Thursday, June 23, 2016

Party Games 19/55 CountryMinded

CountryMinded are another party trying to fill the niche of being a better rural party than the Nationals. Not being part of the Coalition does allow them to take a few policy stances that are an almost equal mix between rational & sensible and overly protectionist of rural Australia. Among the former are an acceptance of climate change and the accompanying support for carbon pricing and more renewable energy as well as strong support for mental health services. The latter include wanting payroll tax eliminated with no suggestion as to how states will replace this revenue, protectionist trade policies, and that native vegetation is best managed by letting farmers farm as they see fit.

This last item highlights a trend that becomes apparent after a thorough read of the policies. They can all be boiled down to farmers come first. Why do they want small business to have better support? Because 90% of farms are small businesses. Who's best able to plan sustainable land management? Farmers. Who deserves more support from government in times of disaster? Farmers. Who don't we have policies for? Cityfolk.

Now this is not to deny that agriculture is an important industry, nor to suggest that farmers deserve no help from the society and the government. But, one of humanities greatest achievements is having over the last 10,000 years gone from having 100% of the population involved in hopefully producing the food needed for everyone to only 2% or so feeding everyone. And while the huge gains in productivity of food producers over that time is a foundation block of modern society, it's not the only one and to treat it as such risks neglecting other factors important for society. Without engineers developing refrigeration, all that food goes to waste. Without transportation, all that food goes to waste. Without pest controls developed by chemists, all that food goes to waste. Without environmental scientists studying climate change, all that food might stop growing. The list goes on. "Is it good for farmers?" can be an important question for judging policy, but it shouldn't be the only one.

So farmers and assorted country folk will like these guys, but this city slicker is not of their target demographic.

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