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Merry Christmas meine liebe frau

I am not sure how excited Howard’s battlers would be, the ubiquitous ‘mums and dads’ that get dragged out occasionally but are usually forgotten in Coalition policy, about Malcolm Turnbull’s Innovation Statement, but one person who would be very happy is Lucy Turnbull.

ZDNet describes the significant tax breaks for investors in startups, proposals for bankruptcy law reform, intangible asset depreciation, reforms to employee share schemes, and rules which make it easier for businesses to carry over losses, as a venture capitalist’s wishlist.

Laura Tingle pointed out that ad hoc tax breaks like this carry a political risk: they might open an avenue for what might most politely be called tax minimisation, and voters might well see it as the government covering businesses’ losses in their gamble on high-risk investments.

It would also be reasonable to ask why you would announce tax changes for speculative investors when you are in the process of putting together a tax reform package.

Perhaps the biggest announcement in the Innovation Statement was using $250 million of the fledgling Medical Research Future Fund to create a new Biomedical Translation Fund to commercialise medical research discoveries.

Which brings me to Lucy Turnbull.

Lucy and Malcolm have invested in several venture capital funds, but Lucy is also chair of Prima Biomed Limited, a biotechnology company in which she owns 20 million shares, or at least did when she was interviewed on The Business a year ago.

At the time, Lucy’s company had just taken a big risk by paying out $28 million to buy French biotech company Immutep. When asked what government policies she would like to see, she said tax credits for research and development and better taxation treatment of employee share options.

On November 26, 2015, Prima Biomed published a media release announcing approximately $420,000 in cash rebates from the Australian federal government’s R&D tax incentives program. Tick one.

In Turnbull’s Innovation Statement there is a section titled “Reforms to employee share schemes” which seems all about removing disclosure requirements. Tick two.

That’s interesting considering previous senate inquiries have concluded that, whilst ESS may be desirable in aligning employer/employee aspirations and rewards, they were susceptible to abuse as a tax avoidance scheme. But hey, there aren’t enough people left at the ATO to worry about that.

In May this year, Motley Fool published an article titled 7 reasons Prima BioMed Limited is too risky after shares went “down 45%, after an incredible 604% increase in its value earlier this week.”

According to Lucy Turnbull’s “Message from the Chair” in the November Investor Update, “Prima BioMed today is a company that is in very good shape; commercially, clinically and financially.”

Of course, that was published after Lucy and Malcolm, despite a very busy schedule, did a stopover in Germany to promote closer research and trade collaboration at the same time as, coincidentally, Prima BioMed were giving a presentation at a meeting of pharma companies in Germany.

Malcolm has said that we should cover risks for startups and entrepreneurs. I wonder how excited wage earners are about that considering the Coalition has been actively attacking the safety net that protects most of us from the risks that come with unemployment, sickness, disability, old age and poverty.

“There’s never been a more exciting time to be Australian” should read “There’s never been a more exciting time to be a wealthy Australian investor/company with an aversion to paying tax who is willing to take risks with other people’s money when subsidised and protected by the government.”



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  1. madeleinekingston

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you also Kaye Lee. Oh Wow.

    I hope you will forgive me for my usual brevity; which most people know is not my strength; though some deign to forgive me, en passant. Leaving usual formalities aside, did you say something about Malcolm Turnbull’s Innovation Strategy?. Good Lord. You don’t say. Turnbull? Of snake-oil-Charm? whilst apparently substantially upholding the philosophies of his predecessor,the Utterly Hopeless Tony Abbott; who just does not know when to gracefully exit [a propo Ah Margot should it come to this?,or words and sentiments to that general effect]; and others who may have attempted to dance the dance; possibly beyond the usual parameters of community applause… unless I got this all wrong,… and may be unintentionally be confusing ballerinas for politicians; whichever dancing category may come first; in the attempt to captivate public interest…

    So I take it then, that you and your colleagues have some reservations regarding snake-oil-charmers; their look-alikes and or their various political predecessors of all persuasions, but without a clue?

    So then ..

    Friendly Persuasions?


    Yes or no?

