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The slide away from democracy

In 2004, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution that lays out seven ‘essential elements’ of democracy, including:

  • • Separation and balance of power
  • • Independence of the judiciary
  • • A pluralistic system of political parties and organisations
  • • Respect for the rule of law
  • • Accountability and transparency
  • • Free, independent and pluralistic media
  • • Respect for human and political rights; e.g., freedoms of association and expression; the right to vote and to stand in elections

Checks and balances – such as independent statutory watchdogs, our independent court system, the rule of law, press freedom, and the ability of non-government organisations to speak freely – are vital to the health of our democracy and for protecting human rights, particularly in the absence of a constitutional or legislative bill of rights.

Since taking office, the government has actively undermined these protections.

Gillian Triggs submitted the AHRC report on children in detention to the government in November 2014. In December the government cut funding to the commission by 30%. By February they were demanding her resignation.

In February 2014, the head of Infrastructure Australia, Michael Deegan, slammed the government for plans to overhaul the organisation that he said “would damage independence and transparency in infrastructure funding.”

The Business Council of Australia expressed similar concerns.

“The BCA is concerned the bill in its current form provides for ministerial powers that could be used to prevent Infrastructure Australia from assessing certain classes of projects and which require the publication of project evaluations only under direction by the minister,” Ms Westacott said.

Two weeks later, Deegan resigned.

Today we hear that the chair of the Abbott government’s climate change advice agency, Bernie Fraser, has resigned without explanation.

“It is understood Mr Fraser had a difficult relationship with Environment Minister Greg Hunt. Fairfax Media understands Mr Fraser announced his decision on Tuesday after an all-day meeting of the authority. Many of his colleagues are believed to be deeply saddened by his departure. He is not believed to have quit due to personal problems such as a health issue.”

Government interference was also apparent in their directive ordering the independent Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) to stop investing in wind and small-scale solar projects.

In the days before the election, Howard and Costello both advised Joe Hockey to keep Martin Parkinson as head of Treasury. But that call was ignored by Mr Abbott, who announced Dr Parkinson’s resignation in his first official act after being sworn in.

”You’ve got to understand that incoming governments do very much want to place their stamp on the economic policy of the country and that is exactly what we are doing,” Mr Abbott said.

”We are placing our stamp on the economic policy of the country and let there be no doubt, let there be no doubt, that Australia’s policy direction changed very substantially back in September.”

We have seen the exodus of basically every executive at NBNco over the last few years. At Delimiter, they ask the question “One wonders, one really does wonder, why so many executives signed up to help build the company but then quit so soon after. Could it be the complete and utter politicisation of the project, perhaps?”

Since Michael Pezullo took over as head of the Immigration Department last October, there had been 15 transfers to other departments by executives and another three senior bureaucrats had retired by mid-May.

Pezzullo told Senate Estimates that departing executives had told him they simply did not fit in with Immigration’s new direction under the Abbott government. He said that a number of his veteran senior bureaucrats had told him during “very sensitive” discussions that the Immigration Department they had joined was different to the one that was emerging under the reform now under way and that it was time for them to go.

Staff numbers at the ATO have been slashed by well over 2,500. Experienced staff are being made redundant and replaced by lower skilled new people.

About 450 Tax Office middle managers slated for redundancies will walk away with golden handshakes worth just under $90,000 each on average – an estimated $40 million in payouts as the ATO opts for a cheaper workforce. The latest cuts come after at least 780 executive level public servants were made redundant during the 2014-2015 financial year

Commissioner of Taxation Chris Jordan told the workforce in his regular bulletin that entry-level tax officials were to be hired.

The Australian Services Union, says the tax office, which has endured a torrent of criticism directed at its ability to collect the nation’s revenue, was getting rid of its most experienced and capable tax professionals, which seems counterproductive as it has been shown that every $1 spent by the ATO on investigation returns $6.

Even the courts are being sidelined.

