ensure that the gains made are retained. I am not sure whether those two industries have managed to retain the gains we obtained for them but certainly at the time it was achieved it made a big difference to the lives of the people involved in those industries.

The satirical anthem made reference to sending our iron or overseas and receiving back substandard materials. We have already seen in Australia in recent times that many high-rise residential buildings have been constructed with dangerously flammable material and that there may be serious structural flaws in the buildings themselves. We already know that there is a serious risk that gas taken from the Australian gas fields by foreign operators and perhaps even local operators is being sold overseas and may then be sold back to Australia because we do not have sufficient left for our own use. In Sydney recently a desalination plant is proposed to be turned on despite the fact that we have just endured a year of drought and our politicians have not thought to impose any water restrictions so that we could use the water in our available river dams. It is hard to avoid believing that this is a deliberate strategy designed to increase the price of water to Sydney residents through the use of the desalination plant with those higher prices continuing long after the plant has ceased to be used.

Whilst a great deal of blame is placed on our politicians the fact of the matter is that voters are primarily in control of what gets done. Our politicians are just ordinary people attempting to do an extraordinarily difficult job. Like the rest of us they are primarily interested in looking after themselves and their own families and earning a decent income. Democracy works like this:

a business organisation or some public servants tell politicians that a certain thing is "wanted by, and good for, the vast majority of the population".

That certain thing will provide the business organisation with profits or the public servants with salaries and there is no way that the politicians can check whether the vast majority of the population does or does not want that particular thing. This is why there are over 1000 lobbyists in Canberra. How could the politicians possibly work out whether what is being promoted to them is actually for the benefit of the Australian people? They cannot unless we the people tell them.

In recent weeks tens of thousands of fish have died in the Darling River and the Murray Darling catchment area. Many years ago a couple of ladies from the St George area in Southern Queensland phoned me to say that they were very concerned that water was being taken from their river by large farming enterprises upstream and they had been unable to enforce their riparian rights. That is their right to the water in their river the Balonne. It took us only a few Votergrams to the Queensland Parliament to have legislation gazetted and get the water flowing down the Balonne again. It is difficult to describe how much that improved the lives of those ladies and their farming neighbours.

Should it be that people in the Murray Darling Basin wish to see their river system working properly they will be most welcome to contact FairGO and I am sure that with the help of the people along the river we will be able to ensure its future in a way that is simply not possible with public servants, committees and wealthy private interests with considerable political clout arguing about it now.

The good news is that for many Australians they have for the past 30 years been able to send Votergrams through FairGO to let their views be known to all politicians. A good 90% of those Australians have achieved what they wanted. To make that system work well before each election such as is to be held in a few months for the Federal and New South Wales parliaments, FairGO releases ratings to show how well or badly individual members of Parliament have responded to Votergrams.

In order to expand that process FairGO has established the Australian Voters Network through which all Australians are able to express their views and decide what they would like done. Membership of the network is free. In addition to that, each Australian is able to rate on a monthly basis their local members of Parliament. This facility only began in 2018 but already politicians in about 40% of electorates are being rated by their constituents.

Voters rule in democracy but they only rule if they work together to decide what they want done, tell the members of Parliament what that is, then re-elect those politicians who do what is wanted and replace those who don’t. In the end Australia’s future is completely and utterly in the hands of its voters. If they do not take an active role, the profiteers will do so and ruin Australia for their own enrichment. Strong leaders are no solution as they will always work in their own interests first and big business pays big bribes by way of "political donations".

23rd January 2019

Who controls Australia, how and why?


Big business controls Australia right now, but how and why?

The how is easy. Money! It funds political parties, provides jobs, goods, services and taxes. It bribes political parties,  politicians and public servants with donations and outrageous ticket prices for the right to sit alongside the ministers we voters pay. It threatens them by being able to run media campaigns against political parties that don’t do as they are told with ads to convince voters to vote against those parties.

The why is easy too. It is to make the very highest profits they can, pay their executives and directors the largest pay packets possible, increase their share prices and pay as little tax in Australia as possible. They have the laws written to suit them and enforcement authorities under their thumbs. Senior tax office officials move to or from the largest tax avoidance advisers in the country, having laws and regulations written then advising big business operators how to get around them. Today’s Sydney Morning Herald carries a story that government regulators are being wined, dined, entertained and given gifts by the very bodies they regulate. These are bribes pure and simple, designed to get the regulators on side. No wonder we could not get regulators to do anything about dishonest, lying, cheating and fraudulent banks and insurance companies. Corruption rules supreme in Australian government. No wonder the highest earners pay little tax.  A corporate tax on turnover in any country at all should be imposed on Australian registered, trading or based companies. That cannot be avoided. Negative gearing, dividend imputation and capital gains concessions are simply clever  tax avoidance laws for the richest Australians.