    But in case not, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, One and All, who venture into the provocative space.

    Carry On.

  2. madeleinekingston

    Oh never mind. I tried. With the follow-up. But the high-winds and the harsh seasonal conditions obliterated the message. Well you know what I mean. Absolutely disastrous political environment. Hoy Hoy. Bad Connection. No-Clue-Lot-of-Them-Naught-to-Choose. Politicians-All-like. Self-Opinionated-Self-Fertilizing-So-And-So-Sos. Serves-Them-Right-To-Suffer. I fear There-is-No-Cure- for these Navel-Gazing-No-Hopers. no-matter how charming their smiles or utterancances[or not].

    Luckily, some of us concerned voters are not always completely asleep.

  3. madeleinekingston

    The chains of luck? Yours or mine?

    Yet I am not one who believes in the uncertainties of mere luck.

    Politics? Is this matter or Russian Roulette. A matter of chance? The Charming Smile? The Snake-Oil-Magic? The Repetitive Political Faux-pas; perpetuated by various political representatives, providing one excuse or rationalization after another; whilst courting the collective disdain of both regional and/or international partners. For the Lords’s Sake; surely these half-bakers know better? So then, should we begin to re-assess the value of formal qualifications; status or political status and/or so-called policy experts; political advisers; Rule-Makers with or without perceived credibility or performance delivery; or alternatively, with or without proper accountability, [just for example, under the parameters of the Public Sector Act 1999 or the Public Sector Honesty and Accountability Act 1995; both of South Australia; but in this example applicable in the Federal arena for such bodies as the Australian Energy Market Commission [AEMC] [pardon my incidental change of focus by way of mere illustration; kindly extrapolate, as my broader goal is to highlight political and or political gaps both generally and specifically]

    AEMC as policy adviser and Rule Maker for energy at national level is exempt from accountability under the Public Sector Act 1999 [South Australia] and from the Public Sector [Honesty and Transparency ] Act 1995 [South Australia]

    (7) In my view it is simply not an acceptable outcome that any parliament should have seen fit to exempt a public body from an act such as this or the one discussed below Public Sector Act 2009 [South Australia] which is specific to honesty and accountability within the public sector. That discussions relevant to both enactments and exemptions therefrom and has broader governance implications

    (8) The AEMC is a statutory authority wielding considerable power without the levels of accountability that the community should be able to take for granted.

    (9) It concerns me that those who contemplated the content of the AEMC Establishment Act 2004 saw fit to insert such exemptions.

    (10) The AEMC is the national energy Rule Maker with the power to make Rules that have the force of law to amend or revoke those rules at its discretion and as often as it seems fit, and without the benefit of parliamentary sanction, not that parliamentary sanction was helpful when it came to exempting the AEMC from adherence to the Public Sector Act [South Australia] Act 1999 poor the Public Sector [Honesty and Transparency] Act 1995.

    Incidentally, for those who may be interested, the so-called Expert Energy Panel has expressed the following opinion and/or attitude:

    “Adam Smith … is not known to have ever argued that governments should regulate prices at below cost, even in the face of public clamour to do so. Profit that is transparently earned by improving the welfare of consumers is the most legitimate form of profit, and hence tends to be the least vulnerable to the attentions of those who might be tempted to mandate unduly low prices.” [page 59 Citation 29 from the AEMC Stage 2 Report to SCER tabled 12 October 2012

    Please see

    Standing Committee on Energy and Resources Workstreams Energy Market Report Limited Merits Review


    I recognize that the former Standing Committee on Energy and Resources [SCER] was replaced by the COAG Energy Council, and was preceded by the Ministerial Council on Energy [MCE] the cited URL references may now reside in archive records under an alternative URL. Fortunately for me, I am not reliant on current on-line URL citations. Happy to provide verification of citations upon request in hard-copy or other formats.

    Now, I ask you, Howz Zat for re-direction the foci whilst at all times retaining the original concerns about policy and political flaws at large of public interest?

    Yours etcetera?

  4. John Kelly

    Madeleine Kingston, what’s in the bottle or are you just sleep deprived?