Migration and counter-terrorism laws are granting extraordinary powers to be exercised at the personal discretion of ministers with court scrutiny curtailed. In a recent hearing into legislation that sought to restrict court review of asylum seeker decisions, Senator Ian Macdonald said the government “doesn’t want to be beholden to the High Court who will pick every comma in the wrong place”.

Legislation has been introduced to ensure there are no consequences under Australian law if the government fails to comply with international human rights law.

Likewise, the government is seeking to strip citizens of the right to contest development decisions on environmental grounds, labelling court action to uphold our laws as vigilante litigation.

A combination of funding cuts, changes to funding agreements and intimidation has been used to stifle advocacy by the NGO sector.

Funding can no longer be used for advocacy and no-gag clauses were removed from contracts. The threat of funding cuts has created a climate in which organisations are reluctant to speak out for fear of moving to the top of the list for the next round of cuts. Charity status is also under threat for political advocacy, unless you are a right wing think tank.

The ABC has had government interference in its programming and press freedom is being curtailed by new anti-terrorism laws that threaten up to 10 years’ jail for journalists and others who disclose information about operations the Attorney-General has deemed “special intelligence operations”. Journalists attempting to pierce the secrecy around the harm being done to asylum seekers have repeatedly been referred to the federal police in attempts to uncover confidential sources and whistleblowers.

Increasingly, the AFP and ADF are being employed in politically driven pursuits, with police raids being filmed and requests being made for a list of national security related things to announce and for bombing runs to be started before the byelection. We have seen the transformation of immigration and customs into a paramilitary force and the use of the Navy to deter asylum seekers.

Executive director of the Human Rights Law Centre, Hugh de Kretser, sums it up well.

“This undemocratic slide is deeply concerning. We need political and community leadership to respond; to create a climate in which the independence of institutions is protected; where the separation of powers and the rule of law are understood and respected; where freedom of information, not secrecy, is the standard; where NGO advocacy is valued, even when it is uncomfortable for government.”

It is up to us all to fight for our democracy and to demand transparency and accountability from those who would seek to rule rather than represent.

liberal democracy


77 comments

  1. kerri

    If you want better coverage be a better Government!

  2. diannaart

    I don’t always pay attention – energy levels, health and other motley excuses, which explains why I was unaware of Borderfoce until my home town, Melbourne was threatened by their invasion. When TF did this happen? Was this even mentioned prior Election 2013?

    Please Kaye Lee can someone explain why we now have a Borderforce? What’s wrong with our AFP and military?

  3. keerti

    Democracy? Isn’t that what the usa tries to impose on other countries by funding organisation like isis to overthrow legitimate governments?

  4. Kaye Lee

    diannaart,

    This article may make it a bit clearer.

    “The Coalition has often tried to tie refugees to national security. And this confected relationship provided the obvious spark for the development of the Australian Border Force.

    Bumping Immigration and Customs up the bureaucratic hierarchy will give those two organisations new influence, ambition, and ultimately power.

    And by recasting them as part of our national security infrastructure, those agencies will orientate their core business towards that new, sexier, and more threatening security role.

    Why easy to predict? Because that’s exactly what happened when the United States created the Department of Homeland Security. That monstrosity is expensive, expanding, and working to gain new powers. Until recently, its Immigration and Customs Enforcement division was lobbying for the power to track citizens’ movements through licence plate scanning.”

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-05-13/berg-beware-the-border-force-fetish/5448680

    Also of interest…..

    “Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has killed off speculation that a homeland security super ministry would be created, a move that is aimed directly at ambitious Immigration Minister Scott Morrison.

    The Immigration Minister is a hero to many Liberals for his record on asylum seekers as well as the“stop the boats” policy and has said he wants to stay in that job.

    But cabinet colleagues also believe he is attempting to expand his responsibilities with a forced takeover of some of their powers.

    Julie Bishop’s voluntary declaration that the Government was not considering a homeland security agency was seen as a slap down of Mr Morrison.

    The Immigration Minister has been closely associated with the proposal, which resembled the expanded command he put together for border protection.

