HOW TO INFLUENCE GOVERNMENT
14 June 2019
Politicians, the media and whistleblowers
Perhaps the issue of Federal Police raids is not so much about “freedom of the press”. Many Australians believe that it is best not to take too seriously anything one sees or hears in the media because it is quite often wrong. The issue is perhaps more about the right of the Australian people - , voters, taxpayers, families and businesses - to know exactly what the government - politicians, bureaucrats, public servants and contractors - is doing with our money, our assets and our country. Sending Votergrams to MPs is the best way of dealing with inappropriate or illegal government behaviour.
How many Australians support the idea that government’s negotiating strategies should be released to the media in a way or at a time that would compromise negotiations? Not many.
How many believe that they have a right to know if the politicians or government employees they elect and pay are behaving in a criminal, corrupt, dishonest or murderous way? A lot of people.
How many understand that in war things are sometimes done under pressure that at cooler times appear unreasonable? How many would accept that the public has a right to know and the government has the right to punish or reprimand those involved with consideration given to the circumstance of war?
Do Australian voters and the rest of the population want to know what has been done by their government employees, regardless of how good or bad it is, or do they prefer that the bad things done by governments should be kept secret from them, so that they vote in blissful ignorance?
Earlier this year nearly 5,000 public servants were reported as having claimed to have seen corruption in government. But one whistleblower faces a penalty of 160 years gaol compared to a rapist who faced 20 years and got 5 years before he was released on parole and raped a little girl.
Australians would probably not want that covered up. They might want to know why it happened and want it prevented in future.
The way that politicians treat the voters is probably closely related to how the voters treat them. Are we not better to be open with each other and work together to make Australia a most enjoyable country to live in? If the government does not trust us then why would voters trust it?
The very best solution for any whistleblower is to send a Votergram to every politician in the relevant parliament. The Dederal police would not dare to prosecute a voter for reporting inappropriate behaviour by public servants..
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 as well as stupid.
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 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 FairGO Forum on voters.com.au. Be brief, patient, tolerant and explain your views clearly.
Go first to the general topic “Your views on the news” and just list the most important two or three topics you think governments need to deal with asap. From what everybody enters they can vote to choose the ones you will confer on first.
Working with our politicians to have it done.
After discussion on each of those topics voters will move to political persuasion campaigns on the most popular solutions that receive over 75% support.
The next stage will be to explain to all MPs carefully with the support of as many voters as possible, what we would like them to do and then help them to get it done.
Why it will work
You will 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. FairGO has an enviable record of successes in enabling Peak Bodies to achieve spectacular political successes for their members.
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.
Elections are winner take all, so about half the voters are happy and half unhappy.
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.
FairGO has always wanted to give good, affordable value to the poorest of individuals and the best funded peak organisations.
One industry peak body has won government benefits of $45 billion 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 a winnable campaign.
Be one of those who have a go at getting a fair go from his government.
You will most likely get it, because the PM said you would and other MPs will help to see that you do!
Contact: email@example.com ; 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 voters to pay for its inexpensive services, so it remains completely independent. People say the rewards are well worth what they pay.
8th May 2019
FEDERAL MP's PAST PERFORMANCE
Past performance is by far the best way to forecast future performance. Voters from around Australia raised many issues by Votergram with all Federal parliamentarians. You will probably have already seen the best responding politicians posted on our Politicians’ Honour Roll.
Good government and a good democratic society we can all enjoy relies on voters working with politicians on what they want done and politicians reciprocating by helping voters to achieve it and guiding government departments to do what voters want done.
Below is an analysis of what transpired during the parliamentary term of office since the 2016 elections. You will see that the Greens were best responders (60% of sitting MPs); the Nationals had the greatest response score per sitting MP (15.8). Here are the details:
HOW FEDERAL POLITICIANS RESPONDED TO VOTERS ON ISSUES RAISED BY VOTERGRAM SINCE THE LAST ELECTION:
No. who replied
% who replied
Score per sitting MP
Independent or minor party
HOW IMPORTANT WERE TOPICS TO VOTERS AND HOW WELL THEY WERE RESPONDED TO BY MPS
Domestic, family and sexual violence
Banking and finance
What voters want done by governments
Problems with govt. bureaucracy & departments
Water & river management
immigration and population location
First nation indigenous facilities and services
Gender equality issues
Other issues raised by voters in their votergrams and responded to by MPs were:
Party leadership permanency
Air travel problems
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 - firstname.lastname@example.org
9th April 2019
Compulsory superannuation winner or loser for the Australian people?
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 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.
The 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.
30 March 2019
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 followers 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 to 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 email@example.com . You can shape society via elected politicians, first by your voice and then by your vote, provided you do it strategically which is what FairGO helps you with.
The One Nation NRA exposure is certainly revealing. I wonder who conceived the sting?? A political opponent perhaps?
Voters Network helps individuals shape society
Thank you to those FairGO followers who have joined Voters Network and 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. And up to 30th June this year they get a free $69.50 Votergram with all the support that entails.
Set the agenda -NSW followers - 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. If you have not yet joined Voters Network do so first in order to rate your MPs.
If you or your organisation wants to influence government, we can assist you with an effective political persuasion campaign. We can help you provide what most politicians need in order to understand and accept your proposition. They are your most valuable and underutilised resource.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or phoning 0428 417 496. FairGO & GBAC have decades of experience and successful negotiations.
14th March 2019
FairGO – turning 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 representative 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.We can give you some hints.
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.
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 and so might 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. Members decide what they want to tackle.
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.
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.
We don’t make a big fuss about it and have no political party favourites. We are the perfect political persuaders to give power to the Australian people, this year as we have for the past 31 years. We tend to work mostly for the vast majority of Australians who sit in the middle ground away from extreme left or right wing politics and help Australians affect global, national and personal issues..
