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What’s good for the goose

Malcolm Turnbull has come a long way since he said the consequences of unchecked global warming would be catastrophic.

Today he leads a government that has cut $500 million from funding for clean energy, gutted the CSIRO, and continues to erroneously blame South Australia’s use of renewable energy for power failures.

Turnbull’s government remains steadfast in its support for the Adani coal mine and is contemplating a $1 billion loan for the project.

Last week, while most of the nation endured a massive heatwave, his government taunted the Opposition, and presumably anyone else concerned about carbon emissions, by passing around and petting a lump of coal.

The man who in 2010 said that Australia needed to move to “a situation where all or almost all of our energy comes from zero or very near zero-emission sources” now describes proponents of renewables as “drunk on left ideology on energy”.

These days Malcolm Turnbull is all about addressing the impact of carbon emissions by investing public money in clean coal. This is a bit like the government addressing the impact of smoking by investing in low-tar cigarettes, which hasn’t been suggested since Bronwyn Bishop was shadow Heath Minister.

Some might cast Turnbull as an incipit sellout to the fossil fuel industry who now hates renewable energy, but that’s only half true.

It is wrong to assume that Turnbull shares his coal-stroking compatriots’ phobia of clean energy. The man who last week attempted to revive his political fortunes by calling Bill Shorten a “hypocrite” is more than happy to get a little drunk on left ideology on renewables, at least when it comes to himself.

Last year the PM upgraded the solar panels on his Point Piper harbourside mansion and added a stack of batteries giving him a total of 14.5 kilowatts worth of solar panels and 14 hours of battery power. With more heatwaves and power shortages to come, this should ensure the Turnbulls remain in air-conditioned comfort.

So it turns out Turnbull is prepared to back renewables for one Australian family. And who can blame him for going off grid? It’s not like he can rely on his government to fix the problem.

Dinner at the Turnbulls

 

MT: Smashed that little oik Shorten in Parliament today.

Lucy: Did you darling?

MT: Oh yes. Pass the foie gras….do you know what he said to me?

Lucy: What did he say dear?

MT: The chap said I was the most out-of-touch PM ever. Bill Shorten! Fellow can barely tell the difference between a Château Lafite and a Château Mouton, and he calls me out of touch! Well I wasn’t having any of that.

Lucy: No dear. There was that Prime Minister during Federation, what was his n….

MT: I’d had a terrible day….the oysters are a bit tasteless tonight.

Lucy: I’ll have a word with the chef. What was bad about your day darling?

MT: Well it all started off with that nasty Cory Bernardi business…

Lucy: Oh so he resigned then?

MT: Yes. So anyway….how did you know he was resigning?

Lucy: Well it was obvious wasn’t it?

MT: How so?

Lucy: I mean all that carry on about conservative Christian values, criticising your leadership and saying he was going to leave and form his own party. That was obvious wasn’t….

MT: He criticised my leadership? A chap who can barely tell the difference between Beluga and…

Lucy: Oh no. I think I’m getting confused with someone else entirely. Nothing to do with your leadership…silly me. Anyway, you were saying?

MT: Mmmm, not a bad year that Grange…now where was I?

Lucy: You were saying Bill Shorten called you out of touch.

MT: Ah yes. Well, I was already in a bad mood after being blindsided by Cory, who could have seen that coming?

Lucy: (Sigh) No one dear.

MT: After all the effort I made. I sent him off to New York for three months, and not one photograph of him passed out in a strip club. What does Joe Hockey think we pay him for?

Lucy: I warned you about that…

MT: I know, I know. So as if that’s not enough…Mmmm, truffles are good this time of year…as if that’s not enough, it turns out Gina is financing him.

Lucy: Joe Hockey?

MT: Not Joe, well no more than usual, she’s financing Cory.

Lucy: Still?

MT: Yes. Well I wasn’t standing for that. I was straight on the phone to Gina’s office asking her PA to reconsider.

Lucy: How is Sophie?

MT: She was a little under the weather….shall we open another bottle?

Lucy: Better not, we don’t want to be nodding off during the ballet.

MT: I suppose not. Anyway I didn’t hold back. I begged, I pleaded, I cried my eyes out. I said: “Didn’t Gina realise how much our association has mutually enhanced our reputations?”

Lucy: And what did she say?

MT: Look at that, tarnished!

Lucy: I’ll have a word with the maid. What did Sophie say?