    The proposal would have seen customs, Federal Police and intelligence services and other agencies brought under a single command.”

    http://www.news.com.au/national/julie-bishop-kills-off-speculation-of-a-homeland-security-super-ministry-in-slap-down-to-scott-morrison/story-fncynjr2-1227076021790

    It seems Scott beat Julie but then was moved on. Keep him under control?

  5. Davdi Bruce

    Captain Chaos is getting his orders from the City via Matron Ratchett?

  6. Blinkyewok

    Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine our democracy being turned into a dictatorship. How do we reverse this? Is it even possible with a change of govt? So many good people have been sidelined or forced out of positions which were vital to our democracy. Will the LNP dictatorship have given themselves enough power to be irremovable at the next election? Are we destined to live under a destructive dictatorship until our planet is so polluted that it will not sustain life?

  7. Terry2

    Watching Question Time today , the new Speaker doesn’t seem to be able or prepared to manage Abbott.

    The PM made no attempt whatsoever to answer quite sensible and probing questions from Labor on the CHFTA : he went straight into rants about Labor being xenophobic and attempts to make him reply with ‘direct relevance’ were totally ignored.

    This man has done significant damage to our democracy and the standing of our parliament since he came to office.

  8. mars08

    “A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves.” ~Edward R Murrow.

  9. Kaye Lee

    We are people hear us roar in numbers too big to ignore cause we know too much to go back and pretend. Cause we’ve heard it all before and we’ve been down there on the floor. No-one’s ever gonna keep us down again.

    You can bend but never break us ’cause it only serves to make us more determined to achieve our final goals. And we come back even stronger, not a novice any longer, ’cause you’ve deepened the conviction in our souls

    We are people watch us grow – see us standing toe to toe as we spread our lovin’ arms across the land. But we’re still an embryo with a long long way to go until we make each other understand

  10. kizhmet

    What I find especially terrifying is that this is all so blindingly obvious to anyone with eyes to see it – yet the vast majority of population either remains ignorant or blantantly refuses to see it. This gradual erosion of our democracy, our rights, liberties, environment – what are we leaving to future generations?

    Keep writing Kaye Lee – keep up the good fight (even if your articles do scare me witless, LOL)

  11. mars08

    “As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there is a twilight when everything remains seemingly unchanged. And it is in such twilight that we all must be most aware of change in the air – however slight – lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness.”

    ~William O. Douglas, US Supreme Court Justice from 1939 to 1975

  12. Kaye Lee

    Over the last 30 years politicians’ staff has increased dramatically. At federal level there are now some 17 hundred personal staff to ministers and members. The states probably account for over two thousand more. Add to this the direct political infiltration of federal-state public services and quangos with hundreds more jobs for the boys and girls, there is now a well-established political class.

    This has provided the political parties with a career path for members. In many cases it often produces skilled, partisan, “whatever it takes” warriors with a richly rewarded life through local state and federal governments to a well-funded retirement. Unfortunately while this career path, as Tony Fitzgerald states, does include principled well-motivated people … “it also attracts professional politicians with little or no general life experience and unscrupulous opportunists, unburdened by ethics, who obsessively pursue power, money or both.”

  13. Vicki

    Welcome to the NWO.

  14. lmrh5

    What is NEO?

  15. Kaye Lee

    New World Order? Nit Wits Omnibus?

  16. australiansforabetterdemocracy

    This is NOT a democracy. Never has been and now does not even pretend to be. Discussion draft of new, democratic constitution available via blog http://australiansforabetterdemocracy.blogspot.com.au/ or via facebook https://www.facebook.com/NewAustralianConstitution covers these 7 list items. The draft is just for discussion, not something I wish to impose on anyone simply want to encourage people to demand an end to this current farce, and demand REAL change, not token changes to an already broken system. We need someone, somewhere to stand candidates on a decent platform for change and they will surely get my vote. If someone starts a petition to GG demanding a new election, I will support it.