Politicians who have allowed this corruption to flourish do not deserve to be re-elected. Voters should push for legislation to ban government employees from receiving any benefit of any kind or having any social contact with any person who is employed by, a director of or shareholder in a company or other body with which the government deals in any way, including regulating and granting contracts or legislation favourable to that entity.

Right now, big business, the banks and the government are working out how to keep home prices artificially high, by making borrowing easier and cheaper and increasing demand through high immigration and promoting foreign investment in homes.

This is great for those wanting to sell a home and terrible for young Australians wanting to buy homes. For those just living in their home and perhaps paying off a mortgage, it should not make any difference as long as the ruthless moneylenders can be stopped from selling people up simply because the value of the home has dropped.

But for young people there is a magic bullet – Inland Australia. Go for a camping, caravan or car  trip in autumn or spring and see for yourself how beautiful and inexpensive it is. With the internet providing work-at-home options and homes costing about a quarter of Sydney or Melbourne prices you can’t miss. The kids would live a life that you just cannot get 20 storeys off the ground, with the risk of building collapse or fire with little chance of escape.

For years I ran a Chartered Accountancy practice just a bit north of Sydney CBD with clients all around Sydney. Today I help voters and bank loan borrowers get a fair go from governments and banks. I do it all from home assisting people who are spread over every state and territory in Australia.

We don’t all need to work side by side anymore, with Skype, phone, internet, email and cloud storage, to say nothing of social networks. We can mostly work from anywhere and deal with all of Australia or overseas.

For voters, including young home buyers, there is a magic bullet too. It is their vote – provided it is used strategically to achieve their goals. Mostly it isn’t. Voters can achieve great things simply by asking all MPs in the right way. That is what voters have done by Votergram for the past 30 years. But I have learned that the more people we have, the faster we can achieve their goals with the help of politicians. It is mostly a matter of strategy. Australians need to get over their dislike of politicians and get alongside them. Voters Network helps them do that in a way that builds strength through numbers.

We don’t need strong leaders. The stronger the leader the more corrupt they are likely to be. We need active voters, because the mass of voters can kill corruption stone dead. Only active voters can make democracy work better. They join Voters Network and use FairGO's services to persuade politicians on what is right.


Are Governments Failing the People?

Globally


What is happening in the democracies of the United Kingdom the United States, France, Germany and Syria?

Australia
How are we feeling back home? Every day the media carries stories criticising what the government is doing. Every day we see some sort of tragedy unfolding somewhere in Australia. Is this indicative of government failing the people or is it simply media designed to attract attention and earn income?
Are our politicians failing us on our finances?

In recent days a Citigroup analyst said “franking credits made up a large proportion of the value of the major banks.”

It is enlightening to realise that the tax scheme which allows people to earn money from dividends without paying any or very much tax on them is really designed to benefit our major banks and the stock market in general.

Tax schemes

It is very much the same with negative gearing. It is not so much the investor who deliberately sets out to lose money on property development in the knowledge that 100% of expenses will be deductible against other income whilst when the property is sold tax will only be payable on half of the profit. The real benefit of negative gearing is that it delivers huge profits to our major banks and other property lenders.

Superannuation

Superannuation is similar. The very best superannuation anyone can have is to own their own. At least then they have somewhere to live without having to pay rent or depend on charity. The long term capital gain can be enormous over time. The government introduced compulsory superannuation which directs about 10% of everyone’s earnings to the financial services industry largely controlled by the banks. Instead of most Australian being able to buy their home, the net result is that many will never own a home while the gurus of the financial services industry will be able to earn enough out of the money they are managing for them, to buy mansions.

The failure to tax gambling winnings and allow losses as a deduction against winnings only, not only allows a sizeable portion of the population to earn money without paying tax on it, but also facilitates the laundering of money by organised crime.

Rectifying failure by Community lobbying

Members of Voters Network have been helping interested Australians to influence governments for decades with outstanding results. Government action since we started our consideration of how to prevent domestic, family and sexual violence has been most rewarding.
Voters Network provides every Australian with an opportunity to become involved in the processes of our democratic government without taking partisan sides. They can just look at what might be good for themselves & their friends for a start. There is every chance that it will be equally good for many of their fellow Aussies.
We voters have every chance to ensure that government does not fail us.

7 January 2019

Politics and education

This morning’s media contained two interesting stories. One referred to access to teaching degrees at University and the other referred to special needs classes in lower wealth areas.

Of course there is much more to teaching than academic knowledge but it does seem sensible that those who teach should also know how to do what they are teaching.

There has always been a serious question about pay rates for teachers. This gets mixed with questions of how many hours or weeks they work in the year when schools or universities have such long holidays. Perhaps there is a need for reasonable estimates to be made on the normal amount of time an average teacher would spend at home on various tasks during a year. Then a pay rate for those hours could probably be calculated at somewhat less than the rate charged when they have to go to school or university to do their work.

There is no reason why teachers should be working unpaid. Nor is there any reason why they should be paid for time they are not working. Given past performance it is unlikely that education authorities are going to work this out to the satisfaction of parents, teachers and taxpayers. I suggest that it is a topic to be considered by voters who can then make submissions to government on it.

