Until recently, the Federal, State and Territory governments in Australia owned many enterprises; mainly utilities such as electricity, water and gas suppliers and communications enterprises such as Australia Post and Telstra. At one time, governments also owned airlines (such as Qantas), banks (including the Commonwealth Bank), insurance agencies and shipping enterprises. Following a worldwide trend, most of these enterprises in Australia were sold to the private sector. World governments in general have been moving away from ownership and control of the economy and allowing a greater role for markets under competition. This is referred to as microeconomic reform. (Hubbard et al. 2015, p. 166)
Government-ownership of enterprises is a contentious issue, because technically the more enterprises a government owns, the more it starts to look like a communist or socialist state and not a democracy. The previous statement isn’t meant to imply support or non-support for communism or socialism, but rather a statement of fact. Given that Australia is currently a democracy with a mixed market economy, it makes sense that the Australian government has privatised public assets.
Therefore, if the government should not own the enterprises that are created to cater for market failures, then the only other company structure that currently exists that can accommodate these Community Enterprises is a co-operative.
According to a Victorian government report (Business Victoria 2019), a co-operative is a ‘legal entity that differs from a company in that it requires at least five shareholders (or could accommodate every Australian as a shareholder), each of whom hold equal voting rights. In Australia, Co-operatives apply the concepts of sharing, democracy and delegation in order to benefit all members. Generally, all members are expected to participate and share the responsibility of running the organisation’.
All other types of structures, except for charities, are created to benefit a finite group of individuals. Using such structures to house the CE assets would lead us back to where we are and not form a counterbalance to the existing market economy.
Using a charitable body as the structure would also be inappropriate, because in this structure there is no expectation or requirement for every member to contribute.
Ultimately, the co-operative structure embodies all the characteristics required and is unique in that it harnesses the key variables that are required to counterbalance the current economic system which are of course labour, asset creation and ownership for the good of all members.
Starting a New Community Enterprise
Upon winning the election, a survey will be conducted to asses the availability of all goods and services along with the infrastructure available to provide for those goods and services. This survey will be used to identify areas of market failure which then allows the Community Enterprise administrators to develop whatever is required for the production of the goods and services that are in short supply.
This process will be followed to provide everything from a shortage of food accessibility to public housing. Another advantage of this model is that the workforce can be retrained and redeployed based on community requirements.
Using the Co-operative model to capture the wealth that is created within the group will allow it to become self-sustained within a very short time from its roll-out.
It should be mentioned that until governments agree to implement this model, a cooperative should be set up to advocate for the adoption. In this instance it is recommended that each member contribute a minimum of $5 per week or more if they are able to assist the management of the cooperative to lobby for change.
Full-time Member – defined as an individual who works 38 hours per week as part of a Community Enterprise
Part time Member – Individual who works less than 38 hours, who may or may not have a free market part time job, which means they have the potential to earn both Community Credits (CC) and $A
Inactive Member – Individual who is currently not working any hours on any Community Enterprise
Members have the freedom of trading their Community Enterprise work for a 'Normal job' at any time and they are also welcomed to become an active member again in a Community Enterprise at any time.
Key responsibilities of members of the Co-operative are to attend their chosen occupation and provide the labour they have agreed to provide. They will in turn receive AWE based Community Credits (currently $1,633).
The majority of the administration will be done by Full-time Community Enterprise employees.
Community Credits will allow you to purchase any item you can using $A at the moment and at the same price. Further, you will pay for it using a bank account that contains your Community Credits and you’ll be able to spend it using your Debit Card in the same way you now spend $A.
The best way to visualise it is that it’ll be like using an alternative currency like $USD, Bitcoin or other non-Australian currency. The staff at the stores, will not know the difference, only the owner will be able to check his ledger and determine how many sales were made in $AUD and how many in Community Credits.
We can do Better. Time for a Real Change!
All Policies are based around the Counterbalance Economics Model as outlined in the Discussion Paper (Click Here)
Video from Join the push: https://www.lambienetwork.com.au/makeaustralia