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Buying Votes

Barnaby Joyce has made the extraordinary decision to point blank defy a Senate order to produce the cost-benefit analysis on his plan to forcibly move 175 public servants from Canberra to the heart of his electorate.

The unbelievable arrogance of this man to uproot hundreds of families to satisfy a whim of his is obviously not backed up by any discernible benefit. What’s more, he paid Ernst & Young $270,000 to produce the report. What excuse can he use for refusing to release what we have paid for – Nationals security?

The election may be over, but the vote buying continues apace with the government pandering to all sorts of weird and less than wonderful demands by Senate crossbenchers.

Last year, David Leyonhjelm was allowed to set up a Personal Choice and Community Impacts (nanny state) committee to look into issues such as mandatory bicycle helmets, tobacco sales, alcohol outlets, pool fences — almost all matters controlled by the states.

The committee held seven public hearings at significant expense to taxpayers before fizzling out and lapsing with the election.

The Senate has now agreed he can head an inquiry into “how red tape imposed on us by three levels of government affects our economy and impacts our lives”.

In another frightening development, One Nation’s Malcolm Roberts has gained approval for an investigation into industrial relations reform.

Specifically, he wants the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to look at “narrowing the IR carve-out that exempts some union and company abuses of law from the scrutiny that otherwise applies to all other Australians”. ABCC here we come.

Not wanting to be left out, Pauline Hanson stood for election to the NBN Co joint inquiry but missed out with Xenophon’s Stirling Griff winning the spot. Matthias Cormann rushed to assuage Pauline’s disappointment by making Nationals Senator John “Wacka” Williams stand aside and gift Pauline his spot.

Good luck with trying to educate Pauline on Information Technology – please explain.

It appears the government is more than willing to spend hundreds of thousands on useless committees (or committee members) to try to buy the support of the cross bench.

I shudder to think what Brian Burston’s gift will be.


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  1. Deidre Zanker

    How will we ever recover from the wreckage they will leave behind them?

  2. Ill fares the land

    Going back only a little while, I actually had some respect for Joyce. Yes, he is a man neither of great intellect or articulation, but he seemed to at least have a reasonable set of beliefs and held true to them. More recently, he has become a buffoon, prone to utter “verbal farts” and has publicly displayed all the petulance we have come to expect from one whose reach has exceeded his grasp.

    His recent comments on SA’s renewable energy were a great example – while there might be some truth in the notion that it is hard to completely separate renewable energy from the statewide blackout, he did not know that at the time he made his nincompoop remarks. For me, the cartoon from the AFR said everything I could say in less space and still more eloquently. It is as funny and as insightful as political cartoons get.

    On the issue of his arrogant relocation of an office, I am reminded of Al “Chainsaw” Dunlap – one of the most vile and incompetent characters in Australian and US corporate history. His history of corporate fraud and utterly reprehensible management is the stuff of legend, but one move he did make when he became CEO of Sunbeam was to relocate its head office. To where you ask? Well, to his home town of course. Now, Barnaby isn’t a corporate psychopath like Dunlap, but the abject stupidity and self-interest inherent in his decision is comparable. When the experiment proves to be a disaster, what happens to the 175 staff and their families? Presumably they will be relocated again at great expense to the taxpayer. I don’t doubt that the management consultants did what they mostly do in producing reports for government – produced a report full of long words, but devoid of substance. No wonder all management consultants cling like limpets to government – they make a shit load of money out of producing pointless reports for people that want to cover up truth or avoid outcomes. That said, if the report clearly articulated a proper reason to make the move, what is the harm of releasing it?

    On the decision to appoint a comparable buffoon to head a committee examining “red tape”, it is putting the fox in charge of the hen house. The reality with business is that red tape is a necessary evil, but what businesses really want is NO RED TAPE AT ALL. Business wants the right to fire staff at will, to mistreat customers and to generally do whatever they want. Property developers are the worst examples – they want to be able to put up whatever structure maximises their profits, not to have to worry about whether what they want is appropriate, or even reasonable. Leyonhjelm is hardly the right person for that role.

    Malcolm Roberts, on the other hand, is not the right person for any role. I can only hope that the appointment is one in which he will prove harmless; he will make some incomprehensible noise and like Joyce, there will be a lot of “verbal farting”, but he won’t actually do anything too dangerous. But as with Hanson, perhaps let’s appoint both to very public roles so the world can see for themselves just how ridiculous they are. Roberts is intelligent but no amount of intellect will insulate you from being a complete idiot behaviourally. Hanson herself has even less intellect than Joyce, so she needs to be put into roles where her paucity of intellect becomes all the more obvious.

  3. ozibody

    Spot on Kaye !…. The arrogance of this neo con Governance has been evident to me over the past few years, and, since the recent election this element has been more apparent.