  5. John Kelly

    One can’t help thinking that while Malcolm is currently riding the waves of popularity, with Abbott firing the odd broadside, there is a canny resemblance to the Rudd/Gillard undermining that will see them both dispatched to the garbage dump of history.

  6. Kaye Lee


    Despite all the excitement, sooner or later people will surely wake up to the fact that every single policy from the Coalition is designed to help business and investors. Wage earners and welfare recipients have been under attack from day one.

    Why must we give subsidies to fossil fuel producers and guarantees to banks? Why should we cut company tax to 25% when people earning between $37,000 to $80,000 are paying 32.5% and most companies pay much lower than the stated 30% anyway? Why should we make it easier for people to take risks – isn’t that what led to the GFC?

    Malcolm Turnbull moves in an entirely different financial universe to most of us and he seems to be determined to make his universe a safer more opulent place. The rest of us will wait quietly in the hope than manna rains down from above….but more likely we will be asked to fund this corporate welfare by an increase in GST which will, of course, not be Scott Morrison’s fault in any way, blast those greedy Premiers.

  7. Sen Nearly Ile

    great read, kaye, it shows the power of a slogan versus the difficulty of explanation for understanding.(the Gillard tax/price dilemma). There may be some slogans in your translation for ‘exciting’?????
    It is comforting to see big bill staunchly striding in the background poised to pounce when the time is just right.
    ps friendly persuasion was barely watchable except for anthony perkins who introduced a weirdness to the film but I remember ‘I would hurt thee but thee are standing where I am about to shoot”.
    Cooper was hilariously miscast with princess grace in ‘do not forsake me oh my darling…he made a vow in state prison it be my life or his an I’m not afraid of death but what will I do if you leave me…’ This was the film that taught me ‘american films were for american audiences not for me’ Carmen Jones’ brought me back and highlighted racism then cooper killed the septic films again.
    Although, someone whose top two is Kapo and clockwork orange is probably weird.

  8. Kaye Lee

    It will be very interesting to see in MYEFO where the money is coming from for us to protect risk-taking entrepreneurs from bankruptcy.

    Christopher Pyne said “These are not necessarily sexy changes, but people in the business community will know what they will mean and they’ll have important impacts on people’s choices about what they invest in and how they run their businesses.”


    For those people wondering how they will pay for food and rent, I doubt they will be as excited as Mal, Chris and the Business Council are about “innovation and agility”.

    It’s hard to take them seriously when they cut $263 million from the Sustainable Research Excellence program and then give back $127 million over 4 years.

  9. harshmind

    Clear and incisive piece, as we have come to expect, Kaye Lee. Keep reminding us that Turnbull is not quite the man of the people he likes to portray, just in case we become mesmerised by his glossy adjectives.

  10. Douglas Pye

    Well done Kaye Lee! ! … I, for one , appreciate the depth of research in play here, along with your clarity of expression and clear intent. Frankly, the current state of affairs does cause me to shake my (Octogenarian ) head sadly ! Whilst there’s much I could say in line with my Social Democrat Heart … just not today.! … Despair has no place in my life … I’m a fighter – campaigner and regular reader of AIM. … I wish you all well !

  11. Chris

    Thanks for the insightful review of ‘Friendly Persuasion’ Sen Nearly Ile. I don’t think I will bother.
    Madeleine had other interesting things to say I don’t know why anyone would have to be mean about it.
    A great article and I wonder how much these ‘conflicts of interest’ will be covered elsewhere. Watch your back, Kaye Lee. Plenty won’t like that sort of thing talked about….
    Lemon socialism or Lemming capitalism…..I’m not sure which.

  12. Anon E Mouse

    I recall too well the way the media went after Theresa Rein when she was in the role of wife to the PM. It is a pity that they can’t go after Malcolm’s missus with the same vigor.