MT: Oh something about knowing my station and needing to go for a pedicure. I’m giving her secretary a call tomorrow, I won’t be letting this go.

Lucy: That’s what I love about you darling.

MT: Me too. So after all that, I walk into parliament and that upstart Shorten calls me out of touch.

Lucy: So you put him in his place?

MT: Oh yes. We had plenty of his sort at Sydney Grammar, scholarship boys. Soon whipped them into shape. I called him a ‘parasite’, a ‘simpering sycophant’ and a ‘hypocrite’.

Lucy: And Barnaby was okay with that?

MT: Oh yes. He thought it was hilarious. Said I can call Shorten those things any time I like. I don’t even need his permission.

Lucy: That’s nice. So why did Bill Shorten say you were out of touch?

MT: Oh he was banging on about us passing a bill cutting $8 billion from welfare and government services while calling for tax cuts for corporations. You know the usual politics of envy stuff…that was a nice drop. Could have done with a bit more of a decanter.

Lucy: I’ll have a word with the butler.

Lay off our PM, President Trump

Dear President Trump,

We in Australia read with dismay that you were rude and disrespectful during a phone conversation with our esteemed Prime Minister Malcolm Trumble. Frankly sir, this reflects very poorly on your understanding of international diplomacy, and in particular your understanding of US-Australian relations.

Australian Prime Ministers have a long and proud tradition of sucking up to US Presidents. Yet not since Stanley Melbourne Bruce has this nation elected so consummate a lickspittle as Mr Trumble to be our Prime Minister.

There is no Statesman, World Leader or Russian prostitute more willing to satisfy your ambitions than Mr Trumble, and it’s not just presidential arse he’s adept at smooching. Mr Trumble has been steadfastly resolute in selling out to every homophobe, climate change denier, and right-wing nut job in his party.

As Prime Minister, Mr Trumble has consistently demonstrated that there is no principle too strongly held to abandon, no commitment too firmly made to back away from, no position too humiliating to get into, for the sake of those who hold his position to ransom. A ransom he is prepared to fork out $1.75 million of his own money to pay.

So lay off our PM, President Trump. It’s time you showed him the respect and admiration you can clearly see he’s earned from his party, the nation and our parliament. We all hope that that you will show a great deal more respect to the next Australian PM when they phone to introduce themselves in a few months time.

Sincerely,
Australia

Why we need more corporate tax cuts

 

ATO data shows that 36 per cent of large companies paid no tax in the 2014-15 financial year. 679 companies including McDonalds Asia Pacific, Chevron Australia, Vodafone Hutchison and News Corp made $462 billion in revenue in Australia last year without contributing a single cent to the nation’s health, education, defense or welfare.

Of the large companies who did pay tax, the effective tax rate on profits was 25 per cent – 5 per cent below the statutory rate of 30 per cent.

Of the 200 largest corporate taxpayers in Australia, companies in the health care, energy and financial sectors paid the lowest effective tax rates of 19 to 24 per cent on a combined income of over $330 billion.

Investors in Australia assume taxpayers will bail out Australia’s big four banks in the event of any of them becoming insolvent. As a result, investors lending to such large banks are prepared to accept lower returns for risk, which lowers how much banks pay for funding. The Reserve Bank of Australia estimates that Australia’s major banks receive an implicit subsidy worth between $1.9 billion and $3.7 billion due to this assumption.

An international report on G20 subsidies found that the Turnbull government is continuing to subsidise fossil fuel production to the tune of $5.6 billion a year. Nearly $6 billion a year is paid to Australian corporations though the Fuel Tax Credit scheme. In 2014 it was estimated that State Governments alone had paid $17.6 billion in subsidies to mining companies over the previous 6 years.

Oxfam Australia estimates that the Australian economy is losing up to $6 billion a year in tax revenue due to Australian-based multinationals shifting money to international tax havens.

The federal government remains committed to doing bugger all about this problem, but they are pushing ahead with their plans to cut corporate tax rates. This means that while we’ll still be up to $6 billion a year down on revenue, corporate tax avoidance will be a lot less of a problem in Australia, because the less tax you’re meant to pay, the less tax you can avoid paying.

So the government would like to wish big business a happy and prosperous 2017. For the rest of us, they’ve had to made make some cut backs.

 

A depressing story about rorting

Once upon a time Bronwyn Bishop was appointed Speaker of the House of Representatives and given a taxpayer-funded salary of $341,477. During that time she ignored the long standing convention of a bipartisan Speaker by continuing to attend government meetings and party fundraisers.