    The recent instances of utter contempt for any degree of fair mindedness is cause for real concern … e.g. B. Joyce ( as you mentioned ) and Mr. Brandis’s antics (why is this man still here ? ) to mention just the tip of that (festering) iceberg …( should such an entity exist … 🙂 … )…

    One has to wonder why the above, combined with the absence of real Governance, can come into being ? ….. Does the neo con World Wide Intelligence inform them that W W 111 ( on the horizon ) will grant them ” Absolute Power ” ? ……… . so that they can ” Save Australia ” in their ‘traditional’ fashion ?

    My scalp crawls ! …….

  4. Kaye Lee

    “Some of the union bosses are holding the country to ransom and holding industries to ransom, controlling industries. That’s not on, it’s now lawful and those practices need to stop.” said Roberts.

    He confirmed his office was also obtaining economic data on the effect some unions were having on the economy through “extortion, corruption, and selling their members out for private gain”.

    “Our country’s IR system is broken, and as a party we will have a lot more to say about this in the coming term of parliament,” he told parliament.

  5. 1petermcc

    Nice work Kaye Lee and special thanks to IFTL for the cartoon. Both the post and the cartoon will be going on to FB when I get home.

  6. Kaye Lee

    Roberts is being advised by the IPA, Jo Nova and Christopher Monckton and Lord knows who else. He seems to deliberately choose the worst possible advice which is the sign of a man who has already made up his mind and is seeking affirmation rather than confirmation.

  7. Terry2

    Isn’t it strange how we rave about our close relationship with Singapore and yet the major elephant in the room is ignored. Singapore have made their small island nation a wealthy hub for corporations and high wealth individuals to shield their incomes from Australian by domiciling themselves in low tax environments like Singapore.

    BHP Billiton now employ some 600 people in Singapore yet they don’t mine a single ounce of ore in the island state but what they do is channel all sales revenue for ore they mine in Australia through Singapore where they get highly concessional tax rates in the order of 15% to the detriment of the Australian economy : but we give them a diesel fuel rebate on their mining operations here.

    No wonder the WA Nationals want to up the royalty on ore mined in WA from twenty five cents to $5 a tonne.

    It was Prime Minister Lee’s father who called Australians the ‘ white trash of Asia’ : he could have added that we are also very stupid.

  8. jimhaz

    [Specifically, he wants the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to look at “narrowing the IR carve-out that exempts some union and company abuses of law from the scrutiny that otherwise applies to all other Australians”.]

    I don’t understand why the phrase carve-out was used.

    “A carve-out effectively separates a subsidiary or business unit from its parent as a standalone company. The new organization has its own board of directors and financial statements. However, the parent company usually retains controlling interest in the new company and offers strategic support and resources to help the business succeed”.

    Presumably this idea came directly (or via middlemen in the Galileo Movement) from one of the private mining companies headed by a mogul. I’d say Reinhart is using him as a puppet – probably wants to make tonnes of profit on the Kidman farm by importing Chinese workers under regressive working conditions – perhaps she might even set up an abattoir to get some added value profits.

  9. Matters Not

    Singapore where they get highly concessional tax rates in the order of 15% to the detriment of the Australian economy

    Lots of different numbers re tax rate BHP pay in Singapore. Needless to say, all are at the low end of the scale. For example:

    It was shown BHP have paid a tax rate of only 0.002 per cent on profits gained by selling iron ore to the Singapore subsidiary of BHP at less than market rates,

    Where the truth lies is a bit of an unknown but clearly with this transfer pricing rort they are making us look stupid. While we pursue ‘dole bludgers’ the big end of town gets a free pass. And that includes Turnbull.

    BHP admits to minimal tax in Singapore

    Note also that Gina resides in Singapore where taxes are only paid on income generated in Singapore and not on monies generated elsewhere. Gina is a good friend of Barnaby who seems to offer advice re free trade agreements so that she can make the right decisions. She helps fund his election campaigns in return.

    As an aside, Johnny Depp suggested that Barnaby Joyce was ‘inbred with a tomato’. These days he’s looking more and more like a badly bruised tomato.

  10. Kaye Lee


    The Competition and Consumer Act has historically exempted workplace agreements from competition laws in so far as they deal with remuneration or employment conditions, on the basis labour markets are not comparable to other product or service markets.

    The ACCC has traditionally been reluctant to step into the industrial relations field and only after some hesitation began pursuing the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union for its secondary boycott of concrete maker Boral.

    “Look at Boral, that’s a fine example of a company standing up and they need to be supported.” said Roberts

    The letter comes as the government’s exposure draft of competition law reforms is up for consultation, with business groups calling on the legislation to go further and prohibit enterprise agreement clauses that restrict the use of casuals, contractors and labour hire.

