||Integrity. Fairness. Prosperity. Sustainability.|
|Themes:||Centrist Independent. Energy efficient and climate-friendly policy makes economic sense. Generally compassionate policies.|
Policies & Commentary
Tim Storer is a South Australian Independent who was a long-term Labor Party member, before joining the Nick Xenophon Team in around 2015. He stood as their fourth Senate candidate in 2016, and resigned from the party shortly afterward. But after two NXT Senators resigned and the third fell beneath the scythe of Section 44, he wound up getting elected to the Senate on that ticket after all in 2018, and has been in Parliament ever since as an Independent. He registered himself (and… presumably some of his friends?) as a political party in 2018, because clearly what Australia needs is another political party named after its founding member. (Actually, given that I can’t see any other candidates on his website, I’m guessing he registered as a political party in order to be able to have a box above the line in the Senate, which is actually a pretty sensible choice.)
Confused? I know I am. But it seemed worth giving this background, because it gives you a reasonable starting point for Storer’s ideology, which is centrist with some left-leaning tendencies.
Storer’s website tells us that:
As an independent senator representing South Australia, Tim Storer is adamant about bringing a responsible and evidence-based approach to decision making, underpinned by four benchmarks: integrity, fairness, prosperity and sustainability.
The latter is something of a slogan for Storer, and to me it screams old-school, small-L liberal – very Adelaide, actually. There is a stable and conservative feel to it, but the emphasis on fairness seems to be about sharing the wealth. In a responsible, sensible, sustainable, fashion.
Storer studied economics and environmental studies at university (oh, Tim, do I have the Eurovision song for you!), is into entrepreneurship and mutually beneficial relationships with Asia, and is keen on electric cars. He has a press release in response to the 2019 Budget, with which he is not impressed. In particular, he is not impressed that most of the tax relief is going to the wealthy, and that neither the Coalition nor Labor are interested in increasing Newstart, which he points out has remained unchanged in real terms for 25 years.
In as prosperous a nation as Australia this is simply a disgrace.
At its current level, Newstart and associated payments condemn many job seekers to a life of poverty without the means to seek work in a realistic fashion, which is, after all, their primary purpose.
I once again appeal to the major parties to support the call from ACOSS, supported by noted experts, including eminent economist Chris Richardson, to increase Newstart by $75 a week.
This would lift many jobseekers out of poverty and make it easier for them to gain a job.
So far, I’m inclined to like Mr Storer.
He doesn’t have a policy page, but he does have an advocacy page, which I think amounts to the same thing for our purposes. Let’s drill down and see what we can find.
Well, first, not drilling. Or at least, not in the Great Australian Bight.
The Bight is one of the most diverse ecosystems on the planet. The pristine waters of the Bight provide an essential breeding ground for vulnerable species, such as the Southern Right Whale, and an ideal habitat for the endangered Sea Lion. Research suggests that there are at least 1,200 species of plants and animals in the region, around 85% of which are probably endemic to the region.
He wants a much more rigorous assessment process for applications to drill in the Bight, which he justifies on both environmental and economic reasons – the fishing and tourism industries in the Bight provide significant economic benefit to South Australia, and should not be risked.
As previously mentioned, he likes electric cars and thinks they are the way of the future, especially if we manufacture them in Adelaide.
The shift to electric vehicles will bring economic, social and environmental benefits to Australia and the good news is we already have the skills and resources needed to take full advantage.
Storer has a really nice policy on Energy Efficiency, which, he points out, ‘can cut energy consumption by up to 50% and cut energy bills by hundreds, even thousands of dollars a year from a relatively simple investment’. He has apparently introduced a bill aimed at helping people on lower incomes to improve their energy efficiency:
The Bill would help people who are renting to improve their energy efficiency and provide a targeted package to those left behind from other energy policies. Energy efficiency doesn’t just slash energy bills and reduce demand on the grid, it also improves health outcomes and creates jobs.
You know, I’m actually loving this approach to energy and environment issues, where Storer keeps pointing out, again and again, the ways in which looking after the environment is also good for the economy. It’s such a good argument in the current environment, where both parties are so keen to play the ‘fiscal responsibility’ card. Keep at it, Mr Storer.