  17. Douglas Evans

    any wonder the young increasingly don’t register to vote.

  18. Michael Peters

    Democracy consists of choosing your dictators after they have told you what you think it is you want to hear.
    Alan Corenk

  19. Matters Not

    Just watched 7.30 Report. (Only watch ‘recordings’). The ‘Tone’ (like The ‘Donald’) continues to create new standards of comedy. He was hilarious.

    Unfortunately, I think he will be replaced before the next election. More’s the pity.

    Tonight his performance was a ‘Gish Gallop’ writ large. A TV classic.

  20. Pingback: The slide away from democracy – Written by KAYE LEE | winstonclose

  21. Winston

    Hate to use Hitler again. The final solution policy was never discussed openly nor democratically. Though; it worked well for awhile. The Conservatives final solution policy is working very well also. Using a beautifully apt American phrase; Australians seem to like taking up the arse for sometime before they’ll do anything. So, are we so disempowered or caught up in our small worlds or just stupid? Or are we just like what comedian Kitty Flanagan portrayed us to be? That being that we all just want to be COOL and fit in and not rock the boat? Heaven forbid we rock the boat!

  22. Kaye Lee

    Matters Not,

    That interview with Tony was tragic….

    LEIGH SALES: Let’s quickly run through some other issues, Prime Minister, starting with the economy. When Labor left office, unemployment was 5.8 per cent; it’s now 6.3 per cent. Growth was 2.5 per cent; it’s now two per cent. The Australian dollar was 92 cents; it’s now around 70 cents. The budget deficit was $30 billion when you took office and now it’s $48 billion. How do you explain to the Australian people that you were elected promising, in your words, to fix the budget emergency, yet in fact, Australia’s economic position has worsened under your leadership?

    TONY ABBOTT: Well I don’t accept that. The boats have stopped. The carbon tax has …

    LEIGH SALES: We’re talking about the economy.

  23. Pingback: The slide away from democracy – » The Australian Independent Media Network | olddogthoughts

  24. Kaye Lee

    “But for a lot of MPs, the significance of the shift in the debate in the past week is that it might also mark the high mark of the push to make everything a national security issue.

    The militarisation of border protection, MPs on both sides of politics say, might have just been that step too far.

    If that is the case, the Prime Minister might be even more devoid of things to talk about now than he was a week ago. ”

    http://www.afr.com/news/politics/yep-yep-yep-tony-abbotts-turnaround-on-refugees-is-stunning-20150909-gjis74

  25. corvus boreus

    Strangely, as other issues of ‘border protection’ get integrated into a newly created paramilitary entity, the bio-security aspects of protecting our shores from harmful foreign agencies seems to have been fobbed off to the Department of Agriculture.

  26. Möbius Ecko

    Kaye Lee this is an image of the interview. He actually said this in response to a legitimate question on the downturn in the economy under his watch:

    What makes the whole interview so much worse for Abbott is that it was prerecorded and the questions were given to Abbott.

    Now we have the news that Abbott is saying stopping the boats has helped the economy and returning us to surplus. I kid you not.

    This man lost the plot ages ago but is now so completely unhinged only a new door can fix the gaping cakehole.

  27. Winston

    Just watched Tony Abbott with Lee Sales on the 7.30 Report.Tony Abbott did a perfect performance of avoidance and staying on his message.Lee Sales just gave up. Bring back Sarah Ferguson. Lee is weak as !

  28. Douglas Evans

    I watched the interview. Sales did not seem to me to be doing anything other than trying to get a bloody politician to answer questions rather than reciting the talking points but Fairfax is implying that she was attacking the poor man. I despair.

  29. Kaye Lee

    Rupert the climate change denier has just bought a 73% share of what was previously the not-for-profit National Geographic and its channel. There is no way he would pay $725 million for something for altruistic purposes. They have an endowment of about $1 billion that is given out in grants to scientists and explorers. I guess that will be headed to Christopher Monckton and Jo Nova now.

    http://boingboing.net/2015/09/09/rupert-murdoch-just-bought-nat.html

  30. Neil of Sydney

    Kaye Lee this is an image of the interview. He actually said this in response to a legitimate question on the downturn in the economy under his watch:

    So bad results under Rudd/Gillard are due to world conditions and bad results under Abbott are his fault.