    John Kelly, I firmly believe that the notion of Rudd going after Gillard was media spin and her playing MacBeth style guilt. A lot of Rudd’s supposed undermining was fed by her own gang that were jumping at shadows. The whole Gillard overthrowing Rudd as a sudden decision was blown out of the water when Wikileaks showed us that Shorten was telling the yanks about it long before it actually happened. If we are going to go over the Rudd Gillard years, it might be worthwhile to look deeper than MSM. Personally I would like to see more of an exploration of the Gillard Abbott relationship because Tony is a master at digging dirt and skullduggery and they used to be good mates apparently. I suspect that nothing is ever really as it appears.

    As for the Abbott – Turnbull game currently in play, I suspect that Tony would make sure that any dirt on Mal Brough will surface. Abbott has one thing ahead of Rudd, and that is malice.

  13. Wally

    Kaye Lee

    Great statement.

    “There’s never been a more exciting time to be Australian” should read “There’s never been a more exciting time to be a wealthy Australian investor/company with an aversion to paying tax who is willing to take risks with other people’s money when subsidised and protected by the government.”

    Turnbull is making all of the rich people feel warm and fuzzy with their money bags swelling leading up to Christmas, what will he leave them under the Christmas tree?

  14. madeleinekingston

    Thanks for asking John Kelly. Sleep Deprived? Absolutely not? Simply operating on a different schedule to almost everyone else.

  15. madeleinekingston

    Thank you so much Chris. Much appreciated. It’s really OK though for people to draw their own conclusions. And so they should. Indeed, every day of the week I encourage people to draw their own conclusions and to defend such conclusions, if not with their lives in a literal sense; but at the very least, with sustainable allegations, regardless of context.

    In the context of the particular issues, to which you have so nobly come to my defence, to the extent of actually naming me, I appreciate it. In recognition of your support I would be only too happy to provide a string of links when last accessed from previously accessible government sources and/or others.

    So then, with reference to the “shoot-from-the-hip” conclusions drawn from “who woz tha’t um, John Kelly, I believe, may I without ado assume personal responsibility for apparent failure in achieving smooth transition in communication strategy in the context of the encoding and/or de-coding facilitation in effective communication. Mea Culpa. How could I be so careless? Pardon me. Full Stop. Mea Culpa. But thank you all the principles of freedom of expression; no matter which time of day such opinion may be expressed.

    I am a supporter of all kinds of human and/or civil rights, but sometimes, being human, I fail in my modest endeavours to match theory-and-practice correlations. This I wear as a badge of honour; since not one of us can or should profess to be perfect. I am far from achieving optimal communication delivery.

    On broader issues of effective communication strategy, I have so much to learn, being an el ordinary consumer of goods and/or services; not restricted to online services, including opinion pieces and/or policies and/or legislative opinion

    Merry Chrismas

  16. madeleinekingston

    Now I understand that Mainstream and/or Independent Media and/or other Could bes or Would bes, may consider themselves A Cut-Above the rest of us ordinary run-of-the-mill voting public; or alternatively the aspirational voting public [of the misty-eyed characterization = eat-your-heart-out-if-you-have-a-heart-in-the-first-place]; clumsy foot-steppers of the usual faux pas variety.

    May I encourage robust response, where possible with substantiation, to All-Varieties-Of-Main-Stream-and-or-Independent-Media-Regardless-of-Standard-and-or-Response?

    According to the Usual Culprits as Ill-Informed Marketeers. Nobody Understands The Way I Feel.

    Therefore, may I introduce Sidney Bechet?

    Merry Christmas

  17. madeleinekingston

    So are you with Sidney Bechet or you not? C’mon.

  18. madeleinekingston

    Yes-or-No. Just-Say-It-Yes-or-No? Yes-Or-No?

    With Sidney-Bechet or Not?



    C’mon then. Why don’t you Jazz with me then??

    You wish for substantiation?

  19. madeleinekingston

    So who then; is the alleged “Man-of-the-People’? Is the “Snake-oil-Charmer with Lucy-Oh-Lucy behind him. Different face? Different Style? Same Bloody Policies. Please say no. For Heaven’s Sake Please Say No. Naught to Choose. Twixt-and-Between

    So then are you with Sidney Bechet or Not?

    Yes or No? Yes or No? Yes Or Bloody No. Just say it.


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