In addition to her salary, between July 2013 and June 2016, Bishop claimed $1,900,201.65 in expenses. In 2014 alone she claimed over $800,000. In the second half of that year Bishop spent $130,889.80 on travel expenses. These included $42,805.51 on an 11-day trip to South East Asia in September 2014, $88,084 on a 15-day official visit to Europe while she was running for the presidency of the Geneva-based Inter-Parliamentary Union in October, and $5,227.27 for a charted helicopter flight to a Liberal Party fundraiser from Melbourne to Geelong (a 90 minute drive) in November.

Following an announcement that the Department of Finance would be investigating Bishop’s expense claims over the previous 16 years, Bishop resigned as Speaker in August 2015.

Bishop now works for Sky News as a political commentator. This week in response to Tony Abbott’s claim that governments have been far too ready to put people with bad backs and ‘a bit of depression’ on the disability support pension, Bishop said:

‘There are a large number of people who were rorting it and there are a large number of people who are drug addicts and they think they meet the criteria.”

According to Beyond Blue, Black Dog Institute and the Australian Government:

45 per cent of Australian will experience a mental health condition in their lifetime;

Around 1 million Australian adults currently have depression, and over 2 million have anxiety;

One in 16 Australians aged 16 to 24 is currently experiencing depression;

One in six young Australians is currently experiencing an anxiety condition;

One in four young Australians currently has a mental health condition;

Suicide is the biggest killer of Australians aged 16 to 24 accounting for 10.5 per cent of deaths, more than car accidents (6.4 per cent);

Every day, at least six Australians die from suicide and a further thirty people will attempt to take their own life;

Australians are more likely to die by suicide than skin cancer;

This year the Department of Health announced it would strip over $140 million in funding from the Early Psychosis Youth Services (EPYS) program;

Since 2013 the Federal Government has cut nearly $1 billion in funding for community services.

The Disability Support Pension is $797.90 per fortnight.

Bronwyn Bishop receives a taxpayer-funded pension of $255,000 plus 10 free domestic return flights a year.

And she lived happily ever after.

If you need help in a crisis, call Lifeline on 13 11 14. For further information about depression contact beyondblue on 1300224636 or talk to your GP, local health professional or someone you trust.

You better watch out

Peter Dutton would like to wish you a merry Christmas, and you’d better all damn well wish him one back.

Like the good Christian he claims to be, the minister for Immigration has decided to use the Christmas season to stir up more division and hatred among Australians. ‘Tis the season to be vigilant, yes Dutton is calling for people to “rise up” and defend Christmas against the dreaded scourge of “political correctness gone mad”.

According to the irrefutable testimony of a talkback radio caller named Jim, who attended a ceremony at his grandson’s school, not one Christmas carol was sung during the ceremony.

Dutton, the man responsible for imprisoning children on Nauru and Christmas Island in conditions where they are subjected to mental, physical and sexual abuse, is furious at the suggestion of school children not being allowed to sing Christmas carols.

“You make my blood boil with these stories”

Because according to Dutton, we are “a Christian society”. I’m not sure when that particular change to the Australian constitution was made but from now on if you’re not prepared to sing about peace and goodwill at Christmas time, you can expect the wrath of those who do.

Dutton linked the issue to the “Teachers for Refugees” campaign. Dutton doesn’t want teachers teaching students about how his department treats people seeking asylum by imprisoning them in remote Hellholes, he wants them teaching students about how Mary and Joseph were given refuge in a barn.

The talkback radio host, Ray Hadley, identified the “Left-wing” principal as the problem and suggested a reason they may be poorly qualified for the position.

“I think it’s a female”

Hadley had some words of advice for the principal.

“What she’s got to get through her skull: by doing it, she causes division, because the kids who want to hear the Christmas carols … suddenly target those minority groups.”

The principal is actually a man, but Hadley’s point still stands. What he’s got to get through his skull: if he doesn’t let children who want to hear songs about bringing good tidings to you and your kin hear those songs … they’ll beat the shit out of minority groups.

So there you have it minorities, if you don’t like living in Peter Dutton’s Christian Australia, go live in a country where religious fanatics run things.

Turnbull & Morrison Tax Consultants

Turnbull & Morrison are Australia’s leading tax minimisation consultants, specialising in reducing the tax obligations of some of our biggest companies.

