Thursday March 31 2016
1 At the crux of the Senate stalemate over the ABCC legislation are two principles. Firstly the Government says the crossbench Senators, because some rorted the voting system, are unworthy participants. A DD will fix the problem it says. In itself that is debatable. Secondly the Government wants its ABCC anti-Union corruption bill passed.
The Senators suggest a compromise that would include all corruption. Not unreasonable you might say. After all corruption is knowingly rife in politics and business.
It is not unreasonable to suggest that corruption in the banking sector and its effect on ordinary people is far worse than that of unions in the building industry. And that corruption in politics is destroying our democracy.
Too unreasonably single out union corruption suggests you rate it worse than other corruption and leaves the Government open, particularly the Prime Minister, to further charges of hypocrisy. Union bashing in other words.
A recent survey by Essential Media found that most respondents opposed the reintroduction of the ABCC, and demonstrated that the Federal Government must be more active in countering misconceptions about the role and function of the construction watchdog.
It remains an open question as to whether the PM really wants a more democratic electoral system or if the ABCC is a more important matter than others that would seem more worthy of its attention.
If per chance the cross benches passed the bill, Turnbull would have some explaining to do as to what the real motive was.
The Essential survey on the following question:
What do you think is the main reason why the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull would call an early double dissolution election?
Showed that 14% thought it was because Parliament won’t restore the ABCC. 15% said it was because he wants to get rid of the independents in the Senate and 30% said it was because his Government is losing support and he will have a better chance of winning if the election is held early.
2 The Crickey Poll Bludger in the absence of any Polling over Easter reveals Newspolls quarterly breakdown. It shows the Turnbull Government sinking in Vic, and SA with Victoria leading the way. Another poll reveals that the government will have a hard time selling its budget. An internal poll also shows that Bronwyn Bishop wouldn’t hold her seat of MacKellar and the Nationals will almost certainly contest the seat of Murray. Sharman Stone’s former seat.
This week’s Essential Poll still has the parties 50/50.
3 Those interested in American politics should read this.
‘Justice Scalia’s seat is vacant. Ginsberg is 82 years old, Kennedy is 79, Breyer is 77, and Thomas is 67. Nowadays, the data shows that the average age of a Supreme Court retirement or death occurs after 75.
These are 5 vacancies that will likely come up over the next 4-8 years. The next President will have the power to potentially create a 7-2 Supreme Court skewed in their ideology.
Think about that… 7-2. If the next President appoints 5 young justices, it will guarantee control of the Supreme Court for an entire generation. And 7-2 decisions will hold up much more over time than 5-4 decisions which are seemed to be lacking in mandate’ – Colin Powell.
4 It seems Tony Abbott will run his own campaign in the forthcoming election.
He has expressed his readiness to participate in the 2016 federal election campaign to support colleagues who hold marginal seats. Senator Nick Xenophon said he would be delighted to have Abbott campaigning in South Australia. I suppose Christopher Pyne will also welcome him.
Nifty Nick knows when he is on a winner.
5 I know I’m always on about the NBN but when Australia slips to 60th position in world speed ratings it’s about time we all took notice. What a cock up this supposedly ‘innovatively’ minded Government has made of this medium.
It is just ridiculous that we are building a copper-based service that will be redundant in ten to 15 years. We should all question why we are heading down such an inferior pathway at such a huge cost.
6 How refreshing it was on Tuesday to watch Paul McClintock, a businessman and former staffer to John Howard deliver a speech ‘Deficit to balance: budget repair options’ for CEDA, the Committee for Economic Development of Australia minus the politics at The National Press Club.
‘No economic problem in Australia is graver than the persistence of large budget deficits,’ he said.
The research was conducted by a 12 member commission that included current Reserve Bank board member Dr John Edwards and three former secretaries of the federal department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Dr Michael Keating, Dr Ian Watt and Terry Moran.
What struck me was the way in which McClintock demonstrated that when you dispassionately divorce yourself from the politics, and objectively address an economic problem, just how much clearer the answers are.
Contrary to the Abbott/Turnbull governments’ notion that budget repair can only be achieved with spending cuts, the report calls for revenue enhancement. It reckons that $15 billion in revenue ‘enhancement’ measures and $2 billion in spending cuts would bring the budget to surplus in 2018-19.
Now you wouldn’t call these committee members raging socialists but their preferences for revenue raising were suspiciously Laborish.
Singled out were superannuation tax and capital gains tax. Introducing a flat 15 per cent discount on super contributions ($6.9 billion), reducing the cap for concessionary contributions to super to $10,000 ($8.5 billion), halving the capital gains discount ($3.6 billion) and abolishing negative gearing on all assets purchased after December last year ($2.6 billion).
Other options proposed included increasing petrol taxes, cutting the fuel tax credit scheme, cutting industry tax concessions, clamping down on work related tax deductions and extending the ‘temporary’ the budget repair levy.
Without action, the commission found personal incomes would bear the rising burden of taxation.
It all sounds reasonable when you take the politics out of it.
Recommend you read this article by John Kelly on the subject.
‘It seems to me that the wisest people I know are the ones that apply reason, and logic and leave room for doubt. The most unwise are the fools and fanatics who don’t’.
7 My first reaction to the Prime Minister’s proposal to give the states the right to raise their own income tax is that the electorate will never buy it. Imagine the States with that sort of power. He is just handballing a problem he can’t handle.
Turnbull indicated that over time if a particular state had a problem it might say.
‘OK, we have got an issue with one part of our services. Can we fix it ourselves or do we need more money? If we need more money, then they go, the state would go to their parliament, raise the money, go to the people and persuade them of the merits of it.’
A hard sell this one. I wonder how long it will stay on the table. We might even see a perpetually shifting population seeking the least taxing state.
And didn’t Scott say:
‘This is not a government that has any interest in lifting the tax burden on Australians’.
Wouldn’t it be easier to just get companies to pay some tax and stop all the subsidies?
My thought for the day.
‘For the life of me I fail to understand how anyone could vote for a party who thinks the existing education and health systems are adequately funded and addresses the needs of the disadvantaged’
PS: I read last week that the actual plebiscite question that was supposed to be revealed prior to the election had been shelved. Yesterday I read that the plebiscite itself is to be shelved indefinitely. Can’t be true surely.