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Jun 1, 2014

Australian senate; the adults in the room form their own group

Image: Senator-elect David Leyonhjelm, of the Democratic Liberal Party
The 2013 federal election threw up a couple of excellent results for libertarians.
The first was the election of the Liberal Democrat David Leyonhjelm in New South Wales.  David is a fully committed libertarian of long standing, unswervingly dedicated to the principles of fiscal responsibility, social liberty, and capable of arguing against the trend, logically, passionately, and convincingly.
The second surprisingly was the election of Bob Day of Family First, who despite being a social conservative is just as erudite as David on fiscal matters.  While Bob is unlikely to support the full libertarian agenda, his election brought joy to most of us in that another fiscally sane member would be joining David in July.
Some worried about how a libertarian and a Socon would get along, the problem has been solved.  They have agreed to work together on fiscal matters, while doing their own thing on social policy.  For some reason, the press see this as a ‘roadblock’: 
… David Leyonhjelm, the NSW senator-elect representing the Liberal Democrats, has revealed he would vote in alliance with South Australia's Bob Day of Family First when the new Senate sits from July 1. 
They have agreed to vote together on all economic issues, but will decide their own positions on social issues. As a self-described libertarian, Mr Leyonhjelm supports same-sex marriage, for example, whereas Family First is opposed to it. 
The two-member bloc is half the size of the Palmer United Party-Ricky Muir alliance, but is likely to provide some headaches for the government as it seeks backing for its legislative agenda, particularly if that involves any new taxes. 
Mr Day believes the minimum wage should be lowered to get more people into work and taxes should be lowered across the board.  Among the policy agendas of Mr Leyonhjelm is the full privatisation of all school and hospital services, a lower minimum wage and lower tobacco taxes. 
He said: ''Unlike the PUP senators, who are only united by Clive [Palmer]'s funding, Bob and I share the same values. That makes us a mini voting bloc.   Mr Leyonhjelm said he would defer to Mr Day on any industrial relations issue and Mr Day would take his advice on agriculture. 
Prime Minister Tony Abbott is leading negotiations with the new crossbenchers. He met with Mr Day on Wednesday and Mr Leyonhjelm in Sydney on Friday.
Mr Leyonhjelm said Mr Abbott laid out his legislative agenda for July, which focused on the abolition of the carbon and mining taxes, restoration of the Australian Building and Construction Commission and changes to the Fair Work Act. 
Speaking after the meeting, Mr Leyonhjelm said: ''I quite like the guy; he speaks his mind, a bit like me.'' 
On Tuesday, Mr Day and Mr Leyonhjelm delivered speeches to the Centre for Independent Studies. Mr Leyonhjelm said: ''We will push for doing less on nanny state stuff. An end to plain packaging, lower tobacco taxes and fewer smoking rules affecting private property. 
''Stop funding public health advocates who want to control what we eat. Stop funding the environmental organisations that oppose everything about modern society. 
''I also intend to press buttons on health and education. There is no justification for the government being a service provider in these … Service providers, whether they are for profit, charitable or community, will do the job better than public servants.'' 
Mr Leyonhjelm said when it came to smaller government, ''I do not draw the line anywhere''.  ''I have every intention of using my vote to try and make a difference,'' he said. ''I will use argument, reason, pleading and, occasionally, blackmail.'' 
In his speech, Mr Day questioned why, when Newstart allowance was $250 a week and the minimum wage was $650, people could not choose to work for less than the minimum wage but more than the dole. 
''We praise people who work for zero money - volunteers who work up to 40 hours a week in op shops and nursing homes - but we don't allow them to work for more than zero until you reach $650. It's absurd,'' he said.
It’s just as simple as that.  Leyonhjelm and Day are probably the only two adults and economic rationalists in the senate.  Neither is hamstrung by the need to follow the crazed party line of Abbott, Shorten, the Greens, or the personal opinion of Palmer and have sensible ideas to pull the nation out of the shit.
Neither are in any way obstructionist, and both will be quite cooperative as long as Abbott and his henchmen are prepared to talk sense.

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