In the 2014/15 financial year, Turnbull & Morrison helped 679 public and private entities with combined revenues of $462,143,275,019 pay 0 per cent tax. We’ve have helped over a third of Australia’s largest companies pay no tax for the last two financial years.

Our specialist consultants will work with your business to reduce your tax liabilities by cutting staff and resources at the ATO, freezing wage growth, removing penalty rates and safe working conditions, and regularly distracting the public with sensationalised stories of dole-bludgers, welfare cheats and Australia having a problem with spending rather than revenue.

We are proud to have helped make Australia a nation where corporations pay an average tax rate of 16.2 per cent, less than a working nurse.

Some of our largest non-tax paying clients include:

News Corp, who paid less than 1 per cent tax on $2.7 billion in reported income in 2013/14 and no tax at all on $2.8 billion in 2014/15.

Qantas, who have paid just over $200,000 tax on over $30 billion of income over the last two financial years.

The Tech industry, where last year Apple paid 1.7 per cent tax on $8.3 billion in revenue, Google paid 2.7 per cent on $438 million, and Microsoft paid 4.9 per cent on $639 million.

The Resources and Energy sector, with nearly 60% of mining and energy companies paying no tax last year. We’ve also helped the industry by giving them over $4 billion a year in taxpayer funded subsidies, abolishing carbon pricing and ending competition from the renewable energy sector.

Other satisfied clients include Virgin Australia, Bluescope Steel, Treasury Wine Estates, Nine Entertainment, Downer EDI and Wilson Security.

Turnbull & Morrison are proud sponsors of the Murdoch Trust, who are also proud sponsors of us. We are grateful for the opportunity to support the Murdoch Trust’s philanthropic work promoting corporate-friendly policies in governments around the world.

At Turnbull & Morrison we’re working hard to reduce the burdens of transparency, accountability and responsibility. You won’t find a better team to keep your expenses down, your obligations to a minimum and your loopholes wide open.

So if you’re a public or foreign-owned company with a total income of $100 million or more, a private entity with a total income of $200 million or more, or one of our mates at the IPA, contact Turnbull & Morrison today for an obligation free quote. Our friendly innovative team will be sure to exceed your expectations.

At Turnbull & Morrison wealth always comes first.

How much freedom to hate do you need?

Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 makes it unlawful for someone to commit a public act that is reasonably likely to “offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate” someone because of their race or ethnicity.

Section 18D of the Racial Discrimination Act contains exemptions which protect freedom of speech. These ensure that artistic works, scientific debate and fair comment on matters of public interest are exempt from section 18C, providing they are said or done reasonably and in good faith.

While opponents of 18C argue that it stifles freedom of speech, the courts have consistently interpreted sections 18C and 18D as maintaining a balance between freedom of speech and freedom from racial vilification. The courts have held that for conduct to be covered by section 18C, the conduct must involve:

“…profound and serious effects, not to be likened to mere slights.”

This is a point opponents of 18C always ignore. Section 18C isn’t about insensitive jokes and hurt feelings, it’s about genuinely malicious behaviour. Typical examples of successful prosecutions under 18C include:

Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism;

a case in which Aboriginal youths killed in a car accident were described as “criminal trash” and “scum” that should be used as “land fill”; and

a case in which an Aboriginal women and her family were subjected to an torrent of abuse, including being called “niggers”, “coons”, “black mole”, “black bastards” and “lying black mole c**t”.

Sections 18C and 18D were introduced in 1995 in response to recommendations from major inquiries including the National Inquiry into Racist Violence and the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. Those inquiries found that racial hatred and vilification could cause emotional and psychological harm to their targets, and reinforce other forms of discrimination and exclusion. They found that seemingly low-level behaviour often softened the environment for more severe acts of harassment, intimidation or violence by implicitly condoning such acts.

Sections 18C and 18D have existed in Australia for 21 years. They have been in existence for the entire time Andrew Bolt has been employed at the Herald Sun. They have been in existence for the entire time Pauline Hanson, David Leyonhjelm, Cory Bernardi, George Christensen, and the majority of conservative MPs calling for their repeal, have sat in parliament. They existed when One Nation, the United Patriots Front, and countless other hate groups demanding their freedom to offend, insult, intimate and harass were formed.

Those who claim that 18C limits their freedom to speak include a number of conservative MPs who, in addition to having access to taxpayer funded media staff and the national media itself, enjoy legal immunity through Parliamentary Privilege, which protects them against civil or criminal liability for actions or statements made in the course of their legislative duties. Outside Parliament Pauline Hanson has made regular TV appearances since 2004 and holds down a guest spot on the Today show. While Leyonhjelm, Bernardi and Christensen have hardly been starved of the opportunity to put forward their unstifled opinions.