    Fact is the economic numbers are worse but not much worse under Abbott. But the economic numbers under Rudd/Gillard were much worse than the previous Coalition govt.

    Abbott has not trashed the budget like Labor did
    Abbott has not trashed the unemployment numbers like Labor did
    Abbott has not trashed our borders like Labor did
    Abbott did not destroyed our car industry like Labor did.

  31. Terry2

    Abbott didn’t stay right on message . When asked about the economy he would normally be instructed to say “it would have been worse under Labor “.

    You’ll be hearing that a lot as we get closer to the election.

  32. randalstella

    Abbott is a stupid man with a lot of cheek. There are a lot of them about. They dominate the intelligent with their forcefulness. In this culture that is assumed as the done thing. The intelligent tend to be gutless, as if insight and timidity go together. It is after all 100 years since Kafka.
    It was bound to happen: the thug cop has become P.M. The days of leading minds in leading positions went with the consolidating of corporate interests against the sensible use of the planet.

  33. Roswell

    Oh lookie lookie, Neil is here to tell us that Rudd and Gillard were bad and that Abbott is good.

    Funny how is corresponds with Abbott’s atrocious performance last night. With social media in hysterics over his inept performance I guess someone has to stick up for him.

    Enter Neil.

  34. Kaye Lee

    I think Abbott has been taking tips from Neil. Endless repetition, regardless of truth, is supposed to ingrain the mantra into our minds. Four legs good. Two legs bad.

    The one that is really annoying me is the thing that Abbott is “most proud of” – the oft quoted job creation.

    Instead of using the ABS figures for people employed, they use job ads. Advertised jobs are largely filled by a rotation of the existing workforce. Job ad statistics do not differentiate between new jobs and vacancies in existing positions. So the figure is totally spurious.

    Secondly, despite the increase in people employed, the aggregate monthly hours worked has DECREASED. That means that we have a large pool of underemployed people with the vast majority of new jobs being part time.

    And now we are seeing the debacle of the government advising boats to sack Australian crews and employ cheaper foreigners, advice Caltex took advantage of. The same will happen with 457 visas. Abbott is pouring money into mining as it sheds jobs hand over fist. They keep announcing a few million for this initiative or that to help people transition into work but do nothing to actually create jobs or stimulate demand. They talk about all the jobs from their huge infrastructure spend except they aren’t actually spending so much as announcing.

  35. Neil of Sydney

    I take no notice of ALP supporters giving lectures on unemployment numbers. When in power, Whitlam, Hawke/Keating, Rudd/Gillard had no success with reducing unemployment.

    Same goes for the budget deficit. The only ALP govt that did not totally trash the budget was the Whitlam govt and that was because he was not in long enough. But Gough did increase spending enormously. But he matched the enormous spending increases with enormous tax increases and lost office before the inevitable trashed budget occurred.

  36. Winston

    Dear Neil How did Labor destroy the Car Industry? The Liberals closed it down permanently didn’t they??

  37. Kaye Lee

    I take no notice of Liberal supporters who think quoting facts is lecturing.

    Neil, this thread is about the current government. If you have nothing to contribute on that front then I will remove your comments to save us all the boredom of reading the same old loop of endlessly repeated history according to Neil (who doesn’t care for facts). We have heard it all before.

    I would like to hear your views on the attack on statutory bodies, the judicial system, the public service, the national broadcaster, the press, and NGOs. Does this authoritarian removal of checks and balances and oversight worry you?

  38. diannaart

    @Kaye Lee

    Thank you for the background on ***BORDERFORCE***

    Now I am absolutely terrified.

    As for Abbott’s performance on 7.30 – keep up the good work, Tones, even the intellectually challenged right will start to comprehend what an empty vessel you are, except for Neil, of course.