Storer also has a cautious but coherent set of opinions about the Murray-Darling Basin. Basically, he feels that the current Murray-Darling Basin plan is not perfect, but is concerned that scrapping it entirely is too risky for South Australia, which, being downstream of everyone else, is pretty reliant on those upstream not taking more than their share. His view is that this is a complex issue, and we need more transparency and has been pushing for the structural separation of the Murray Darling Basin Authority into a regulator and agency to reduce the intensifying conflict of interests.
I’m still a bit vague on the issues around the Murray-Darling (I had grand plans to learn all about it after all the dead fish earlier this year, and then got swamped at work), but this sounds like a reasonable starting point.
Moving on from environmental issues into the world of finance and taxation, we learn that in the wake of the Banking Royal Commission Storer feels strongly that there needs to be more funding for community law services ‘so that sole traders, small businesses, farmers and individuals have access to the legal support they need in financial services disputes’.
On taxation, Storer supports the findings of the Henry Review of the Tax and Transfer System, which is a fairly progressive taxation system that I am not going to pretend I understand particularly well, which is why I have linked to it so that you can assess it yourself. Storer opposes expansions to corporate tax cuts, since ‘the corporate tax cuts already in place since 2016 have had next to no impact on wages and a small effect on jobs and investment’, and he would rather spend the money ‘on expanding the instant asset write off, expanding R&D concessions, and spending more on physical and intellectual infrastructure, as well as education, health, and reducing debt.’
As previously mentioned, Storer supports increasing Newstart by $75 per week, and wants an independent review process for assessing the adequacy of welfare payments.
It’s clear that Storer’s chief areas of interest are in matters economical and environmental, but he has a few other policies. On the subject of the ABC, he is concerned about political interference and governance, and has put forward a Bill aiming to ensure the integrity, independence and transparency of the appointment process.
The recent appointment of Ita Buttrose as Chair again highlights the need for my bill, as the manner of her appointment might hinder her ability to stand up to threats of the ABC’s independence and integrity. However well-intentioned Ms Buttrose may be, the danger is that her tenure will always be seen through the prism of her partisan appointment.
Storer is concerned about ‘Closing the Gap’ between health outcomes for Indigenous Australians and those of us descended from immigrants. He feels that a ‘strength-based, community-led approach’ is the best foundation for this, and favours working with ATSI ‘parents, carers, elders and leaders at the local level to create an education system which is culturally safe, inclusive and relevant.’
He is pro-reconciliation, and wants to officially acknowledge the Frontier Wars and incorporate them into our School Curriculum and War Memorial. And that true reconciliation involves becoming a republic and changing our flag.
I honestly have no idea how we solve the health gap, but I will say that in general, acknowledging the harm we have done and consulting with the people we have hurt is an important step in building trust, so I suspect that Storer is on the right track here.
Storer does not have an extensive policy on refugees, but he does strongly favour the Medevac bill for refugees requiring medical treatment, and feels that the current situation is untenable.
Storer’s compassion also extends to animals – he is against live export, and wants to ban testing of cosmetics on animals.
And that’s about all for Senator Storer, who I must say, I’m rather partial to. He does not have a fully-rounded set of policies, but this is as expected for an Independent – nobody can be an expert on everything. The policies he does have, however, are sensible, compassionate, and show a concern for our environment. I think if I were living in South Australia, he’d be going high on my ballot.
Eurovision Theme Song as determined by me, very objectively
As soon as I saw that Tim Storer was both pro-environment and interested in economics I knew just what song to choose for him! I wouldn’t say that this is one of the better songs in Eurovision history (in fact, it’s pretty terrible, if I’m honest, and I suspect that the singer is being sarcastic about every single thing he is singing about), but you can’t fault its strangeness or its entertainment value. And really, how often do you find people doing the ‘monetary breakdance’ and then rapping about how:
To stop change climatic, automatic
Need contribution from the institution
To find solution for pollution
To save the children of the evolution