Other opponents of 18C include:

The IPA, one of the most over represented organisations in Australia, with members filling a number of positions in the media, on Government boards and the Government benches;

Andrew Bolt, the most widely circulated commentator in Australia;

radio shock-jocks such as Alan Jones, one of the most highly paid and influential media personalities in Australia; and

News Corp, the largest media organisation in Australia owned by the proprietor of the largest media organisation in the world.

Opponents of 18C include some of the loudest and most influential voices in the nation, they possess more freedom to speak than anyone else. Their opposition to 18C has nothing to do their freedom of free speech, it is about tipping the balance between freedom of speech and freedom from racial vilification in their favour.

Earlier this week the Government rather meekly called for submissions regarding 18C to their “Inquiry into the freedom of speech in Australia”. While the people who claim that 18C stifles their freedom of speech have had years to make their case, the rest of us have until Friday.

 

Peter Dutton’s Character Test

Peter Dutton was born and raised in Brisbane. After graduating from the Queensland Police Academy in 1990, Dutton served as a police officer in the Drug Squad, the Sex Offenders Squad and the National Crime Authority. During the nine years he was in the Queensland Police Force, Peter Dutton did not achieve one single thing that was considered worth mentioning in his parliamentary biography, his maiden speech or any other public record.

From 1993 Dutton also served as a company director in his father’s building business.

Dutton won the federal seat of Dickson from Cheryl Kernott in 2001. Dutton promised to work hard for his electorate improving services which, sixteen years later, remain unimproved. In 2009 Dutton made an unsuccessful attempt to switch to the safer neighbouring electorate of McPherson.

In his maiden speech to parliament, Dutton spoke of “unacceptable crime rates, causing older Australians to barricade themselves in their homes” and “households where up to three generations—in many cases by choice—have never worked in their lives”. All this he blamed on “the boisterous minority and the politically correct” and suggested people “are fed up with bodies like the Civil Liberties Council and the Refugee Action Collective, and certainly the dictatorship of the trade union movement”. Dutton also argued that when it came to law enforcement, people should have less right to privacy.

So what did Dutton have to offer?

“It is my aim to use my experience both in small business and in law enforcement to provide perhaps a more practical view on some of the issues and problems experienced in these areas.”

Here’s how that practical view worked out:

From 2004 to 2007 Dutton served as a junior minister without distinction.

In 2008 he was the only member of the Opposition front bench to walk out during Kevin Rudd’s apology to the Stolen Generation.

After a brief stint as shadow Finance Minister, Dutton was made shadow minister for Health from 2008 to 2013. During that time he made no announcements, asked no questions in parliament and didn’t bother visiting any hospitals until the 2013 election.

After the election of the Abbott government, Dutton became Federal Health minister. During that time he attempted to introduce a $7 GP co-payment and was voted worst health minister in living memory by a poll of 1,100 readers of the politically conservative ‘Australian Doctor’ magazine.

In December 2014 Peter Dutton became Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, a portfolio he has handled with equal measures of malice and incompetence.

He has paid bribes to people smugglers, lied about the intentions of a woman who was raped on Nauru and forcefully returned there while waiting for an abortion necessitated by that rape. He has made false claims that refugee advocates are responsible for the self-harm of immigration detainees and mislead parliament about spying on a Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young.

He was responsible for a bungled Border Force operation to check visas in the Melbourne CBD. He has attacked and denigrated the president of the Australian Human Rights commission for investigating the abuse of children in detention, ignored criticism from the UN, Amnesty International and Oxfam, and introduced laws to gaol immigration detention whistle-blowers who report abuse.

He has seen Australia’s border protection policies become a full blown litany of human rights abuses including, but not limited to, murder, rape, torture, and child abuse.

Peter Dutton has accused refugees of being illiterate job stealers and welfare cheats. He thinks immigrants from Lebanon and their descendants are a mistake. He calls his fellow Australians “Lebanese” Australians, “Sudanese” Australians, “Muslim” Australians, instead of just Australians, and any group he isn’t part of he sees as a threat.

The people of Australia (including those with Lebanese heritage) pay Peter Dutton nearly $400,000 per year plus expenses, which last year topped $700,000. In all that time he has not said one nice thing about us. What do you make of that character?