  39. Roswell

    I would like to hear your views on the attack on statutory bodies, the judicial system, the public service, the national broadcaster, the press, and NGOs. Does this authoritarian removal of checks and balances and oversight worry you?

    Good luck on that one, Kaye.

  40. Roswell

    If you have nothing to contribute on that front then I will remove your comments

    And I will ensure that they don’t get past the spam filter.

  41. Roswell

    As was the fate of his last comment (that was removed before publication). Blaming Rudd, ignoring Abbott.

    Neil, I’m only a moderator here but I feel safe to echo Kaye’s suggestion/plea:

    Neil, this thread is about the current government. If you have nothing to contribute on that front then I will remove your comments to save us all the boredom of reading the same old loop of endlessly repeated history according to Neil (who doesn’t care for facts). We have heard it all before.

  42. Möbius Ecko

    Shorter Neil. Abbott and his dysfunctional government is failing miserably and spectacularly. so quick look at Labor past.

    So utterly predicable.

    Winston you fell straight into Neil’s diversion away from Abbott’s ballsing up. Keep the topic on Abbott, Neil can’t stand that.

  43. Roswell

    Spot on, Mobius.

    I just deleted a comment from Neil where he pleaded that he was only replying to Winston (before them going on to blame Rudd and Gillard for all our woes).

    Yes, he was replying to Winston. But Winston had merely replied to Neil’s diversion.

    I repeat: Neil, if you can’t stay on topic then your comments won’t get published.

  44. Möbius Ecko

    The same will happen with 457 visas.

    >111,000 being employed on 457 visas at the moment. The cost of 111,000 unemployed to Australia = $30m p/w.

  45. Terry2

    Having just watched the 7.30 Sales/Abbott interview again, it is quite disturbing that Abbott was threatening the national broadcaster to ‘talk-up the Australian economy’.

    Not to report the facts, not to be objective but to be selective in what is reported inline with the way the Prime Minister seeks to be misleading and deceptive with statistics.

  46. Neil of Sydney

    I just deleted a comment from Neil

    And i am sure you get sexual pleasure from doing that.

    You lot are moaning about 457 visas but these are worse. Have you heard about 485 visas?

    http://www.news.com.au/national/work-rules-relaxed-for-foreign-students/story-fncynjr2-1226598601904

    THOUSANDS more foreign students will get the green light to compete for Australian jobs next week, when the Government expands a work visa scheme……From March 23, all international students will be allowed to stay and work in any job for up to four years after they graduate from an Australian university….The scheme’s expansion has angered unions and prompted warnings from within Ms Gillard’s own party that foreign students will snatch jobs from local graduates.

    But Immigration Minister Brendan O’Connor said the change was “intended to make Australia a more attractive destination for high quality overseas students”.

    485 visas are worse than 457’s

  47. Möbius Ecko

    It’s bad on another level Terry2 in that during the entire period of the Labor governments Abbott, but most of all Hockey, constantly and vociferously sold down Australia to the world, even going overseas to do so.

    Now they are in power and actually trashing the country and its economy they want everyone to bullshit about it and sell it up, including asking our National broadcaster to lie for them.

    A government with a leader who trade on lies upon lies and want everyone else to also lie for them.

  48. Kaye Lee

    Ya gotta love Liberal graphs, the following being a prime example. Choose your scale to exaggerate a difference and draw eyes away from the fact that startups are lower than in 11-12, don’t start vertical axis at zero, choose a short time frame.

  49. Aortic

    Gore Vidal, ” the genius of our ruling classes is that it has kept a majority of the people from ever questioning the inequity of a system where most people drudge along, paying heavy taxes for which they get nothing in return.”

  50. Kaye Lee

    Karl Marx saw the conflict between the bourgeoisie (those that own the means of production) and the proletariat (those who sell their labour) as crucial to the maintenance of capitalism. Its function is to create an obedient, docile, uncritical workforce who will work to support the upper-class’s lifestyle and the economy. Keeping wages low, or debt pressure high, means workers will be less likely to complain or make demands. As workers struggle to provide their families with all the temptations that a capitalist society offers, they become far less likely to risk their employment, and less able to improve their situation.