We can do it with you or for you. We are quiet achievers. We like to give the credit for successes to the politicains who kindly make them possible.
5th March 2019
TRUST TAKES DOWN OUR DEFENCES
A former federal political staffer wrote in one of the weekend papers: “Our society relies on a strong government and business sector that is trusted by the community.”
Speaking on television about conviction of a cardinal one observer commented that it was amazing “that someone you trusted would do such things”.
So we are talking about government, business and churches, three prominent institutions. And the comments relate to the question of trust.
In my career as a Chartered Accountant performing audits, I soon learned that it was only people who were trusted who stole, defrauded or misled others. It was obvious that nobody who was not trusted would ever get a chance to do so. So I learned then not to trust people in business. That is not the same as mistrusting people or feeling that other people are dishonest. It simply meant that I took trust out of the equation when conducting audits or buying assets and checked everything myself. My manager at PW once said to me “If you leave the petty cash tin on the desk, you are as guilty as the person you tempted to steal the cash”. Trust puts temptation in another person’s way.
The political staffer’s comment about society trusting government and business is laughable. I wonder how many Australians trust their governments to be honest, competent, diligent ,caring or fair. 30 years of running FairGO, the Votergram service and now Voters Network lead me to believe that in government as in business, we should consign trust to the garbage bin. That does not mean that all politicians and bureaucrats are untrustworthy. It simply means that we should not believe all that they tell or promise us; that we should not leave them to their own desires but tell them what we want done and we should monitor and measure their achievements rather than relying on what they say they have achieved for us. Politicians are neither more nor less trustworthy than we the people they represent. But we do not have to trust them. We have to work with them to achieve what we all want done.
Lastly we come to the church and I speak as a Christian. It was the religious leaders of the day who had Christ crucified, according to Biblical records. There is no particular reason for trusting church leaders and there is no need. It is best to form our own opinions about church leaders & faith before we put them in charge of our children, lives or money. The principle is now firmly established that there should be more than one adult present when children are involved. The wise path is to take care and protect our own.
Don’t trust anyone until they have given you very sound reasons to trust them and then limit the extent of your trust to what you are prepared to lose.
Borrowers, guarantors and investors lose everything when they trust instead of getting independent checks like that provided by FairGO and GBAC.
Many of our clients have suffered at the hands of those they trusted. Once I trusted the mayor, our local councillors and staff of a local council. Three distinct times they misled me and breached my trust. That is why I started FairGO – to help other people avoid the damage caused by the liars, cheats and predators who live by destroying others. We work to have that harm rectified wherever possible.
It has worked. For voters we have performed near miracles in getting governments to treat them properly. For borrowers we have persuaded banks to write of millions of dollars in loans. There are 14 million voters in Australia. Individually we are relatively weak but together in Voters Network we are infinitely stronger.
Therefore in all our dealings it is best if we do some serious homework ourselves and remain on our guard, lest we be harmed by those we trust. If you know someone getting a rough deal from government, banks, insurers, business or having strata problems internally or externally, send them to FairGO. Most people go about fighting these bodies in exactly the opposite way to what is required. Sometimes that is because they trust the other side to treat them fairly. It is a grave and often expensive mistake to make. Other times they just lack the appropriate experience and negotiating skills. We all have different skills.
We can enjoy smart leaders running our country and state well for us, but there are a few very simple things we need to do first - join Voters Network and give it a little bit of money to carry out our wishes; decide and share what we want our governments to do; vote for those who do it and replace those who don't. It is pretty simple and FairGO exists to make it simpler. The more voters who join in the easier it is.
13 February 2019
ELECTIONS ON THE HORIZON
With elections on the horizon we are bombarded with politicians offering to spend our own money on us, particularly if we live in marginal electorates. But we know from experience that electing politicians to parliament gives no promise of prosperity or fairness.
Who do we turn to!
When individuals, community groups, peak bodies, farmers and businesses want to “Advance Australia Fair” to whom do they turn?
If they want to influence government without taking any party-political election position, to whom do they turn?
Who has helped them ban smoking, protect industries, reduce the road toll, receive licence discounts, obtain respite care and hospital beds, keep hospitals open, keep ski fields in public hands, stop banks bleeding customers dry?
FairGO has and it will continue to be there for Australians who want a better, richer, fairer country and want our “golden soil and wealth for toil” shared around through equal opportunities.
When people find the government working against them or their community, they give FairGO a call to see if we can help. If their family needs help, they find out if we can assist them or direct them to someone who can.
Advance, stagnate or retreat
Do we want to advance Australia for its people and our place in the world, do we want to stagnate or will we fall into retreat?
FairGO is ideally placed to lead the Australian voters in guiding government to shape Australia’s future.
There is no challenge too great when we act together for progress that advances Australia’s future in a way that is fair to all Australians, young and old, long-term Aussies or newcomers, rich or poor.
2019 has great promise. Let us set goals together and tick them off one by one.
Check out our Politicians Honour Roll updated this month to see the outstanding NSW politicians who have responded best to Votergrams on all sorts of topics from voters around the state since the last state elections.
Votergrams are the cheapest, fastest, easiest way to influence government on any matter large or small.
Voters network gives you the opportunity to rate how well your MPs are representing you. It should be well as you choose them by election and pay them good money. You can also join the forum and put your solutions to matters like domestic, family and sexual violence, population, immigration andtaxation forward to decision-makers in parliament.
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!!
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?
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”.
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 email@example.com. 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.
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.
10 January 2019
Are Governments Failing the People?
What is happening in the democracies of the United Kingdom the United States, France, Germany and Syria?
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.
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 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
7 January 2019
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.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.”