DR JOSEPH TOSCANO, INDEPENDENT
The 10 questions that have been put to me by Fairfax Media can be divided into three categories:
A. Questions about what can and needs to be done to improve the lives of people living in the Melbourne electorate. (Questions 3, 4, 5, 7, 8 and 9)
B. One question (Question 2) about how to deal with the lucky-for-some phenomenon in the land of milk and honey.
C. Questions about the challenges that face all of us and how I would represent the interests of the electorate in state parliament. (Questions 1, 6 and 10)
I would like to begin by saying state governments are nothing more than a tired old colonial relic. They should be abolished and be replaced by regional councils made up of 500,000 residents based on direct, not representative, democracy.
As for questions about improving the lives of people in the Melbourne electorate, all reforms that have occurred in this country are a consequence of the blood, sweat and tears of previous generations who forced their parliamentary representatives to put their interests before the interests of the parliamentary puppet masters, that small section of society that owns the means of production, distribution, exchange and communication. We need to stop being carping, complaining consumers and become active citizens willing to take direct action to further our demands. In the unlikely event that I’m elected I would use my parliamentary office to encourage people to take direct action – protests, picket lines, occupations, strikes and consumer boycotts to ensure their interests are at the forefront of the parliamentary agenda.
In regards to question 2, I’ve been a doctor for 37 years, the past 33 years dealing with people with major physical disabilities. I’ve always been astounded by the fact there is always money for war and corporate welfare but never enough for public health, public education, public housing and social security benefits. The only way to deal with homelessness, issues associated with mental illness and dispossession is by widening the tax base so those who currently pay voluntary taxation pay their fair share of tax.
Two innovative ways this can be done is by:
1. Introducing a 1 per cent stockmarket turnover tax to ensure the tax base is widened so those sections of society that pay voluntary taxation pay their fair share of tax, so as a society we have enough resources to pay for public health, public education, public infrastructure and public housing.
2. We need to divert 1 per cent of Victoria’s GST revenue to provide seed funding to set up collectives and co-operatives that would form the basis of an alternative economic system based on co-operation and the satisfaction of real, not manufactured, human needs.
In response to the challenges that face us in the electorate of Melbourne, they are no different to those faced by everyone on this planet. As we move from a world of relative abundance to scarcity, as a consequence of the domination of the world economy by corporate capitalism, an economic system based on the creation of ever-increasing profits irrespective of the human, social and environmental costs, the ever-increasing consumption of finite resources, increasing population growth and increasing greenhouse emissions as a result of human activity, we require radical changes to the way we govern ourselves, what we produce, how we produce it and how we live. Parliamentary democracy is nothing more than two minutes of illusory power we need to harvest the collective wisdom of the people, through direct democratic processes to successfully tackle these issues.
Being realistic, I have a snowflake’s chance in hell of being elected and will lose my deposit. I did not stand to ask you to vote for me; I stood to stimulate your imagination and to encourage you to become active, concerned citizens who don’t restrict your political activity to casting a ballot every three to four years. On election day I encourage you to speak to the women and men who are handing out “Set the Cat Among the Parliamentary Pigeons” how-to-vote cards.
Together we can change the future so we are in the best position as citizens of the electorate of Melbourne, and the world, to move from a period of relative abundance to scarcity.