  11. Zathras

    Did Banana-by ever get around to selling his land holdings on the edge of the Pilliga Forest?

    After a string of obviously false excuses it was becoming apparent that it was bought for it’s potential value for fracking, based on insider information.

    To stop the media from sniffing around too closely he said he was going to sell it back in August 2013.
    I wonder if he ever did sell it or who he sold it to.

    Just sayin…

  12. Gangey1959

    Can’t we please just give bananabysajoke and all of his bent mates to the visiting singapoormean pm as our gift for being such a straight-up guy, send him home and then change the locks ? Please.
    And change a few laws while we are at it, because I’m thinking that the 5 or 6 pollies that are left in Canberra might be fairly easy to sway.

  13. Zathras

    Thanks Kaye.

    I remember the stories of inside information about potential fracking lease sites and the ex-National Party members involvement in the rising CSG industry at the time and those properties were in such a zone.

    It’s gone strangely quiet lately but may yet come back to haunt him.

  14. Mark Needham

    Since, Kerry Packer, at that famous inquiry, said… ” If you don’t like it, then change the laws”
    It, is really that simple.
    Like the Mining tax, Julia, tried to institute. Got all watered down, and became, not ineffective, but an actual retrograde step.
    Julia, was on the right bus, but unfortunately, it became hijacked and we all know the rest…………….
    Give us all abreak,
    Mark Needham

  15. Anomander

    Always amusing how unions are supposedly holding our country to ransom, but corporations deliberately avoiding tax is a viable business strategy.

  16. Mark Needham

    Anomander If they are complying with the law, then they would be mugs, to not avoid paying Tax.
    If the Unions are complying with the law, then they would be mugs to not hold the country to ransom.
    Who is not complying, is the truth of the matter, that is very hard to find.
    Not amused, with either school,
    Mark Needham

  17. lawrencesroberts

    If we could find an ethical business management firm, probably Norwegian, we could just run the whole country through that and save money on politicians setting out that we wanted happy and healthy children and no homeless people but what to do with Canberra? Well politicians could keep half their pensions just as long as they lived in Canberra.

  18. Kyran

    There have been a few articles of recent times that give some perspective to bananas thought processes (or lack thereof).
    Overall, he had proposed at least four departments be relocated to rural centres with no other explanation than it was Nats policy to decentralise.
    One of the moves was cancelled.
    “Mr Joyce was forced to shelve plans to move the Canberra-based Murray-Darling Basin Authority to rural Victoria shortly before the election after a public backlash.”
    Not due to any cost benefit analysis, not due to any rationale, not due to any facts. Just public backlash.
    Another move, the RIRDC, has had a few hiccups.
    “The Canberra-based Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation will relocate to Wagga Wagga within weeks, but only three staff are expected to move, including managing director John Harvey.”
    “The RIRDC is losing decades of experience because they’re not willing to uproot their families and lives on a political whim,” he said.”

    What’s $44mil between friends? Whilst bananas has steadfastly refused to release the APVMA cost benefit analysis, he has conceded it was not favourable.
    “A cost-benefit-analysis of the move, commissioned by the Agriculture Department soon moved to the heart of the controversy with both the minister and department refusing to make the document public.
    But in a TV interview on Wednesday, Mr Joyce admitted that the analysis had been done, but that its findings alone did not support the mass relocation.
    “€œThe analysis has gone through all the areas of the cost benefit analysis,” the minister told Sky News.
    “If you’re going to premise it on the cost-benefit analysis, we would’n€™t do it.”

    So what? It’s not like the APVMA does anything like evaluate products as fit for purpose in the agricultural domain, is it?
    “BARNABY grass was somewhat named after the current minister for agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, as “it’s persistent and was bred in the New England”.”
    “With the right conditions, Barnaby can yield exceptionally well and Mr Stewart said it’s had great stock acceptance.”

    And, prophetically, Barnaby grass has proven to be entirely unfit for purpose.
    “A grass named after Federal Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce has been recalled after it was found to pose serious health risks to livestock.”
    “The fescue was meant to be free of edophytes — a fungus that lives naturally in a plant and can be toxic to grazing livestock.”

    250 farmers in NSW, SA, WA and Victoria have sowed 100 tonnes of the seed and are now being told to “sow it out”.
    “Work has begun to remediate any paddocks already sown with the fescue.”
    There don’t appear to any articles that quantify the cost of remediation for the entirely appropriately named grass. As always, this paragon of stupidity has profound words to console those who have been effected.
    “You’ve just got to deal with these things.”

    How any farmer would believe a word out of Gina’s proxy beggars belief.
    “I shudder to think what Brian Burston’s gift will be.”
    From anything I have read, a time machine enabling transport to the 1950’s will be more problematic than Barnaby grass. And more expensive to remediate.
    Thank you Ms Lee. Take care

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