  51. Kaye Lee

    “Leigh, I refuse to talk our country down. I refuse to talk our country down and I hope the national broadcaster might join me in looking for the good and boosting our country, which has so much potential.”

    Prime Minister Tony Abbott told parliament on March 18 this year: “I am very happy to talk about this government’s progress at budget repair, because didn’t our country need budget repair after six years of debt and deficit disaster put in place by members opposite? We were heading to Greek levels of debt and deficit. That is where we were going – Greek levels of debt and deficit.”

  52. diannaart

    @kaye Lee

    Tony Abbott masquerading as NoS?

    Stranger things have happened.

  53. Kaye Lee

    Nahhh….Tony would be talking himself up. Neil isn’t up to 2013 yet. He also doesn’t mention the carbon tax often enough to be Tony.

  54. Neil of Sydney

    We were heading to Greek levels of debt and deficit. That is where we were going – Greek levels of debt and deficit.”

    Absolutely.

    And the ALP cannot wait to get us there.

  55. Roswell

    Naah from me too. Abbott says the same thing twice in the one sentence. Neil uses two to say the same thing. Neil’s use of full stops is well in advance of Abbott’s.

  56. mars08

    NoS:

    … i am sure you get sexual pleasure from doing that…

    I think Neil should spend some time tending to more pressing matters…

  57. Möbius Ecko

    The last time the unemployment rate was 6.0% or higher for 15 straight months, Abbott was Minister for Employment.

  58. Winston

    Take your hand off it Neil ! And stop frothing at the mouth.

  59. Kaye Lee

    If we were heading for Greek levels of debt before, how do you feel about it being $111 billion worse now?

    Having answered your deflection, the point is that Tony said he would never talk down the economy. That quote is from less than 6 months ago. He is not in a position to ask for supportive statements when all economic parameters are worse. He and Hockey trash talked the economy for 6 years. Now they can’t handle the truth.

  60. Möbius Ecko

    Kaye Lee, under Abbott and Hockey we have a lower growth rate than Greece whereas under Labor during a GFC we had a much higher growth. http://tinyurl.com/q557k3f

    Go figure how a gormless right winger thinks it’s Labor who would head us towards a Greece economic disaster.

  61. corvus boreus

    Although the claims and opinions preceding and concluding were vile bile and idiotic gibberish, I would like to acknowledge that NoS actually linked to valid information regarding 485 (temporary post-graduation) visas.
    The March 2013 amendments meant “Applicants … will not be required to nominate an occupation on the SOL (skills shortage list) or undertake a skills assessment,” the department’s website states”.
    That was not a good amendment. Such visas should apply to fields with labour shortages.
    Upon obtaining government, the coalition’s only action on this has been to drop standards for language and medical requirements, and if they have any plans to reverse the loosening of 485 conditions, I have not heard of it.

    As for the idea that 485s are worse than 457s, 2013 numbers were under 40,000 485s compared to over 120,000 457s.
    Add to this that 485s are competing as part of the domestic labour force under Australian labour market conditions, whereas 457s often constitute direct import workforce for foreign corporate projects, then compound this with the likely effects of the newly signed ChAFTA article 10:4 part 3.

    ‘Neither party shall;
    a)impose or maintain any limitations on the total number of visas to be granted to natural persons of the other Party; or
    b)require labour market testing, economic needs testing or other procedures of similar effect as a condition for temporary entry’

  62. Neil of Sydney

    As for the idea that 485s are worse than 457s, 2013 numbers were under 40,000 485s compared to over 120,000 457s.

    485’s are worse. Why should you be competing for jobs after busting your guts to get a degree with foreigners. The argument is that to make foreigners want to study at Australian Universities you have to allow them to work here. I don’t like it.