The other story related to special needs classes being clustered in the Western Sydney area in which residents may not have as much available money as in some of the more long established suburbs of Sydney. It pointed out that there was a much higher rate of special needs classes in public schools in that area than exists in more wealthy suburbs. The suggestion was that funds should perhaps be spent on preschool special needs education so that students are more able to fit into mainstream classes in primary school. This topic too is one that is more likely to be effectively handled by the voters themselves including parents, teachers and special-needs experts.

Anyone wishing to have those topics raised can easily do so through Voters Network forum.

Politicians
There are about 100,000 voters to every politician. That certainly gives voters the advantage of numbers. Voters are able to choose the politician who represents them in Parliament and tell that politician what they would like him or her to do in order to represent them well.

Would you pay some $250,000 a year to represent you but then not tell them what you want them to do, supervise them doing it or check to see how it has been done?

That is what many voters do at election time when they elect to parliament representatives who they do not know and to whom they never give any instructions. For those representatives it must be disappointing and frustrating to be paid so little attention by those who they represent.

What will the state territory and federal members of parliament who represent you be doing for you in the year ahead?

If you think that it is important to find out, then your best course of action would be to join Voters Network. That way you can discuss with other voters what you would like done by those who represent you, rate how well they represent you and vote on proposals to be put to them so that they will represent you and your community in Parliament on those issues in future.  Then you can decide at the next election time whether they are the best ones to represent you again.

That is the foundation of good government.


3 January 2019

What to do if a lender gets “heavy” as home values fall.

If your home loan lender gets heavy, call FairGO on 02 9988 3312 or 0428 471 496 for assistance or email greg@fairgo.org.

Home prices increase steadily with ups and downs along the way. Media reports suggest that worst affected areas are Melbourne’s inner East and south, Sydney’s Ryde, inner South West, Sutherland, Hills and Hawkesbury, Parramatta, South West, Blacktown and inner West.

For months, years, we have heard media complaints that young people could not enter the home market in cities like Sydney and Melbourne and were doomed to rent for life.

That was never true because there are plenty of nicer places in Australia to buy a home, many at a quarter the price which justifies lower wages. The current reversal however provides a great opportunity for young people to buy in at more affordable prices.

But now the media is full of doom and gloom because home prices have come back about 9% this year. They will probably fall further. If you own the home and don’t intend to sell, it does not matter what its price does. It is academic.

The exception is if your lender says that the “Loan to value ratio” is now unsatisfactory and wants you to do the impossible – make a lump sum reduction in the debt.

Historically home prices have bounced back eventually, even in the great depression of the 1930’s it only took about 6 years. In 1987 some values fell 20%. They are probably double now.  Lenders need to sit tight as long as the home owner makes the repayments as usual.

Under no circumstances should we allow lenders to foreclose and throw the occupants out on the street. Lenders who loaned too high a percentage of the purchase price should just not panic and sit the slump out.  My wife and I could not have bought a home without a loan of 95% from AMP. We never missed a payment, though we could not afford the cars and entertainments that our friends did. We entertained at home and learned that we could buy very nice used cars for a small fraction of the new price.

If any homebuyers are threatened by lenders and they come to us for assistance, their lenders will quickly be named and shamed in state and federal parliaments. For lenders the goal is to earn interest and get the loan repaid without expensive recovery action. In most cases that will be achieved by riding out the property slump that any lender with half a brain would know follows every boom.

Voters should not tolerate the disgraceful behaviour of NSW government politicians in the 1990's who failed to support the Homefund borrowers, caught in a property slump which dropped home values way below where they subsequently climbed to and provided moneylenders with exhorbitant interest rates of up to 15% and lawyers with huge fees in subsequent court actions.

These politicians should be ranked as some of the most corrupt and incompetent in our history. A repeat would result in their names being recorded and serious electoral action taken to remove them from parliament for good at the next election. All that was needed was a "stay of execution" until the home values returned to where they had been and variable interest rates which matched what borrowers paid with what the lending institutions had to pay to get the money.

The scheme was a wise one. It's management was a disgrace for politicians and bureaucrats alike. I attended the parliamentary inquiry called by NSW Independent John Hatton and heard of the massive incompetence of those involved. It was early days for FairGO. Today we would not tolerate that political and lender abuse of voters. What it did show was how much more good local MPs served the people than the major parties did. The parties seemed to be "owned" by the moneylenders. That is much the same as what the current Royal Commission has shown.


1 January 2019

Make your New Year’s resolution one that will work for you and fellow Australians.

“I will get more involved in government to shape Australia’s future for me and my community.”

If you want better government or better lives for your family, consider joining voters.network with access to FairGO’s expertise at persuading politicians to do the right thing and Votergrams to make sure they all know what you want and why it will be good for the vast majority of Australians , or perhaps good for your relative who is being denied proper service by a government body.

>>Read more.