  63. corvus boreus

    If you do not like the current rules on 485s, then you should lobby to have them changed by those in charge.
    Petitioning representatives of the current government to reinstall labour market shortages as a provision for the issuing of 485 visas might be a good start.

  64. Möbius Ecko

    corvus NoS doesn’t care an iota about 457, 485 or any other visa or how workers are screwed. His sole concern is over whether something can be twisted into bashing Labor to divert attention away from the failure of the Liberals.

  65. Roswell

    His sole concern is over whether something can be twisted into bashing Labor to divert attention away from the failure of the Liberals.

    EXACTLY!

  66. jim

    Since the 25/09/13 abbot has issued an edict on all media which must be approved by the PMs office by a Ms Walshe. right there , there goes our democracy, T abbot is not even a conservative he is a ultra right wing conservative fundamentalist catholic, abbot has said that Bob Santamaria (zealot) “the greatest Australian that ever lived, abbot has said that he was the love child of jonny howard and bronwyn bishop, this A-Hole abotti s destroying Australia as we know it, I cannot think of one government office he has not mauled even the ABS FFS ,http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-10-09/abs-staff-say-data-undermined-by-funding-cuts/5801844

  67. Pingback: Abbott government: Sliding away from democracy

  68. diannaart

    I cannot think of one government office he (Abbott) has not mauled even the ABS FFS

    Too true, Jim.

    One of the maulings which never fails to clobber my irony bone is the decimation of experienced staff from the ATO, all the while making noises about cutting down on tax avoidance.

    Of course, worse are the cuts to human welfare, science, education….. sorry drifted off – if I list everything I’ll be here all day.

    Bye for now

  69. Kaye Lee

    He also cut funding to the Bureau of Meteorology. They were talking far too much about extreme weather events – an obvious political stitch-up.

  70. kizhmet

    Honestly Kaye Lee – why do we need someone to tell us the weather when we can look out our windows? I mean, really, if the ground is wet, it’s raining. Extreme weather? Pfffft. Australia boasts extremely moderate weather, warm summers and cool rather than cold winters. Floods, fires, droughts and freak storms reported in the news are exaggerations of aberrant weather conditions promoted by scare-mongering lefty lynch mobs and greenie tree huggers.

    Seriously, though. Taken in isolation each of the slash and burn tactics adopted by this government is questionable. Looked at in their entirety over the past two years and the picture is horrifying. I am coming to the belief Abbott (in particular) doesn’t just want to stop Labor being re-elected, he wants to destroy them. Irrespective of your political persuasion, opposing views facilitiate improvement, a broader base of knowledge and understanding. Opposition (should) keep the government honest/balanced. What havoc could LNP/Abbott wreak without that significant opposition?

  71. Neil of Sydney

    He also cut funding to the Bureau of Meteorology

    You obviously do not believe in surplus budgets.

    Let us put everything on the credit card and eat, drink and be merry.

  72. Kaye Lee

    We seem to have endless money for fighter jets and submarines and bombs and the war on asylum seekers.

  73. Kaye Lee

    To be given to dignitaries. I am reminded of when I was given a certificate for volunteering at my children’s school – mind you that only cost however much copying a sheet of paper costs. I put it on the fridge.

    I wonder what the visiting dignitaries will do with their toy. I wonder more who thought up this idea.

  74. corvus boreus

    Kaye Lee,
    Most likely a staffer or freelance contractor working for the Immigration minister (more likely ministerial than departmental).
    I imagine some marketing type with well-powdered nostrils and an expensive sense of humor.
    Then again, it could have come from pimp-daddy Dutton himself. He’s well capable of personal stupidity. Recent example;
    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/immigration-minister-peter-dutton-caught-joking-about-the-effect-of-climate-change-on-pacific-islands-20150911-gjkf0z.htm

    Ps, on a purely trivial personal note, I always though Mr Dutton’s face had a striking resemblance to certain types of Diodon.


    ?itok=zkQLsIpK&mtime=1437536627

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